Andalucia walking holidays

Andalucia is the channel surfer of the Spanish regions. Never happy with the same old, it flicks from mountains and river gorges to wild Atlantic and sandy Mediterranean coastlines. From Arizona-like deserts of cacti to cork oak meadows and blossoming almond orchards. Here, you’ll see a rural lifestyle that still follows the slow ways of the stone-walled mule tracks from white village to white village. But you’ve also got Seville, Granada, Ronda, Malaga and Cordoba – five of the most glittering (and in some cases underrated) cities in Spain.
Ancient trading routes, pilgrimage paths, village mule tracks, coastal cliffhangers, cities that both amaze and are a maze… Expect them all in a week’s work.
A week or two-week walking holiday in Andalucia will introduce you to the whole shebang of landscapes. And each walk will peek into a different angle of Andalucian life. You could be headed for the eagle mountains, staggered orchards, white water rivers and lace-white villages of the Sierra Nevada National Park and its beautiful foothills, the Alpujarras. Or the coast, where trails tightrope-walk along clifftops in Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
You might even take on a legend. How about an offshoot of the Camino de Santiago between Seville and Cadiz? Or you could dip into the unknown. Grazalema Natural Park plants cobblestone villages and mystical oak forests in a mountainous amphitheatre. Sierra de Aracena isn’t to be sniffed at, either. Here, Andalucians still slowly cure Iberian ham and grow apples, peaches, figs, olives and walnuts in a wild, cave-carved landscape.
Can’t decide where to start? Read on to find out how to decide which of our Andalucia walking holidays is the best fit for you.

What do Andalucia walking holidays entail?

Small group

You’ve got two choices when it comes to Andalucia walking holidays: small group tours or tailor made trips. Small group walking holidays will match you with a group of up to 14 fellow hikers and a guide or two. Itineraries change from holiday to holiday, but you can expect to walk between six and 16km a day; that’s around 4-8 hours daily. Some tours might tackle the 1,569m summit of Simancon, while others stroll through butterfly meadows and centuries-old Spanish fir forests. You won’t have to struggle with map reading, arranging transport and accommodation, or rooting out the best picnic stops – they’re all part of the package when you book a small group holiday.

Your guide will be your captain. Some trips star a famous face (say, Chris Stewart, author of ode to Andalucian living Driving Over Lemons). Others will offer a born-and-bred guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of local life. Either way, you’ll learn all about the region’s storied North African history (Morocco is just a 7km stone throw away) and exactly what the acequia you’re walking along was in a former life. They’ll also keep tabs on the weather and deftly adjust the itinerary in the case of heatwave or deluge.

Arranging transportation is out of your hands on a small group walking holiday. Sometimes a mini bus will pick you up at the end of a calf-creaking walk. Other times, you’ll focus on circular walks that begin and end at your hotel – usually just in time for a sunny dinner on the terrace.

Tailor made

Tailor made walking holidays to Andalucia tend to also be self guided, with a suggested itinerary that’s completely bespoke. You might be based in one spot – perhaps a mountain finca with a swimming pool or family-run guesthouse – and start your walks from there. Or you can choose a trip that will have you walking between hotels using beautiful paths in, for example, Grazalema Natural Park, with your luggage sent on ahead of you. If you’d rather explore a different corner of Andalucia each day, then a self drive holiday will give you the chance to get more miles under your belt, as well as more freedom to roam.
On a tailor made holiday with a single base, you can take things as leisurely (or as speedily) as you like and can pick and choose walks. And on any self guided walking holiday, pocket guides and maps are supplied for you by an expert tour operator who knows the very best hikes in Andalucia. Detailed waypoint directions and insider tips will ensure you rarely put a booted foot wrong. And there’s no need to practice your mayday signal. The tour operator will always leave you with emergency support numbers on the off-chance you lose your way.
Base yourself in one spot and you can also factor in as many rest days as you fancy. While away the hours on the terrace with a glass of vino tinto, or spend them whale watching from Tarifa, exploring the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, bird watching in Donana National Park, or nosing around a minaret-spiked city like Seville, Ronda or Cordoba.

Our top Spain walking Holiday

Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

Walk and talk on this small group language holiday in Picos de Europa National Park

From €830 to €965 5 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 6 Mar, 13 Mar, 20 Mar, 27 Mar, 3 Apr, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 1 May, 8 May, 15 May, 22 May, 29 May, 5 Jun, 12 Jun, 19 Jun, 26 Jun, 3 Jul, 10 Jul, 17 Jul, 24 Jul, 31 Jul, 7 Aug, 14 Aug, 21 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct, 30 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Spain walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Andalucia walking holiday tips

Summer days can bash through the 35°C barrier in July and August. If you must travel then, start your walks early or head into the cooler high Sierras. Ideally, it’s best to avoid the hot, dry summer completely. Go in spring for orange and lemon tree blossoms or in winter for mild, sunny weather and zero crowds. The chestnut woods and vineyards perk up in autumn, when harvest begins. You’ll have wine festivals coming out of your ears in September. Opting for self-catering accommodation? Buy local. After all, Andalucia is the land of cured jamon iberico, Jerez sherry, goat’s cheese and almond macaroons. You can’t get away from the hills for long in Andalucia, so even easy walks require a reasonable level of fitness. Bring sturdy, worn-in hiking boots and hiking poles for rocky mountain paths. Headtorches can be handy on darkening village tracks in winter. Don’t forget the cities. Chances are, you’ll be an hour away from Moorish masterpieces like Cordoba, Seville and Granada. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Lynx, red deer, flashy bee-eaters and hoopoes, griffon vultures, golden eagles, Egyptian mongoose, red deer, cat-like genets and wild boar all mooch the mountains.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Kamila Maciejewska] [Top box: Fresco Tours] [Simancon: Abel Maestro Garcia] [Tips: Antonio]