Destination Guide: Chulilla, Spainby Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Mar/2014
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The beautiful limestone gorge of Chulilla sits just an hour away from the Spanish city of Valencia and its airport.
Whilst not a new climbing destination, its popularity has increased in recent years and it is now considered a ‘must visit’ venue for those who favour a winter trip to sunny Spain over the cold grey English mornings.
With a range of grades from the low 6s through to the mid to high 8s, Chulilla caters for most climbers. The routes are in general quite long, with stamina being the order of the day at this picturesque venue.
Chulilla is the best crag I have been to in Spain!
Whilst having routes at all grades, many people consider Chulilla to be 7c heaven, and for those operating at around that grade they will find an almost endless supply of quality routes, in a similar style to the other Spanish sport haven of Terradets. In the lower grades there is still plenty to go at, with tufas, pockets and crimpy wall climbs in a gorgeous setting littering both sides of this peaceful gorge.
The beautiful village of Chulilla is a small, rambling mountain settlement, but has a couple of shops and bars and the tourist information has free wifi, you can pick it up in the town square.
The climate here is warm, and often when the more northern cliffs of Siurana and Montsant are chilly, Chulilla can offer warmer rock and a more pleasant holiday feel. Of course it is very hot in the summer months and climbing then isn’t recommended unless you are a real heat lover.
The crags flank a river on both sides, forming a beautiful and tranquil gorge, which not only appeals aesthetically, but also provides sun or shade depending on the time of day and the side you wish to climb, meaning you can tailor your temperature to suit your needs.
Some of the most popular Chulilla climbs according to the UKC logbooks are:
When do I go?
Autumn through to Spring gives the best climbing temperatures. The weather is generally good and warm. This is a good winter venue.
Who flies where?
Valencia airport is your closest, at just 1 hour away, but it is possible to combine a trip to Chulilla with more northerly crags or the Costa Blanca further south. Alicante Airport is around 3 hours drive.
Where do I stay?
It's possible to rent apartments in the village at a cheap price and many climbers just sleep in their vans in and around the village.
Also we would recommend the good value climbers hostel El Altico.
It does great food and coffee, has a fantastic indoor bouldering wall, an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace and conservatory overlooking the crags, and is run by local climbing legend Pedro Pons. You can also sleep in your van in their car park, and use the hostel facilities for a reduced price.
What's the scoff like?
The small shop and bakery in the village do provide enough to get by, with similar range to a small 'Spar' type shop in the UK, but it might be a good idea to stock up on food in a bigger town before arriving.
The food is very cheap in general, as with everything in Spain.
The food cooked at the hostel is very good.
There are several small bars in the village that do food, but we didn't sample any dishes, just a few bottles of San Miguel!
Which guide do I buy?
There is a relatively recent guidebook to Chulilla, available at the hostel.
Where can I buy gear and chalk?
There's nowhere in the village to buy any climbing gear, you will need to bring it all with you, including chalk.
What else is there apart from the climbing?
The gorge itself is very beautiful, and has a walkway and many trails around it. The hiking in the area is stunning. Aside from that, options are quite limited, as this is a remote mountain village. Valencia is one hour away, with all the sights and sounds of a big Spanish city.
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