Feb 172011

As Northern Europe still finds itself in the grip of winter, the weather in Spain is at least bright and sunny, even if it is not hot enough to go swimming in the sea quite yet! Vincent and his girlfriend Kim from Belgium arrived at Villa Florencia at the beginning of the week – in search of a little respite from the cold weather further north.

They are keen walkers and explorers, and wasted no time in getting to know the area a little, even on the afternoon of their arrival day and despite a very early start. They had decided that a self-drive holiday would be the best way to explore the area, so on Monday afternoon they went into Gandia and down to the Playa to get a feel for the place. After looking around for a while they returned to Villa Florencia for dinner and a well-earned good night’s sleep, to stand them in good stead for a day’s walking and exploring on Tuesday.

A trip inland was planned for Tuesday, to take in some of the beautiful mountain scenery as well as a visit to Xativa castle, about 40 minutes by car from here. Vincent and Kim took a tour of the inside of the castle as well as walking around the extensive grounds and taking lots of photographs from vantage points over the town of Xativa itself. Later on in the afternoon, they drove around some of the famous mountain scenery of the Costa Blanca and even though the sun did not shine the whole time, it still felt a whole lot better that the cold weather they had left behind in Belgium! They spent so much time exploring the inland area of the Costa Blanca that they did not return to Villa Florencia until about 8.30pm, but nevertheless had had a great day, and only wanted to do more of the same on Wednesday!

Walking was to be the main activity on Wednesday, however, so they took a packed lunch with them, and drove up into the mountains to the village of La Drova – only a short distance away. On the outskirts of La Drova there is a hiker’s information centre with details of recommended walking routes in the area, and they followed the directions on signposts along the way and had a thoroughly enjoyable walking holiday in Spain. They took a couple of the walking routes, discovering caves along the way, and then drove down the other side of the mountain to Simat later in the afternoon to have a look at the famous monastery there.

One of the Costa Blanca’s well known attractions is the caves at Benidoleig, a 30 or 40 minute drive inland to the south of Gandía, and this was the chosen destination for Thursday’s excursion. The weather was again bright and sunny, and perfect for a day’s driving holiday along the Costa Blanca and inland. The caves themselves are a famous tourist destination for a day trip, and give an interesting insight into the history and geology of the La Safor region. Well lit with discreet lighting, you can walk deep into the side of the mountain and see the formation of stalactites and stalagmites as well as the different layers of rock that form the mountains themselves.

Vincent has been a visitor to Villa Florencia in the past, but it was the first time he had brought his girlfriend Kim with him. The sort of outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the La Safor region in the winter sunshine, like the hill walking, hiking, exploring and sightseeing, will probably ensure that they return in the future for more of the same – it certainly beats the cold weather of northern Europe at this time of the year, after all!