⛰ Here we go… your start and finish point for everything related to hiking and summiting Montgó Massif in Javea, Spain!
This is the hiking guide you’ve been looking for – the guide that provides an in-depth understanding of what to expect on Montgó in Javea. We struggled to find the facts, but you won’t have to! Below we share three hiking trail options for Montgó, including All Trail maps that we recommend you follow. We explain the Montgó Natural Park, the dos and dont’s, where to park, and what it’s like to hike Montgó with kids.
The majestic Montgó Massif, known to locals in Javea simply as Montgó, is nothing short of an icon. Sitting prominently behind old town, the Montgó is a main feature and backdrop to the coastal Spanish town of Javea. In terms of summiting, it could appear on the intimidating side… if you’re like us and enjoy hiking and walking it could be seen as a challenge worth conquering.
After spending two summers in Javea, I was determined not to leave the second time without summiting Montgó. But finding all the information we needed, felt like the beginning of the challenge. We were looking for clarity on the trailhead, trail options, the trail length and time, and more information about taking kids. It seemed the more we asked around, the more conflicting information we received in return.
The solution: we needed to make the hike to the summit of Montgó for ourselves. Below we share everything you need to know, a complete how to guide to summiting Montgó!
So vamos… read our post… and get ready to conquer Montgó for yourself. It’s the perfect way to get some grrrr on your holiday to Javea.
Javea or Xabia
To start, I regularly refer to both Javea and Xabia below. Therefore it’s initially helpful to clarify this beach town’s name. Both refer to the same place, and both are correct.
While Spanish is widely spoken, the locals speak the local dialect of Valencian. And so in Spanish it is said Javea (pronounced ha-vee-a) and in Valenciano it is said Xabia (pronounced sha-vee-a). I generally use Javea, however when referencing locations or websites that use Xabia, then I use their form of the name.
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Parque Natural del Montgó
The Montgó sits bang smack in the middle of the Montgó Natural Park. And I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but we’d been in Javea for several months before finally visiting this national park. As I say, Montgó is initially intimidating! On top of that, we had so many other things to do in Javea that kept our little family super busy.
So finally after visiting Denia for our sea cave walk to Cova Tallada, we drove through the Parque Natural del Montgó. This beautiful park is so much more than just a mountain to be summited. The scenic drive between Denia and Javea is worth it alone. Out toward the Cap Sant Antoni there are many places to explore such as the Molinos, the lighthouse and the Mirador or views back towards Javea. So we recommend that you get yourself up to the Parque Natural del Montgó and start exploring. Especially when the beaches are super crowded… the trails and walks are the place to be!
The Montgó Natural Park Area & Restrictions
The Montgó Natural park is a protected reserve, as a result camping and fires are not permitted, nor is fishing in the marine reserve on the coastline. The beautiful wild flowers, that grow within the park mustn’t be picked. Further, visitors are asked to keep to the walking tracks and while dogs are permitted they must be kept on a lead.
The following link from the Xabia Tourism Centre, provides an in-depth booklet on the Montgó Natural Park, but unfortunately it’s in Spanish. However the map is helpful to get a perspective on the size and reach of the park. Divided between the two regional towns of Javea and Denia, the Montgó Natural Park covers a complete area of 21 km2. And how high is Montgó… well at the highest point at Creu de Xabia… it’s a whopping 753m high!
Points of Interest in the Montgó Natural Park
One of our favourite stories from Montgó was the 1989 discovery of the Cova Barranc del Migdia. Following our visit of the Xabia Museum we learnt about the unexpected find of the cave and its contents. In fact we recommend you watch this short video Art and Death on the Montgó if you love history and archeology.
To quickly summarise, three mountain climbers stumbled upon a cave on Montgó at 375m in altitude. In 2009 excavations began and within these series of interconnected caves, rock paintings, artefacts and human remains were discovered. And perhaps the most incredible detail, is that some of the bodies and artefacts date back 4500+ years ago to the copper age. This just reinforces the significance of Montgo to the region.
In addition to the Cave of the Barranc del Migdia, the Montgo Natural Park is home to many other historically significant places. We highly recommend a walk to the impressive Cova Tallada sea caves. As well as the walking trails from Javea to the Molinos, and the lookouts from Cap Sant Antoni. Not forgetting a kayak tour to the marine reserve of Cala Tango.
Montgó – The Lying Elephant
From certain angles in Javea, the Parque Natural del Montgó appears as the shape of a sleeping elephant. Stretched out, the elongated ridge represents the elephants back. While the mountain and peak of the Montgó, take the form of the elephants head and ears. And the final stretch towards Cap Sant Antoni resemble the trunk. Sometimes it is easy to make out, others it’s more challenging.
Access to Montgó
Montgó can be accessed from both Javea and Denia. If you’re staying in Javea, then we recommend you park at the St Jeroni Carpark on the CV-736 highway between Javea and Denia. There is a large carpark at the shooting range that serves as the perfect gateway to the first two Montgó hiking trail options below.
Montgó Trail Options
Below we share three suggested hikes specifically for walking and hiking on Montgó. If you prefer to take it easier we recommend that you try one of the Natural Park walks instead. In which case, read below for our links to the other trail guides and activities that we review in Javea.
Option 1 – Montgó Caves – The Eye of Montgó
🥾 Walking Level – hard
🏹 Straight Track
⏱ Trail Time – 2+ hours return
👣 Distance – 1.6 km return
🚗 Car Parking – St Jeroni Carpark
👨👩👧👧 Kid Friendly – 7+ years
What to Expect on the Montgó Caves Trail
Above we mentioned the Cova Barranc del Migdia. And here’s the thing. I have read everything there is to read online about visiting this cave and from what I can tell many mistake this cave for the Montgó Caves or the Eye of Montgó.
The Cova Barranc del Migdia is said to be at 375m but the Montgó Caves, also referred to as Cova Ampla is at 500+ m. So note that there are discrepancies within current online content.
In digging deeper, I found that the Cova Barranc del Migdia is not listed on Google maps. But the location is mapped on this article released in partnership with the Xabia Museum. When comparing trails, it is clear to me that the locations are different. Despite, hikers comments and mentions of having visited the archeological Cova del Migdia.
Furthermore this linked article, show images of the access to the cave as being suspended metres high on a vertical rock face. As such, hikers would require climbing equipment to access the cave entrance of Cova Barranc del Migdia.
So while the Cova del Migdia might be a much greater challenge to hike, the Montgó Caves are more realistic! On this trail you can expect fabulous views and some rock scrambling. Be prepared with suitable shoes, and keep in mind that you’ll need to use your hands in places for extra support.
The cave extends back into the mountain some 70m, so it’s a good idea to bring a torch. If you’re feeling brave a 15-20m crawl will bring you into a larger cave with stalactites and stalagmites. See this post on the cave interior for more details.
Navigating the Trail to the Montgó Caves
We definitely recommend that you download the All Trails app and follow it step by step. This free platform is one of our favourites for navigating treks and walks.
Note that you would need to park at the Sant Jeroni car park and walk to the trail head. The road from the car park to the trailhead is restricted access only, in other words hikers can only go on foot. So you’d need to allow extra time and distance for this in addition to the map below.
The walk is labelled hard, but there are also comments from hikers who have taken their older children. This considered, if your child is 7+ and has experience on more challenging trails then they can probably handle a hike to the Montgó Caves.
Option 2 – Cruz de Xabia – Summiting Montgó
🥾 Walking Level – moderate – hard
🪧 Walking Route – PR CV-355 / yellow and white
🏹 Straight Track
⏱ Trail Time – 3 to 4 hours return
👣 Distance – 7.5 km return
🚗 Car Parking – St Jeroni Carpark
👨👩👧👧 Kid Friendly – 7+ years
What to Expect on the Cruz de Xabia Trail
First of all, we recommend that you select the day carefully. We found that the weather in Javea can change very quickly. What can start as a clear blue sky day, can become something quite different in less than an hour. Therefore, check the weather forecast for rain and wind. The steep cliffs on the final ascent to the Montgó summit would be an unnerving experience with strong winds.
The final rocky scramble to the top of the Montgó has you using your hands for support. But the views from the 753m summit are spectacular. From the top you can see views of coastline, mountains and villages from what must be nearly a 3600 lookout.
We recommend an early morning or afternoon start. Our group of 11 hikers – 5 adults and 6 kids – began at 2pm and had returned to the carpark by 6pm.
Navigating the Trail to Cruz de Xabia
The walk from the carpark to the start of the trail is flat and wide. It’s a pretty walk, but there is little to no shelter to protect from the sun. Bring hats, sunblock and wear clothes that are cool and breathable.
As per the All Trails guide below, a trail shoots off to the right that marks the beginning of the ascent up. From this point, it’s single file only. Be warned the trail is made up of loose rock so you’ll need to wear good shoes and take it slowly, particularly coming down. Several in our group slipped, nothing serious but it does happen.
Basically, you’ll find the trail zig zags all the way up, until the last leg. At this point you begin a section of the walk that requires a climb up, around and over boulders and rock. When that finishes, a final walk with the cliff edge to your left will see you approaching the end of the trail. And then congratulations… you’ve made it! Time to marvel at the views and get plenty of photos to prove you made it.
We hiked with kids aged 5, 6, 7 years and above. All made it, except the youngest. Who stopped shortly before the top.
Option 3 – Cruz de Denia / Cruz de Xabia – El Montgó
🥾 Walking Level – moderate – high
🪧 Walking Route – PR CV-355 & at times unmarked trail
⭕️ Loop Track
⏱ Trail Time – 6 – 7 hours
👣 Distance – 14 km return
🚗 Car Parking – Carrer de Fenas
👨👩👧👧 Kid Friendly – 7+ years
What to Expect on the Cruz de Denia / Cruz de Xabia Trail
This is for the hikers that want to make a full day of Montgó! Similar to the previous trail option above, the views and sights are similar. The main difference being that you’ll experience more of the Denia side of the Montgó.
In terms of landscape, the scenery is dramatic, the cliffs are steep and the views awe inspiring. You can expect loose rocky paths and sections of the track that involve rock scrambling. There are also two caves on this loop track – Cova de l’Aigua and Cova del Gamell.
Worth mentioning, is the Hermitage of Pare Pere de Denia, also known as the Caseta de Pare Pere. This can be found on Cami Cova de l’Aigua near the parking at the start of this trail. Historically speaking this is a very interesting place to visit. Beside the small chapel you can visit the small stone hut, and admire the location in which Friar Pere Esteve of Denia, once took sanctuary in solitude in nature. There are intricately painted tiles within and outside the chapel, and the shaded pine trees make for a peaceful and pleasant visit.
Hiking Montgó with Kids
🤔 The big question – should you take the kids hiking on Montgó or not. Well that question can only really answered by parents who know their children’s capabilities. We have always encouraged our children in active pursuits, and do they love it?
The truth, not necessarily!
We find most of the time they’ll complain for the first 30 minutes and then just crack on when they realise there is no other alternative.
In terms of hiking on Montgó, they did it with friends and we had very little push back. The trail was manageable, there were a few skinned knees after a trip or two. The real challenge came with the rock climbing as the steps up and down were better suited to longer legs. However, this said, the kids all said this was their favourite part of the hike.
As with any hiking with kids, it’s super important to be prepared with excess snacks, water and sugary treats. But also it helps to bring a small speaker and play audio books or music on the trail, for when they need distracting. Finally, take your time… there is no need to rush it. Rest when the kids need a rest or refuel and you’ll get to the top no stress.
More Walks, Trails & Activities in Javea
That brings us to the end of our in-depth guide to hiking Montgó in Javea and Denia. If you notice any information that requires editing or changing, please drop a comment below or contact us directly.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this post there are many hikes and walking trails in, near and around Javea. We walked all of them, so we suggest you read our guides below. But also if you have any questions get in touch and we’ll help where possible.
- An essential guide to the walks and hikes in and around Javea
- How to visit Cova Tallada – an in-depth guide
- A kayak and snorkelling tour review in Javea
- The best beaches for the perfect Javea summer vacation
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