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Charco Azul- A day out in Chulilla
11 June 2019 @ 11:07

 

Chulilla is hidden at the foot of its Arab castle in a spot difficult to imagine: a lake surrounded by lofty limestone walls where the Turia River becomes a mirror. The raging river that once swallowed up loggers has now been tamed.

Chulilla is a picturesque village made up of white houses huddled on the slopes of Cerro del Castillo, next to the natural moat formed by the Turia River which flows through the canyon formed by 160 meter high limestone walls. This canyon is currently one of Spain's rock climbing sanctuaries, with more than 500 routes. Here, at the foot of the rock walls, just a 30-minute walk from the village, we come across Charco Azul (Blue Pool), a haven of calm waters that mirrors the beauty of this vertical, solid rock landscape.

 

 

Charco Azul is an ideal place to have a refreshing swim in Summer and remember bygone days when the river flowed freely and unrestrained and logs cut in the mountains were floated downriver to the city of Valencia. Upon reaching this narrow canyon, where the lofty walls nearly touch each other, the logs became jammed and many loggers lost their lives trying to free them, and it is for this reason a chapel was built nearby.

The Charco Azul route is one of the nine self-guided routes that cross Chulilla's landscape. It starts and ends at Baronia square, the village's main square, and is well marked and very easy to follow and is even great for children.

Another route worth taking is the Pantaneros route, which follows the journey taken by the labourers who in the 1950s worked on the construction of the Loriguilla reservoir to travel from the village of Chulilla. It is a 5-kilometer walk (one-way) along the edge of the Turia River's canyon walls and has the added thrill of crossing the canyon on hanging bridges. To regain your strength after the long walk, there is nothing better than an 'olla churra', a stew based on white beans, cardoons, potatoes, pork, and cold meats, typical of this Valencian region of Los Serranos (also known as La Serranía or Alto Turia).


Olla churra and other stews, such as olla de berzas (cabbage stew) or rice with wild boar, are served at the restaurant hostal El Pozo in Chulilla. Another interesting option, of more modern cuisine, is the Restaurant Las Bodegas, which also has a bar that serves tapas and lunches accompanied by wines under the Valencia and Utiel-Requena designations of origin. So if you happen to pass through Valencia take a moment to visit Chulilla and its wonderful Charco Azul.

 



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Gareth said:
23 June 2019 @ 15:23

My wife and I visited Chulilla just last week (20/06/19) mainly to do these walks. We went to the Charco Azul and also to the Pantaneros route where the two suspension bridges are. First was a pleasant enough walk and the pond at the end was nice (though not really blue!) but the Pantaneros walk through the gorge was spectacular. However, I do have to take issue with the author's comments that both routes are "well marked and very easy to follow". Perhaps this was the case at one time but it is certainly NOT the case now. Someone from the town's tourist office needs to be made aware that for the walk to the Charco Azul it's now exceedingly hard to find the correct route out of the town centre to the starting point, AND along the route itself as several signs appear to now be missing. The Chulilla map/guide pamphlet which is generally available in guest houses etc. also only shows the paths very vaguely and is no help at all to accurately find the way or the various alternative paths. We found the correct route eventually by trial and error.

Furthermore, the starting point for the Pantaneros route is not clearly marked either on the town's tourist guide leaflet, so again we'd a bit of trial and error to find it.

This is such a shame as these walks are surely principal attractions of Chulilla so the tourist office/town hall should be working harder to promote them and make the paths easy for tourists to follow.

Oh and to complete my moan (!!) the tourist office in the town centre was not open when we arrived on Thursday afternoon around 4:30pm, or on Friday morning at around 9:15 am... and there are no signs on the window stating its opening hours - so again, not very helpful!

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