In January, the Government of the Autonomous Region of Valencia unveiled plans for the development of the Valencian section of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. Labelled by Minister Maria José Salvador as the “Mediterranean bicycle corridor”, the cycling itinerary stretches more than 500km across the three Spanish coastal provinces that form the Valencia region.
The itinerary passes through 78 local municipalities connecting different tourist attractions, such as natural parks, and touristic services, such as campsites. The planned route will not only serve the 4.9 million inhabitants of the Valencia region but also attract tourists to the area boosting the local economy and enriching the existing touristic offers.
Divided into a total of ten stages, averaging about 50km each, the Valencian government plans to invest 10.9 million euros during two phases to fully develop this part of the route. The first phase has an investment of 4.7 million euros and is expected to be operational by 2020. This phase consists of signalisation and initial development works. The second phasewill focus on improving the quality of the route infrastructure and is scheduled to be completed by 2030.
The planning stage to define the itinerary was initiated in 2017 by the Valencian government in cooperation with local stakeholders such as different town councils and other associations.
The first stage (Ulldecona – Alcalà de Xivert) of the Valencian Community tour begins in the province of Castellón up till stage 3 (Castellón – Sagunto). This section stretches for nearly 150km and gives cyclists the opportunity to explore old coastal towns like Peniscola alongside nature preserves such as Serra d’Irta and Prat de Cabanes Torreblanca. The latter already has EuroVelo 8 signing in place!
The route in the province of Valencia starts at stage 3 (Castellón – Sagunto) and ends at stage 6 (Gandia – Muro d’Alcoi). The planned itinerary will connect EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route with existing low-traffic cycling networks and greenways in 35 municipalities which include points of interest like the historic city of Valencia, the Serpis river and the Albufera Natural Park. In total, four stages over a distance of 130km pass through the province.
Lastly, the province of Alicante encloses the largest part of the itinerary with 217kmacross five stages. Beginning with stage 6 (Gandia – Muro d’Alcoi) until the final stage (Elche – Orihuela). Some of the main attractions include the salt flats in Santa Pola and the sandy dunes of Guardamar.
The Valencian Community circuit is a great example of the environmental and cultural diversity in the region. Additionally, this section of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route marks an important step in the development of the route in Spain. Overall, the route passes through 11 countries for a total distance of more than 6000km, almost a third of which is located along the eastern Spanish coast. The country is also crossed by two other EuroVelo routes, EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route and EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route. EuroVelo’s National Coordinator Center in Spain, Conbici, coordinates the regional development of these cycle routes.
EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route is the basis for the MEDCYCLETOUR project which aims to develop cycle tourism in the Mediterranean region by providing transnational tools to attract visitors.