Walking in Andalucia SPAIN
Outside the golden cultural triangle of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, the rural landscape of Andalucia is breathtaking and what better way to appreciate its diversity than on foot. Our walks take us through rugged hills, picturesque sunflowers fields, olive groves and the granite peaks of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. In this corner of Europe the excesses of modern life do not seem to have taken root and and our home for the week is the perfect example: a rustic, homely cortijo in the heart of agricultural countryside. During the week, a whole day is reserved for exploring the magnificent city of Seville.
Day 01: Start Cortijo Rosario, Algamitas.
Our trip starts at Cortijo Rosario, located in the heart of the authentic Andalucian countryside, approximately 100km from Malaga. Our converted farmhouse is just a short walk from Algamitas, a peaceful traditional village far from the hustle and bustle of the big towns or cities. This location is ideal as it gives the chance to experience the real Spain, whilst still offering very easy access to the best walking areas and Andalucian towns such as Olvera, Setenil and Seville which we'll visit during the week.
Day 02: Gentle walk through rolling olive groves to neighbouring village of Villanueva de San Juan; optional tapas lunch to soak up the Andalucian atmosphere. (Approx. 12 km walk)
Today we take a guided walk on the trails and paths around the Cortijo and on to the neighbouring village of Villanueva. The countryside surrounding Algamitas is picture-perfect, covered with olive trees, beautiful farmland and rolling hills. During the walk our leader will give us a good overview of the rural lifestyle and traditions of this part of the world, which are largely based around the production of olive oil. An optional tapas lunch in the village gives us a chance to soak up the authentic Andalucian atmosphere. Once back at the Cortijo, we have some free time to relax by the pool or enjoy a drink in the lovely outdoor terrace. Dinner and overnight at the Cortijo. (12 km, approx 6 hours walking including stops).
Day 03: Walk a circuit around the impressive PeÃ±on overlooking Algamitas. (Approx. 11 km walk)
Today we walk a circuit around the impressive Penon Crag that looms over the Cortijo Rosario. El Penon is the highest point in the province of Seville, 1130 m above sea level, offering dramatic views of the landscape around Algamitas and neighbouring villages, hills and farmland. On the way back from the Cortijo we stop for some drinks in a lovely panoramic terrace. (11 km, approx 5 hours walking including stops). Dinner and overnight at the Cortijo.
Day 04: Visit CaÃ±os Santos Monastery; walk to Setenil, a unique 'Pueblo Blanco' with homes built into the side of a gorge. (Approx. 16 km walk)
Today we set out from the Cortijo Rosario, walking through Algamitas farmland to the abandoned monastery of Canos Santos, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we follow the Ruta de los Molinos along the river that runs through the famous white village of Setenil de las Bodegas. Built under the overhanging ledge of a gorge, Setenil is not only famous for its peculiar architecture but also for its bars, restaurants and food shops which are ranked as the best in the region. Free time to discover Setenil and return to the Cortijo by private minibus. (16 km, approx 5-6 hours walking including stops).
Day 5: : Introduction to the magnificent city of Seville with free time to explore; return to the Cortijo after dinner.
In the morning we transfer by private minibus to the magnificent city of Seville. The day is free to sightsee at our own pace. Now the capital of Andalucia, Seville was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the fall of the Cordoba Caliphate in the 11th century, under whose direction it previously lay, it became the most powerful city in 'Al Andalus'. Near the city centre is the evocative 'Giralda', an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 12th century. Close by is the magnificent 'Alcazar', a complex of palaces dating back from Roman times and later used by both Moorish and Christian rulers. It has fine examples of Moorish and 'Mudejar' architecture, rivalling Granada's 'Alhambra', and stunning sculpted gardens. After the Christian re-conquest Seville became famed as the gateway to the 'New World'; Christopher Columbus negotiated here with Queen Isabella to fund his epic voyage to the Americas, bringing her back untold riches and making Seville one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. After immersing ourselves in Sevilleâ€™s history and culture during the day, we enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the city in the evening. We return to the Cortijo after dinner.
Day 6: Fantastic walk in the Sierra de Grazalema, Andalucia's first national park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. (Approx. 9 km walk)
Our private bus will drive us high into the Grazalema Mountains over the Pass of the Doves. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere reserve in 1977, the Sierra de Grazalema was declared the first natural park in Andalucia in 1984 and is one of Spain's most ecologically outstanding areas. The park is famous for its spectacularly rugged limestone landscape of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges. We walk up past this fantastic scenery and down into the white Village of Benaocaz (9 km, approx 4-5 hours walking including stops).
Day 7: Visit El Chorro Gorge; walk through spectacular scenery with views of the canyon, the massive Guadalhorce Dam and reservoir complex; optional walk through the world-famous Caminito del Rey. (Approx. 8 km walk)
A short drive takes us to the El Chorro Gorge, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain. Our walk takes us up to a high point from where we can overlook the canyon hundreds of feet below, and ends at the massive Guadalhorce dam and reservoir complex (8 km, approx. 3 hours walking including stops). Those looking for a more adrenaline-filled activity will have the option to follow the first part of the walk described above, and then continue independently to the world-famous Caminito del Rey, a narrow cliffside path hanging 100m above the waters of the river Guadalhorce. Originally built around 1905 and improved around 1921 it fell into disrepair and over the past decades, the path became known as â€˜the most dangerous path in the world' or even the â€˜walk of death'. The new Caminito del Rey was re-constructed and reopened to the public on 28 March 2015, with the route and design of the path keeping as closely as possible to the old one but now respecting high safety standards. This walk is optional and will be self-guided if part of the group decides to follow the normal route as per programme. Your leader will be able to give you more detailed information about this optional activity during your first briefing, and he will be able to arrange entrance tickets for the Caminito a few days before (they do not need to be pre-booked before departure).
Day 8: End Cortijo Rosario, Algamitas.
Our trip ends in the morning of day 8.