Mollo de la Creu (456 m) is a relatively small peak which oversees the small city of Gandia, located in the Valencian Community in Spain. The trails that lead there are easily accessible, and the views that you can get from the top, both of the continent and of the Mediterranean Sea, are really gorgeous.
It’s mid-March 2021, and we are in Platja de Gandia for two weeks now.
In the middle of a pandemic, we managed to drive across Europe, covering a distance of almost 3000 km. The road was definitely an adventure. It was the first time I drove such a length. But it was great! We had a lot of quality time just the two of us, we admired the constantly changing landscape, and we listened to episodes of Hardcore History with Dan Carlin.
But why did we travel there?
Thanks to those that make Erasmus Scholarships possible! Miriam has the great opportunity to practice abroad. She will spend three months at the pharmacy of Francesc de Borja Hospital, in Gandia. Given the fact that I can work remotely, I am happy to accompany her there.
And so, we've been in Gandia for two weeks now. We have explored the beach, the city and the arrocerias: they are great! And now we begin looking for a nice hike.
The weather is holding us back too. We are surprised by how cold the Mediterranean climate can be at the beginning of March. In most days, the scenery seems taken from somewhere near the North Sea. We discovered that, although it is not winter, the cold is no stranger to these places.
Finally, a lovely Saturday presents itself, so we get to our first hike on Valencian land: Mollo de la Creu.
The route we chose is an out and back hike. Although it formally starts from the national road, we drove a little longer until we found a parking spot on the side of a road that leads to some scattered houses.
The markings are not very clear. The GPS maps were very useful for us.
- you can park the car at Colegio Los Naranjos as well
Markings: a blue/green dot, marked with spray
Height Difference: +400 m
Duration: 3h, breaks included
Water Sources: none
Tracking: AllTrails, Strava
The first portion of the hike goes along an asphalted road. Left and right we see beautiful orchards with laden orange trees.
We admire them while passing by, and we take advantage of the smooth road to drive a little more. After a while, we start to see houses on the right side. Before we reach the first household, we find a parking spot near the road.
From where we parked our car we keep going some hundred meters, and then we leave the road for a path, and we enter some sort of forest.
The scenery changes drastically.
All around us, we see green trees and shrubs. It gives us a weird feeling, but pleasant at the same time. Maybe it’s because we are not used to such greenery at this time of the year. Perhaps it’s because the green we see is different from the one that we are used to. The trees, shrubs, flowers, soil, and rocks are of different kinds than the ones at home, and this makes us feel a bit like we are on a different planet.
Soon our ascent brings us above the dale, and behind us the city of Gandia starts to peek at us, and beyond it the Mediterranean Sea.
After our first serious climb, there follows a flat segment, resembling a large vale between two peaks. Right away, we start our ascent to the left side, and then we pass to the eastern slope of the mountain. The continental scenery starts unfolding in front of us: mountains, terraces, vineyards, orchards, greenhouses, households and more.
From here we have to take on another steep hike. The horizon widens, and now our view of the massif that Mollo de la Creu belongs to gets even better.
Shortly, the route takes us to the right, and we get close to the peak. From right under it, we can admire the sea again and Gandia also, but this time we can set eyes on more land farther to the south.
The high peak from the south is El Montgo, one of the most imposing mountains in this region. It is only 753 m tall, but being in the vicinity of the sea, it gives the impression that it is higher.
From the summit, the view gets even lovelier.
We can now see clearly the difference between Gandia and Platja de Gandia, where we now stay. Gandia is the city where gandians live all year round, and Platja de Gandia is the station-like neighborhood that is pretty deserted in winter and packed in the summer.
Gandia generally has around 80 000 inhabitants, but during the summer it gets to about 200 000.
From this height we can also admire a mountain twice as tall as Mollo de la Creu: El Mondúver (841 m). We intend on going on it too, one day, a bit more prepared, but we won’t make it. El Mondúver will be another reason to go back to Comunidad Valenciana.
On the peak, the time stops in place. We stand there for long minutes enjoying the snack that we brought, while we savor the Mediterranean blue, and we admire the mountains, the vineyards, the orchards that we see spreading well into the continent. We gaze at the wonderful outstretched beaches, together with the small cities scattered across them.
From time to time a ship passes by. Then a plane. Then a boat. We can also hear distantly the cars that speed down the road, or the groups of chatty Spanish hikers, or the birds. We just stand amazed and contemplate it all.
Finally, we realize that it’s getting late, we snap another photo, and we get on our way back to our car.
The way back is pretty simple. We are just going back the same way we came. Only this time the sun shines in our faces, as it is preparing to set. We occasionally stop to enjoy the view, but not too often, because dusk was approaching, and without the sun it is fairly cold.
We return home, near the sea, but we get a feel of it only the next day. Unfortunately, we only dare to get our feet in, because it is still really cold. But it is starting to warm up!
If you ever get to Gandia and have half a day at your disposal, it’s definitely worth it to go on a hike to Mollo de la Creu.
Of course, don’t forget to spend enough time at the beach — which is one of the widest I’ve seen —, to go on a walk through the city center and to eat a delicious paella at one of the local arrocerias.
The locals are very friendly and hospitable.
Moreover, they are also an excellent motivation to exercise. At any time, you will see someone jogging on the seaside, or biking through the city.
The food needs no other introduction. It is exactly as one should expect it to be in the area where paella originated from: delicious.
Have you ever been to Gandia or the Valencian Community? What have you visited? What experiences did you enjoy? What flavorful dishes did you eat? What impressed you the most?
We wish to go back someday, and we are in search of ideas.
Till next time!