The Xorret de Catti is a more than 3,000-foot high mountain that forms the basis of a fantastic natural park close to Castalla in the Valencia region of Spain. To most Spaniards, the name is mainly associated with a famous hill climb of the Vuelta a España cycle race.
The climb itself is a little over 2 miles (4 kilometers) long with a sustained gradient up to 20 percent, which is immensely challenging even to the best hill climber. The scenery on the climb is magnificent as it showcases the Sierra del Maigmó mountain range, and at the right time of year, it offers an amazing display of the numerous Alpine swifts near the summit. The main part of the park is the natural amphitheater of rocky ridges crowning the wooded hills that form the habitat for an amazing variety of wildlife.
About halfway down the descending hill, beyond the summit, is the now reopened Xorret de Cati Hotel. It provides a restaurant and cafe facilities to both residents and non-residents. There is also a small artificial bouldering wall open to the public.
Just outside the hotel is a striking bronze statue, on a marble plinth, of a racing cyclist climbing the hill. The plinth is marked with the names of all of the winners of the Xorret de Cati stage.
However, many fans consider this statue a memorial to the first person on the list of stage winners, José María Jiménez (El Chava), a great hero of Spanish cycling fans.
Know Before You Go
The hotel parking lot is the starting point for the numerous marked hiking trails. Other trails start near the summit of the climb. The one to the east ventures past the ruins of an old ice house and an associated cave dwelling. Eventually, it reaches a fantastic viewing point where one can see an unbeatable view of the coast as far as Murcia.
If you wish to stay in the park with a group of friends, there is also a mountain refuge about a mile north of the hotel. It's available for group bookings of up to 16 people for €191 a night.
Close to the refuge is a picnic area that rents out barbecue kitchen spaces on weekends.