Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Revel in the glow of the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) in Zahara de la Sierra
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Highlights

  • Enjoy a short break on foot, exploring the white villages of the Sierra de Grazalema
  • Spectacular walking through limestone peaks, lush pastures and deep gorges
  • Enjoy a plate of tapas and glass of “vino” in bars shaded by scented orange trees
  • The mountain village of Grazalema, lined with narrow lanes and cobbled streets
  • Explore vibrant Ronda, with its famous Puento Nuevo Bridge and El Tajo gorge

Enjoy a short break exploring the famed “Pueblos Blancos” (White Villages) of Andalucia, finishing in the historic city of Ronda, with its spectacular location on top of the dramatic El Tajo gorge.

Begin in the brilliant white village of Zahara de la Sierra, perched on a crag at the base of the Grazalema mountains. Walk through one of Spain’s most beautiful mountainous areas, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, filled with jagged limestone peaks, deep gorges and lush green mountain pastures.

Staying overnight in small boutique hotels in the white villages of Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema and Ronda, enjoy days of fantastic mountain walking and feast on delicious local cuisine such as ‘seranno gazpacho’, chorizo sausage or tasty payoyo goats cheese.

 

Day 1: Arrive in Zahara de la Sierra

After flying into either Malaga or Seville Airport, make your way to Ronda where a private transfer will bring you to Zahara de la Sierra (25min).


Perched on a craggy outcrop overlooking the shimmering turquoise waters of the Embalse de Zahara reservoir, Zahara de la Sierra is the perfect place to start your tour of the Pueblos Blancos. Stroll around the cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses and dotted with bars shaded by scented orange trees. Or, if you are feeling energetic, climb the steps to explore the ruins of the atmospheric ruins of the beautiful Moorish castle.


Overnight: Zahara de la Sierra


Day 2: Choice of walks from Zahara de la Sierra

You have a choice of two walks today. The first is an exhilarating hike to the bottom of the 400 metre deep Garganta Verde (green throat) canyon. Just 5km in total, this is a short walk with fantastic rewards. As the trail descends steeply to the bottom of the canyon, keep your eye out for a glimpse of griffon vultures, which the gorge is home to. Arrive at the base of the canyon, and feel very small, as you look up the towering vertical walls. Discover expansive caves in the valley walls before returning the same way you came.


It is important to note that the Garganta Verde walk requires a permit which is subject to availability and the walk is also closed between June and the middle of October due to the risk of forest fires. In both of the above cases, the walk to the Brena Pass is a great alternative.


The second option for today is a lovely loop walk through open farmland around Zahara de la Sierra, and up to the Brena Pass for amazing views over the Garganta Seca and Garganta Verde.


Garganta Verde Walk: 5km, +357m Ascent / -357m Descent


Brena Pass Loop Walk: 15km, +490m Ascent / -490m Descent


Overnight: Zahara de la Sierra


Day 3: Walk to Grazalema

Leaving Zahara de la Sierra, walk towards the shores of Embalse de Zahara before continuing into the hills of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Walk through groves of pine trees and ancient cobbled pathways to the lush Gaidovar valley where the mild temperatures have created a rare microclimate.


Drop down into the white village of Grazalema, in its spectacular location surrounded by jagged limestone mountains. Enjoy an evening stroll in one of the best preserved villages of the “pueblos blancos route” and admire the whitewashed houses covered in bright cascading geraniums.


Walk: 20km, +795m Ascent / -416m Descent


Overnight: Grazalema


Day 4: Transfer to Benaojan, Walk to Ronda

After a short transfer to the small village of Benaojan, your walk today starts out along an ancient cobbled path before passing through fields and small family farms to reach Ronda. Although very popular Ronda retains much of its historic charm. The 200m chasm of the El Tajo gorge divides the town in two and the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge offers some of the best views. The historical Moorish quarter is especially interesting, although you are sure to discover many more delights as you wander the streets.


Walk: 11km, +395m Ascent / -215m Descent


Overnight: Ronda


Day 5: Onward Travel

Check out after breakfast and make your way back to the airport or train station for onward travel connections. Alternatively, if you have more time speak to us about arranging extra nights in Ronda, which we highly recommend.

Accommodation

4 Nights accommodation in a mixture of small boutique hotels and rural posadas is included in your trip.


The accommodation we normally use is detailed below. We may sometimes have to use alternative hotels subject to availability but if this is the case we will always let you know when confirming your booking.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

Single rooms are available and a single supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo walkers but we recommend that you are an experienced walker who is comfortable with navigation, has walked in rougher, mountainous terrain before and is comfortable with steep ascents/descents and some steep drop-offs.


Meals

4 Breakfasts are included and usually consist of breads, fruits, cheeses and meats. Lunches and dinners are not included but you will find suggestions in your route notes of local places to eat. The local cuisine in this area is second to none. Expect local specialities such as the ‘serrano gazpachos’ (gazpacho served with tasty chunks of Iberico ham), the mouth-watering payoyo goats cheese and ‘chacinas’ (delicious pork sausages).



 

 

 




Al Lago - Zahara de la Sierra

A gorgeous family run boutique hotel which sits overlooking the turquoise waters of the reservoir below. Relax in this “home away from home” and enjoy delicious meals in their popular restaurant serving rustic Andalusian cuisine with a twist.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Villa de Grazalema - Grazalema

Hotel Vila de Grazalema is surrounded by the mountains in a lovely peaceful location just 10 minutes walk from the centre of Grazalema. Enjoy traditional cuisine in their restaurant “Olivar” and a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Aire de Ronda - Ronda

A charming small hotel located in the historic quarter of the city, with elegant, modern rooms larger than most rooms in Ronda. The owner Marivi is a fountain of local knowledge who will welcome you warmly to this beautiful city.


 

 

 

Availability

You can start this tour on any day of the week subject to availability between March to May and then again from September to November. We do not offer this tour in July and August due to high temperatures and excessive heat.


Time of Year

The Sierra de Grazalema is enjoyable most of the year round. The spring months of March and April are fantastic if you want to see the bird migrations in full swing and a profusion of flowers in bloom. The temperatures start to heat up in May and June and the summer meadows are alive with colour at this time but it can make walking more difficult. In the autumn months the days are still nice and sunny and the colours change again with a variety of autumn bulbs coming out. This area does also have its own mountain microclimate and can have sporadic rain showers throughout the year which are usually followed by drier days.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

Single rooms are available and a single supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo walkers but we recommend that you are an experienced walker who is comfortable with navigation, has walked in rougher, mountainous terrain before and is comfortable with steep ascents/descents and some steep drop-offs.


Grade & Terrain

This walking tour is graded moderate overall. Walks are between 3-7 hours on a mixture of unsurfaced tracks and footpaths, with the occasional section on surfaced tracks or small tarmac roads. Some of the terrain is quite rocky and you may encounter some loose rocks or muddy/slippery sections in wet weather. There are also some sections with steep drop-offs (particular on the Garganta Verde gorge walk). Ascents are between 225 and 795m with descents of up to 800m. During the summer months of June and September the walking may become more difficult due to the higher temperatures at that time of year and we recommend setting off early on those days.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The routes on this trip are generally way-marked but we will also provide detailed route notes and maps. You will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone’s GPS so using this combined with the provided route notes and maps means you should have no problems finding your way.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight stay. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Zahara de la Sierra

By Air: Malaga Airport is the most convenient airport to fly into for Zahara de la Sierra. From here travel to Ronda by bus (2h 30m). An included taxi transfer will pick you up from Ronda and transfer you to Zahara de la Sierra (25min). Malaga has lots of airline connections from the UK and Europe with airlines such as British Airways, Ryanair, Vueling, as well as the large European airlines such as KLM, Air France and Lufthansa.


Alternatively you can fly into Seville Airport and take the bus to Ronda (2h 30m), and again a private transfer will take you from there to Zahara de la Sierra.



Getting from Ronda

By Air: Malaga Airport is the closest airport to Ronda, reachable by bus from Ronda in approximately 2h.


To get back to Seville Airport, by bus takes approx 3h.


By Train: Ronda is well connected by train to other Spanish cities including Granada (2h 30m) and Cordoba (1h 45min). Visit the Renfe website for more details.


We can also arrange airport transfers from/to Malaga and Seville Airports at an additional supplement. Please just ask us for details.

Included

  • 4 Nights in small boutique hotels and posadas
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • Transfer from Ronda to Zahara de la Sierra
  • Luggage & taxi transfers as per your itinerary
  • Detailed route notes, maps and pre-departure information pack
  • GPX tracks andaccess to our smartphone app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to/from Ronda
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the tour
  • Single room supplement if required
  • Solo walker supplement if required

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular and the accommodations do get booked up quickly. However, we will always try our very best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

This walking tour is graded moderate overall. Walks are between 3-7 hours on a mixture of unsurfaced tracks and footpaths, with the occasional section on surfaced tracks or small tarmac roads. Some of the terrain is quite rocky and you may encounter some loose rocks or muddy/slippery sections in wet weather. There are also some sections with steep drop-offs (particular on the Garganta Verde gorge walk). Ascents are between 225 and 795m with descents of up to 800m. During the summer months of June and September the walking may become more difficult due to the higher temperatures at that time of year and we recommend setting off early on those days.

How do the Baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, waterproof clothes and a day pack.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

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