Walking the GR7 in Andalucia
From Tarifa to Puebla de Don Fadrique
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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.
- Spring (March-June) and autumn (Sept-Oct) are recommended. Avoid July and August for the heat (up to 40°C) and winter for lack of facilities
- Start point: Tarifa; end point Puebla de Don Fadrique
- Waymarked route. Northern variant = 711.5km with nearly 16,500m of ascent (34-41 days). Southern variant = 719.8km with 16,860m of ascent (34-42 days). Facilities en route most days
- Must See
- natural parks, historic towns, whitewashed villages of the Alpujarras, cave houses, Ronda, view from Antequera castle, Priego de Cordoba, castles in Jaén, museum at Orce
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.
- Detailed route description for around 60 days of walking, with options for creating shorter sections and days.
- Information on all the villages en route including accommodation so that you can plan your own route.
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
The maps provided in this book are intended as a guide and, due to the limitations of space, can only give an indication of the route. Anyone walking the GR7, or any part of it, must take detailed topographical maps and/or a GPS with maps and routes. It is also worth noting that many road numbers have been changed and differ from map to map so don’t be surprised if roads you come to have a different name to that shown on your map/in this guide. We have used the most up-to-date road numbers as of 2012 but these differ from those shown on some of the maps recommended below.
For hard copy maps, the best option is the 1:25,000 Servicio Geografico del Ejercito (Spanish Military Survey) maps. You can buy the maps cheaply online from Spain at www.tiendaverde.es or www.libreriadesnivel.com or from the UK at www.stanfords.co.uk. Leave at least a month for delivery from both. If you can’t wait that long, you may be able to buy them in person from Stanfords in London (12–14 Long Acre, Covent Garden; tel 020 7836 1321 to check stock); The Map Shop in Upton-on-Severn (15 High Street, Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire WR8 0HJ; tel 0800 085 40 80); or from Cartográfica del Sur in Madrid (C/Valle Inclán 2, tel 958 204 901). Other maps are available for the natural and national parks and for the Alpujarras. These can be purchased from the relevant park offices (see information boxes in the relevant sections).
More up-to-date maps are available electronically. 1:10,000 maps (Ortofotografía digital de Andalucía en color (Fecha de vuelo, 2007)) are available to download or buy on disk from the Andaluician Regional Authority at www.juntadeandalucia.es. 1:25.000 maps can be downloaded from the IGN (National Geographic Institute). You can find and download them at http://centrodedescargas.cnig.es.
The Federación Andaluza de Montañismo (FAM), in collaboration with local partners in each area, has published guides in Spanish to the provinces of Córdoba (pre-2006), Cádiz (2006), Málaga (2008) and Jaén (2008). These are available for a small administration charge plus postage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or can be downloaded from www.fedamon.com. The hard copy guides come with sketch maps for each stage, but some sections which have changed are now out of date. There are also a few guides in Spanish for parts of the Granada section produced by the Diputación de Granada (1998, 1999, 2000). The most up-to-date (available in English) is from Alhama de Granada to Cádiar and can be downloaded from www.gr7-granada.com for a charge.
Although the FAM guides have not been updated since they were published, the agency does update its GPS routes which can be downloaded from their website. They also have a section with updates and warnings from other walkers. Up-to-date GPS tracks for the whole route can also be downloaded from the website www.rutasyviajes.net, which is managed by Miguel Ángel Santaella, contributing author to this book.
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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:
April, 2016We are grateful to Kevin Freer for the following updates and amendments:Stage 2p. 55 – The CA5121 road has been re-numbered CA9207.p. 55 – At the crossroads with the A405 it is worth noting there is a football stadium at this junction.p. 55 – Neither bar at the junction is a hotel/hostal (even though one is shown as a hostal on Google maps). (There is also no accommodation in Estacion Ferrea if you turn right at the crossroads to go into town.)p. 55 – The cycle route is on the right of the A405 not the left.p.56 – The bottom paragraph should read 'After the bar, at about Km3.5 on the road take a marked short-cut up to the left, which crosses the main road after about 300m to follow on the historic cobbled route up to the castle'.Stage 3p. 58 – There are now some new GR7 markers along the 8km stretch before the Jimena/Castellar signpost.Stage 4p. 63 – The Ubrique 7h30 signpost points right, not left. Follow it to the right.p. 63 – Between the 5th and 6th paragraphs, insert the following: '5 minutes after joining the attractive path ignore a minor track to the right. After a further 5-10 minutes you reach a small stone bridge going right across a stream. Cross this bridge then take an immediate left following the bank of the stream. Continue uphill following the stream, crossing sides a couple of times. Pass a small shrine cut into the rock face to your right directly by the stream and continue following the stream. Cross a couple more times until you finally cross to the left bank, and a clear path ascends away from the stream'. 200m later you reach the 'uncertain divide' referred to in paragraph 6: 'you then come out onto a wide track. Follow this uphill for 100m, passing a "Km 0" marker. Here the track turns left, but you continue straight ahead to the gate in the wall at the pass (Puerta de la Venta)'.pp. 63/64 – A number of other tracks merge into the main track from both left and right. Follow th emain track to a signpost (Ubrique 5hr). Follow the sign and continue on the main track until you reach the Carrera del Caballo/Ubrique pass. From here, follow the main trail which bears left and is signposted Ulbrique 19km (the old Ubrique 4hr signpost is no longer there).p. 64 – The 'cow shelter' is Albergue la Canada.p. 64 – Paragraph 3: Ignore one right turn, then fork left off the main track at the next one. There are stones blocking vehicle access to this track. Continue on this track, and the route to the A373 is clear.p. 64 – The Ubrique 2hr45 sign has been replaced by a new sign showing the direction to Ubrique, but not time or distance.Stage 5p. 68 – Rather than follow the road to the picnic area, about 5 minutes after the fountain there is a signpost directing the GR7 right, down a rough track. Follow this (the track improves), and this goes through the picnic area and back to the main road. Cross directly across the road onto the 'steep path'.p. 71 – Second paragraph: Montejaque is 3.5km from the pass (as opposed to the fork).Stage 6p. 75 – First paragraph of Montejaque-Ronda: 'just under a kilometre out of town' should read '1km from the centre'. The signboard has gone. The footpath you want is now marked 'Tactario' and 'Capillo' not 'Ermita de Escarihuela'.p. 78 – First paragraph, last sentence: take the right fork (uphill) at the second bar.Stage 7p. 81 – 'Just after Km27' should read '400m after the Km27 marker'.p. 82 – Penultimate paragraph: the Canada Real de Serrato signpost has gone.Stage 8p. 87 – Third line: the MA448 has been renumbered. It is now MA4400.p. 87 – Penultimate line: 'cross the bridge' should read 'cross the dam'.
- Bar Alfredo in Cuevas del Becerro (just off Stage 7) is closed on Fridays. Call ahead (697 204 147) if you are arriving on a Friday. The owner also runs a taxi with 7 seats.
- Ubrique (end of Stage 5): If you need a taxi for getting to or away from Peñon del Berrueco, try Manuel Benítez (655 56 61 10).
- Between La Calahorra and Charches (Stage 28B) the large Andasol solar power station blocks the original route from the underpass beneath the motorway and La Calahorra train station. It is possible to skirt round this, following the fenceline. Once at the train station the route is now marked to follow the road to Charches, though it should still be possible to follow the orginal route through La Trinadad
- Hotel Manjon in La Calahorra (end of Stage 27B) appears to have closed.
- Lobras (Stage 23B) no longer has a bar or café.
- Between Tarifa and Los Barrios (Stage 1) there is no longer a pension in Facinas and so there is no point making that detour.
- Hostal Restaurante Jaufil in Zujar (Stage 29B) remains open (though the website listed no longer works) but the Hostal-Café Bar Jabalcón may not be. Alternative accommodation is available at the Hotel Balneario de Zujar tel: 958 191 000, http://balneariodezujar.es at Banos de Zujar (Stage 30B)
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Kirstie and Michelle live in Edinburgh. Between them they have travelled throughout Europe and South America spending many happy days with their boots on in the Picos de Europa, French and Austrian Alps, Sierra de Gredos, Sierra Nevada, Alpujarras and Andes.View Guidebooks by Michelle Lowe
Kirstie Shirra is a freelance writer and environmental campaigner. Climbing mountains since she could walk, she has travelled throughout Europe and the Americas, but always ends up back in the wonderful mountains of northwest Scotland, where she lives with her husband Pete.View Guidebooks by Kirstie Shirra
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