Mountain Biking the GR-236 Monastery Route Part 2
This Sunday, the opportunity presented itself for another mountain bike ride in the beautiful countryside of our region, so our intention was to follow the second part of the Monastery Route (GR-236), starting from the monastery at Simat and following the route to the Convent d’Aigües Vives and on to the Monastir de la Murta near Alzira.
We loaded the bikes in the car and set off around 11.30, driving to Simat. We left the car there and followed a mixture of road and tracks through beautiful orange groves surrounded by stunning mountains. There were plenty of photo opportunities along the way, with backdrops of mountains, orchards and green valleys. The route was well marked through all the off-road sections and after slightly more than an hour we arrived at Aigües Vives, where the former convent is now in use as a country hotel.
At the edge of the village we saw signs to a nearby golf course – renowned for its spectacular mountain setting – so we decided to make a detour to see for ourselves. The approach to the course is uphill along a very steep road, but well worth the effort, as the views of the course certainly lived up to their reputation.
After that, it was time to find a suitable spot for our picnic lunch so we continued along the marked mountain biking track in the direction of Alzira and stopped in a quiet and remote orchard for lunch, under the shade of a loquat tree. The track at this stage became very unclear and seemed possibly unsuitable for biking as it wound upwards, so we decided to return now to Simat and complete the route to Alzira on another occasion. After a cooling drink in a café in Simat with a great view of the monastery there again, we loaded the bikes back in the car for the drive home. Another wonderful trip in beautiful surroundings.
A fabulous day out biking in the Spanish mountains.
Totals for the Day:-
Trip :- 28km
Max Speed :- 28.6
Ride time :- 2:07:39
Odo :- 1011km
The GR-236 Monastery Route (Route of the Monasteries of Valencia (GR-236))
The “Monasteries Route” – or “Ruta dels Monestirs” as it is called locally – provides an itinerary which passes through the central areas of Valencia, linking five ancient convents or monasteries. It can be done easily by road with direct access to the monasteries, or equally well on foot or mountain bike using the GR-236 hiking path, which follows medieval mountain paths (the Pas del Pobre), authentic old tracks, and old railway lines. Along its 90km length from Gandía to Alzira we pass through a wide range of villages, valleys, rivers and mountains.
|The Monestir de Sant Jeroni near Alfauir was built by Alfons el Vell (Duke of Gandía) in order to take in the Jeroni monks of Javea in 1388. A particularly outstanding feature is the gothic style cloisters, and also well worth visiting are the Romantic style gardens which were constructed by the Trénor family, who are still the current owners.|
|The Convent del Corpus Christi near Llutxent dates from 1422 when Dominican monks began its construction, and in fact the first Valencian university was housed here. Right by the monastery you will find the Corpus Christi Church, built in a mediterranean gothic style, and which was declared a national monument in 1982.|
|There is a wide variety of architectural styles to be found at the Monestir de la Valledigna in Simat, including gothic influences of the 14th century, and baroque influences of the 17th & 18th centuries. In 1991 the Valencian Government acquired the monastery in order to carry out restoration and refurbishment works, which were completed in 1998 when the building was re-opened.|
|The oldest of the workings at the Convent d’Aigües Vives in the area near Carcaixent date back to the 13th century, but the construction of the current building was originally undertaken in the 15th century. The cloisters, which have vaults with baroque-style interior decorations, are especially welcoming to the visitor, whilst the convent’s tiling is a fine example of 18th century Valencian ceramics.|
|The Monastir de la Murta near Alzira was founded between the 15th & 16th centuries. Especially noteworthy is the tower known as the Torre dels Coloms and also the renaissance style gate, above which a coat of arms is still to be seen. This belongs to the Vich family who were owners and benefactors of the monastery for many years. In 1989 the Town Hall of Alzira acquired the property and began the restoration of this historic monastery|
Technically, the GR-236 begins in Gandia and finishes in Alzira passing by these monasteries:
- Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba, in Alfauir.
- Monastery of the Corpus Christi, in Llutxent.
- Monastery of Santa María de la Valldigna, in Simat de la Valldigna.
- Monastery of Aguas Vivas, in Carcaixent.
- Monastery of La Murta, in Alzira.
All the paths are perfectly signposted from the Train Station of Gandía to Alzira. There are road signs in problematic forks with location signs and direction signs. The signs are white and red and they all have the path code (GR-236).
Mountain Biking the GR-236 Monastery Route starting from the Villa Florencia, is a total of 104km, see map below,..