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Trekking guidebook to the GR7 in Andalucia, from Tarifa to Puebla de don Fadrique. Both variants included; the north through Cordoba, the south through Granada. Over 700km, the trail takes over a month and explores varied landscapes, including the Sierra Nevada. Included are practical accommodation details to help plan. Part of the E4 route.
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|Buy your choice of routes or chapters to read online, on your mobile device or to download as a PDF to print or read.||Browse Routes|
Comprehensive guidebook to walking the GR7 through Andalucía in southern Spain. Both variants, the northern that visits Cordoba, and the southern that goes through Granada and the Sierra Nevada are included. This wonderfully varied route starts at the southernmost tip of Spain on the coast at Tarifa, and meanders through the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga before dividing. The northern fork measures 718km, 34 to 41 days in total, while the southern fork is 735km, 35 to 42 days. Both routes finish at Puebla de don Fadrique.
The fully waymarked route crosses seven stunning natural parks and the Sierra Nevada national park, home to mainland Spain's highest peak - Mulhacen. All the information needed to plan a trek is included. Stage maps use official IGN mapping. Detailed route descriptions are given for around 60 days of walking, with options for creating shorter sections and days. The GR7 avoids tarmac roads wherever possible, instead taking ancient trade routes, bridlepaths and even goat tracks, there are only a few sections of steep ascent, so this route is suitable for walkers of reasonable fitness and navigational ability.
With its white sandy beaches, pine and oak forests, near-desert plateaus, snow-capped peaks, traditional villages, lush river valleys and olive groves, the GR7 in Andalucía takes you on a journey through the most geographically diverse region on the Iberian peninsula. Famous among holidaymakers for its coastline, the GR7 offers the opportunity to see another side of Andalucia. You will explore little-visited hidden gems, enjoy the natural parks and visit unspoilt peaceful villages.
This book covers a long varied route which has large sections where the route and markings have not been well maintained. Facilities including accommodation, restaurants and shops have also changed a great deal over the past few years.
Although details of facilities in towns and villages are included in the book, the authors strongly suggest that walkers call ahead to confirm the availability of accommodation and food advance to avoid problems.
Information about any changes for this page are also always welcome. Thank you to walkers who have given us the updates below:
|National and natural parks|
|About the GR7|
|Weather and when to go|
|How to get there|
|How to get back|
|Where to stay|
|Maps and guides|
|What to take|
|Safety and emergencies|
|Using this guide|
|1 Cádiz and Málaga|
|Stage 1 Tarifa – Los Barrios|
|Stage 2 Los Barrios – Castillo de Castellar|
|Stage 3 Castillo de Castellar – Jimena de la Frontera|
|Stage 4 Jimena de la Frontera – Ubrique|
|Stage 5 Ubrique – Montejaque|
|Stage 6 Montejaque – Arriate|
|Stage 7 Arriate – Ardales|
|Stage 8 Ardales – El Chorro|
|Stage 9 El Chorro – Valle de Abdalajís|
|Stage 10 Valle de Abdalajís – Antequera|
|Stage 11 Antequera – Villanueva de Cauche|
|2 Northern Fork – Málaga, Córdoba and Jaén|
|Stage 12A Villanueva de Cauche – Villanueva del Trabuco|
|Stage 13A Villanueva del Trabuco – Villanueva de Tapia|
|Stage 14A Villanueva de Tapia – Villanueva de Algaidas|
|Stage 15A Villanueva de Algaidas – Cuevas de San Marcos|
|Stage 16A Cuevas de San Marcos – Rute|
|Stage 17A Rute – Priego de Córdoba|
|Stage 18A Priego de Córdoba – Almendinilla|
|Stage 19A Almedinilla – Alcalá la Real|
|Stage 20A Alcalá la Real – Frailes|
|Stage 21A Frailes – Carchelejo|
|Stage 22A Carchelejo – Cambil|
|Stage 23A Cambil – Torres|
|Stage 24A Torres – Bedmar|
|Stage 25A Bedmar – Jódar|
|Stage 26A Jódar – Quesada|
|Stage 27A Quesada – Cazorla|
|Stage 28A Cazorla – Vadillo de Castril|
|Stage 29A Vadillo de Castril – Coto-Ríos|
|Stage 30A Coto-Ríos – Pontones|
|Stage 31A Pontones – Santiago de la Espada|
|Stage 32A Santiago de la Espada – Puebla de Don Fadrique|
|3 Southern Fork – Málaga and Granada|
|Stage 12B Villanueva de Cauche – Riogordo|
|Stage 13B Riogordo – Ventas de Zafarraya|
|Granada province (and Almería)|
|Stage 14B Ventas de Zafarraya – Alhama de Granada|
|Stage 15B Alhama de Granada – Arenas del Rey|
|Stage 16B Arenas del Rey – Jayena|
|Stage 17B Jayena – Albuñuelas|
|Stage 18B Albuñuelas – Nigüelas|
|Stage 19B Nigüelas – Lanjarón|
|Stage 20B Lanjarón – Soportújar|
|Stage 21B Soportújar – Pitres|
|Stage 22B Pitres – Trevélez|
|Stage 23B Trevélez – Cádiar|
|Stage 24B Cádiar – Yegen|
|Stage 25B Yegen – Laroles|
|Stage 26B Laroles – Puerto de la Ragua|
|Stage 27B Puerto de la Ragua – La Calahorra|
|Stage 28B La Calahorra – Narváez|
|Stage 29B Narváez – Zújar|
|Stage 30B Zújar – Benamaurel|
|Stage 31B Benamaurel – Cúllar|
|Stage 32B Cúllar – Orce|
|Stage 33B Orce – Huéscar|
|Stage 34B Huéscar – Puebla de Don Fadrique|
|Appendix A Summary of route itineraries|
|Appendix B Spanish–English glossary|
|Appendix C Further information|
|Start||Tarifa tourist information office|
|Note||Unless you want a very long day, a tent is recommended (see below).|
A long beach walk along clean white sands, trying to resist the lure of swimming in the tempting blue sea, followed by a gentle climb up into green hills and shady cork oak groves. Lots of road and track walking.
As this walk makes a very long day a tent is recommended. Alternatively, you can return by bus to Tarifa, detour to Facinas (10km round trip) or walk a very short first day along the beach to one of the accommodation options at the end of the beach, followed by a long second day.
Accommodation, campsite, restaurant/bar/café, drinking fountain, food shop, ATM, telephone, PO, pharmacy, tourist information, transport.
There are lots of places to eat – a mix of international restaurants including many with Arabic and Asian influences – and also plenty of hotels, but it is worth booking in summer months. There are three campsites which you pass along the beach (all open all year). Camping Río Jara (A) is a large campsite just off the beach after about 4km, has its own shop and restaurant, tel 956 68 05 70, www.campingriojara.com. Melting Pot Hostel (A) Very friendly and helpful, just near the start of the route, C/Turriano Gracil 5, tel 956 682906 www.meltingpothostels.com/tarifa. La Casa Amarilla (B), Central with colourful large rooms, some with lounge and balcony, around traditional courtyard, C/Sancho IV El Bravo 9, tel 956 681 993 www.lacasaamarilla.net.
Tourist Information Office: Paseo de la Alameda, tel 956 680 993, www.aytotarifa.com.
Regular buses to and from Málaga, Sevilla, Cádiz and other destinations and other local destinations leave from the bus station at the north end of C/Batalla del Salado in the north of the town. Taxi firms include: tel 675 604 594, tel 956 799 077.
A busy windsurfing and kite surfing resort with a picturesque old town and spectacular views across to Africa from the viewpoint at the top of town. It’s worth spending a night here to relax on the beautiful white sand beaches and explore the old town, including the Arab castle of Guzmán el Bueno, the recently restored eighth-century Jerez Gate, the Gothic San Mateo church and the municipal museum.
The walk starts at the tourist office in the centre of Tarifa, where there’s a signboard with information about the footpath. Head towards the sea, going up the Av. de la Constitución, turning left on the Av. de Andalucía and then second right along a road that brings you to the C/de la Almadraba and down to the Playa de los Lances, which is to the right and north of the old stone pier.
Walk along the beach and cross the Río de la Jara after about 2.5km. The easiest and most pleasant option is to paddle across. From here you can walk along a track next to pine trees above the beach. About 6km from the start, just before the Club Mistral Windsurfing Centre, turn right up a track which heads inland through some pine trees and soon brings you to the main N340 coast road. Don’t get confused by the tracks to the earlier windsurfing centre or hotels.
When you come to the road, turn right and walk for less than 100m until you reach the first turning on your left. Here there is a GR7 sign, next to the Hotel Peña, directing you up a smaller road which winds its way around the side of the Sierra de Enmedio, with the peak of La Peña at 448m up to the left.
Keep to this small well-marked road, ignoring all small tracks off it. It is a reasonably good small tarmac road which gradually becomes more gravelly and takes you into more remote and picturesque countryside. The wind farm you are looking down on to the east is one of the largest in Europe. You will pass by lots of cork trees with their barked stripped off, a sight common in this area, which is part of the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales.
The route is straightforward to follow. The only point to watch out for is when, after just under 5km, the main track heads east downhill to the CA9210 road – you don’t want to go this way. Instead, keep to the smaller track and continue contouring north round the hillside.
2km after this junction, be careful not to miss a small path off the track down to the right. You stay on this as it crosses a stream and passes a working flour mill. Continue on the same path as it gets wider and comes out on the CA9210, a short distance before the pass, the Puerto de la Torre del Rayo. Turn left up it.
At the pass, stay on the main road, ignoring a smaller track off to the left, and follow the road for just under 1.5km until you reach a track on the right (signposted Saladavieja). Take this track through the beautiful countryside of the Sierra de Ojén, with a good chance of seeing birds of prey in the crags up to the right. The area through which you’re passing boasts over 18 species of raptors including short-toed eagle, booted eagle, griffon vulture, tawny owl, eagle owl, buzzard, goshawk and sparrowhawk.
This section is less well marked, but if you keep to the main track you shouldn’t get lost. You should pass a water works building and then cross a small river with the dam of the Embalse de Almodóvar up to your right. Continue following the track up from the other side of the river through a few farms until you reach the CA221 road (19km from Tarifa). Turn right along the road and around the far side of the reservoir, heading east.
If you wish to detour into Facinas, where there is a pensión, head left along this road and follow if for 5km to the village, ignoring turnings including one back to the left about halfway along.
From here markings are few and far between, but you stay on the obvious CA221. Keep going through oak woodland, heading towards pasture land and after 7.5km you will reach the beautiful Puerto de Ojén. There is an old inn here (only very occasionally open), once the meeting point for horsemen and merchants passing between Cádiz and Algeciras. Carry on, at first downhill, passing the Cerro del Águilla on your right, until you reach a small track with a gate off to the right after about 6.5km. Note: here the official route of the GR7 goes right through the gate but there have been reports of the route being blocked.
To continue on the official route, if you find it not to be blocked, go through the gate and take the path that goes downhill, not the one which runs alongside the fence. From here the route is hard to find through a maze of little paths. Keep a close eye for frequent markings and small stone cairns. After about 5–10min you should pass through a marked gap in a fence.
A couple of small paths run from here until another fence, and both end up at the same gate. Go through this and carry on along a marked but overgrown path with the Arroyo del Raudal to your right. A little path takes you down to, and across, the stream where you may need to paddle depending on the season. If you miss the path to the stream you will very quickly reach a GR7 sign indicating that you’ve gone the wrong way.
Across the stream (2.75km from turning off the track) pass the Molino de Enmedio, a water wheel mill. The path quickly turns into a wider track and, when you reach a junction, you turn left. There are then no markings for a while but continue on this track. You will pass a shady picnic area on your left and then leave the park, passing the Cortijo Jaramillo. The track then crosses the Río Palmones and passes under the A381 motorway. Here you will find yourself on the C440A road at the Venta del Frenazo (tel 956 620814) (4.5km from the Molino de Enmedio).
To get to Los Barrios turn right for an uninspiring 3.5km walk down the road. 300m after the venta you will see a turning to the left. This is the start of the next section of the route and if you choose to head into Los Barrios to sleep or for refreshments, you will need to return to here to rejoin the route. To get in to Los Barrios continue to the roundabout and take the CA9207 in to the town, arriving eventually on the Paseo de Coca.
Alternatively, if the route is blocked it would be easier to continue on the same main track (CA221). Follow the track for a further 6.5km until you come out onto the C440A road which runs next to the A381 motorway. Turn right and, taking care, go along this busy road for an uninspiring 6.5km walk into the centre of Los Barrios. After 2.5km you pass the Venta del Frenazo (956 620814), from where you can follow the route above.
The Parque Natural de los Alcornocales (1678km2) contains the Iberian peninsula’s biggest cork oak woodland and plays a large part in making Spain the world’s second largest cork producer, after Portugal.
As well as cork, the park is also home to some of the last remains of sub-tropical forest in Europe, the only others to be found in Turkey. In the humid microclimates of the canutos – deep, narrow valleys carved out by streams – are tropical trees and vegetation such as wild olives, pyrean oaks, rare ferns, laurel, hazel, alder and rhododendron, giving an insight into what parts of Europe would have looked like in primeval times.
Forty years ago the park would have been home to bears and wolves, but these have now been hunted to extinction and you are more likely to see red and roe deer and smaller mammals such as otters, foxes and polecats. Wild boar also inhabit the park but, as they are nocturnal, you’re less likely to come across them.
The park has 226 species of birds from 56 families – including several species of eagle. It is a perfect habitat for them, with its huge forests and rocky outcrops and is situated in an ideal location for a stop-off on the migratory route to Africa.
Cork comes from the cork oak tree, Quercus suber. It is the only tree which is able to sustain cork being taken from it. The bark is harvested from mature trees, those at least 25 years old, just once every nine years in the spring or summer. Specialised workers cut the oak’s cork, pela, and create piles of cork, panas, which you can see waiting to be transported for sorting as you pass through cork groves.
Cork production has been happening in this way for up to 3000 years and nowadays the main use of cork, which is a very sustainable resource, is for bottle corks, which make up 60 per cent of the market.
There are two park visitor centres, both tel 956 679 161.
Accommodation, restaurant/bar/café, drinking fountain, food shop, ATM, telephone, PO, pharmacy, tourist information, transport.
A mix of eateries including tapas, pizzas, Chinese and fast food and a choice of places to stay including: Hotel Real (B) modern, smart and near the centre with 20 rooms, free wi-fi and meals available in cosy restaurant downstairs, Av Pablo Picasso 7, tel 956 620 024 www.hotelreallosbarrios.com; Hotel Montera (B) Pleasant modern hotel with pool, free wi-fi and restaurant on the southern edge of town, Av Carlos Cano, tel 856 220 220, www.hotelmontera.com.
Tourist information: Paseo de la Constitución 15, tel 956 58 25 04 www.losbarrios.es
There are bus connections to Algeciras and Ronda local towns including Castellar and Jimena. Taxi firms include: tel 609 592 029/956 620 076.
A charming small town centred around two plazas, one busy with cafés and bars, and the other, the Plaza de la Iglesia, the focus of the old town with the old church and tower, grand town hall and casino. It is also known for being the start of the bull route and has many bull farms in the vicinity. There is a good natural history museum (C/Calvario 14, tel 956 621 169).