The Mountains of Ronda and Grazalema

Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves Natural Parks, Genal and Guadiaro valleys

By Guy Hunter-Watts

Guidebook to walking in the mountains of Ronda and Grazalema in Andalucía, southern Spain. The 32 graded routes range from 4 to 16km and explore the Natural Parks of Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves, the 'Pueblos Blancos' (White Villages) perched high in the mountains, and the Genal and Guadiaro river valleys.



Andalucía has a long walking season thanks to its comparatively mild winters: you can enjoy nearly all the walks described in this guide any time from mid-September through to mid-June. During the summer months temperatures can be too high for easy walking whilst occasional snowfalls in winter can make the higher walks more challenging.


Ronda, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, El Burgo, Júzcar, Benarrabá, Genalguacíl, Gaucín, Montejaque, Benaoján, Jimera de Líbar, Igualeja, Alpandeire, Cartajima, Benamahoma


Walks are graded Easy, Medium and in just a couple of cases, Difficult, though all routes would be well within the capabilities of anyone who walks on a regular basis.
Must See

Must See

Ronda, with its dramatic gorge; the UNESCO biosphere reserves of La Sierra de Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves; dramatic limestone peaks; fertile river valleys; almond blossom in early Spring
11 Jan 2018
17.2 x 11.5 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    The dramatically situated town of Ronda can make a great base for a walking holiday in the mountains of Andalucía, as can any one of the picturesque 'pueblos blancos' (white villages) that nestle among the surrounding hills. This guidebook presents 32 mainly circular walks in the Ronda region, covering the town and its environs, the Natural Parks of La Sierra de Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves (both UNESCO biosphere reserves), and the Genal and Guadiaro Valleys. Ranging from 3.5 to 16.5km (2–10 miles), many walks are graded easy or moderate and nearly all can be done from mid-September through to mid-June, thanks to the area's comparatively mild winters.

    Clear route description is illustrated with mapping, and the route summary table and 'at a glance' information boxes make it easy to choose the right walk. In addition to practical information on transport and bases, the introduction offers an overview of Andalucían plants and wildlife, geology and history, and the routes themselves include notes on points of interest, from trees to chapels and from summits to local traditions. Useful contacts, accommodation listings and a short Spanish-English glossary can be found in the appendices.

    While Ronda itself is famed for its striking gorge and Moorish architecture, the surrounding countryside boasts magnificent scenery at every turn. With dramatic limestone peaks, fertile river valleys and ancient groves of almonds and olives, the natural beauty of Ronda and Grazalema won't fail to impress.

  • Contents

    The three regions
    Plants and wildlife
    Andalucían historical overview
    When to go
    Getting there and getting around
    Eating out in southern Spain
    Phones and wi-fi
    What to take
    Staying safe
    Using this guide
    Ronda and the Sierra de las Nieves
    Walk 1 Puerto de Caucón circuit via El Tajo de la Caina
    Walk 2 El Peñon de los Enamorados circuit
    Walk 3 Los Sauces circuit via La Cueva del Agua
    Walk 4 El Burgo circuit via Puerto de la Mujer
    Walk 5 La Torrecilla circuit via Puerto de los Pilones
    Walk 6 Ronda Gorge circuit
    Walk 7 Ronda to the Tajo del Abanico and the Virgen de la Cabeza chapel
    Walk 8 Ronda Old Town historical circuit
    The Genal and Guadiaro Valleys
    Walk 9 Cartajima eastern circuit via Parauta and Igualeja
    Walk 10 Cartajima southern circuit via Pujerra and Júzcar
    Walk 11 Alpandeire circuit
    Walk 12 Estación de Benaoján to Estación de Jimera de Líbar
    Walk 13 Estación de Benaoján to La Cueva de la Pileta
    Walk 14 Estación de Jimera circuit
    Walk 15 Cortes de la Frontera circuit via Los Pinos
    Walk 16 Cortes de la Frontera southern circuit
    Walk 17 Benarrabá circuit via Genalguacíl
    Walk 18 Gaucín circuit
    Walk 19 Montejaque circuit
    The Sierra de Grazalema
    Walk 20 Grazalema northern circuit
    Walk 21 Grazalema southern circuit
    Walk 22 Grazalema to Benaocáz
    Walk 23 The Pinsapar of Grazalema
    Walk 24 Puerto de las Palomas circuit via the Coros peak
    Walk 25 Villaluenga circuit via Navazo Alto and Bajo
    Walk 26 Ascent of El Torreón
    Walk 27 El Gastor circuit via Lagarín and Las Grajas
    Walk 28 El Gastor circuit via Huerta Lagarín
    Walk 29 The Garganta Verde
    Walk 30 Algodonales circuit via El Canalizo
    Walk 31 Zahara de la Sierra circuit
    Walk 32 Benamahoma circuit

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Useful contacts
    Appendix C Accommodation
    Appendix D Glossary
    Appendix E Further reading

  • Updates
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    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    April 2019

    Page 165 Image incorrectly captioned should say.

    'The view south on the descent from El Reloj towards Charca Verde'.

    Walk 12: page 106.
    The river crossing described in line 3 of the walk description has been washed away by flash flooding. In order to cross to the River Guadiaro’s east side from the railway station, head up hill, passing left of the shop Electrica Serranía de Ronda, to meet the road leading to Ronda, the MA-7401. Turn right, cross the bridge over the Guadiaro, then on its far side hop over a crash barrier and follow a narrow path down to reach a track running along the river’s east bank. This leads you to the far side of the damaged bridge where you pick up route notes at the point ‘Sendero Río Guadiaro, 7.3km’.

    Due to the storm damage the railway line is also temporarily out of action. A bus service is now operating between the two train stations, departing between 15 and 60 minutes after the scheduled train departure time. A transfer by taxi can also sometimes be organised at Bar Alioli in Estación de Jimera.

    Feb 2019

    Walk 17 Benarrabá Circuit via Genalguacíl:

    Page 133. 30min timing should read 45min.
    Page 135. Following torrential rains then flooding in October 2018 the point where you cross the River Almarchal has been affected. You now have to walk closer to the farm in order to get to the river then carefully cross using a stick for balance. On the other side of the river you now need to climb over a huge tree that has fallen across the path.
    Page 135. Paragraph 4. The salmon-coloured house is now painted cream.

    Page 154- correct email address for permits request is:

    April 2018

    Page 123 - Walk 15
    From the Peak make your way back down to Los Llanos del Puerto (3hr 35 mins). Here bear right and continue South not East along a broad, level track.

    Page 201 - Walk 30
    Access - after A-374 you take the A-384, not the A-382. Shortly past the km post 53 - not the 83 post - turn left at a sign for Area Recreativa Los Nacimientos.

    Page 137 - Walk 18
    The petrol station is no longer with the Repsol group but rather with AGLA.

    Page 157 - last paragraph
    Where it says 'cut left and go through a wire-and-post gate change to 'cut left and reaching a locked gate, cut right for 5m then go left through a small wire-and-post gate'

    Thanks to Clare and Graham.

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Guy Hunter-Watts

Guy Hunter-Watts has lived and worked in Andalucía since the 1980s. After studying at the universities of Santiago and Salamanca he taught English in South America before moving to the Ronda mountains where he has been leading guided walks for almost 30 years. His work as a walking guide and freelance journalist has taken him to many corners of the planet including India, Namibia, Tanzania, Latin America and Mongolia.

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