Chelva Valencia: INCREDIBLE 2-Day Itinerary!

Heading to Chelva, Valencia in Spain, and wondering what to do? Then you’re in the right place! We recently visited the town during our van trip through Spain and I had a hard time figuring out what to do in Chelva.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect much from it as I couldn’t find much information online. We went because we wanted to do a hike there, but after spending a whole day exploring the incredible historic town, we wanted to move there!

The ancient Arab and Jewish quarters are so full of personality and the squares, churches, and old washing places that are neatly marked with their historical use are all so inviting.

While visiting the town itself makes one of my favorite day trips from Valencia, it’s well worth it to spend a couple of days so you can enjoy the spectacular surrounding nature!

That’s why I’ve put together the perfect 2-day itinerary for Chelva Spain. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on anything in this hidden gem in Spain.

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Me standing in a colorful street in Chelva Old town
Moorish Quarter

How to get to Chelva Spain

Chelva is around a 50-minute drive from Valencia and there is plenty of parking around the old town. If you travel by van, there are also places you can park and sleep for the night.

We found a place on Park4Night at the edge of the town before crossing a large bridge. There was shade and a water fountain where we could fill up drinking water, which was great. There’s no grey water emptying.

But for sleeping one night, it’s perfect.

There are some buses from Valencia to Chelva, but in all honesty, they’re not great, which means that 2 days in Chelva is a minimum of time I’d recommend if you travel by bus. You can check the bus timetable here.

Chelva town view


YouTube video

Things to do in Chelva on Day 1

Chelva is full of drinking fountains so even on a hot day, you can fill up your water bottle around every corner. Even going with dogs is easy as they can cool down and drink everywhere.

Locals even encouraged us to lift Atlas inside the fountains so he could get a proper bath. And as the water lover he is, it wasn’t hard to convince him!

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor is the main square in Chelva and where you find the stunning Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles Church.

It’s a natural place to start your Chelva itinerary as you get to both the Moorish and the Jewish quarters from there.

Me and Atlas in front of a medieval church on Plaza Mayor Chelva Valencia.

Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles Church

I highly recommend stepping inside the Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles Church as it’s absolutely mesmerizing inside.

The church is closed on Mondays. On Tuesdays to Saturdays, it’s only open between 18:00 and 19:30 (until 20:00 on Saturdays.)

If you visit on a Sunday, however, the church is open from 11:30 to 13:30. So make sure you plan your itinerary so you can step inside while it’s open.

Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles Church Chelva

Moorish Quarter

The Moorish Quarter (Benacacira) in Chelva is the most beautiful part of the town in my opinion. There are so many old streets and alleys that you feel like you step back in time.

It’s a fabulous blend of worn and newly painted that the streets just embrace you. We also had a wonderful experience with lovely, friendly locals greeting us wherever we went.

You enter it from Plaza Mayor, right across the square from the church. There is an old alley that honestly reminded me of Morocco and as you get through there, it continues towards the right. If I understood it correctly, this is part of the old Chelva Castle.

I recommend just walking up and down streets and letting yourself get completely lost in the charm of it. There are a few spots you should not miss out on, though.

The Archaeological Museum and the colorful street Calle de Benacacira, which is easily the best photography spot in the town.

There are also several alleys with dark wooden beams in the ceilings which are super cool, a bit like the one you walk through from Plaza Mayor. One of these is on the same small square as the Archaeological Museum.

Colorful pot plants and flowers on whitewashed walls in the Moorish Quarter in Chelva Spain.

Jewish Quarter

Going back up to Plaza Mayor, there is a small road with some steps down on the right side looking at the church. Take these to reach the Jewish quarter (Azoque).

It’s a lot smaller than the Moorish quarter, so it doesn’t take that long to explore, but it’s still very charming with its narrow alleys, steep streets, and old, white-painted houses.

Whitewashed houses with different shaped walls in the Jewish Quarter of Chelva.

The neighborhood is intact as it once was, and you’ll see plenty of houses with walls that purposely aren’t straight. I found that the Jewish quarter was a lot less looked after than the Moorish area, but there are still a lot of corners and houses that have been painted and given a good portion of love.

The area is home to the blue-painted Ermita de Santa Cruz, which originally was a mosque dating back to the year 1370.

We found it a good place to start the route of the washing places too, as there are a few in and close to the neighborhood.

The blue painted Ermita de Santa Cruz in Chelva on a square with trees and a bench.
Ermita de Santa Cruz

Route of the washing places

As mentioned above, there are quite a few old washing places in Chelva that were used for different chores.

Each washing place has an information sign and a QR code where you can learn more about the use of the specific washing place and when it was used.

They used these washing places for anything from washing clothes to animal skin and dishes to separate different dirty items.

They all feed on natural spring water from the surrounding mountains. It was really interesting to go around and explore them all. They’s so different in size and shape, and some of them are definitely prettier than others.

A large washing place in Chelva under a wooden beamed ceiling.
A washing place used for washing the clothes of the sick and the deceased.

Keep your eyes peeled for street art

There is not a lot of street art in Chelva, but we did come across some cool pieces. Our favorite was this one that we saw being painted in the morning and that was finished by the evening.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be painted more art pieces in the future for when you arrive.

Street artists painting a girl on a wall with the text "Stop Genocide"

What to do in Chelva on Day 2

On the second day in Chelva, it’s time to strap on your hiking boots and explore the incredible nature surrounding the town on one of the most spectacular hikes in Valencia.

We did the 13.8 kilometer-long Ruta del Agua y Aqueducto de la Peña Cortada, but if you want to shorten it, I recommend driving to the parking of the Aqueduct and hiking around 10 minutes to the aqueduct and continuing through the tunnels and turning back.

This allows you to spend less time on the trail and you’ll see the highlights of the trail. To fill up the day, you can also hike from Molino Puerto recreational area to a small beach in the lake which is on the other side of the river to the right when entering the parking area.

It says it’s dangerous to go swimming, but no prohibition signs. The locals went swimming, so we did the same. I don’t have any pictures of this little oasis as I forgot the phone in the van the day we went there, but it’s absolutely stunning and an easy 10-15 minute hike each way.

Me crossing the Aqueducto de la Peña Cortada.

Hiking Ruta del Agua y Aqueducto de la Peña Cortada

The hike starts at Molino Puerto recreational area. They charge 5 Euros for parking on the weekends and maybe during the summer months too.

We didn’t see anyone working there on weekdays when we were there at the end of May, or the beginning of June. But we walked down from the town which is only about 10-15 minutes.

When you enter the parking area, there is a small wooden bridge under some trees that takes you to the trail. You’ll be walking on the left side of the river.

I suggest you download the Wikiloc app and follow the route I recorded below:

Powered by Wikiloc

Among the highlights, are some prehistoric caves you’ll see from a viewpoint just after you ascend to the top of the ravine to epic views of Chelva town.

This is where we walked in the wrong direction for a few minutes on the recorded trail above, you’re supposed to go down the trail from the viewpoint, not continue up the same trail you’re on.

When you get down to the riverside again, you’ll pass an old electricity station. Thanks to this and a few more, Chelva was the first town in the area to get electric light.

The trail continues for quite a while through the forest, up some steep steps, through farmland, and the tiny town of Calles before you get to the trail to the Aqueduct.

Me walking through the tunnels in the mountain.

The trail takes you through a lush ravine up to spectacular views, and eventually, you’ll get to the tunnels in the mountainside where you’ll get spectacular gorge views in between and through windows carved in the tunnels to give way to natural light.

After a rather long and adventurous section of tunnels, you’ll reach a 1st-century Roman Aqueduct. It’s really cool, but consider yourself warned! I struggled quite a bit with vertigo when crossing it.

From there, the trail loops back to Chelva without any noteworthy attractions. Añtogether, I think this is one of the most spectacular hikes in Spain!

Hiking through a narrow tunnel in ghe mountains in Chelva Valencia.

Reflections on visiting Chelva Valencia

Summing up, there are so many amazing things to do in Chelva Spain. I absolutely loved strolling through the streets of the Moorish quarter and still can’t comprehend why this place isn’t overrun by tourists yet.

But lucky for us, it’s still a hidden gem where we can enjoy the authenticity of the town. As an avid hiker, it’s also a plus that you can hike for hours to incredible places straight from the village.

If this sounds like you, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as we did!

Happy travels!