Walking in Andalucia, Spain

“With an idyllic converted farmhouse as your base, take guided walks into the surrounding Andalucian countryside each day, taking in mountains, monasteries and Moorish architecture.”

Highlights

Sierra de Grazalema National Park | Staying in a converted farmhouse | Trek up to the 1,130m-high El Peñón crag | Full day in Seville | Visits to some of the Pueblos Blancos (White Towns) | Caños Santos Monastery | El Chorro Gorge

Description of Walking in Andalucia, Spain

Most visitors to Andalucia flock to the seductive cities of Seville, Granada and Cordoba – but away from this ‘golden cultural triangle’ is a vast rural landscape dotted with rustic villages, fields of sunflowers and rolling olive groves – with the dramatic granite peak background of the Sierra de Grazalema, Andalucia’s first national park.

Throughout the week you’ll be staying in the Cortijo Rosario, a tranquil converted farmhouse around 100km from Malaga. You’ll be within easy reach of the walking trails and national park, as well as the magnificent city of Seville – but far from the tourism hubs of the Costas. Life here revolves around farming the land and producing olive oil – these walks are as much an exploration of the local culture as the nature. You’ll trek up to the 1,130m-high El Peñón crag for views across the surrounding scenery, and visit some of the Pueblos Blancos (White Towns) – with their gorgeous architecture and incredible tapas bars.

You’ll have a full day to explore Seville – once the most powerful city in Al-Andalus. The walled city is still dominated by stunningly beautiful and intricate Moorish architecture – including the Giralda bell tower and the Alcazar palace complex and gardens. You’ll also spend a day in the Grazalema Mountains, exploring the limestone cliffs, gullies and caves of one of Spain’s most ecologically outstanding regions.

Travel Team

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Water:
Water is a really important issue with active trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should pack a refillable water bottle as the water at the Cortijo Rosario is drinkable and your guide will be able to advise where you can fill them up throughout the week.

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking and trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We also employ local people regularly for footpath maintenence. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of this area of Spain.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Local Craft and Culture:
The surrounding village cafes and bars all benefit from our visits. Set amongst the olive groves and hills of central Andalucia, Spain's poorest region, we get a real taste of the local lifestyle, as different from the ‘popular image’ of the South of Spain as could be. Clients are encouraged to explore local markets and small businesses where meals are not provided as in this area, a lot of olives, cereal and sunflowers are produced. This is a good way to support agriculture but there are also areas which are good for handicraft shopping e.g. Setenil is also a good place to buy ceramics and other local crafts.

Accommodation and meals:
Although just an hour or two from the Costas, the tiny village of Algamitas is virtually untouched by tourism and the ‘Cortijo Rosario’ is the only tourism venture in the village. This family-run farmhouse employs several people from the village and all food provided is homemade using locally produced and sourced goods wherever possible. The house is situated in 30 acres of woodland, open farm space and olive, fruit and almond trees so sometimes ingredients may even be sourced from the garden. Maria, who runs the kitchen, will also offer a paella cooking lesson so that clients are really able to immerse themselves in the culinary culture of Spain and to take some of what they learned home with them.

Climate

2 Reviews of Walking in Andalucia, Spain

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The wonderful walks and great leader. Learning about local plants and wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Good local accommodation, local cook and driver.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Lovely holiday but wouldn't call it "Responsible" because everyone flew there and back. Could have saved over 80% of emissions, ie over 500kg of Co2 if I'd
gone by train. Most people only went for the week. Only 3 of us spent more than a week in Spain. All walks but 1 started some distance from the Cortijo so
involved minibus transport.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Jenny for her review and whilst we were glad to read that she found the overall trip to be lovely we are sorry that she felt it was not responsible due to the air travel involved. We felt it was important to mention that in January we were one of the founding signatories of ‘Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency’. This is only an initial step on our journey towards reducing carbon emissions on our trips but we are committing to halving the carbon footprint of our trips by 2030 looking at all aspects of our trips and working with our partners on the ground as and when necessary. As part of our efforts we have started to look at which of our trips could be accessible by train from the UK for our British clients, and how we can best both encourage but also facilitate train travel.

Reviewed on 29 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Hiking the Grazalema mountains in Andalucia.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Stout walking shoes are a must.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, the local people who were employed and the local businesses we visited seemed happy to see us. We were a low-impact group, mostly walking and sometimes travelling in a small van.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very enjoyable.

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