Sierra Mariola National Park

One of the many great things that come with living in the Valencian city of Alcoy is the fact that we have a wonderful National Park right on our doorstep.

The Sierra Mariola is located between the districts of l’Alcoià, el Comtat and the Vall d’Albaida covering an area of 17,000 hectares which equates to just over 42,000 acres.

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What sets the Sierra Mariola apart from other National Parks is its profusion of over 200 different aromatic and medicinal plants, many of which only grow in this area thanks to the unique microclimate and an abundance of water.

During the springtime, you will see families out foraging for wild asparagus while in the summer it is berries followed by prized Níscalo mushrooms after the rain in fall.

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The park, like many places in Spain, has its fair share of history with not only medieval villages trapped in time but two UNESCO World Heritage sites as well.

The most significant is the cave paintings of deer at La Sagra de Alcoy that date back 7,000 years an indication of just how long ago the area was settled by prehistoric man.

The second site is near the medieval town of Bocairent which is often called one of the prettiest places to visit in Spain. Dating back to the Neolithic Period ceramics discovered in the caves are on display in the town’s museum.

Another place of interest near Bocairent are the caves carved into a rock face that you can climb and explore. While the jury is out on how the caves came to be formed the general assumption is that they were made by Berber tribes for storing grain during Moorish rule.

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Also, while in Bocairent cool off from the summer heat by taking a swim at Pou Clar a series of pools formed over the centuries by a natural mountain spring. A word of warning though is that although the water is crystal clear it is always on the chilly side even on the hottest of days.

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In the Sierra Mariola, you will find plenty of signposted trails to hike, including one to the parks highest peak Montcabrer at 1,390m (4,560ft) above sea level for spectacular views stretching towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Have a look at this short video about what you can expect to find should you ever find yourself in or around Alcoy.

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Have a look at this short video about what you can expect to find should you ever find yourself in or around Alcoy.