Outdoors

So much to see, so much to do

Andalusia has a range of scenery that is one of the most varied and breathtaking in all Europe – as well as around 300 days of sunshine per year. There are innumerable ways to get outdoors and experience it. Based upon our wide knowledge of the region gained from many years of leading clients on walks, activities and excursions, we have put together the following Sample Itineraries, each of which can be tailored to suit the interests, requirements and budget of your group.

Self-Guided Sierras – sample itinerary

  1. Pri­vate trans­fer from either Grana­da or Mála­ga Air­port to the vil­lage of Nigüe­las, which sits at the feet of the Sier­ra Neva­da range, some 20 min­utes due south of Grana­da. Here you will stay overnight in a delight­ful rus­tic inn, set amid almond and olive groves and with a fine restau­rant, a bar by the pool for drinks and snacks on sum­mer evenings, and even a small ham­mam bath for cosy autumn evenings. Overnight: Nigüe­las
  2. You begin your walk­ing on the GR7 today with an ascent along small paths and for­est tracks through pines and almonds to gain fine views over the neigh­bour­ing Lecrin Val­ley, before you begin your way down to the attrac­tive spa town of Lan­jarón. Your overnight stay here is in a spa­cious fam­i­ly-run hotel with delight­ful gar­dens, pool, sun ter­race and a very good restau­rant. There are also the famous min­er­al waters of the town’s spa, which dates back to 1770, so why not enjoy a ther­a­peu­tic aqua cir­cuit? Overnight: Lan­jarón
  3. You pick up the GR7 trail just out­side the town this morn­ing and embark on a route that climbs up to the tran­quil vil­lages of Cañar and Soportú­jar which, since they are off the main road, see far few­er vis­i­tors and pre­serve a feel­ing of “the old way of life”. The route today offers great vari­ety and expan­sive views as far as the Mediter­ranean coast. At the end of the day’s walk­ing in Soportú­jar you will be trans­ferred by taxi the short dis­tance to this evening’s hotel which is set in exten­sive gar­dens of orange and palm trees just out­side the mar­ket town of Órgi­va. Overnight: Órgi­va
  4. You are tak­en by taxi back up to Soportú­jar to re-join the GR7 as it heads over into the stun­ning Poqueira Gorge region. This area, declared to be one of Out­stand­ing Nat­ur­al Beau­ty, is the main focus for tourism in the Alpu­jar­ra, but its three prin­ci­pal vil­lages main­tain their orig­i­nal charms despite the many changes this has brought. Here you will stay two nights in Capileira, one of the high­est vil­lages in Spain (1478m) at a delight­ful fam­i­ly-run hotel set in land­scaped grounds with a pool, occu­py­ing a superb posi­tion over­look­ing not just the vil­lage but the val­leys near and far. Overnight: Capileira
  5. There are sev­er­al walk­ing trails to choose from in the Poqueira Gorge, all start­ing and end­ing on the doorstep of the hotel, and you’ll have more of our sim­ple-to-fol­low pho­to­graph­ic route notes to allow you to explore these on your own. There is also plen­ty to dis­cov­er in the local vil­lages, from craft work­shops to muse­ums show­ing how tra­di­tion­al life was lived until rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly. Or you might like to take an art les­son or go horse-rid­ing – both are avail­able with Eng­lish res­i­dent pro­fes­sion­als. The hotel’s pool and ter­raced gar­dens offer anoth­er option: a lazy day with a good book. Overnight: Capileira
  6. Today is one of the most scenic sec­tions on the itin­er­ary, as you fol­low the GR7 from Bubión into the next val­ley across a ridge (views of the Mediter­ranean) via pine and native oak forests to the vil­lage of Pitres, cen­tre of the dis­trict known as La Tahá, a group­ing that dates back to Moor­ish times. Indeed the next ham­lets along the way, Atal­béi­tar and Fer­reiro­la, have a dis­tinct­ly Berber feel, with white­washed hous­es on nar­row streets. You’ll pass fruit orchards, min­er­al-rich streams and flocks of sheep and goats as you ascent steeply to your overnight stop, the pret­ty vil­lage of Busquís­tar where you stay in a cosy B&B. Overnight: Busquís­tar
  7. From Busquís­tar to Trevélez is one of the more demand­ing (but cer­tain­ly mem­o­rable!) parts of the route with sev­er­al steep climbs involved. It tra­vers­es won­der­ful­ly var­ied scenery: wood­land, open moor­land, and the fast-flow­ing moun­tain waters of the Rio Trevélez deep in the val­ley below. Trevélez, in the lee of Mul­ha­cen peak (3478m), claims to be Spain’s high­est vil­lage. It is a bustling place, famed for its deli­cious jamón ser­ra­no, legs of which which you will see in every bar and restau­rant hang­ing from the ceil­ing. Here you will stay in a com­fort­able hotel with lawned gar­dens, a swim­ming pool, and com­mand­ing views over the town and val­ley. Overnight: Trevélez
  8. After a steep but grad­ual climb out of Trevélez the final stretch of your walk on the GR7 takes you most­ly down­hill, across open coun­try­side, oak wood­lands and pine forests as it winds past qui­et ham­lets such as Timar and Lobras towards your hotel for the last night, a delight­ful coun­try estate a few kilo­me­tres before the vil­lage of Cádi­ar. The hotel has its own vine­yards and tra­di­tion­al bode­ga and its wines com­ple­ment the fine cui­sine in its attrac­tive restau­rant, which uses fresh pro­duce from its kitchen gar­den and oil from the olives grown and milled on site. This is a place which makes for a fit­ting finale to the week – and one you won’t want to leave… Overnight: near Cádi­ar
  9. But leave you must… We can arrange return trans­fers to either Mála­ga or Grana­da air­port, or you may wish to take advan­tage of a few more days hol­i­day and stay on in either city. We offer Post-Tour Exten­sions for both, com­bin­ing our favourite hotels and a range of activ­i­ties.

Multi-Active Andalusia – sample itinerary

  1. The tour begins in Mála­ga with a short stroll through the cen­tre of this ele­gant Mediter­ranean city. After a light lunch near the Roman amphithe­atre we depart by coach to the Alpu­jar­ra region, our base for the first two nights of this moun­tain-coast-city itin­er­ary. Our rur­al hotel in the vil­lage of Capileira, offi­cial­ly the sec­ond high­est in Andalu­sia, is built in a tra­di­tion­al style and offers spa­cious, charm­ing accom­mo­da­tion, as well as an attrac­tive ter­raced gar­den and large swim­ming pool.
  2. Today we get into our stride with a trek through the Poqueira Gorge, a steep-sided ravine which shows con­trast­ing aspects of Alpu­jar­ra life. On the one side are three white vil­lages where in the twist­ing streets and alleys you will find shops offer­ing var­i­ous crafts and cosy bars and restau­rants; on the oth­er, oak and pine woods, mead­ows of wild flow­ers and old farm build­ings, where the only sounds are of bird­song and rush­ing crys­tal-clear streams. After time to relax back at the hotel, we’ll explore a lit­tle more of Capileira, stop­ping in a tra­di­tion­al bode­ga for a tast­ing of local cold cuts, cheeses and wines before din­ner in one of the village’s wel­com­ing restau­rants.
  3. We depart the moun­tains and head towards one of the last stretch­es of vir­gin coast­line in Spain, the Nat­ur­al Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar. Our walk­ing trail takes us along the head­lands of this vol­canic mas­sif with superb views over the Mediter­ranean and then drops down to the shel­tered coves and beach­es of the shore­line. There is time to cool off with a swim in the sea, enjoy a leisure­ly pic­nic lunch and then con­tin­ue the walk into San José. This live­ly small town, based around the orig­i­nal fish­ing vil­lage, will be our base for the next three nights, stay­ing in a com­fort­able 4-star hotel which over­looks the sea and has direct access to the beach.
  4. The pic­turesque vil­lage of La Isle­ta del Moro is where we take to the waters in a fun morn­ing that com­bines snor­kel­ing in the clear, turquoise waters and sea-kayak­ing around the head­land, explor­ing coves and bays. After all this exer­cise you’ll be ready for a well-deserved lunch — and at the local Senior Cit­i­zens Club (!) they serve up hearty fish stews, pael­las, and fish dish­es to sat­is­fy any appetite. The rest of the day is free time, to sleep off lunch with a sies­ta, lie on a beach, or explore the coast fur­ther on foot before an evening check­ing out some of the local bars and restau­rants in San José.
  5. Our jour­ney to Grana­da takes us through the Desert of Taber­nas, a stark, beau­ti­ful land­scape which resem­bles the Amer­i­can Wild West. Indeed, the famous “Spaghet­ti West­erns” were shot here and we will vis­it the sets used in these movies at the Mini Hol­ly­wood theme park, before set­ting off on a moun­tain bike ride through the desert, vis­it­ing oth­er film loca­tions. Lat­er, near the city of Guadix, get an insight into troglodyte life when we see around a cave dwelling by its own­er. Grana­da, the last king­dom in Spain to be ruled by the Moors, is the focus of this after­noon, with a pri­vate tour of the stun­ning Alham­bra palaces and the Albaicín quar­ter, both UNESCO World Her­itage Sites.
  6. Grana­da sits at the feet of Spain’s high­est peaks, the Sier­ra Neva­da, and is a par­adise for moun­tain bik­ers. From near­by Monachil we will set off on an exhil­a­rat­ing route through some of the most beau­ti­ful scenery in rur­al Andalu­sia, led by local guides who know the trails inti­mate­ly so ensur­ing a safe and fun ride. After a pic­nic lunch we return to Grana­da for a free after­noon to relax or explore the city’s many fas­ci­nat­ing back­streets and alley­ways. The day ends in the Sacromonte, a semi-rur­al dis­trict on the edge of the city, where we will see a live­ly per­for­mance of fla­men­co in the local gyp­sy “zam­bra” style.
  7. Now for some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent! An hour’s scenic dri­ve from Grana­da on the old road to the coast we reach the fast-flow­ing waters of the Río Verde, fed by nat­ur­al springs which ensure an all-year flow. The canyon of the Río Verde is an oasis of green­ery and calm and an ide­al venue for a sport known as “canyon­ing”: nav­i­gat­ing down a water course by means of climb­ing, swim­ming, abseil­ing and jump­ing. Our expert Eng­lish-speak­ing mon­i­tors will show you how. At the end of the route we’ll relax with a gourmet pic­nic before mak­ing our way back to Grana­da for an evening out on the town to wrap things up in style.
  8. Today we say our farewells before embark­ing on the jour­ney home or onward trav­els. But, if you can spare a few more days in Andalu­sia we can fix you up with a pack­age of hotel and activ­i­ties in any of the major cities: please ask us about our Post-Tour Exten­sions.

Walking the South – sample itinerary

  1. Seville is undoubt­ed­ly one of Europe’s most impres­sive cities. Its mon­u­ments are a show­case of the rich his­to­ry of Spain: the largest Goth­ic cathe­dral on earth, the sump­tu­ous palaces and gar­dens of the Alcázar, muse­ums and church­es tucked away in the old Jew­ish quar­ter of San­ta Cruz. We will explore all of these today on an expert-led walk­ing tour, as we get an insider’s per­spec­tive on this intrigu­ing city. In the evening we will attend a vibrant fla­men­co show in a the­mat­ic muse­um, before going for tapas Sevil­lano style – seek­ing out the liveli­est bars and shar­ing dish­es of exquis­ite jamón ser­ra­no, local cheeses, fresh seafood and much more.
  2. Our first walk on the tour is from the delight­ful pueblo blan­co of Vejer de la Fron­tera, which sits on a knoll over­look­ing ver­dant farm­ing coun­try­side in the province of Cadiz. Start­ing in the nar­row lanes of the old town, we will walk towards the Cos­ta de la Luz on a love­ly route, much of which is through pine forests. A leisure­ly lunch in the small resort of Caños de Meca is fol­lowed by a walk along the beach to Cape Trafal­gar, site of the leg­endary naval bat­tle of 1805. This evening explore the pic­turesque old quar­ter of Vejer where our charm­ing hotel is locat­ed on the pret­ty Plaza de España.
  3. The Straits of Gibral­tar, with views to Moroc­co, the city of Tang­iers and the Rif Moun­tains, form the back­drop to today’s walk. Bolo­nia, where it begins and ends, is known for the impres­sive­ly vast dune that stands at one end of its gold­en sand beach and the Roman site of Bae­lo Clau­dia. Here we will see well-pre­served ruins of the forum, tem­ple, the­atre, baths and a fish-sauce fac­to­ry (of crit­i­cal impor­tance, as you will learn!). We then set off up the sand dune, our 4 – 5 hour walk con­tin­u­ing along the cliff-tops to the light­house at Pun­ta Camari­nal before we head back to Bolo­nia to enjoy some free time on the beach and then din­ner watch­ing the sun set over the Straits.
  4. Graza­le­ma Nation­al Park, with spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain scenery and abun­dant flo­ra and fau­na, is one of the out­stand­ing areas in Andalu­sia for walk­ing. The name of our route, “The Goatherd’s Leap”, derives from two rocky promon­to­ries sep­a­rat­ed by the dis­tance of a fit and agile leap — but this does not lie on our path so only mod­er­ate fit­ness and agili­ty is required! The lin­ear walk ends in Benao­caz, where we will have lunch before being dri­ven to Graza­le­ma, one of the region’s cel­e­brat­ed “white towns”. Our hotel has some short walk­ing trails in its imme­di­ate vicin­i­ty, a pool for the sum­mer months, and love­ly views over the red roof tops of the town’s hous­es.
  5. Ron­da, set atop a rocky plateau with a chasm-like gorge spanned by a dar­ing 18th cen­tu­ry bridge, is one of Spain’s most pic­turesque towns. It is best seen by approach­ing on foot, and today’s walk takes us from the vil­lage of Benao­ján via some love­ly rur­al scenery to end with won­der­ful views of the gorge and the Puente Nue­vo. The final steep climb is amply reward­ed by lunch in the tran­quil gar­dens of a love­ly restau­rant with views back across the route. In the after­noon we will vis­it Ron­da, its mon­u­ments, attrac­tive parks and noble bull ring in the com­pa­ny of a local guide, who will tell us of the curiosi­ties and rich his­to­ry of this unique Span­ish town.
  6. En route to Grana­da we stop to explore the sur­re­al land­scape known as “El Tor­cal de Ante­quera”, a karst lime­stone out­crop with some strik­ing rock for­ma­tions, gul­lies and pas­sages which we’ll explore on a two hour loop walk. This after­noon we vis­it the Alham­bra — the palaces, fortress and gar­dens which define so much of Granada’s illus­tri­ous past. An expert guide will inter­pret this unique and mag­nif­i­cent com­plex, and then take us on an evening stroll through the his­toric Albaicín dis­trict to enjoy spec­tac­u­lar views and uncov­er qui­et back­streets where a sense of his­to­ry is still pal­pa­ble. We dine in a local restau­rant, enjoy­ing the rich diver­si­ty of the foods and wines of Grana­da Province.
  7. The Alpu­jar­ra, on the south­ern slopes of Sier­ra Neva­da, is a cor­ner of Andalu­sia which shows rur­al life as it has been lived for cen­turies. Criss-crossed by trails which mean­der through orchards, cul­ti­vat­ed ter­races, mead­ows and crys­tal-clear moun­tain streams, the area offers some great hik­ing. On the steep slopes of the Poqueira Gorge we will find three charm­ing white vil­lages, with crafts such as bas­ket­work, weav­ings and pot­tery, and a cui­sine which uses fresh local ingre­di­ents such as moun­tain-cured ham, pep­pers and hon­ey. After lunch in one of the wel­com­ing local restau­rants we head back to Grana­da, where there is free time to explore the old city cen­tre and its bars serv­ing superb local wines — and com­pli­men­ta­ry tapas!
  8. Olives, as far as one can see, and hills dot­ted with Moor­ish cas­tles form the land­scape as we jour­ney north from Grana­da. Our base tonight is the pret­ty white vil­lage of Zuheros in the Sier­ra Sub­béti­ca, a beau­ti­ful Nat­ur­al Park of rugged lime­stone val­leys and soar­ing peaks. From our delight­ful rur­al hotel we will embark on a walk around the Bra­madero hill and the attrac­tive Bailón riv­er val­ley. It’s pos­si­ble we will spot Grif­fon Vul­tures, as well as flocks of graz­ing goats and sheep and a wide array of wild­flow­ers. This evening we dine in a restau­rant set under­neath a flood­lit cas­tle, sam­pling the excel­lent local dish­es such as Roast Suck­ling Pig, Par­tridge Paté and Goat’s Cheese & Wal­nut Sal­ad.
  9. Liq­uid gold” is what many call the extra vir­gin olive oils pro­duced in this region. In Bae­na we vis­it a mill found­ed in 1795 where we learn about the process and taste their oil, 100% organ­ic. We con­tin­ue to Cór­do­ba, a city of incom­pa­ra­ble his­to­ry. Once the cap­i­tal of the Moor­ish domin­ions of “al-Andalus”, the high­lights are its unique mosque-cathe­dral, the sim­ple syn­a­gogue in the old Jew­ish quar­ter, and its numer­ous flo­ral patios. At tonight’s farewell din­ner we will sam­ple local dish­es such as orange and cod­fish sal­ad, spinach and pine nut cro­quettes, and hon­eyed pas­tries based on recipes from the times of al-Andalus.
  10. Depar­ture. Cór­do­ba is linked by high-speed train to Madrid and Mála­ga, allow­ing for quick and easy onward trans­fers to many des­ti­na­tions. Alter­na­tive­ly, you may wish to stay on in Cór­do­ba or this region for a few more days in which case we can help you with our pack­ages of hotel + activ­i­ties — our Post-Tour Exten­sions.