Spain Andalusia Walk Write a review
A riot of wildflowers and jagged snow-capped mountains provide a colourful backdrop to this Andalusia walking tour. Flamenco dancers and gypsy music add spice, while the majestic Alhambra Palace and the twisting streets of Granada’s Moorish Albaicin neighborhood provide old-world charm. You’ll be awed by the scale and brilliance of Cordoba’s “Mesquita,” once the biggest mosque in the Arab world and then transformed by the Spanish, who built an enormous Renaissance cathedral directly inside of it. You’ll also enjoy guided walks through Andalusia’s impressive landscapes, along ancient paths from one whitewashed village to another, past rolling hills, almond orchards, olive groves, and rocky ravines. At night we stay in charming local villages as well as world-class cities like Granada and Córdoba. You’ll love the warmth of the Andalusian people, and of course be treated to their delicious food and wine.
Spain Andalusia Walk itinerary
Independent arrival in Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain known as the Costa del Sol. Meet your guide(s) and the rest of the group at 5 p.m. for a brief orientation talk followed by a guided walk through 3,000 years of history. Malaga was founded by the Phoenicians, conquered by the Romans, then the Moors, and then taken “back” by the Spanish crown in the 1500s. Today it is a peaceful, bustling city, with a festive atmosphere and a colorful historic city centre. Of course, our first dinner has to be tapas in a local tapas bar! We stay at the Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano (or similar) in the city center. Hotel and dinner included. Overnight Malaga. Hotel and dinner included.
After breakfast, a one-hour transfer takes you to the start of our first hike. A tree-sheltered path leads you to the San Cristóbal plain, where you begin a gradual climb to Fuente de los Hornaos and the Camino de la Dehesa. After the climb you're rewarded with a wonderful panoramic view. We eventually follow a Roman road to the town of Casarabonela that sits beneath the hills you have just hiked. We have an afternoon transfer to the Hotel Fuente del Sol, a lovely 4-star country lodge with a spa and sweeping views over the surrounding landscape near Antequera. Dinner in the hotel dining room. The Walk: 14.5 km/9 mi or approx. 5 hrs. Overnight near Antequera. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
We transfer this morning to “El Torcal,” a natural park presenting a surreal landscape of twisted and layered karstic limestone, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hike follows the Route of the Ammonites, which features an extraordinary collection of fossils as well as sweeping vistas over the most important karstic landscape in Europe. Afterwards, stop for lunch at a historic winery whose history goes back to Roman times (there are even Neolithic paintings adorning the caves located on the estate!). Enjoy a lovely lunch under the shady expanse of enormous plane trees, then return to our hotel for some rest and relaxation and take in the soft light of the setting sun bathing the surrounding hills. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Antequera. The Walk: 8 km/5 mi or approx. 4 hrs. Overnight near Antequera. Hotel, breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Bid farewell to Antequera this morning and head to the beautiful “pueblo bianco” (white village) of Badolatosa for the start of our walk in the Embalse di Malpasillo Natural Reserve. Following the walk, we have a short transfer to a charming restaurant in the village of Moriles. From there we transfer into magical Cordoba, where we check into our hotel, conveniently located a short walk from the “Mezquita” and the historic city centre. You’ll have a guided visit of the incredible mosque-turned-cathedral and the Jewish quarter, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tonight you will enjoy a special dinner in a private home belonging to friends of ours. We stay at the Hotel Posada Vallina. The Walk: 10 km/6 mi or approx. 3 hrs. Overnight Cordoba. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Transfer into the countryside this morning for a beautiful loop walk that takes us into an unexpectedly verdant forest featuring streams, waterfalls, Moorish mills, and Roman ruins. Stop for a picnic lunch along the banks of the river and then return to Cordoba to explore on your own. Tonight we try some more tapas and then attend a Flamenco show in a non-touristic, authentic local bar. The Walk: 11 km/6.8 mi or approx. 3.5 hrs. Overnight Cordoba. Hotel, breakfast, picnic lunch, and dinner included.
Today we hike from the white-washed hilltop village of Zuheros to neighbouring Zagrilla Alta. Wonderful panoramic views unfold as we walk past olive groves, rocky gorges, and meadows of wildflowers. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way, and then finish around 3:30 p.m., at which point we have a short transfer to a local olive mill for a special tasting. Arrive in splendid Granada in the late afternoon and check into the Hotel Casa Capitel. Before dinner, your guides will take you on an orientation walk through medieval Granada. The Walk: 15 km/9 mi or approx. 4.5 hrs. Overnight Granada. Hotel, breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Today we take you into the mountains to hike amongst the spectacular peaks of the Sierra Nevada. We start from the village of Guejar Sierra, which sits at an altitude of 1,080 m (3,500 ft.), and follow a path known as the “route of water” as we walk along streams of the Maitena River and Ahorí Mountains. Spectacular views and wildflowers abound. The Walk: 17 km/10.5 mi or approx. 6 hrs. Overnight Granada. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
This morning we have a guided visit of the stunning Alhambra, a massive medieval complex of fortresses, palaces, and gardens that was home to the Islamic rulers of Spain for centuries. It is now Spain’s most visited monument. Afterwards, join us for an optional walk through the Albaicín neighbourhood, a picturesque jumble of streets and alleyways, churches and high-walled gardens, where you can get a great view of the Alhambra framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. No visit to Granada is complete without two rituals: a stop at one of the famous “teterias” (or tea houses) in the old town followed by a cleansing spa bath in a traditional Moorish Hammam. Now that you are squeaky clean, hop into the van for a 2-hour transfer to Malaga where we will have a splendid farewell dinner. We stay at the Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano (or similar). Overnight Malaga. Hotel, breakfast, spa/hammam, and dinner included.
Your guides will be happy to organize a taxi for you to the airport or other destinations. Breakfast included.
The walks in Andalusia contain moderate hills over some uneven terrain, but nothing particularly "technical." We usually walk between 3-5 hours a day, divided between morning and afternoon. We have designed the trip so that there is always some free time in the late afternoon so you can relax, read, or explore the towns we stay in. Breakfast is included every day, and dinners reflect the excellent traditional food of the region. Daily distance between 8 and 14 kms.
Activity Level 3+ = Moderate Plus:
In general: This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers who will find them a satisfying workout and challenging but do-able for not-so-fit hikers who invariably feel a great sense of achievement at the end of the tour!
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent steep ascents and descents. The "+" indicates that they also involve more rugged, rocky, or steep terrain than the 3 rated tours.
Actual walking time: Between 4-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 8 and 12 kms/5 and 7 miles. Max distance is 16 kms/9 miles.
Surfaces: Trails consist of compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and frequently on rocky and uneven trails. Ancient stone staircases and trails with stone steps are often present.
Footing: Good, but you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: The hikes are generally on safe, secure trails, some of which occasionally open out along mountain slopes, which could potentially bother someone suffering from vertigo (but there’s nothing literally on a cliff’s edge). The greatest elevation gain is around 800 m (2,600 ft.) except for the last day, which is the toughest. On that day we hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains up to an altitude of 3,100 m (10,100 ft.) with an elevation gain of a bit more than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.). There are some open areas but on good trails with good footing. The altitude could cause minor problems to anyone very sensitive to altitude sickness.
Hiking Poles: Highly recommended but not required, and if you habitually use hiking pole you will regret it if you don’t have them.
Compared to the Cinque Terre: The Cinque Terre is the perfect example of a 3+ rated tour. Our most common comment about the Cinque Terre walk and other tours rated 3+ is “More challenging than I expected but I am glad I did it”.
Other: This tour is appropriate for “sporty and fit” first time “hikers” who enjoy walking and who have good balance and who are coordinated. People with hip and knee issues might find a 3+ tour challenging because of the terrain and the duration of the hikes.
Moderate Plus Tours: Amalfi is the easiest of this group, then Dolomites Lite, then Cinque Terre. Sardinia, Northern Greece Meteora and Zagori are about the same, and then Andalusia.
Trip Cost Includes: 8 nights accommodation in three, four and five star properties (1 night Malaga, 2 nights Antequera, 2 nights Cordoba, 3 nights Granada), 8 breakfasts and dinners plus 4 lunches (some picnics); all van transfers starting with departure from Malaga on Day 2 until the final transfer to Malaga at the end of the tour; at least 1 bilingual tour leader up to 8 participants, and two bilingual tour leaders if the group size exceeds 8 participants; and all visits as noted in the itinerary including guided visit of Cordoba, entrance to the Mesquita, Flamenco experience, and Granada Hammam experience.
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Getting There: the trip starts in Málaga, which is served by southern Spain’s largest international airport with flights from all over Europe as well as New York’s JFK. The airport is some 8 km from the center of the city, a journey which you can make by taxi, train or bus.
Air: most trans-continental flights into Spain arrive in Madrid or Barcelona, but Málaga is a key destination for many European airlines so check flights there as well. For more information see the airport's website for current flight schedules.
Rail: trains from Madrid, on the high-speed AVE service, take under 3 hours. From Barcelona the journey time by AVE is under 6 hours, and there is also a sleeper train which takes 10 hours. For more information, see the Spanish train service (RENFE) website.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends back in Malaga after breakfast on Sunday morning. We can arrange taxis to take you to the airport or train station.
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
Another great trip with custom walks. A nice rhythm of hiking, dining and touring remarkable sites in southern Spain. The guides were fantastic--this was an elaborate trip to organize and they shared perspectives and their interests in the area and in life. Andalusia itself is fascinating--centuries of enlightened Moorish rule with beautiful preserved sites and a regional culture that includes flamenco. I enjoy a week of only having to make one decision---red or white wine. For many years we made our own travel arrangements, but with these trips I became aware of the wear and tear that can distract from simply experiencing the day and the place. Let go, let guide.
From our first contact with Customwalks about our desire to customize our trip (by choosing our companions and requesting longer hikes) to the end, when we said our sad goodbyes to our guides and to Andalusia, we could hardly have been more pleased. Luca and Marco were knowledgeable, organized, attentive, friendly, creative, and fun. We’re richer from knowing them and are eager to hike with them again!
Luca and Marco were fabulous companions on our walk through Andalusia. The effort they must have spent to lay the groundwork for the trip (which we were able to customize in advance) was evident by how smooth the week went, the variety and quality of hikes and meals, and the daily surprises that ensured that no two days were alike. Truly an amazing experience!
I had the best time. Our guide, Jonathan, was very knowledgeable about Spanish history and culture. It was hike, coffee, hike, food, hike, drinks/dinner. Enough activity but at a very relaxed pace. The accommodations were clean and comfortable. We saw the standard big attractions in Malaga, Cordoba and Granada but also went to places off the routine itinerary. The white cities were amazing, the wild flowers gorgeous, the food delicious, the local people welcoming. We had a small group and paid a supplement which is why the value is average, but it was worth every Euro and then some.
Wonderful experience in every way. Every day a surprise. Never dissatisfied. Guides were excellent and concerned about our experience. Great communications. Everything was positive and professional. We would do it again. Andelusia is wild and wonderful. Beautiful scenery and people. Jim A.
by Jim A.