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Need help with plan to walk the "white village" region of Andalucia, Spain

Need help with plan to walk the "white village" region of Andalucia, Spain

Aug 1st, 2009, 12:16 AM
  #1  
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Need help with plan to walk the "white village" region of Andalucia, Spain

We are 4 couples that want to walk this region for four days in early November. Would prefer an "inn to inn" itinerary but can't decide which area and route would allow us to do this. Perhaps the Grazalema or Los Alcornales parks. We are capable walkers but don't want to spend more than 5-6 hours a day on the trail. In addition to the scenic nature of the walk and the charm of the villages, the lodging aspect is important to some of us (better than average but not necessarily luxurious). We don't want a guided tour but we may need assistance with baggage transport each day. Any route, village or lodging suggestions? Is such a plan even possible? Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience.
Mary is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 05:30 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi Mary,
The Nature park of Grazalema is much more interesting than the Alcornocales park. And there are paths between the villages.
You will find route descriptions, maps, GPS waypoints and a lot of photographs from here: http://www.topwalks.net/en/sierra_grazalema.htm
You could make a round trip in the park. The Río Majaceite route takes you from El Bosque to Benamahoma. Then you can continue to Llanos del Campo following a rather nice path up to the mountains.
There is also a path, that takes you to Grazalema over the mountains, but I have never walked that route. One alternative is to follow the country road A-372 to Puerto Presillas and go to Grazalema through Llano del Endrinal.
Then you could walk back to Puerto Presillas - there are two paths between Grazalema and Puerto Presillas - and, walk to Benaocaz either taking the Salto del Cabrero route or El Dornajo route. (you will find the map from the above mentioned website).
The route from Benaocaz to Villaluenga is partly along a road again.
From Villaluenga I would go to Puerto del Correo and Llanos del Líbar as explained in Topwalks and then continue all the way to Montejaque.
From Montejaque you might like to go to Ronda for example.

The Topwalks website is offering day walks, and you can study both the Grazalema and Los Alcornocales parks on this site. And you can use parts of the circuit routes, if you want to hike just from one village to another.
Looking at the photos you can see, that Grazalema is much more interesting. Plus, there are a number of charming villages like Grazalema, Benaocaz and Zahara de la Sierra.
walksntalks is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 10:09 PM
  #3  
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Thanks so much! There is a lot of info here so I will check it out over the weekend and let you know if I have questions. The feedback on the 2 parks is very helpful and I appreciate that for starters.
Mary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:15 AM
  #4  
 
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The Molino del Santo in Benoajan is a super place to stay and catered to hikers, offering lunches, maps, etc. You might contact them for thoughts.
weber6560 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 11:08 AM
  #5  
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I checked out the topwalks site which initially looked confusing but was actually chockful of good stuff. The photos are a huge help. Walksntalks, you mentioned that Los A appears less appealing but since there was only 2 hikes described it wasn't that clear to me that Graz is a better region to hike. However, it does look like Graz has more tight knit towns and walking "inn to inn" is probably easier to facilitate. I am sharing this info with my walking mates and we may have more questions so I trust you are in the habit of checking this topic.
Weber6560....I have heard of the Molino del Santo and it looks great. Any other suggestions for other nights lodging?
Thanks for all suggestions!
Mary is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:45 PM
  #6  
 
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That is exactly the difference between the Nature parks of Alcornocales and Grazalema. Also, I found Alcornocales not so interesting as Grazalema (landscape, routes, villages) and you should apply for permission to walk the most interesting routes in Alcornocales. I remember only one route in Grazalema (to the north from Llanos del Campo), where the permission was needed.
We tried to apply permission for one route. First, the telephone number offered in information panels was wrong. When we finally got the right number, they only spoke Spanish with a Cadiz accent, that we couldn't understand.
All the routes the Topwalks website is offering are free to visit.
And one more thing. The easy walk between Benaocaz and Ubrique is rather interesting. It's actually an old Roman road.
I would do this: El Bosque - Benamahoma - Grazalema (my favourite village) - Benaocaz - Ubrique - Villaluenga del Rosario - (Llanos del Libar) - Montejaque - Ronda.
walksntalks is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:07 PM
  #7  
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Your route looks like 8 days. Are you suggesting overnighting in each place? What if you only have 4 days of hiking? Interesting comment about the need for permits. Want to avoid that.
Mary is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 02:43 AM
  #8  
 
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Hi Mary,
This should be doable...
Day 1: El Bosque - Benamahoma - Llanos del Campo - Puerto del Boyar - Grazalema
Day 2: Grazalema - Llano del Endrinal - Puerto de las Presillas - Puerto del Boyar - Salto del Cabrero - Benaocaz - Villaluenga del Rosario
Day 3: Villaluenga - Llanos del Republicano - Puerto del Correo - Llanos del Líbar - Montejaque
Day 4: Montejaque - Ronda
I believe days 2 and 3 would be the most interesting hiking days. Day 4 is easy, but it would leave you some time for Ronda.
I am not perfectly happy with the Day 1 though. And I like Grazalema a lot, so instead, I would consider making a day walk from Grazalema on day 1 and spend two nights in Grazalema. For example, you could make the Sierra Endrinal walk on day 1: http://www.topwalks.net/en/grazalema...a_endrinal.htm
And then follow it with days 2, 3, 4 as mentioned above.
I have never walked the route from Montejaque all the way to Ronda, but it should be rather easy to follow, because the Topwalks route leads to the old Villaluenga - Ronda road. So, you should find the rest of the route from any map.
walksntalks is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 07:35 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi Mary,
I checked my maps one more time.
About day 1: You will find the route description in the Topwalks website called Río Majaceite, which leads from El Bosque to Benamahoma. The easiest way from Benamahoma to Puerto del Boyar (close to Grazalema) goes through Llanos del Campo, but then you must walk a couple of kilometres on the asphalt road A-372. There is not much traffic though.
On my Spanish map there is an alternative route: Camping de los Linares in Benamahoma - Arroyo del Pinar - Fuente del Pinar - Pinsapar - Puerto del Boyar.
It's on the map, but I haven't walked this route myself. And by experience, I have learned not to trust the Spanish maps. Some paths on the map do not exist or they are impossible to follow or too dangerous to walk.
From Puerto del Boyar I would go directly to Camping Tajo Rodillo and visit Llano del Endrinal and Puerto de las Presillas on my way to Benaocaz the next day.

If you can find a reliable route description for this Benamahoma - Arroyo del Pinar - Pinsapar - Puerto del Boyar route, you have all the problems solved concerning the Day 1.

One more thing about Days 3 and 4: The route Villaluenga - Llanos de Líbar - Montejaque - Ronda is part of GR-7. It is marked with red and white paint. And you should find easily more information on it all the way to Ronda.

There are a lot of paths in the Nature park of Grazalema. It can make things a bit confusing. This is why I like the Topwalks route descriptions, which are very detailled and accurate. Also, it seems to me, they are trying to avoid dangerous and very confusing routes.
walksntalks is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 10:10 AM
  #10  
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Walksntalks...wow! I am so impressed that you would take the time to give me so much detail. I am checking this at work so I don't have my Andalucia Michelin map (which might show the start and stop villages) and I will be out late tonight but I wanted you to know that I appreciate all this information so much! Have you ever used Guy Hunter-Watts book on walking in Andalucia? He makes the walks through this area sound idyllic and enticing.
Will be back tomorrow or the weekend. Thanks again!
Mary is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 04:11 PM
  #11  
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Walksntalks....I've looked at these routes a bit and they mostly look like they are all possible to do in 5-6 hours which gives us time to check out the villages as well. The task now is to find nice lodgings in these locations. I'm going to suggest to my team the Parador in Ronda and the Molino del Santo in Benaojan, which looks like it is fairly near Montejacque so hopefully we can end a day there. Not much in Villaluenga del Rosario and even my attempts to find something special in Grazalema are not panning out. I have read a few walk descriptions that say "take a taxi back to your lodging". Is it that easy to find a taxi in these little villages? Again I thank you for all your suggestions.
Mary is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 12:39 AM
  #12  
 
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I did not find the nice lodgings, that I could recommend, and unfortunately I have forgotten the names. In El Bosque for example there is a rather nice hotel close to the first roundabout when you arrive from A-373. But, they don't have a website, it seems!
I think you will find the most interesting places, if you search with "casa ruraral", "casas rurales", "alojamiento rural" and "alojamiento" plus the name of the village or "Parque Natural de la Sierra de Grazalema".
Some of the casas rurales are cheap, some very comfortable. Most of their websites seem to be in Spanish only...

Taxi may be difficult to get in very small villages. It is not a problem in El Bosque, Grazalema and Ronda though. In smaller villages you may need to go to a bar or restaurant and ask them to call you one.
walksntalks is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 10:01 PM
  #13  
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Well, thanks for the other info...I may try other searches. Still lots of info to consider. You've done well for us!
Mary is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:55 PM
  #14  
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Decisions made on walk through the pueblos blancos in Andalucia! Thanks to info provided by walksntalks we have selected our routes. Day 1 - starting in Grazalema with the option of ending at Benamahoma (14K) or El Bosque (add 4K).
Overnight in Grazalema. Day 2: Grazalema to Benaocaz (14.5K) to Villaluenga (add 5K). Overnight in Villaluenga. Day 3: Villaluenga to Montejaque (16 K) to Benoajan (add 3K). Overnight in Benaojan. Day 4: combination of walks in the area ending in Ronda. Overnight in Ronda.
We bought a great map of the area which shows much detail. It made all the difference in planning. All we need now is good weather! Thanks for the help provided on this forum!
Mary is offline  
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