Andalucía (or Andalusia as it is often written) is a magnificent part of southern Spain – a country with wonderful walking. Each area of Spain offers something special to the walker but a self-guided walking holiday in Andalucia is particularly good because of the climate. And our area, the Genal Valley and National Park Sierra de las Nieves, is extra special because it is an unspoiled paradise with undiscovered pueblos blancos, the white mountain villages of Andalucia. Many walking groups come to the south and some areas are saturated – not so here, particularly the Alto Genal which offers spectacular pristine scenery, medium level hiking, and the secure knowledge that you will never be in a procession! You will be off the tourist trail.
Our nearest town, Ronda, a busy tourist hub, is just 15 minutes away and the nearest airport is Malaga, 90 minutes´drive. Please refer to this page for details of airlines and other options such as bus and train. We can make arrangements for airport collection if required. Some of the walks are right out of the hotel door, others you need to drive to so a hire car is the best way to go. We recommend Allincarhire at Malaga airport because, as their name suggests, it is all-inclusive with no pressure to buy extra insurance which can be extortionate.
The trails we have documented for our guests are easy to follow with our detailed notes and either take you to other villages or to wilderness areas. Either way they are safe and anybody with medium ability can enjoy this peaceful area. We can supply poles if required.
Each village has a small bar or cafe or tiny shop. We do encourage our guests to spread the wealth and use the little businesses in the villages but we can provide picnics for those routes without a watering hole.
No special clothing is required except the general rule of layering particularly for winter walking when the temperatures can start off cool and rise as the sun gets higher so you might want to remove a layer. Boots are good but strong walking sandals for warmer months work well. At some seasons, Spring and Winter, a light rainproof jacket would be a good thing to have in your pack.
As for when to walk here, any time with the possible exception of July and August when the temperatures are too high for safety unless one is prepared to get up before dawn, take a picnic breakfast, and be back home by eleven o´clock.
The three essential items to have all year round are water bottle, suncream, and a hat. I will nag you to make sure you have them! And my mobile number in case you decide you want to give up and would like a pickup to come home.
Self-guided walking in Andalucia, Alto Genal
and Parque Nacional Sierra de las Nieves
Our Little Loop – 30 minutes
Cartajima to Parauta – 1 hour 15 min each way
Cartajima to Pujerra – 1 hour 30 minutes each way
Cartajima to Parauta to Igualeja to Cartajima – 16 km, 5 hours
Cartajima to Pujerra to Juzcar to Cartajima – 16 km, 5 hours
Los Riscos Loop – From the car park 1 hour 30 mins
A wander around Ronda – 3 hours
Over the mountain to Ronda – 12 km, 4 – 5 hours
Sierra de las Nieves – 4 hours walking, 40 mins drive
Caminito del Rey (reservation required) – 1 hour 15 min drive each way, 3 hours walking
Wildlife that you might see
If you are quiet and alert, you may see wild boar (don’t get too close if they have babies with them) , snakes which are more frightened of you and will disappear unless you insist upon being friendly – not a good idea, roe deer, wild horses.
We have fantastic bird life including four species of eagle and griffon vultures, the European bird with the greatest wingspan. Migration north and south occurs in March and October, both great periods for walking in Andalusia. Hoopoes, red legged partridges, and much more.
Whilst rabbits are said to be the gastronomic delight of the area, one seldom sees them. I guess they have all been eaten.
In the fifteen years I have been in the valley I have seen on two occasions Egyptian mongoose. How they got here from Egypt I don´t know.
There are ibex in the mountainous area and you might sight them when you do the Los Riscos Loop or go Over the Mountain to Ronda.
And now follow some specific recommendations for self-guided walking in Andalusia. We offer a 3,5 or 7 day walking holiday with full board and luxury accommodation.
Next is the Caminito del Rey which is spectacular but hard to get tickets. We can help so just ask.
The national parks which are a wondrous place – so pristine, so magnificent, so very calming. Not to be missed.
And the last link below has information about the seven unknown white pueblo blanco villages in the Alto Genal. We are proud to be in this valley that is so incredibly beautiful at all times of the year.
Whatever your requirements, we can help you put together the walking holiday of your dreams! We can accommodate groups up to 12 people. And we can provide a guide if required – it´s not necessary but if you would prefer, it´s no problem.
Our auto-guided walking in unspoilt Andalucia is just one of the many options on offer in this peaceful area. The Alto Genal particularly is a walker’s paradise with quiet trails and a journey of discovery; walking in the wild, experiencing crazy heights or gentle strolls. A number of National parks are located nearby, with wonderful wildlife and chilling but intriguing vestiges of the civil war.
Whilst we offer a suggested itinerary, this can be rearranged or changed to reflect your interests. More time shopping in busy nearby Ronda if you like!
7-Day Walking Auto-guided Holiday
Hotel Los Castanos has designed a 7-day walking holiday in Spain which includes some wonderful routes through quiet chestnut forests and over the top of limestone karst. Meals and wine are included in the holiday. This really is unspoilt Andalucia!
The GR141 which harks back to the Romantic Andalucia days in the 19th century when travellers from Gibraltar came inland and ventured through the bandito-laden mountains to Ronda. Details on this page.
Guide to walking the Genal Valley
And then for walkers there is this incredibly detailed guide that some guests of ours have created and shared with us. It is truly amazing and applaud their attention to detail. Check it out!
There are also paleolithic caves to excite and mystify you, attempting to answer the age-old question of why humans went to such lengths to make marks and pictures on remote, hard to access cave walls. It is intriguing.
Extreme Mountain Biking Trails
We have also developed an impressive set of three extreme mountain biking routes for the intrepid. Details here!
Walking & Bird Watching in Andalucia
Birding is big in this area. We are on the migration route from north to south and back again in March and October. We have four species of eagles and Griffons vulures flying above the rooftop terrace and too many LBJs to mention! We also have an incredible expert who will take you out for the day and reveal fascinating ornithological, botanical and even cultural insights. Peter Jones. Contact him here.