Tucked away in the upper reaches of Valenciana is the popular village of Montenejos, famed for its hot springs, Fuente de Banos, where the water emerges from the ground at 25 degrees C.
Fuente de Banos is roughly a kilometre outside Montenejos and is open all year round. A modest car park sits at the top of a pathway which descends to the clear waters of the river into which pour the naturally heated waters.
The water at Fuente de Banos is said to have healing properties and contains sulphur, magnesium and bicarbonates.
On the day we visited there were only a few other frequenters who were sitting on the banks of the river; none brave enough to tenter the waters themselves. It is a beautiful location where the meandering and shallow river curves away into a ravine that leads further into the mountains.
It is a haven for wildlife too and while overhead vultures circle gracefully on the updraughts, on the ground snakes slither into the cooler waters of the river and fish dart for cover as patrons cross the bridge to the picnic area.
I’m not sure that drinking the water at ground level would be such a good idea given that rivers at lower levels are generally more polluted than at higher altitudes or source.
I resisted the temptation to strip off and indulge in a public bathe. I tested the water by hand and although it was warmer than the air about, it was definitely not 25C. That said, with the summer approaching and more hours of sun, Fuente de Banos will be a welcome retreat for picnickers, bathers and possibly even kayakers.
It is a beautiful and tranquil location which is something of a trek to reach (roughly 30km from Segorbe through twisting mountain roads) but both the journey and the destination are worthy rewards.
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