Explore the picture-postcard landscape of Andalucia from the attractive village of Canillas de Albaida, staying in a 16th century converted convent. Walk along an ancient trails linking white-washed Moorish villages, vineyards, olive groves and limestone peaks. Caminito del Rey - Walk this spectacular pathway through El Chorro Gorge Competa - Picturesque white-washed mountain village famous for it's locally made wine Cerro Verde - Panoramic views from the 1346m summit
Our trip begins at Malaga Airport, the latest your flight can arrive is 3.30pm. We will provide the option of two transfer times from Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP) to our hotel in Canillas de Albaida. The main transfer will be at 4pm and another can be provided for guests arriving on earlier flights (times will vary, usually 1pm). It is an hour's drive to our base for the week, Canillas de Albaida, a picturesque village of white washed houses lying on the edge of the Sierra Tejeda Natural Park. Moorish in origin (Albaida comes from the Arabic for white), its history dates back to the 13th century and the village today is an engaging collection of steep narrow streets that meander up the hillside and lead down to a traditional square. The shrine of Santa Ana dominates the village from its lofty promontory overlooking the surrounding landscapes of pine and oak trees. These vistas are home to eagles, mountain goats and wild boar and the terraced fields that circle the village are traditional reminders of the Moorish farmers who once worked these fertile lands. This rich mix of cultural styles is also reflected in the food of the region, where Moroccan and Spanish influences make for some delicious local delicacies, including fennel broth and almond and garlic soup. Our comfortable base for the week is the family ran Posada La Plaza located in the heart of Canillas de Albaida. The en-suite rooms are a blend of Moorish architecture, local craftsmanship and traditional decoration, which gives each room a very unique, individual and authentic Spanish character. There is use of a shared outdoor pool and restaurant which is renowned locally for its quality food and service, offering Mediterranean and regional food with Arabic influences.
Our first day starts with a tour of the local village, your tour leader will point out to you some places of interest and also talk about the history of the village. After this we will start our walk to Cómpeta which is considered by some as the 'pearl of the Axarquia'. Offering some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Mediterranean, this lovely village is famous for its locally made wine and presents us with a picturesque setting of labyrinthine streets and whitewashed houses cluttered around the minaret of a 13th century tower. Built in the Baroque-Mudejar style, this dominating edifice towers above the village streets. In the surrounding countryside the Tejeda and Almijara ranges cover over 20,000 hectares, much of it protected and presenting us with a rich mix of scrubland, forest and terraced farming, making for some superb walking. After approximately four hours of walking we then reach the main plaza in Cómpeta. Here you will have an hour to relax, maybe over a tapas lunch in one of the many bars and restaurants in the village. After our break we follow an old mule track to Bodegas Almijara where we will have the opportunity to tour the winery and taste some of the local Muscatel wines (optional). After our visit we head back to Canillas for dinner and, doubtless, a well-earned glass of something refreshing. Today's 11 kilometre walk is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with 250 metres of ascent and descent.
Taking a taxi this morning we head first for Puerto Collado. From here we follow a track that passes by the Casa de la Mina refuge before joining a steep windy track that takes us towards Gavalan passing the fire watchhut on route. Stopping for a picnic lunch , we then continue through the afternoon, back towards Canillas, skirting the top of Competa town on our way down. After a day of walking you may wish to watch a cookery demonstration and learn how to make paella. Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with 600 metres of ascent and descent.
Descending out of Canillas on an old Roman path, we pass a Roman bridge and we continue along the banks of the Cajula stream, passing a landscape of avocado and citrus groves. Continuing uphill passing a few ruined farm houses we then follow a mule track up to the summit of Fogarate a hilltop lookout that lies in the shadow of the lofty peak of La Maroma. After taking in the fabulous views we continue along an easy dirt track that skirts the valley and takes us up towards a ruined inn, before we follow the valley along an irrigation canal to the old Moorish village of Salares. By 720AD the Moors controlled much of the Iberian Peninsula and their faith, art and architecture spread through much of southern Spain. This new part of the Islamic empire became known as al-Andalus and was at first ruled by the caliphate of Damascus, the powerful Umayyad caliphs. Over time these lands split into smaller Muslim enclaves, making them more vulnerable to the emerging Christian kingdoms to the north, which eventually culminated in the Christian re-conquest of the south in the 10th and 11th centuries. Much of this region has retained its Moorish character though and many of the villages still display the distinctive styling of Mudejar architecture, a form developed specifically by the Muslims in these Christian areas and often presenting a rich fusion of Islamic and Gothic styles. The church of Santa Ana in Salares is a perfect example of this hybrid of styles, built on the site of an old mosque, but retaining the minaret as a church tower. After a wander through the steep, winding streets of this picturesque village and and the option of lunch in Theo's simple but special bar we will return to Canillas by taxi. Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with 250 metres of ascent and descent. Anyone wishing to make the return journey by foot may do so, this will add an extra couple of hours and another six kilometres to your day with an ascent of 350 metres.
Today has been designated as a rest day. There is the possibility of taking an optional trip to the Mediterranean coas. The town and caves of Nerja are 45 minutes drive away, presenting an ideal destination for a gentle exploration of Spain's beautiful southern coastline.
Another taxi this morning takes us to La Fabrica la Luz, from where we begin our walk up the valley via the chestnut and cork woods of El Chaparral Farm. These remote and beautiful landscapes contain a rich wealth of fauna and flora, many of which are endemic to the sierras, particularly its raptors and mountain birds. Amongst these landscapes of boxwood and olive groves, yew and Mediterranean woodland, with luck we can get occasional glimpses of golden and Bonnelli's eagles, peregrine falcons and golden orioles. These landscapes are also renowned for large numbers of indigenous mountain goats that only a century ago were on the verge of extinction. Climbing up through these idyllic rural settings we head towards the summit of Cerro Verde (1,346m), a peak similar in height to Ben Nevis, where we enjoy a picnic lunch on the summit, overlooking the panoramas and enjoying the fresh Andalucian air as we look out across the limestone landscapes. After lunch we move south towards Cerro Atalaya, a dramatically craggy peak that is a popular nesting site for birds and where, if we are lucky, we may spot some Bonelli eagles. Descending from the coll via a wide firebreak we are treated to views of the coast and, on a clear day, as far as Gibraltar. Our descent this afternoon brings us full circle back to La Fabrica, where we rendezvous with taxis once more for the return journey back to Canillas. Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with 750 metres of ascent and descent. If you wish to walk back to Canillas this is an additional three kilometres.
Today we take a trip trip to Ardales (Malaga), to walk the famous 'Caminito del Rey' or Kings Path. This route is a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales. Construction of the path began in 1901 and took 4 years to complete. King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the dam, Conde del Guadalhorce and this is how it got its name. The walkway has been re-constructed and reopened to high safety standards in 2015, the path is 1m (3 feet) in width and rises over 100m (330ft) above the river below offering spectacular views along the route. Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours.
Departing Canillas de Albaida this morning we drive to Malaga Airport where the trip ends. We will travel as a group, leaving our hotel at around 8am for the one hour drive to Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP). The earliest your flight can depart is 11am.
7 Break Fast(s) 1 Lunch(es)
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