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Discover Andalucía's Natural Parks with a Cicerone guidebook - Introduction

Cover of Walking in Andalucia
8 May 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
1st Published
14 Jan 2016
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Walking in Andalucia

by Guy Hunter-Watts
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to 36 walks in Andalucia. The Sierra Nevada regions of Aracena, Grazalema, Los Alcornocales and Gaucin, La Axarquia, the Alpujarras and Cazorla each have 6 day walks. Most of the walking routes are circular and range from 5 to 21km, are graded for difficulty, and many are suitable for all walkers.

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Weight: 280g

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  • Activities
    Walking; trekking; sightseeing; eating and drinking
  • Seasons
    Andalucía's Natural Parks enjoy generally mild winter, spring and autumn weather so walking can be enjoyable at any time from mid September through to mid June. Even in mid summer walks can still be comfortably undertaken in the higher Natural Parks of Cazorla and La Alpujarra.
  • Centres
    The six areas covered by the guide are in and around the villages of Aracena, Grazalema, Jimena de la Frontera, Cazorla, Bubión and Cómpeta, all of which lie within protected Nature Reserves.
  • Difficulty
    Walks are graded into four groups: easy, easy/medium, medium and medium/difficult. Most walks involve some steep ascents and descents but the routes have been chosen so that all are within the capabilities of anybody in good health who walks on a regular basis. The guide contains a mixture of half-day and full day walks.
  • Must See
    Walking in six of southern Spain's most beautiful Natural Parks, all of which share a slice of the magnificent range of the Cordillera Bética. Includes the author's recommendations for the best places to stay in or around southern Spain's most beautiful mountain villages, many of which date back to the Moorish period.

Oct 2017

Mapping error - page 220 

Height of Puerto del Tejo is incorrect should read 1566m instead of 1766 m.


Walk 7

The ascent/descent stats for this walk should read 45m of ascent, 140m of descent.

PDF checklists for ticking off any flowers and birds that you spot while walking in Andalucia are now available to download by following this link:


Six natural parks
Plants and wildlife
Andalucía over the years
Getting there
When to go
Eating out in southern Spain
What to take
Staying safe
Using this guide
1 Aracena
Walk 1 Aracena eastern circuit
Walk 2 Aracena western circuit
Walk 3 Alájar eastern circuit
Walk 4 Alájar western circuit
Walk 5 Almonaster circuit
Walk 6 Galaroza circuit
2 Grazalema
Walk 7 Estación de Benaoján to Estación de Jimera de Líbar
Walk 8 Montejaque circuit
Walk 9 Grazalema southern circuit
Walk 10 Grazalema to Benaocáz
Walk 11 Grazalema northern circuit
Walk 12 Zahara de La Sierra circuit
3 Los Alcornocales
Walk 13 Jimena de la Frontera southern circuit
Walk 14 Jimena de la Frontera northern circuit
Walk 15 La Sauceda to Pico del Aljibe and back
Walk 16 Casares circuit
Walk 17 Gaucín circuit
Walk 18 Benarrabá circuit
4 La Axarquía
Walk 19 Maro to Frigiliana
Walk 20 Frigiliana to El Fuerte and back
Walk 21 Cómpeta eastern circuit
Walk 22 Cómpeta northern circuit
Walk 23 Canillas de Albaida circuit
Walk 24 Sayalonga circuit
5 Las Alpujarras
Walk 25 Pampaneira circuit
Walk 26 Capileira circuit
Walk 27 La Cebadilla circuit
Walk 28 Bubión circuit
Walk 29 Ferreirola northern circuit
Walk 30 Ferreirola eastern circuit
6 Cazorla
Walk 31 Cazorla southern circuit
Walk 32 Cazorla southwestern circuit
Walk 33 Cazorla southeastern circuit
Walk 34 La Iruela circuit
Walk 35 Río Borosa gorge walk
Walk 36 Puente de Las Herrerias circuit
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts
Appendix C Accommodation
Appendix D Glossary
Appendix E Further reading


Corombela with its almond groves in full blossom (La Axarquía

Few people are aware that Spain, after Switzerland, is the most mountainous country in Europe, or that the walking here can be as good as anywhere on the Continent. Perhaps it’s because people have long associated the Iberian Peninsula – especially Andalucía – with sun and sea. Yet the coastal belt represents only a tiny part of the rich fabric of Andalucía.

Travel a few kilometres inland and the mighty belt of the Subbaetic mountains, running from east to west across most of Andalucía, rises majestically up towards azure-blue skies. This vast range includes mainland Spain’s highest peak, Mulhacén, which might have snow on its upper reaches for nine months of the year. And within this chain of mountains there are no fewer than 20 natural parks, offering some of the finest mountain trails in southern Europe.

The limestone strata of La Cuerda de las Banderillas (Walk 35)

The aim of this guidebook is twofold: it is not only to introduce you to the best mountain trails within the most beautiful of the natural parks, but also to lead you to their most attractive villages and small towns. To this end, all the walks described here, with just a couple of exceptions, are circular routes starting and finishing in villages that are not only worth visiting but where good accommodation and food are also available.

The very good news is that over the last decade or so there’s been a subtle revolution taking place in the hills of southern Spain. Paths have been cleared, routes waymarked, and groups of walkers – mostly from northern Europe – are extending the season of many rural hotels. What began with EEC grants from Brussels, and initiatives such as the creation of the GR7 footpath, is now beginning to take root and several new GRs have been created.

It was gratifying when walking the 36 routes in this book to come across several new walking guides, in Spanish, to the different parks and a number of newly waymarked trails. Spain badly needs this type of sustainable tourism, and all the signs indicate that this sector will continue to grow in future years.

The leafy footpath leading down from Benarrabá into the Genal valley (Walk 18)

If you’re looking for purpose-built trails of the sort you’d find, say, in the national parks of the USA, then the walking in Andalucía will probably not be for you. Many of the routes follow old drovers’ paths that have seen scant use since the coming of the roads; they can be rough or loose underfoot, and where waymarking exists it can sometimes be confusing. But that’s the whole point of this guide – and all of the routes described here are well within the capabilities of anyone who walks on a regular basis.

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