The letters GR stand for "Gran Recorrido" (Long Journey). The GR7 is the footpath through Andalucia, which forms part of the European Route No. 4. The route is made up of itineraries, which are designed to avoid crossing or using tarmac roads or any roads used by traffic, wherever possible. The origins of the long European Route No.4 or E4 (totaling over 10,500 kilometres) come from the time, centuries ago, when man moved away from the seashores to explore living inland, marking the start of the hunting and gathering evolution, which later developed into the first farming and agricultural societies.The extensive footpath is based on this ancient trade route and it offers us an opportunity to walk the length of Europe. It begins at Tarifa, in the Straits of Gibraltar and after crossing the coastal mountains of Spain; it carries on across the Pyrenees, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Rumania and Greece.
The GR7 starts in the municipal district of Tarifa in the Province of Cádiz, on the furthest southwest tip of Spain, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. The route stretches across the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, Granada, Almería, Córdoba and, covering approximately 1,250 kilometres of sign-posted footpaths. Town Halls and tourist offices along the length of the route are may be able to supply further information on the detail of the pathways. Although there are clearly marked red and white painted markers, which indicate the continuation of the GR-7 along its tracks, some of these have been removed or have become hidden by overgrown shrubbery. We have found that it is not possible to walk the route based only on tourist office descriptions and the sign posts alone. One missing sign post could result in a long very detour. It appears as though authorities produce enough information to publicise the route but not enough to actually walk it. This sort of project requires continued ongoing maintenance. We suggest you obtain copies of the ING (Instituto Geographico Nacional) 1:25.000 and 1:10,000 sheets.
Walking the GR7 in Andalucia
Trekking guidebook by Michelle Lowe & Kirstie Shirra to the GR7 in Andalucia, from Tarifa to Puebla de don Fadrique. Over 700km, the trail takes over a month and explores varied landscapes, including the Sierra Nevada. Included are practical accommodation details to help plan. Part of the E4 route. Buy a copy online of Walking the GR7 in Andalucia
|A good pair of walking boots is a sound investment for walking and trekking in Andalucia|
Most of the sections could also be undertaken by mountain bike and many by car (4x4 better) for those wishing to reconnoitre. The journey, normally walked in stages, covers some of the most surprisingly stunning natural scenery that you could imagine and is well worth the effort and the preparation.
GR7 in Cadiz Province
The walking route winds its way up from the beaches of Tarifa through the Mountains of Ojén, with its stunning countryside and fascinating wildlife. The route carries on through the Alcornocales Natural Park, which offers tremendous contrasts of fast flowing rivers through lush valleys and rocky mountain areas and where you can see the world's largest area of cork oak groves. Then the pathway continues through the beautiful Grazalema Natural Park, renowned for its Spanish fir trees, natural caves and breathtaking gorges.
GR7 in Malaga Province
From Grazalema, the route takes you into the province of Malaga by way of the plains of Libar and Montejaque, crossing areas of great natural interest, such as the Ronda Mountains, el Chorro (a paradise for rock climbers) and the hill of the Abdalajis valley, until it reaches Antequera. At the point of Villanueva del Cauche, the GR7 divides into branches into two separate routes. The Southern Route, going towards Zafarraya in the Granada Province. The Northern Route, going into the Province of Cordoba.
GR7 in Granada Province - SOUTHERN ROUTE
This branch of the walk crosses the Alhama de Granada, is protected by huge walls of natural rock face which leads into the surprisingly pretty Valley of Lecrín, a valley rich with orange groves and almond blossom and clear water rivers. From there the route continues into the Granada Alpujarra mountain area and also touches on a short section of the Almeria part of the Alpujarras (Puerto la Ragua-Bayárcal). This whole area is a delight to the walking traveller, who can really enjoy the unspoiled villages, try out the authentic local dishes and witness genuine local Andalusian life and customs. The route takes you up through a part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which was made a National Park in 1999. Back into the Granada Province, the pathway goes through the municipalities of Zújar with its special thermal bath springs and Orce, rich in prehistoric findings. The final stretch is through the tip of la Sagra, at a height of 2000m2 with breathtaking views and natural beauty until you reach Puebla de Don Fadrique.
GR7 in Cordoba Province - NORTHERN ROUTE
This north route through the province of Cordoba is entirely within the natural and unspoiled Natural Park of the Subbeticas mountain range, in the south of the province and being the geographical centre of Andalucia. It passes through the municipality of Rute, where it is a must to visit the Anis Museum and sample its produce! You pass through Priego de Cordoba, a fine example of the Cordoba baroque style and then through Almedinilla, where you can see important Roman ruins and an Iberian necropolis.
GR7 in Jaen Province
From there, the route goes into the Jaén Province of Hortichula. Crossing the Mágina Nature Reserve, with its steep rock face, this is the highest point in the Province; the route carries on to the Natural Park of Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, covering the largest area of Natural Park in Andalucia. This is where the river Guadalquivir begins and the valleys and countryside are stunning in their grandeur and natural beauty. Once you reach Santiago de la Espada, you go over into the Granada Province to join up with the Puebla de Don Fadrique and the top end of the Southern route of the GR7. From this point onwards, the route goes out of Andalucia and into the Murcia Region of Spain.