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 groups 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, the background for our truly ‘once in a lifetime’ walk. We have a choice of routes to get the very best out of our visit to this truly remakable location. We stay for two nights in the historic centre of the town. Walking time up to 5 Hours
Day 4 – Córdoba 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 inredients for our memorable city walk. We leave the Córdoba 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 walking holiday see our visitors book.