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HIKING IN ANDALUCIA

The landscapes of rural Andalucía can be breathtaking and one of the best ways to appreciate their diversity and beauty is on foot. Andalucia with its rugged mountains and stunning scenery offers some of the best hiking in Europe.

 

There are many hiking routes both on and off the beaten trail in Andalucia, but here are a few suggestions within easy reach of Cortijo Las Olivas.

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 EL TORCAL NATURE RESERVE

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El Torcal Park Nature Reserve is known for its unusual limestone rock formations. Located about 30 km north of Málaga city in the direction of Antequera near the village of Villanuevade la Concepción, within El Torcal Park's 17 square km are some of the most beautiful and impressive limestone landscapes in Europe. The whole area was under sea until one hundred million years ago.

 

The violent movements of the Earth's crust forced it upward into hills and mountains up to 1.300 m, the limestone still kept its layered horizontal formation. Because of this, over the millions of years the rain and wind have been able to chisel away at these layers to form incredible shapes.

To reach the heart of the park it is possible to drive up to 1.100 m. above sea level along a good access road into the park. Simply go to the village of Villanueva de la Concepcion and follow the sign to El Torcal out of the town about 1 km. At the parking area you will find an information centre, small museum, with an interesting of view of the wildlife, flora and fauna of the park. Orchid enthusiasts will be captivated by the 30 varieties of the plant growing in the park.


Three routes through the park for walkers have been marked out with different coloured arrows on wooden sticks. The green route is the shortest and easiest, 1,5 km. and takes about 30 minutes. The yellow route covers most of the green area, is 2,5 km. long and takes you to "Las Ventanillas" The Windows, at 1.200 m. for panoramic views of the valley of Málaga. Finally the red route is the longest and most difficult, 4,5 km. taking about three hours, with a viewing point 1.339 m. up where you can see the whole of the El Torcal Park and the Africa Coastline.


You need good walking shoes or trainers, in the warm months take a bottle of water. For more information about 'El Torcal' read the recent article in the Andalucia magazine. El Torcal de Antequera - The enchanted mountain range.   The Torcal natural park is entered from the village of Villanueva de la Concepción. From Málaga head 20km North on the N341 to "km 148" and the village of Casabermeja, then head west 15km. From Antequera, Villanueva de la Concepción is 15 km South on the C3310 

EL CHORRO

Imagine three stunningly beautiful turquoise coloured lakes bordered by pine forests. A tranquil retreat where you can swim or fish, or picnic on the lake shore. Hardly sounds like a typical Andalucian scene, does it! But west of Alora that is what you will find. Malaga's "Lake District" is in fact three artificial lakes created by a dam built across the dramatic 200 m. high Guadalhorce river gorge, known as the Garganta del Chorro. Watch out for the eagles which continually circle around the sheer cliffs.


From your journey through the Valle de Abdalajis you will arrive at the small village of El Chorro and your first sight of the dam and gorge area. There is a small bridge across the middle of the gorge, built during the construction of the reservoir between 1914 and 1921. The dam was officially opened in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain and on this occasion he took a walk along the specially constructed catwalk, called El Camino del Rey (The King's Path), pinned to the face of the gorge some 100 m. above the river.

 

The Camino del Rey, actually dates back to 1906, by some accounts. It is officially closed to the public pending repairs. On January 21 2006 the regional government announced that there were funds available in the 2006 budget to make repairs to the path.

 

There are trained guides who do take visitors along the path. This is not a trek for the faint hearted - or those with vertigo. In addition, climbing and trekking in this area is really only for experienced climbers with proper equipment.


If you simply want to see where the Camino del Rey begins, it can be found by driving across the lower dam into the village of El Chorro, take the track on the left before the railway station, continue past the camp site until you can drive no further. Walk the last few hundred metres. The path drops down and skirts the iron girder railway bridge (take care crossing the line, Von Ryans express was filmed here)

 

To reach the lakes, drive over the dam and follow the road round to the left of the gorge. Just keep on this road and you will come to the lakes, about 4 km. drive. Even though the lakes are very popular in the summer, their shores are so vast that it is easy to find a quiet place to sunbathe, swim and picnic.


We recommend a delightful waterside restaurant El Kioskoll, a particular good choice for the winter visit as a blazing log fire and their excellent roast lamb and pork go down well after a walk along the shores of the lake. But equally delightful is their summer terrace with views to the lake. To find El Kioskoll continue east along the lakes, through a tunnel under a lakeside restaurant and cross over another dam. You will find El Kioskoll on the right hand side of the road.


Take the minor tarmac but pot-holed road up to the upper lake of this hydroelectric pump storage project for exceptional views. There is a restaurant, now abandoned due to lack of passing trade and the site of the deserted village of Bobastro.

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ENJOY HIKING IN ANDALUCIA!

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Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean gardens, La Hacienda is a beautifully decorated traditional Andalucian cottage with all the comfort of a modern home. Look out for it's original Andalucian features including a high vaulted ceiling, wide windows to take in the view and gorgeous marble staircase. La Hacienda has stunning views and caters for up to 4 people. please click to find out more.

 

 

La Finca is Cortijo Las Olivas' largest cottage and caters for up to 5 people. Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean courtyard, La Finca boasts a balcony with panoramic views of the mountains, pool and gardens, beautiful marble staircase and fully equipped kitchen, please click to find out more.

Opening out onto our large 'Mountain Spring water pool', La Casita is a quaint little cottage which caters for 2 people. La Casita is open plan and consists of a fully equipped marble topped kitchen, double bed and bright airy shower room.  Perfect for romantic getaways. please click to find out more.