Cliffs above Maro

The Silk Trail

Guided walking holiday 
From the mountains to the 

“Thank you for another wonderful holiday. It was a fantastic week and the walks were truly spectacular”

By the 10th Century the Moors had established al-Andalus as the major silk-producing region in the western world. The warm south facing slopes of the sierras of the Axarquia perfectly suited the silk moth. Mulberry trees were cultivated in great numbers and villages sprang into life. The mulberry trees have gone but the pretty pueblos blancos still cling to the hillsides. Many of the ancient paths still exist and are the theme for this unique 8 day walking adventure.

Accommodation for the first three nights is in our own Casa Rurale in the heart of Cómpeta or the delightful Posada del Cani close by. We stay for the next two nights at the hotel Villa Frigiliana and the last two nights in the Playa Maro close to one of the prettiest beaches in Spain. Both hotels have en-suite rooms and swimming pools (in season). Breakfasts are provided and main meals enjoyed at excellent local restaurants (except for the rest day).

The Silk Trail walks the length of the south facing slopes of the Sierras Tejeda y Almijara, connecting villages on the way. This guided walk starts in the west at an altitude of 2,000ft and climbs up and around the south facing foothills of La Maroma, the 5th highest mountain in Spain. Each of the five sections of the linear trail are ‘classic’ walks’ in their own right with great scenery, views and interest. The terrain varies from steep mountain paths to gently descending tracks. The walks are rated as Level 2 but, for those that choose, there are longer and shorter options on some days. It is possible to opt out of any of the walks but few choose to do so. The trail ends in Maro to the east where the mountains dramatically drop to the Mediterranean sea. For guests who would like to extend their holiday, this tiny village is close to the popular resort of Nerja with easy bus connections back to Malaga and to Granada.

The starting point for the holiday is Malaga and we provide transfers at specified times from Malaga airport to Cómpeta. Transfers from Maro are back to Malaga airport. If you are tempted to stay on in Spain for a few days, Nerja, close to Maro is a popular holday resort. There is also a direct coach service from Nerja to Granada and back to Malaga airport.

Itinerary & Walks*

Day 1 – Arrival day
The transfer from Malaga airport to the sierras takes an hour by road. Depending on availablilty, we will stay for the first three nights in the Spanish Steps house in Cómpeta or the Posada del Cani close by. Depending on arrival time we will offer an afternoon stroll, a great way to get the legs moving and the journey out of the system. In the evening, welcome drinks on our roof terrace with time to discuss the program and walks for the week ahead. This is followed by dinner in one of the excellent restaurants in the Plaza Almijara in Cómpeta which is also the venue for our breakfasts.

Day 2 – Canillas de Aceituno to Sedella
Transfer to Canillas de Aceituno by road. The walk starts at the Casa Reina, the house where dues for the silk trade were collected so many years ago. We climb out of the village into the parque natual and the foothills of La Maroma. We stop for a break at La Rabita, pass by the ‘cave of the holy man’ and continue climbing. We then take a spectacular path below the sheer white limestone southerly face of this impressive mountain. After a picnic lunch we start the gentle descent to Sedella. We have time for a drink in the plaza and then transfer back to Cómpeta. Walking Time 5 Hours (or less strenuous option)

Day 3 – Sedella to Canillas de Albaida
After breakfast we take a vehicle tranfer back to Sedella to pick up the trail. After leaving the village, we cross a Roman bridge and climb again into the foothills of La Maroma but not nearly so high as the previous day. We have two choices from here,we can first drop down to the pretty village of Salares or maintain our height to reach the unfortunately named Puerto de la Cruz del Muerto. From here we start the descent to the valley of the Rio Cajula where we criss-cross the stream a few time before the short but sharp climb up to Canillas de Albaida. Walking Time 4 or 5 Hours

Day 4 – Canillas de Albaida to Frigiliana
From the hotel we climb up into the hills to a ridge with spectacular views of the Sierras sweeping down to the Mediterranean. The walk then follows part of the ancient Cómpeta to Granada trading route. We are likely to have our picnic at one of the old ‘ventas’ before descending to El Acebuchal. This once abandoned village has recently been broughtt back to life and the charming taverna is a great place to stop for drinks. For those who choose, we provide the option a vehicle transfer for the final 4km stretch into Frigiliana. We stay here for two nights in the Villa Frigiliana in the centre of the pueblo. Walking Time 5 Hours or less strenuous option
Day 5 – Rest Day in Frigiliana
Frigiliana is one of the best known of all the white villages in Andalucia. The famous battle just outside the town marked the end of the 700 year Moorish occupation of Spain. This resulted in the total collapse of the silk industry and the region went into decline. How things have changed. Frigiliana is very pretty and it’s proximity to the coast have put the town very much on the tourist map. That said, it is a perfect location for a rest day with lots of things to do, places to eat and the opportunity to easily get to the resort of Nerja and beaches should you choose.
Day 6 –  Frigiliana to Maro
Another classic walk with spectacular sea and mountain views. The walk starts from our hotel and we soon drop down into the steep sided valley of the Rio Higueron. After 15 minutes gentle walk up the valley the path climbs steeply up into the sierras. snd continues to the rim of the Rio Chillar, surely one of the most beautiful and seemingly remote valleys in Andalucia. The path drops steeply to the river where we are likely to have our picnic. After lunch we climb out of the valley and start the long but gentle descent to Maro. We stay for two nights in a small hotel in the centre of this tiny unspolit coastal village. Walking Time  5 Hours (or less strenuous options)
Day 7 – Maro beach and caves
The Maro caves, below the Sierra Almijara, are some of the largest and finest in Europe and too good to miss. For the last walk we offer a short coastal walk linking the Martello towers along the coast or a more strenuous circular walk around the Tajo de los Bueys. With both options there is the chance for an afternoon swim from one of the nearby beaches and visit to the caves. A truly fitting end to the Spanish Steps Silk Trail. Walking Time 2 to 4 Hours
Day 8 – Departure Day  
See notes on Travel above
*Program may be changed to suit prevailing conditions or walking preferences of the group.

Dates and Prices

Spring 2021
Sunday  April 11 – 18
Sunday May 16 – 23

Autumn 2021
Sunday October 10 – 17

Cost £625*
*Single Supplement £95

What is included

  • Three nights in Cómpeta Spanish Steps house or Posada  del Cani.
  • Breakfasts in the the Plaza Almijara
  • Two nights in Hotel Frigiliana with breakfasts 
  • Two nights in Hotel Playa Maro with breakfast 
  • Evening meals with wine in excellent local restaurants (except on the rest day) 
  • Transfer of bags between locations
  •  Transport to and from trail heads 
  • Airport transfers from and return to Malaga airport at specified times

Reviews & Visitors Book

It was a splendid week walking the Silk Trail. Thank you for your skilful organization
in arranging such a great holiday. The magic of Spanish Steps continues! I thoroughly
enjoyed being back in the sierras of Andalucia with the profusion of wild flowers and
the wonderful views. We were as always well rewarded at the end of the day with
delicious meals and wine which was much appreciated.”  Margaret (Berks)

“Thank you for a fabulous week on The Silk Trail, as memorable as ever , tough, challenging but thoroughly enjoyed. As always the meals and wine flowed and we had fun evenings! Always love the house in Competa and felt very much at home. Sallie (Surrey) 

“Many thanks for a wonderful holiday. Walking was amazing. Challenging but in a
good way ?. Wild flowers and scents were beautiful.” Emily (Edingburgh)

“Thanks for an excellent holiday. Over the years I have been on 30 plus Ramblers or
HF walking holidays (three in the last year alone) and last week was the best and
most enjoyable of them all. Ian (York)