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Walking - GR7 Footpath Málaga

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Cuevas Bajas is the penultimate village on the GR7 footpath in Malaga, before crossing over into the province of Cordoba
Cuevas Bajas, the penultimate village before the province of Cordoba

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.

GR7 in Malaga

From Montejaque the route follows an ancient bridle path towards Ronda, crossing the Algeciras - Bobadilla railway line (see article 'The train in Spain leaves the plane' and passing close by the Legion Camp of Ronda. Join the A381 road up the hill for a short distance and turn off to the left on the hair-pin bend. At this point there is a G7 route map notice board. You may detour into the town of Ronda. Or continue through the fresh, pine clad mountain area known as Dehesa del Mercadillo. The route then passes through CEDEFO (protected forest area) toward Arriate which crosses the Llanos de la Cruz.

After Arriate , the route continues along the Cueva del Becerro footpath up Parchite, where it picks up the Bobadilla-Algeciras rail track once again and further on this meets up with the local C-341 road. From this point and onwards to the Saltillo de Majaco crossroads, the route follows this main road. From the crossroads you carry on to Serrato on the old Serrato-Ronda road. This area is particularly pleasant walking country with its olive groves and farmed crop lands, as well as beautifully kept meadows and oak groves.

The GR-7 footpath, which begins in Tarifa and ends in Athens, crosses the Province of Málaga through the Natural Reserves of Alcornocales and Grazalema as well as the Hoya de Málaga and el Torcal de Antequera. The route crosses over from the Cadiz Province at the Puerto del Correo in the Natural Park of the Sierras de Grazalema, passing through the accessible part of the Montejaque Mountains. The route then carries on over the area known as Mojón Alto, Llanos de Libar and Cortijo de Libar, until it reaches the municipality of Montejaque. In these parts, the countryside is dramatic with its dolomite limestone rock formations and the Mediterranean vegetation, of different types of oak, and pine trees as well as the cork trees - all of which thrive in the region's hot humid climate.

In Montejaque the route is along the ancient bridle path towards Ronda, crossing the Algeciras - Bobadilla railway line and passing close by the Legion Camp of Ronda. After a steep incline, you arrive in Ronda. From Ronda the route goes through the fresh, pine clad mountain area known as Dehesa del Mercadillo. It then passes through CEDEFO (protected forest area - similar to the Forestry Commission in the UK) and goes on toward Arriate on the old Arriate-Montejaque track, which crosses the Llanos de la Cruz.

After Arriate, the route continues along the Cueva del Becerro footpath up to the train-stopping place at Parchite, where it picks up the Bobadilla-Algeciras rail track once again and further on this meets up with the local C-341 road. From this point and onwards to the Saltillo de Majaco crossroads, the route follows this main road. From the corssroads you carry on to Serrato on the old Serrato-Ronda road. This area is particularly pleasant walking country with its olive groves and farmed crop lands, as well as beautifully kept meadows and oak groves.

The next section of the route runs between the district of Serrato and the municipality of Ardales, linked by the old Serrato to Málaga footpath and the forest tracks through the Los Romerales Mountains. This landscape here changes, with dry farming land, olive groves and in the hills with brushwood and pine groves and some regenerated oak groves.

After Ardales the path goes up into the mountains to the reservoir known as Depósito de la Mesa, in the centre of the Natural Area, el Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, which you will see as you go round the reservoir on the north side. This is close by the Bobastro Castle, where the route then goes down a steep drop known as the Tajo de la Encantada, which leads to the Embalse (reservoir) de la Encantada. From here you take the tarmac road (the main Alora road) which leads to El Chorro train station, where the route goes into the mountainside of Haza del Rey, at the foot of the Sierra del Huma. This runs beneath the sheer rock face up to the small town of Valle de Abdalajís. This whole area is known for its pine and oak forest, juniper trees and Mediterranean brushwood but is famous most of all for the amazing views and the sheer precipices of the gorge.

Carrying on from the Abdalajís valley and leaving the Natural Park of El Torcal de Antequera, as well as the area of al Joya to the East, the route then reaches the town of Antequera. Following the river Villa until it joins up with the C-331 road (Villanueva de la Concepción), at the Fabrica de Harina (Flour Mill) in the direction of El Torcal. This takes you past the source of the river Villa and then by the 'Migueles' farmhouse. From this point you leave the C-331 and take a track, which leads to Villanueva del Cauche. This is where there is a fork in our route, with one path, heading north towards the province of Cordoba and the other heading south into the Granada province.

The southern fork heads down through the Axarquía Alta area, through Colmenar, Riogordo, Periana and Alfanate along the foot of the Sierra de las Cabras Mountains. It then reaches el Puerto de los Alazores, which is a natural transition from the Málaga to the Granada province. This path leads on to Las Ventas de Zafarraya, which is within the Province of Granada. The north fork leads into the northeast of Málaga province, going through Villanueva del Rosario, Villanueva del Trabuco, Villanueva de Tapias, Villanueva de Algaidas, Cuevas Bajas and Cuevas de San Marcos and ultimately crossing over the "Luis de Armiñan" bridge over the river Genil and into the Province of Cordoba.

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