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Discover Andalucía's Natural Parks with a Cicerone guidebook - Sample Route

Cover of Walking in Andalucia
Availability
Reprinted
Published
8 May 2017
ISBN
9781852848026
Edition
First
Size
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
Weight
280g
Pages
256
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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Description

  • 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.

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:

www.cicerone.co.uk/802/resources

Contents

Contents
Introduction
Six natural parks
Plants and wildlife
Andalucía over the years
Getting there
When to go
Accommodation
Eating out in southern Spain
Language
Money
Communications
What to take
Maps
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

Sample Route

WALK 18
Benarrabá circuit
Start/finishHotel Banu Rabbah, Benarrabá (next to the village pool)
Distance13km; shorter route avoiding Genalguacíl: 5.2km
Ascent/descent890m; shorter route avoiding Genalguacíl: 320m
GradeMedium/Difficult; shorter route avoiding Genalguacíl: medium
Time4hr; shorter route avoiding Genalguacíl: 1hr 30min
RefreshmentsBenarrabá

This figure-of-eight route makes for a moderately challenging day walk and links two beautiful, little-known villages. A good deal of the walk takes you along narrow paths where there are wonderful views out across the Genal valley and south towards the Mediterranean.

The route entails three sections of steep climbing, but the path is easy to follow and there are shady sections beneath the oak and chestnut trees where you can stop to get your breath.

It’s possible to shorten the walk considerably by swinging right before crossing the Genal for the first time; but this would mean missing Genalguacíl, an exceptionally pretty village and a highlight of the walk.

From the hotel walk back towards the village, passing the football pitch then the school. Just past the school angle right down Avenida Miguel Pérez Delgado, following a sign for Iglesia. Take the next right into Calle Sol. The street bears sharply left then right; reaching house number 16, cut right at a sign for La Portá, SLA175 on a dirt track that drops downhill away from the village.

As you loop downwards you’ll see PR waymarking and white arrows. Reaching a solitary portal with a rickety crossbeam that serves no obvious purpose, the track loops left then right and resumes it course. It then loops down past a citrus grove before cutting through a stand of ancient cork oaks.

The track contours gradually round the mountain and crosses a cattle grid. Beyond the grid the track runs uphill, levels and then descends for approximately 200m to a marker post for Genalguacíl. Cut left here and drop down on a steep and eroded path, which merges with a slightly wider path, marked by PR posts. The path narrows again, still loose and eroded in parts, before dropping down to meet a track beside the Arroyo del Infiernillo. Bearing right, you reach a low concrete bridge spanning the Genal (30min).

Shortened route back to Benarrabá

To cut the walk short, cut right just before the bridge along a broad track, then pick up the main route description at ‘At first the track hugs the Genal’s right bank...’

To continue on the main route, cross the river then turn left at a sign for ‘Genalguacíl 2.3km’ along the pebbly right bank of the Genal. After 125m cut right, away from the river, at a second sign for Genalguacíl, and follow a path that climbs steeply up behind the farm of Casa Los Limones (55min).

After climbing you pass through a small wooden gate then reach a track; here cross directly over the track and continue up through the cork oaks. Soon the path crosses the track once more, and views open out across the Genal valley. The path runs up to meet the track for a third time (1hr 25min).

Angle right and cross the track a final time. After 25m, just before reaching a gate, angle right at a marker post then continue along the footpath. It descends slightly, levels, then merges with a track, which passes a pylon as it arcs round a gully before reaching a small farm. Here turn left by a pylon and follow the path steeply upwards.

Genalguacíl and the peaks of Sierra Bermeja

The path again merges with a track, which soon angles hard left and passes above a five-a-side football pitch before reaching a junction at the outskirts of Genalguacíl. Turn right and follow the tarmac road into the village centre, passing a tiled plaque and map showing the footpaths in the area south of Ronda.

At the next fork keep right, passing La Fuente de la Alberquilla, then head all the way along Calle Real, past the Unicaja bank then the Casa Consistorial, to the church (2hr). Turning right you arrive at the village’s beautiful main square, La Plaza de la Constitución. On the far side you’ll see an arch that leads to restaurant El Refugio and Los Jardines del Vizir: both are good spots to break for refreshments.

The sculptures and artwork in the village streets are the fruits of an initiative by the village mayor, who for years has offered food and lodging to aspiring artists in return for a donation of one of their creations to the village.

Rooftop sculptures in Genalguacíl

Leave the square via the street running to the left of the church – the same one by which you entered. At the far end, just to the left of a mirador (viewpoint) with two contemporary sculptures, drop down a concrete road, and after just 40m swing sharp right along another concreted section of road.

Passing a line of wafer-bricked posts with wooden rails, the road divides. Here fork left and drop steeply downhill, always sticking to the main path. You eventually come to a farm just to the right of the path, where there’s a (dry) watering hole immediately in front of you. Here bear left and after just a few metres the path merges with a track, which you follow on downhill.

The track soon reaches a junction with another track. Here turn right and continue on down to the bed of the Río Almarchal. Turn left on a track that cuts along the river’s pebbly bank then runs up to a farm. In front of the farm cut right and cross the river Almarchal. In the wetter months you may need to remove your boots.

Once you’re over the river (2hr 30min), bear left and then, some 30m before reaching the ruined arch of an old bridge, swing right through the thick riverine vegetation on a narrow path that zigzags steeply up and away from the river. After passing beneath a salmon-coloured building the path climbs up to a track, where you bear left. The track loops left then right and continues climbing gradually upwards before levelling as it runs back towards the Genal.

You arrive at an abandoned farmhouse where the track divides. Fork right here. Soon you pass another ruin, then a modern house with a wooden cabin, before the track loops steeply back down towards the Almarchal river.

Just before it reaches the river you meet with another track. Turn left here and cross over the riverbed (3hr 10min). The track cuts through a wooden fence then angles left to pass a children’s climbing frame before reaching the bridge you crossed earlier in the walk. Cross back over the Genal and turn left along a broad track.

At first the track hugs the Genal’s right bank, but it soon begins to angle away from the river as it climbs steeply upwards. Cross a cattle grid and after just 50m pass by a spring (which can be dry at the end of the summer months). Carry on up the main track, which is concreted in its steeper sections.

Just 10m beyond the second pylon, where a line of pylons runs up to meet with your track (3hr 35min), turn right off the track at a sign for Benarrabá. Passing between two drain covers, bear slightly left and climb steeply up, and up, to the village. The path eventually meets with the road by the school you passed earlier in the walk. Turn right here to arrive back at Hotel Banu Rabbah in Benarrabá (4hr).

The village names of both Benarrabá and Genalguacíl, like most of those in this part of southern Spain, are of Berber origin: Benarrabá, from Banu Rabbah, translates as ‘Sons of Rabbah’, while Genalguacíl – a corruption of Genna Alwacir – means ‘Gardens of the Vizir’.

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