Biosphere Reserves: earthly paradises just an hour away from the city
Do you like city breaks but the perfect plan for you is to combine them with an excursion out into somewhere in nature? Then you'll be delighted to know that there are two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves very close to the city. Two enclaves that maintain unique environmental values worldwide. Read on!
Cabriel Valley Biosphere Reserve
Although it encompasses more than 50 municipalities, Caudete de las Fuentes, Requena, Venta del Moro and Villagordo del Cabriel are the four Valencian towns inside the Cabriel Valley Biosphere Reserve. They are all located just over an hour from the city. At this distance is the greatest concentration of forests in the province, and it is a unique and exceptional place that has earned international recognition.
The Cabriel Valley is the largest limestone mountain massif in Mediterranean Europe, has important geological elements (fairy towers, gorges, etc.) and is home to important ecosystems of Mediterranean forest and riverside forest. If you decide to go there, you will also be able to enjoy the typical fauna of a mountainous area: mountain goats (the most representative), rock-nesting birds of prey, high mountain birds, a large community of amphibians, otters, and good populations of trout. But also contemplate one of the cleanest rivers in Europe: the Cabriel, which gives its name to the valley.
Everything is within the visitor's reach, through hiking, adventure sports and birdwatching. And thanks to the purity of its skies, its low light pollution and astronomy, it is also a Starlight Destination, ideal for astronomical observation.
You can also visit the Interpretation Centre of the Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park, located in Venta del Moro. It has an exhibition in which the Cabriel River is the main feature, and where you can discover the different environments that make up this Protected Natural Area, as well as get to know the water heritage of the park. It also has an adapted space and offers the possibility, if you come with a group of more than 15 people, of a guided tour.
And to make the tourist experience even better, all of this is framed in a territory with a winemaking culture that goes back than 2,500 years and its own PDO: Utiel-Requena.
Alto Turia Biosphere Reserve
Chelva, Tuéjar, Benagéber, Titaguas, Aras de los Olmos, Casas Bajas and Casas make up this reserve with the upper course of the River Turia as a common denominator. Come and discover the area at any time, as each season brings its own colours and charm.
Less than an hour away from Valencia you have an extensive natural heritage that you can combine with hiking, cycling, climbing and horse riding. In addition to canoeing and river rafting, you can also enjoy other aquatic activities in the Benagéber Reservoir, so, it’s make your mind up time!
This whole area has also been recognised with other distinctions, as it is also a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) and a Starlight Destination
Nature, culture, and gastronomy, three in one!
The Cultural Heritage of these municipalities is also worth taking note of: the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, in Chelva; or its namesake in Tuéjar; or the Torre del Cortijo, in Aras de los Olmos; the festivities of the Mojiganga and the Night of the Candles in Titaguas.
Finally, you can't leave the Alto Turia without tasting its products and its rich traditional gastronomy, including wines, oils, honey, truffles, and above all, dishes made with cold cuts with greatly influenced by the cuisine of La Mancha and Aragón.
And get this: you will find the Tourist Info of the Association of Municipalities in Tuéjar. And the access routes to visit it are via the CV-35 and N-330 roads. You will see that you can do a circular route of about three and a half hours through the towns that make up the Reserve.
Come and enjoy it!