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The Way of El Cid by bicycle – La Defensa del Sur (The Defence of the South)

Chesnot Jérôme (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Way of El Cid by bicycle – La Defensa del Sur (The Defence of the South)

Bike Touring Collection by Sofía_Ibáñez

3-5

days

3-5 h

/ day

165 mi

6,700 ft

6,675 ft

The Way of El Cid, a historical and literary adventure on two wheels, comes to an end in this fifth and final section – La Defensa del Sur (The Defence of the South). The final 264 kilometres (164 mi) of this epic cycling route runs through the region of Valencia and takes you to the lands and towns that the Cid tried to defend after his conquest. You can find more about this history in the Collection on the Conquest of Valencia, the previous section, here: komoot.com/collection/1830096.

Your adventure begins in Valencia, the city that the Cid conquered in 1094 and of which he became prince and lord. You can easily travel to Valencia if you haven’t done the other parts of the Way, as the city has a train station, bus connections and an airport. Over four stages, averaging 60 kilometres (37 mi), you reach Orihuela, the city that marked the southern limit of the Cid’s rule. From Orihuela, you can either take a bus with the Agostense company (they allow packed bicycles for an additional fee), or travel by train to Alicante, which has more transport options.

This route shows you the impressive castles that formed part of the Almohad defensive line that linked Bañeres, Biar, Villena, Sax and Petrel. You pass through towns with a rich medieval artistic heritage, such as Alzira, Játiva and Bocairent. Cycling between these towns, the landscapes are full of contrasts with wetlands, extensive orchards, river gorges and mountain ranges. From the saddle, you can admire one of the most spectacular natural environments in Valencia: the Albufera Natural Park. The Arabs called these coastal lagoons ‘the mirror of the sun’, as the shallow water creates beautiful reflections when the sky is clear.

As in the previous parts of the Way, any touring bike is perfect for this route. You should carry some food in your panniers, just in case, although every stage passes through towns or cities where you can easily stock up on food and water. If you ride in summer, don't forget to bring sun cream and avoid cycling in the hottest hours. More than 90% of the route runs on tarmac and quiet roads, with the exception of the section between Ontinyent and Bocairent. Here, the route crosses a beautiful ravine, famous for its bathing areas, so there’s a lot of traffic – be cautious.

Enjoy the final part of the Way of El Cid! If you have done the whole route, I hope you’ve discovered an interesting chapter of Spanish medieval history and literature while cycling through the captivating landscapes of the ancient kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

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La Defensa del Sur — Ruta completa

153 mi

5,500 ft

5,475 ft

Last updated: November 29, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Valencia to Játiva – La Defensa del Sur (The Defence of the South)

    Intermediate
    04:12
    42.6 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,325 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the last section of the Camino del Cid begins in Valencia capital. The Route runs placidly over almost completely flat terrain, except for a short but intense climb at the end.

    

    The exit from Valencia is done comfortably by a bike lane first and then connects with a secondary road. From

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  • Difficult
    04:13
    34.5 mi
    8.2 mph
    3,400 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Contrary to the first stage, this second route of La Defensa del Sur presents an almost continuous rise, especially from the second half. Although the slope is not very pronounced, this route will put your legs to the test.

    

    The journey begins by crossing smooth terrain, following the course of the Albaida

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  • Intermediate
    04:03
    44.8 mi
    11.1 mph
    1,150 ft
    2,800 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After having conquered the unevenness of the previous stage, the third Route of La Defensa del Sur runs through much flatter terrain and reveals three impressive castles in the province of Alicante.

    

    Today you will pedal through the Vinalopó river valley and you will be able to appreciate the Almohad defensive

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  • Intermediate
    04:07
    42.7 mi
    10.4 mph
    825 ft
    1,600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The contrast between the plain and the mountains of Alicante provides the landscape framework for this last stage of La Defensa del Sur, which in turn is the last stage of the Camino del Cid. Whether you have only completed this section of the Cidian path, or followed the Castilian knight from the start

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    165 mi
  • Duration
    16:34 h
  • Elevation
    6,700 ft6,675 ft

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