Spanish Steps


Journey through al Andalus

Escorted 'Rail & Hike' adventure
through Moorish Spain



Granada to Malaga
With walks in El Torcal, Cordoda, Ronda
and  the Caminito del Rey

"Thanks for an amazing holiday and for sharing with us your beautiful part of the world, we thoroughly enjoyed  every bit of it"

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Rail and Hike through Moorish Spain
Our Rail & Hike adventures include visits to some of the finest historical towns and cities in Andalucia together with some wonderful daily walks and hikes. Travel between locations is by train through varying and often dramatic scenery. The rail journeys are comfortable and relaxed in ultra modern and sometimes high-speed trains. What better way can there be for people who enjoy walking to get the very best out of Andalucia.

This itinerary starts in Granada where we stay for one night and include a visit to the Alhambra Palaces. From Granada we head east to Antequera, visit Cordoba by high speed train, then south to Ronda, another jewel from the Moorish occupation of Spain. We then head back east through the 'lakes of Andalucia' and the chance to walk the newly opened Caminito del Rey. The Journey ends in the historic centre of Malaga. On route, we stay in carefully chosen hotels and eat in excellent local restaurants. We rate the daily walks as Level 1 & 2 dependent on the amount of travel and cultural interest in the day. It is possible to opt out of any of the daily walks but few choose to do so. At the end of the tour it is easy to leave by air from Malaga or by train or bus for onward travel in Spain.




ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival in Granada 
The starting point for the holiday is Granada where we stay for one night. (Please see notes on Travel and Transport
below.) We are likely to stay in  a charming old converted town house  in the historic centre of this world renowned city.  This is perfectly situated for our visit to the Alhambra Palaces which we may visit in the early evening or the following morning. In the evening we may follow our gastronomic Ruta de las tapas in the old town or stroll to the Realejo for dinner.

Day 2 - Granada and the Alhambra Palaces
The Alhambra Palace was one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world when created in the 13th &14th centuries. It remains so today and is one of Europe's premier tourist destinations. Our favourite (and less busy) time to visit is the early evening of  Day 1. This leaves more time for our city walk on Day 2 and there is so much to experience. Our walk takes us to the cave houses of Sacromonte with visits to some of the lesser known 'gems of Granada' on  the way. On the walk back to Plaza San Nicolas the views across to the mountains and the Alhambra are just stunning. We may have a late lunch here before descending through the Moorish quarter of the the Albaicin on route to the station for the late afternoon train to Antequera. Walking time. Up to 4 Hours

 Day 3 - Antequera and El Torcal
Antequera is almost undiscovered by tour companies but has an astonishing amount of monuments, all dominated by a Moorish castle. In the distance, the 4,000 ft. high karstic plateau of El Torcal can be seen and is the main reason for our visit. It is difficult to believe that the whole area was under the sea one hundred million years ago. Since then it has been sculptured by nature into the most incredible display of rock formations and scenery one could possibly imagine. We have a choice of routes for our second hike in this unique location. We stay for two nights in the historic centre of the town. Walking time up to 5 Hours  

Day 4 - Cordoba and the Mezquita
The 120 km journey from Antequera to Cordoba takes just 31 minutes on the AVE high speed train. In the 10th and 11th centuries the city was the most powerful and influential in Europe. During this time the Mezquita was completed and is now regarded as the largest, most glorious mosque in the Western World. It is one of the most visited monuments in Spain and declared a World Heritage site in 1984. The historic city centre received a similar declaration in 1994 and together they form the basis for our memorable third walk. We leave the city on the afternoon fast train for Ronda where stay for two nights. Walking time up to 4 Hours

Day 5 - Rest Day in Ronda with optional town and country walk
Our small charismatic hotel is in the historic centre of Ronda close to the famous bullring. The town is the the most well known of all the pueblos blancos famed for it's spectacular gorge and bridge. A great location for a rest day but we also offer a guided morning walk into the Serrania de Ronda countryside from the north of the town. It is easy walking with great views across to the Sierras de Grazalema and return to the town with a stiff climb and spectacular views of the bridge from below. After lunch, time for some independent sight seeing or join our town walk taking in some of the best historical sites in Ronda and maybe a visit to the Palace of the Moorish king and descent into the secret mine. Walking time up to 4 Hours

Day 6 - Ronda to the 'lakes' of Andalucia
After breakfast we leave Ronda by road for the Parque Natural de Guadalhorce and Teba where we stay for one night. Our delightful hotel is in a peaceful location between the lakes and perfectly situated for our walk along the Caminito del Rey to El Chorro the following day. After the transfer from Ronda, we offer a pleasant walk though the pine covered hills with great views up to the Necropolis of Alguilliras. These ancient buriel tombs date back to 2500 BC well before the formation of the lakes less than 100 years ago. Walking time Up to 4 Hours

Day 7 - El Chorro and the Caminito del Rey 
Spanish Steps researched this famous walk 20 years ago and found it unsuitable for our purpose! It subsequently became known as ‘the scariest walkway in the world’ and was closed a few years later. After huge expense the Caminito del Rey has now been made super safe and re-opened, allowing access to one of Spain’s most spectacular walking trails. The walk is now suitable for all but the most faint hearted but we also offer an alternative walk for those unlikely to enjoy the experience. Both walks end in El Chorro in time for lunch. We then board the train for Malaga and walk to our hotel in the historic centre of the city. Walking time around 3 Hours

Day 8 - Malaga - The end of the journey
Although it’s history dates back for almost 3,000 years Malaga is now best-known as the gateway to the Costa de Sol. Most of the annual 13 million visitors head straight for the beaches - all the better for those who come to enjoy this atmospheric, unspoilt and underrated city. For almost 700 years it was the major port for trade between the two continents of al Andalus. What better place for us to end our own 'Rail & Hike' journey. Some guests may choose to spend an extra night in Malaga or continue their travels in Spain before returning home.

For more comments from our guests about this holiday see our visitors book.



Dates and Prices

Autumn 2018    Saturday 8 - 15 September

Spring 2019       Wednesday 29 May - 5 June 

Cost £695* per person    *Single supplement £105

Travel
The holiday starts in Granada and ends in Malaga. Please see notes on travel at the foot of the page

What is included

- 7 Nights in carefully chosen hotels with en-suite rooms.
- Breakfasts.
- Evening meals with wine. (Excluding rest day)
- Escorted daily guided hikes and city walks .
- Entrance to the Alhambra Palaces
- Entrance to the Caminito del Rey
- Bag Transfers
- All travel costs from Granada to Malaga


Travel and Transport
Flights are not included allowing guests to travel from their most convenient local airport, or meet up in Spain. The meeting point for the holiday is in Granada where we stay for one night.  There are a few direct flights into Granada airport but many more into Malaga. If you choose to fly into Malaga, there is a direct and inexpensive coach service to Granada but you will need to arrive on an early flight if you wish to transfer on the same day (See below*). 
On departure, the holiday ends in Malaga where we stay for one night. From Malaga centre there are frequent and convenient shuttle services to the airport and also to the train and bus stations for onward travel in Spain.

*If you have the time available, we do recommend travelling a day before the start of the holiday and staying an extra night in Granada  (or Malaga if you arrive there on a late flight). There is so much for us to see and we try to visit the Alhamba in the evening of the first day if at all possible. 

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