GR7 IN CADIZ
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 GR7 starts in Tarifa in 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 Jaén, covering approximately 1,250 kilometers of sign-posted footpaths.
Approximately 206 kilometers
Tarifa - Los Barrios - Castellar - Jiména de la Frontera (from this point there is a branch off towards Cortes de la Frontera, Peñón del Berrueco, in the Málaga Province) - Ubrique - Benaocaz - Villaluenga del Rosario
Tarifa to Los Barrios (40km)
The walk starts off in the town of Tarifa. Start at the Tourist office in the Alameda in the centre where you will see a signboard promoting the footpath. Walk down to the beach and turn north towards Playa de los Lances. Cross the River Jara and walk along the beach untill you are near the hill. Just before you reach the Club Mistral Wind Surfing centre of the Hurricane Hotel there is a sign pointing inland from the beach (GPS 36º 03' 17"N 5º 39' 18"W) . Walk down the track through the pines to the N340 coast road. Cross the road turning right and in 100 metres there is a small road on the left hand side. (GPS 36º 03' 23"N 5º 39' 14"W) This road follows the hill Torre de la Peña on its left hand side. There is a fork at (GPS 36º 04' 48"N 5º 38' 37"W).
A posible shorter alternative would be leave the beach earlier at Camping Jara and take the road past the Sanctuario de la Luz. If you decide to do this. Don't cross the River Jara, but cut through Camping Rio Jara and cross the N340 by Venta el Tito. Go through the 'arch' which marks the start of the minor tarmac road CA-2213 which is signposted "Santuario Nuestra Señora de la Luz". (GPS 36º 02' 32"N 5º 37' 35"W) At this point take advantage of one of the last restaurants and bars for many many miles. Try OTB, Restaurant El Rancho or Restaurant El Juncal. At signpost km 3 the condition of the tarmac road worsens and at signpost km4 you cross the Rio Jara on a little bridge and begin the first uphill climb of the walk entering the Los Acornocales Natural Park. At km 5 you enter a little hamlet and can visit the little shrine "Santuario Nuestra Señora de la Luz" on the left hand side of the road.
The official route and the alternative re-join. The road winds, climbs gently and the condition further deteriorates. You will now feel like you are in the real countryside. Climb over the pass, Puerto de la Torre del Rayo and reach a `T` junction with the road marked CA-221 which leads down to Facinas. Turn right past a few cortijos and enter the valley which holds the reservoir Embalse de Almodovar. After passing around the reservoir begin another climb. Soon you pass a roadside Venta which will probably be closed you to lack of passing trade. At the top of the pass called Puerto de Ojén and take in the panoramic views.
Near Cortijo San Carlos del Iradera you leave the road for a track on the right hand side and go towards Cama de la Piedra in the direction of Molino en Medio where you will find a small recreation area called Molinos del Raudal with picnic tables and BBQ stations. Here the route leaves the Los Acornocales Natural Park. Continue pass Cortijo Jaramill and drop down to the plain of the River Palmones. Cross the River. Pass under the A381 motorway and turn right at the 'T' junction of the C440A (GPS 36º 12' 29"N, 5º 31' 12"W).
If you miss the track on the right mentioned above, continue along the dirt road untill you reach the T- junction of the C440A. Turn right over a bridge over the River Palmones and in 4km you will rejoint the official route.
Pass Venta (Inn) del Frenazo on the left hand side of the C440A. After 300m look out for the GR7 sign on the left (GPS 36º 12' 20"N, 5º 30' 59"W). pointing up the minor tarmac road up the hill. This point is also a good entry/exit point as it is very near the km80 exit of the A381 motorway. Here we are 3km along the C440A from the village of Los Barrios.
Los Barrios to Castillar de la Frontera
3km north of Los Barrios on the C440A (near exit junction 80 of the A381 motorway) there is a GR7 sign (GPS 36º 12' 20"N, 5º 30' 59"W) near Venta (Inn) del Frenazo pointing up the minor tarmac road up the hill through the cork oaks. The Los Acornocales Natural Park boundary also follows this track. Take this road pass the army camp and after 2km where the road is blocked by gates (CHSE) take the steep track on the right hand side. Over the cattle grid at the top and the scenery opens out. You can see the reservoir Charco del Redondo in the distance. This road here is tarmac with plenty of pot holes.
The track heads north east then south east for several km, crosses the River Guadalcortes and passes through a gate where the route turns left along the minor tarmaced road C512. (GPS 36º 12' 21"N 5º 27' 50"W) An encouraging sign here states it is 4.25 hrs to Los Barrios and 4 hrs to Castillar. Up the winding road over the hill. Several km further on after crossing the River Guadarranque we reach the A369 (GPS 36º 13' 29"N 5º 26' 15"W). Castillar only 2hrs now according to another sign. The municipal stadium is on the left. Make use of the bar if it is open. The large railway container frieght yard (Estacion de Mercancias de San Roque) is on the right. The road here can be quite busy so make use of some of the tracks on the left if you can. The road follows the boundary of ther park again. Venta La Cantina might prove to be a welcome rest. At the junction of the CA5131 (GPS 36º 16' 50"N 5º 25' 58"W) take the left fork towards Castillar. The sign here says Castillar 1hr 40 min. Follow the road. There are some paths in the trees which add to the interest. (GPS 36º 18' 07"N 5º 26' 19"W) There is a junction for the Centro de Actividades La Jacarandilla (GPS 36º 18' 39"N 5º 26' 54"W) Notice the interesting old sandstone bridge over the river. Another Venta marks this point as the start of the climb. At km 4 on the road CA5131 a path on the right takes you on more direct and steeper route than the cars. You rejoin the road at km8 (GPS 36º 19' 01"N 5º 27' 12"W) just before the village of Castillo de Castellar.
At the entrance to the old village look out for Bar Al Andalus on the left and if you happen to be here at office hours check out the natural park information centre.
Enter the old village through the castle gates if you are looking for a restaurant of a casa rural to rent for the night.
Castillar de la Frontera to Jimena de la Frontera
The CA512 road continues on and down although it is not tarmaced nor suitable for vehicles. It and reaches the to railway line near the old Castellar train station. Carefully cross the line on an ungated level crossing (GPS 36º 19' 55"N 5º 24' 30"W), and turn left along a pathway, which runs parallel to the rail tracks (on your left hand side) in the direction of Jimena de la Frontera. The track disapears soon (GPS 36º 21' 22"N 5º 25' 35"W) and you will need to keep to the edge of cultivated fields and cross small streams for a kilometer or so before a you join a dirt track again. The track crosses the railway line again at another level crossing (GPS 36º 24' 51"N 5º 26' 34"W) just before Rancho los Lobos. The track reaches a narrow bridge (GPS 36º 25' 37"N 5º 27' 07"W) over the Rio Hosgarganta just below the village of Jimena de la Frontera. Cross the bridge and enter the village for refreshments. If you are refreshed and don't want and additional climb turn left 100m after the bridge and lookout for the information board explaing the "Rio Hosgarganta footpath" which the GR7 follows around the back of the village. The castle towers overhead.
Either route come out north of the village at the 'White Cross' and passes the popular Camping Alcornocales. At the junction with the C3331 there is a sign Jimena 15' - Ubrique 9hr 45'. (GPS 36º 26' 40"N 5º 27' 38"W) The footpath can be clearly seen as a cobbled section climbing up the hill next to Cortijo las Tenerias. This path is known as the "Sendero Vereda Ubrique - Asomidallas or as the 'antiquo camino de Sevilla. Only the first one kilometre is cobbled. When this stops keep climbing on an earth track parallel to a stone wall.
From here the track crosses the exposed open moorland to the Fuente de los Arrieros, Puerto de la Calderona, continuing along the Berrueco to Calderona route and the Peñon del Berrueco (on the right) - then onward to Bustos Altos.
Here the track meets the A373 Cortes to Alcála de la Frontera road. There is a signpost and a notice board with G7 route map at this point saying Jimena 7hrs Ubrique 3hrs (GPS 37º 36' 49"N 5º 25' 43"W). Turn left towards Alcála and in 500 m there is a venta on the right hand side just before the road junction leading down (then up!) to Ubrique. Take this road all the way to Ubrique.
In the town of Ubrique take the exit towards Benaocaz by the 'escuela taller' (training workshop). This old track leads straight up the valley to Benaocaz which is a much more direct route than following the present day road. Pass the 'matadero' (slaughterhouse) and the Las Viñas Mateos (Mateo Vineyards). After Benaocaz follow the road up to Villaluenga del Rosario near Grazalema. Here a track on the right hand side passes through the Cañada Real de los Bueyes (gorge), Sima del Cabo del Ronda (pothole or cave) and Llanos de Libar (plains) towards Montejaque and the GR7 crosses into the Province of Málaga.