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The Way of El Cid. Fifth section: The defence of the south

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  • Cathedral. Valencia © Turespaña

    Cathedral. Valencia © Turespaña

  • La Exposición bridge. Valencia © Turespaña

    La Exposición bridge. Valencia © Turespaña

  • Villena Castle © Turespaña

    Villena Castle © Turespaña

  • Palmeral de Elche palm grove © Turespaña

    Palmeral de Elche palm grove © Turespaña

  • Cathedral of El Salvador. Orihuela © Turespaña

    Cathedral of El Salvador. Orihuela © Turespaña


The fifth section of the route known as the Way of El Cid takes a look at the castles and fortresses built by El Cid to defend the territory conquered in Valencia from attack by the Almorávids. This itinerary leads from the city of Valencia to Orihuela, the southernmost point of the area of influence of the famous mediaeval knight.

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The last part of the Way of El Cid goes through the provinces of Valencia and Alicante. It covers a distance of 244 kilometres along paths divided into stages, and 259 kilometres by road. In order to complete the route at a leisurely pace, walkers are advised to set aside 11 days. Those travelling by bike should estimate between four and five days, while motorists will need two days. Of course it is a good idea to visit the various tourist offices along the way for information on all there is to see and do in each place.

Notable places
The route starts out from Valencia, the city which El Cid succeeded in conquering in 1094. Today, its rich architectural heritage (the cathedral, the Miguelete tower, the Silk Exchange, the Central Market, etc.) is complemented by avant-garde buildings such as the City of Arts and Sciences and the La Exposición bridge. The route continues on to places such as Alzira and Xàtiva, both home to an interesting historic quarter with a number of monuments (palaces, churches, fountains...).
Ontinyent and Bocairent are also on the list of places where it is well worth making a stop. The first, for example, is the site of the charming Barrio de la Villa quarter, and the great bell tower on the church of Santa María. The second is ideal for taking a pleasant stroll around its ancient mediaeval neighbourhood, whose streets still display reminders of the Islamic era.
This trip is also a chance to see the imposing turrets of the castles of Villena, Sax and Petrer. Another highlight on the route is Elche, where El Cid spent the winter of 1088. The Basilica of Santa María (every year the venue for the re-enactment of the Misterio de Elche mystery play), the Vila Murada and of course the Palmeral de Elche palm grove, which has been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation, are just a few of its many attractions.
Finally, the end of the route, in Orihuela, not only offers the chance to enjoy this monumental town with buildings such as the Cathedral of El Salvador and the Convent of Santo Domingo, but also to visit the birthplace of the poet Miguel Hernández and see the house-museum dedicated to this writer.


What to see on the route See more

To continue your journey

What to do

Cycle touring

Cycle touring


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