A few years ago we were driving aimlessly through Spain and passed a big orange cliff face, not unusual, however this one was covered in climbers. We thought about stopping, but never quite got round to it. We spent that night parked nearby under a small cave and woke up to the most amazingly juggy bouldering micro-site, in an adventure called the “Puigmola Breakfast Boulder” that gave us a taste of what the rock might be like. Three years later we realised that we were only a few hours from that crag, which in the grand scale of Spain isn’t very much, and in need of a sun, sea and sport climbing break. The parking at Albarracin was also starting to feel a little crowded, kicking an idea into a plan. We did the washing up (because we are tidy like that) and headed off...
Our break began proper when we hit the coast just past Valencia, driving through the winter ghost towns of the Costa Blanca devoid of their summer tourist load. Parking up in Cullera, we wandered on windswept beaches under the empty gaze of the high rises that stand sentinel all along the coast. There is a big encampment of campervans near the beach, each one with a couple of Northern Europeans sat outside in deckchairs with beers, and tan wrinkled skin like the pancakes that we burnt one morning. A leathery old boy saw that we had towels for swimming and cackled, calling to his wife to see, our optimism probably the highlight of their day. It was, however, definitely way too cold to swim. We selfishly walked back a different way, to avoid providing anyone else's entertainment.
As the sun dropped through the ragged palms that night lights began to turn on through the town, but the towers were lit by just a scattering, maybe three or four glowing windows in each desolate giant. It was strange to see so much wasted space scarring the coastline.
We moved on early from this strange town to Gandia, finding the climbing spot, called Marxuquera, emerging from a wide spread of orange trees and glowing in the sunshine. It was pretty lush, beautiful bouldery routes that weren’t too long and tended to be a bit cruxy at the beginning, suiting us perfectly. The crag is south facing and very warm, perhaps too warm for serious climbing, but perfect for long lazy days. We managed ten routes in two days, which is an excellent number for our sport climbing. Our last route was the 6b Pepestroika, which was genuinely awesome. For a sport route...
There is some excellent information on Marxuquera and the other crags that are in the region of Valencia on the website Valencia Climb. There are photo topos for some sectors, and the directions and general information is good and comprehensive.
As with all the best places, we left whilst wanting to stay for weeks longer. A few days of heat was lovely although all of our food went bad and it was never quite hot enough for a satisfactory solar shower... C'est la vie.