The Silk Trail

From the Sierras to the Sea

 

“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.

Our guided Silk Trail holiday walks the length of the south facing slopes of the Sierra Almijara connecting pretty white villages on the way. The walk starts from the mountain villages of Sedella or Canillas de Aceituno in the west and ends in Maro, a tiny coastal village where the mountains dramatically drop to the sea. Each of the five sections of the linear trail are ‘classic’ walks’ in their own right with great scenery, views and interest. The walks are rated as Level 2  with the offer of more strenuous options on some days, including an exciting new Day 2 walk crossing the stunning Almachares Gorge. It is possible to opt out of any of the walks but few choose to do so.

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 Aceituno & Sedella
We offer multiple options for this first walk in order to asses the walking preferences of our guests and set the program for the remaining walks. Most options start in Sedella and head for the foothills of La Maroma with great views of the mountain, coast and stunning Almachares Gorge. The more challenging options start in Canillas de Aceituno and cross the gorge using a little known high level path or the new  GR249 El Saltillo route crossing the impressive and recently constructed ‘hanging’ bridge. Although short, this exciting new route is not suitable for walkers likely to suffer from vertigo. After a picnic lunch the descent to Sedella is gentle with time for a drink in the plaza and road transfer back to Cómpeta. Walking Time Up to 5 Hours

 

 Day 3 – Sedella to Competa
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 and Competa. Walking Time up to 5 Hours

 

Day 4 – Competa to Frigiliana
From the village 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 – Up t0 5 Hours 
 
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 option)
 
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 & More Information
 
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Accommodation

For the  first three nights you will stay 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).

Travel & More Information

The starting point for the holiday is Malaga airport with transfers at specified times to Cómpeta (normally leaving the airport no later than 2 pm). At the end of the week transfers are provided from Maro to Nerja, or to Malaga at specified times (normally arriving at Malaga airport at 10 am).
There is also a direct coach service from Nerja to Granada. The Alhambra is high on many travellers ‘bucket list’ and there is much more to see and enjoy in this great city. With a direct and regular bus service from Granada back to Malaga airport it may be a tempting option if you wish to stay on in Andalucia for a few memorable extra days.
The historic centre of Malaga is also highly recommended for spending some extra time. There is much to see and enjoy and an overnight stay could be a great option if you are restricted to early return flights. Bus and train transfers from the city centre to the airport are inexpensive, frequent and convenient.
If you would like to extend your holiday and fancy something a little more relaxing do have a look at malagaeast.com. This excellent website provides useful information on coastal and inland villages close to the end of the ‘Silk Trail’. The site also includes some very interesting historical information on El Acebuchal, Frigiliana and Maro, all of which feature on the walk.

Dates & Prices

Autumn 2021
Sunday October 10 – 17

Spring 2022
Sunday April 3 – 10
Sunday May 22 – 29

Cost £625*
*Single Supplement £95

What is included

  • 7 nights accommodation (see notes)
  • Breakfasts
  • Guided walks
  • Evening restaurant meals including wine (except on rest day)
  • Transfer of bags between locations
  • Transfers to and from trail heads
  • Airport transfers 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)