What is the Route of El Cid?
The route of el Cid is a cultural and tourist route that crosses Spain from north-west to south-east, following in the steps of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, the famous 11th-century mediaeval knight. This route is based on “El Cantar de mio Cid”, the great Hispanic mediaeval epic poem written at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century. Due to its length (some 1,400 kilometres of paths and 2,000 kilometres of road), it is divided up into Sections, each having a length of about 300 kilometres, Themed Rings (circular routes) and Branches.
How to travel along the Route of El Cid?
On foot or by mountain bike, along paths that have signposts bearing icons of the Route of El Cid. The Route of El Cid was originally a network of paths (to be traversed on foot), and so certain parts of it may be difficult to travel along by mountain bike. These sections are marked in our travel logs and alternative options are given.
By car, bus or bike. The Route of El Cid also contains many sections of road which are often side roads and have little traffic, and so they are used for cycling along the route up to about 70 kilometres from the city of Valencia. In all cases, tourists wishing to cycle along the route who would like to find out more can obtain information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What there is to see
The Route of El Cid is a predominantly rural route. A large part of it runs through what is known as “extremadura castellana”, a large area in the centre and north of Spain which was uninhabited during the early Middle Ages. It is now dotted with tiny villages (more than half the villages along the Route have less than 500 inhabitants) that conserve an important part of their mediaeval legacy. You will also find diverse landscapes, such as plains and high mountains, practically always between fluvial valleys. You will pass through protected nature reserves and National Parks that end on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the Region of Valencia. This route gives you the option of obtaining a different perspective of Spain and getting to know its people and part of its Roman, Gothic, Islamic, Mozarabic and Mudejar heritage, and its numerous castles and fortresses. In addition, the Route of El Cid takes you to important monumental cities such as Burgos or Teruel and cosmopolitan capitals such as Valencia, for the Route contains no less than six World Heritage sites. But above all, the Route of El Cid offers you the chance to live the moving experience of a great journey.
The different ways along the Route of El Cid
The Route of El Cid is not a linear way, and has been divided up into Sections, Branches and Themed Rings in order to make it easier to explore.
- El Destierro (The Exile) (C) (S): this route recreates the route taken by El Cid on his way through the ancient kingdom of Castile and León to his place of exile and runs from Vivar del Cid (Burgos) to Atienza (Guadalajara).
- Tierras de Frontera (The Borderlands) (C) (S): this route runs through the regions that were once conquered by the Moors where El Cid started to impose his law, to the town of Alcocer, where he fought his battle for survival. It runs from Atienza (Guadalajara) to Ateca (Saragossa).
- Las Tres Taifas (The Three Kingdoms) (C) (S): this route runs through three legendary Moorish realms: Saragossa, Toledo and Albarracín and from Ateca (Saragossa) to Cella (Teruel).
- La conquista de Valencia (The Conquest of Valencia) (C) (S): Cella was the site where El Cid waited for all those who wished to follow him in the conquest of Valencia, and the starting point of this section also ends at the city that El Cid dreamed of conquering. It runs from Cella (Teruel) to Valencia.
- La defensa del Sur (The Southern Defence Line) (C) (S): a historical route that follows the castles built for defence purposes. It leads to Orihuela, which is nearer the south, where El Cid succeeded in exerting control. It runs from Valencia to Orihuela (Alicante).
The themed areas or rings are circular routes with their own identity along the Route. These include:
- Anillo de Gallocanta (Gallocanta Ring) (S) (Saragossa and Teruel): a “green” ring between Daroca and Gallocanta, which some scholars say is the “Alucad” that is mentioned in “El Cantar”.
- Anillo de Montalbán (Montalbán Ring) (C) (Teruel) (C): this route follows the path trodden by El Cid through Montalbán and other towns of Teruel in his quest to obtain resources through pillage and collecting taxes.
- Anillo del Maestrazgo (Maestrazgo Ring) (C) (Teruel and Castellón): an impressive route through the Mountains of Maestrazgo which descends to Onda as its literary reference.
- Anillo de Morella (Morella Ring) (C) (Teruel and Castellón): a small ring of enormous historical, literary, cultural and environmental importance that has the town of Olocau del Rey as its literary reference and Morella as its historical reference.
- Anillo de la Taifa de Valencia (Kingdom of Valencia Ring) (S) (Valencia): this ring, which is still at the planning phase, is designed for ramblers and cyclists. It will contain towns of reference such as Xátiva and Peña Cadiella, a strategic site of great importance for El Cid, located in the townships of Beniatjar and Otos.
These are linear routes that connect certain towns and sections to the main route. There are three:
- Ramal de la Algarada de Álvar Fáñez (The Algarada de Álvar Fáñez Branch) (C) (S) (Guadalajara) which runs between the cities of Guadalajara and Castejón de Henares, following the course of the lightening attack launched by Álvar Fáñez from Castejón.
- Ramal de Castellón (C) (Castellón Branch) (Valencia – Castellón): this runs between the city of Castellón to Sagunt, and follows the course of the defence line set up by El Cid, according to the poem.
- Ramal de Olocau (Olocau Branch) (S) (Valencia): a small branch that is still being planned. It will connect two towns well known to El Cid: Puig and Olocau.