Chulilla - is it one of the best rock climbing destinations in Spain, or even Europe?
Updated: Feb 27
*In this article I'm sharing my experience and hopefully useful things to know before your next climbing trip in charming Chulilla* Oh my, how much I love Chulilla! And there are many reasons why. This was my third time in Chulilla, and I hope it's not the last. Whether you are a climber or not, I'm pretty sure that Chulilla will steal a little piece of your heart, too!
1. Let's start with the most obvious one... Rock climbing: More than 1,000 looong routes (many of them 40 metres) to climb on an orange (or grey) limestone in an impressive canyon. Climbing routes range from otherworldly, alien-like tufas (hello Las Chorerras sector) to vertical, crimpy ones (my favourite El Muro de las Lamentaciones crag!) or slightly overhanging walls (El Oasis). There are plenty of climbing walls in the sun and shade and you can reach many crags on foot from the village.
In my view, the climbing routes are equipped very well, and thanks to all the people who bolted these routes - I was able to focus on the climbing instead of being worried about the run-outs 🙈. During our visit in January I achieved three of my personal bests, that I am very happy about! Specifically, I managed to on-sight Son Daas, a 7a route (crimpy, balancy) and cleanly climb El Muro de las Lamentaciones (such a beautiful, flowy climb), another 7a route, on my first attempt/first day of climbing. Additionally, I red pointed the direct version of Revuelta en el Frenopatico, a 7b+ route, in El Ramallar sector, that took me 7 or 8 goes in total and is the hardest route I've ever climbed so far. This route also had few thumb underclings, that were so fun to use! Other routes that I'd recommend to check out are: Long dong john 6b+ (big tufa heaven) in Las Chorerras sector; Dale duro negro 7b (has a slightly scary, yet inviting and technical corner) in Sex Shop sector; Plan Z Dos 7a (endurance, crimps all the way) in Oasis sector, El Ramallar 6c and Blue Agave 7a in El Muro de las Lamentaciones sector. We had an 80 metres rope and around 30 draws. Half of them stayed on our projects and the rest were used for other routes. You can find climbing topos here. Alternatively, purchase a climbing guidebook once you arrive in Chulilla: check tobacco shop or rock climbing shop.
2. Location and how to get to Chulilla? Chulilla - stunning scenery and very easy to get to. Chulilla is less than an hour away from Valencia's airport. White houses, narrow streets, tiny squares with local cafeterias and bakeries. There is a Moorish castle on the top, too! Just below Chulilla, lies the impressive limestone canyon shaped by the river Turia with hanging bridges and beautiful hiking paths (rest day activities sorted!). - Rental car: The most convenient option is to rent a car and there are many budget car rental companies to choose from at the airport. I'd recommend to book the car online before arriving, as often the prices are higher at the airport. Make sure to rent a car with the full insurance, to avoid big bills, in case you accidentally damage the vehicle (fingers crossed that it doesn't happen though!). This time we flew to Valencia's airport and rented a Fiat 500 with OK Mobility. For 13 days we paid 298 euros, which is around 22 euros per day. Going with the bus would be cheaper, but we were grateful to have a possibility to explore the area on our rest days, visit Valencia as well as go shopping and fill in our water bottles at the spring water fountain. Bus: Reading online it seems that there is one daily bus to Chulilla from the main bus station in Valencia. Check this website for timetable. Bus that goes direction to Sot De Chera stops in Chulilla. 3. Where to stay in Chulilla?
Many accommodation options to choose from on airbnb, booking or any other reservation platform. Alternatively, if you are traveling in a van, there are parking spots on the outskirts of the village to stay in a van, too. This time we stayed at a beautiful Casa La Baranda located in the heart of Chulilla with epic views to the climbing walls and village itself. We had a pleasure to get to know the owners of the Casa La Baranda - Olga, Martin and their dog Clara, who welcomed us to their place with open arms, smiling eyes and so many useful tips! From where to find local organic olive oil and order locally grown veggies to drinking water spring fountain location and best viewpoint in Chulilla.
During our stay at Casa La Baranda I have also filmed an after climbing standing stretching routine that is now available for all on my YouTube channel. Welcome to find it here.
4. Where to eat in Chulilla? During our stay most of the time we were cooking at home. Chulilla has a few tiny shops to get food essentials, as well as two local bakeries. If you'd like to go to a big
supermarket, then the closest one is supermercado Consum, at the Villar de Orzibispo (around 15 km away from Chulilla) or there are many big supermarkets close to the airport in Valencia (Mercadona, Carrefour etc). Also, every Thursday (at the time of writing) there is a local market in Plaza de la Baronía in Chullila from 8:00 till 13:00, that sell fruits, vegetables etc that I would definitely recommend to visit and support local people. Alternatively, if you'd like to eat out, then our favourite spot was Goscanos! It's a lively climbers hub/bar located next to the parking spot on the outskirts of the village. It has an awesome terrace outside overlooking the cliffs and is a perfect spot to meet other climbers after a long climbing day. I appreciate that they also had a few vegan and veggie tapas, which were delicious. In particular we enjoyed vegan patatas bravas (6.50 euros) and falafel burger (11.50 euros). Oh, and we also tried their famous cheesecake made with gorgonzola cheese (5.60 euros)! 5. What about rest day activities?
There are numerous stunning hiking trails, hanging bridges, Charco Azul and viewpoints to explore around the town of Chulilla. However, if you're interested in exploring further afield, consider these suggestions for your rest day. - Visiting Chelva (18km away from Chulilla) and hiking the Ruta del Agua: The trail of Ruta del Agua (Water route) is an easy hike, well-marked and maintained, making it accessible to hikers of all levels. The trail starts in the town of Chelva and then leads out to the countryside. Along the way, you can take a swim in the natural pool and enjoy a picnic in the shade of the trees. While in Chelva, we also bought an organic local olive oil from Hermanos Martinez Zaballos (thanks goes to Olga from Casa La Baranda for this recommendation!). It was around 5 euros for a bottle of 500 ml. If you have enough space in your luggage this might be a delicious souvenir to bring back home to your family or friends.
- Day trip in Valencia: I would definitely recommend to visit the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. It's a complex of futuristic buildings that houses a science museum, an aquarium, an opera house, and a planetarium. The science museum, called the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum has interactive exhibitions and we spent more than two hours there. Moreover, check out the central market that is housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building in the old town of Valencia. We bought olives with garlic and toasted almonds and both were so delicious! This colourful market has a huge selection of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, fish and meat. Every time we visit a new city, we also go to a coffee roasters as well as a vegan restaurant. Valencia had many options to choose from and after reading reviews online we decided to go to Alma Libre Açaí house and Fav Coffee. And of course, last but not least, make sure to visit the beach in Valencia.
Overall, Chulilla is a perfect autumn, winter and early spring climbing destination. I very look forward to be back sometime in the near future. To climb the unfinished projects of mine, to explore more routes in the area and maybe organise a Moonlight yoga retreat in this dreamy location. Hasta pronto, Chulilla!