It feels a world apart, with its steep, flower splashed, medieval alleys and whitewashed buildings clinging haphazardly to the sides of the canyon. And yet the tiny, self-contained village of Chulilla is just an hour by car inland from Valancia. Chulilla is 322 meters above sea level, gazing out over the Turia River valley - there are precipitous views every way you look. The scenery is dramatic, with soaring red and ochre cliffs, and it is brilliant for bird watching, rock climbing, walking, hiking or biking. There are Shire horses, a thermal spa, several good restaurants and bars, and a castle. Stay at the Apartamentos La Muela (owned by the Mayor, Enrique) for a stunning view of the canyon from the top terrace – you will never want to leave. Go in early May for the ancient Enrama festival, organised by the young people. It's all about Spring and rising sap. The lads cut down branches from Black Poplars and strew them over the balconies of the girls they fancy. There is, of course, a procession of gorgeously dressed villagers and horses;lots of dancing and a human pyramid in the village square as the young people strain upwards balanced precariously to grab a ham suspended high above. Strangers are made very welcome.
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