Legend of Puig Campana & Roland's Breach, Spain

Hiking Denia - Cova Tallada in Costa Blanca, Spain

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What is so special about Cova Tallada?

Everything is written in its name – Cova Tallada – translated from Valenciana language that would be the Carved Cave. This makes Cova Tallada not just another cave – sculpted out of a rock by water waves as it was some kind of bad-tasted contemporary art sculpture – the cave is man-made. This naturally raises a question why would somebody carve a cave not too far but not too close to the settlement nearby – Denia – to which Cova Tallada’s destiny was bounded from the very beginning and still holds to this day.

Despite Cova Tallada origins, its beauty is sought by lots of tourists and adventurers. So many that during the high season access to the cave had to be limited due to safety reasons. You see, from time to time some people tend to fall into Cova Tallada as they get ‘creative’ trying to take a selfie on the hole above the cave.

Sneak Peak. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Hiking to Cova Tollada from Denia

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The Official rules of Cova Tallada Hike

It is forbidden to:

Montgo Natural park is the home to many protected & endemic species. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

More information: Official website of Natural Parks in Valencia

Safety First

The main thing everybody needs to understand before going to Cova Tallada is that all the warnings of danger are here due to the popularity of the hike. The route is nowhere close to being somehow exceptionally unsafe. All the fuss is just because Cova Tallada is not only popular among hikers but tourists as well thus the whole area gets really crowded. It is not a secret that the number of incidents increases with the number of visitors. The authorities are simply left with no other options once the tragic news get to the papers. Everything combined, my general advice – like during any other hike including steep slopes – the correct pace is always the safe pace. If you stick to this rule you will be all right. Let the idiots alone increase the incident roll.

Your average road quality on Cova Tallada hike. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Is it hard to hike to Cova Tallada?

The route itself is hard to describe, it doesn’t fit into any basic category. Physically – the walk is not difficult because it is very short but technically – the story is a bit different. With good shoes and some experience, many would mark the hike as easy though that totally doesn‘t do the justice to actually easy hikes. The best way to prepare for the hike would be to follow me through this article and decide it yourself because it really depends on your own skills and equipment.

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Denia – Cova Tallada Yellow Route

The first challenge of the hike is to find the beginning of the route. It should not be a problem if you are reading this article because I have already linked the coordinations on Google Maps.

From the start of the yellow route to Cova Tallada to Mirador las Rotas the road is relatively civilized and the only way to get hurt is to get ‘creative’. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
Some people tend to miss it but just before Mirador Las Rotas there are small steps down to continue the road toward Cova Tallada. When in doubt – always look for yellow route markings. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The view from Mirador Las Rotas, Denia. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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This is where the walk might get a bit tricky from time to time but if sightseeing and walking are not done at the same time everybody should be just fine. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Formation of Montgo Massif – Precursor to Cova Tallada

Cova Tallada is located at the edge of Montgo Massif, which arose from the depths some 70 million years ago when continent plates of Europe and Africa were making love pretty hard. No surprise, passing through this place is not easy; but without it there would be no places like this beautiful cave.

Montgo Natural Park from Mirador las Rotas (viewpoint of broken). Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The hike includes some steps. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

From here on Cova Tallada is just behind two passages across hill cliffs, which I suggest walking extra-carefully. The basic rule is to let everybody from in front to pass the difficult part first because you never know, which passer-by might be a hot-headed idiot, who will use any given possibility to push you off the cliff.

Pro tip: In case somebody enters a difficult range while you are on it, just stop on the safe side and let them pass on the outside. They chose to put you in a dangerous situation so let them do the walking.

The valley between the passages is less stressful but since the path is very popular – most of the rocks are ground almost as if it was done by a jeweler – thus might get a bit slippery with the wrong footwear. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The second passage doesn‘t include steps but it is quite narrow, just stick to the rules I posted above and you’ll be fine. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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Just before the hike turns into a rock climbing session, the road goes around a small gulf with Cova Tallada almost visible behind the next corner. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Getting into Cova Tallada

Once you get to this sign ‘the walk in a park’ is over. To access the cave you have two options with neither of them being very simple. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The official route goes down this road where you’ll have to take out your hands out of your pockets or if you are cool – take the risk of falling somewhere, hurting something. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

At this point, some of you might be already thinking – ‘I’m taking the second route’ but don’t be so quick to judge. The second option does not include the rock climbing session but instead requires hiking a bit further, descending from a way gentler cliff on unofficial route, fording to an islet nearby, crossing the islet (which is a total pain without water shoes) and swimming to the cave.

The second option to enter Cova Tallada goes through water. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Snorkeling to Cova Tallada

Needless to say which route I took. After walking through the razor-sharp surface of the islet, cursing my flip-flops without stopping, I found myself only dozen meters away from Cova Tallada with the only obstacle being the sea.

Moments before going for a snorkel toward Cova Tallada. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Cautiously I took my steps forward, getting deeper and deeper, toward the uncharted underworld. The same moment my eyes got below the surface of salty seawater, that world revealed itself to me. Everything changed instantly – like midday to midnight. For a moment, I forgot everything that I left above and swam deeper into this alien planet. Escorted by flocks of fish, I was navigating between giant rocks. They were like huge houses to other lifeforms, who were all carefully observing this unseen explorer tirelessly trying to reach his goal. Avoiding jellyfishes, somehow I reached the shallow waters, where crabs took the race for their lives just before I ascended above them to enter Cova Tallada.

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Even though there was no thought process behind the decision, I don’t regret taking the second option. I had no idea about the first one until I swam to the cave just to find the entrance from the surface. I was quite surprised how all of these people got to the cave with all this gear and food, and pets, while I was there barefoot only with a phone and a snorkel in my hands. Don’t take this as an encouragement to skip the water shoes part, this venture cost me five cuts on my toes and it could have been way worse if not for my thick skin.

Panorama view of Cova Tallada. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

The Antics of Cova Tallada

Cova Tallada stretches from 15 meters in height to 75 meters in length but I imagine these numbers might not give the correct impression of the cave. An easier way to characterize the Carved Cave would be to compare it to a medium-sized flat, somewhere in the countryside near a sea.

There is an entrance at the end of a hallway which leads to the stairs you need to climb before getting out of here. The flat is on the base floor after all. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

The hallway is connected to the main room which covers most of the total area. Acoustics are perfect here as the ceiling is astonishingly high. The dining room is combined with the room but due to ever-changing trends of design it is hard to notice where exactly the kitchen is. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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Few windows on the roof will keep the main room enlightened for most of the day. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
There is a terrace in the main room with a top-notch view. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The main problem with the flat is that the bathroom is located outside. Yes it includes a huge bath but when the weather is bad it might get annoying. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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…and last but not least is the beautiful sleeping room which is darker than other spaces of the flat – perfect for sleeping and other stuff. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
The only illumination of the room is coming through several arches that are leading straight to the backyard where you’ll find plenty of space for your daily exercise. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots
Overall the flat could maintain over a couple of hundred people though I wouldn’t signup for such a commune thus recommend visiting it off-season. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Cova Tallada and its Secrets

The beautiful arches of the interior withstand all the bad weather for a reason. Apparently, the rocks are more robust at this location and the whole cave was carved out by the people from Denia. They used these rocks to build important buildings in the city, including the Castle of Denia. So if you still think this hike is dangerous or hard – imagine the people carrying these rocks the same distance – which is untrue, since it is way easier to do it by the sea. I’ll leave you with that.

Your Ad of boat tours to Cova Tallada could be here. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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