The Green Route, also called the Route of “Xixarra” train: Bocairent – Villena
CYCLING ROUTES MINI CAMPING VILLA CARMEN
From the fantastic place Mini Camping and Hostel Villa Carmen, in Bocairent, there are various cycling routes and hiking trails.
Mini Camping Villa Carmen is our starting point of all these tracks and cycling routes which we describe here. That’s because Bocairent is very good situated for inland tourism on a bike or by foot.
Bocairent is also a beautiful village at the feet of the Sierra de Mariola mountains and has very beautiful green surroundings that inspires to go for cycling tours and hiking.
Must be said that this village has a large cultural past such as the Museum of the Parish, the Cava Sant Blai, the Covetes dels Moros (the caves of the Moors) and the hermitages. A large proportions is still medieval and is preserved in it’s original architecture.
From the Villa Carmen you can do so many cycling and walking routes and at the same time visit the Spanish original culture, that it’s almost impossible to get bored.
Bikeroute Bocairent to Villena and back
(“El Santuario de las Virtudes” in Villena )
Technical information about this bikeroute:
- Places to see: Bocairent – Bañeres de Mariola – Beneixama – Campo de Mirra – Biar – Villena “Santuario de las Virtudes
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Time: 5 hours + breaks and tourism if it is the case
- Type of roads: asphalt and hard roads
- Distance: 64 km
- Route type: Up and down
Our starting point to do this cycling route of The Green Path (Vía Verde) begins in Bocairent. We start our trip from Minicampsite Villa Carmen, where in addition to rest we prepared our trip for our adventure ride.
We headed for the former train station of Bocairent, now a restaurant; we passed by in front of a monument of the Xixarra Train. We continue crossing the park and we headed toward the road that runs parallel to the main road. The green route takes us to the beautiful chapel of San Antonio de Padua and a raft of traditional irrigation. We leave this beautiful location and we headed toward the village of Bañeres de Mariola with a spectacular old town and impressive castle. Among many things we can visit the Valencian Museum of the Paper.
Ones we got back to the Green Path we found the Vinalopó river, we bordered it carefully until we cross it. A while later we arrived at Beneixama, surrounded by green pine forests and the Vinalopó River. The landscape of Beneixama is invaded by crops, vineyards, fruit trees and almond trees. Especially noteworthy is its church of San Juan Bautista in the neoclassical style which is surrounded by typical narrow streets of Arabic style and the towers of Atalaya and Negret.
We take the CV-657 and we headed toward the town of Camp de Mirra, a town with a magnificent Castle de Almizra. I must say that in this castle was signed the Almizra Treaty in the year 1244.
From this town we headed toward the village of Biar. Our track of Green Path continues with tranquility enjoying the landscapes. Arriving to Biar we can’t leave without seeing it’s castle, the old town, the Ethnographic Museum, the chapels, sanctuaries…
From here we’re near to the end of our route Bocairent – Villena and its Sanctuary of the Virtues. Before the end of our journey we can see the enviable landscapes and arriving to Villena we van visit the castle of Arab origin, the Archaeological Museum whose treasures are a set of 66 pieces, some of gold.
From Villena we go back the same way toward Bocairent.
A little of The Green Paths history is always handy
The origen of this track comes from 1884 when the company of the railways of Villena to Alcoy and Yecla inaugurated its first stretch between Villena and Bañeres de Mariola. Later it expanded this route to Muro de Alcoy in 1904 where binding with the Rail Alcoy to Gandia and in 1924 was extended to Yecla. This line was closed in 1965 because it couldn’t compete with road transport. In the year 2004 they began to recover the path, and in 2009 it was completed. Since then this route became famous and named the Green Path.
The train of the Xixarra is so called because of the sound it made when he passed through the mountains. The interest in this line was a direct result of the growing demand of the industry of Alcoy to transport the manufactured goods toward the outlet to the sea. In a principle trains were called “the English train” because they were made in England and the line was built by the British Company Lucien Ravel and Company.
This train the Xixarra was really slow. It made stops at the stations so people could go to the toilets and whilst the train engineer was playing a game of cards (it could last a little until he was finished). It also stopped at the side of the fields so that the passengers could pick up some fruit for the trip.
Among many anecdotes it is said that the youth jumped on the train while it was running so that they hadn’t to pay the reviewer; or when the engineer forgot the food package for the station manager of Agres and went 19 km backwards to catch the homemade food.
The train journey with the Xixarra train could be a real adventure.