The Sierra Helada mountain range separates Albir from Benidorm. It is a unique natural area with spectacular scenery, flora and fauna, and is a National park. It is possible to walk the length of it back to Benidorm, but that is not an easy walk and can take 4-5 hours. Costa Blanca Ticket Shop offer guided tours with experts. Most people like to make their own way up to the lighthouse – there is a road here that was built to service the lighthouse. On that road you can enjoy breathtaking views around the coast, the bay of Altea and to Calpe and the Penya d’Ilfach in the distance.
The lighthouse was built in 1863, to signal to shipping, the northern end of the Sierra Helada. Until the 1960’s it was inhabited by two lighthouse keepers. After that, new technology didn’t require a constant presence and the building fell into disrepair and was attacked by vandals, so in 2011 the city council of L’Alfaz del Pi carried out works to preserve it and made an exhibition centre, which now shows the story of pirates, soldiers, miners, fishermen, sailors, farmers and of course lighthouse keepers – all connected to this place. You can also learn about the geological structure of this mountain range and the sealife in the seas below. You may even be lucky enough to see bottle nose dolphins.
Also on the Sierra Helada are remains of Ochre mines. From the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, iron oxide was mined here. This was used to colour paint. There were even tracks for wagons to take the ochre down to the shore to be loaded on to boats.
Towards the Benidorm end of the mountain range there are the remains of more mines, this time they were for limonite at the Ti Ximo creek.
Another fascinating building (or rather ruin) on the Sierra Helada is the Bombarda tower. It was built because in the 16th century, this part of the Spanish coast was subject to attacks by pirates, and a series of watchtowers were needed to provide an early warning, in the form of a fire, so that the locals could prepare themselves.
Excellent easy walk to the Albir Lighthouse with superb views
The walk is not too strenuous and is not too steep, you can rest in several places. The walk is like 5 km (the round trip – coming back the same way you got up). Even for people that are not used to longer walks, this walk has tarmac covering the whole way. Bring some water and enjoy the view on the bay of Albir, the sight of the Altea harbour and city and the Mediterrean sea. With a bit of luck you’ll see lots of birds, lizards, rabbits, butterflies, flowers & maybe if you are lucky Dolphins!