In this page we have assembled some information about the area around us. In order to not overload you we tried to keep it short and add some addresses of official web pages instead, in case you're interested to learn more. This page is only a brief excerpt of all the things to see and do in our beautiful Sierra.
With a population of about 5,600 Algodonales is one of the so called "Pueblos Blancos", the white villages that are famous in southern Andalusia. Its setting between the Sierra de Líjar to the north and the Sierra de Grazalema to the south make for ideal weather and wind conditions, for which paragliders from all around Europe flock here to hold their flying season in late autumn and spring.
Algodonales is a friendly small town, which is about to open up to international tourism. It has still preserved its Andalusian originality, although you will already find everything to spend a vacation. Shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, pharmacies, doctors, veterinary, a public pool, paragliding schools, it's all there. At the same time it is a great starting point for all sorts of daytrips with lots of attractive destinations nearby.
The people of Aldgonales are not only hospitable but also very sportive. Many locals organise groups for mountainbiking, road cycling or running. The annual mountainbike race up the Mogote mountain attracts participants from near and far, just as various running, trail-running and even triathlon events.
For more information about the village life and the leisure activities see http://www.turismoalgodonales.com/en/
The Sierra de Grazalema is omnipresent here. You can see it from almost any standpoint in the area. It determines the climate and provides water and food. At the same time it offers various opportunities for activities in the beautiful nature.
The abundandce of plant and animal species is unique in Europe. For example, there are very rare colonies of vultures, which you can observe on a hiking trip. It is an incredible experience to be standing ontop of a mountain and watch these majestic birds gliding through the air just right by you.
The major part of the Sierra is a protected nature park. Therefore, some destinations require getting a permit before starting a hike, and/or have limited access concerning the number of visitors per day. Ask us for assistance if you plan an "expedition". We'll be happy to help you with your preparations.
Further information on the Sierra can be found here: http://www.cadizturismo.com/.../sierra-de-grazalema/
Ahhh, Ronda... we must admit that during our trip through Andalusia, when we were searching for our destination to settle down, Ronda was playing a key role in our final decision. This town is just enchanting, and if you spend your vacation here in the area, Ronda is a must-see place.
The town is divided by the deep gorge of the Guadalevín river, which is spanned by the famous bridge "Puente Nuevo", over a hundred and twenty metres in height (360 feet), landmark of Ronda and subject of thousands of photos on Instagram ;-). North of the bridge there is the larger "new town", whereas south of the bridge you will find the "old town", which is of moorish origin and a beautiful place to visit with its narrow little streets, squares, churches and even the remains of an ancient fortress wall.
We recommend visiting Ronda on a weekday, as on weekends thousands of tourists flood the streets and shops.
More about Ronda can be found at http://www.andalucia.org/en/destinations/.../ronda/
Giving the Sierra de Grazalema its name, this village is one of the highlights of the "Pueblos Blancos". Embedded in a valley between several peaks, Grazalema is located at an altitude of over 800 metres (2,500 feet) above sea level. The drive up there, over the curvy mountain roads, is a unique experience.
In autumn the local people celebrate the "Fiesta de los Bandoleros", remembering the heritage of bandits hiding in the mountains and caves around the village hundreds of years ago. Participants from all over the province of Cádiz, coming by horse or mule, compete with each other wearing authentic costumes and firing their loud ancient pistols. A great spectacular.
But even without the bandits Grazalema is a beautiful village at all seasons of the year. In winter sometimes there is even snow.
The official tourism page of Grazalema: http://www.turismograzalema.info/english.html. Some more information, albeit only in Spanish, can be found here: http://www.grazalema.es/opencms/opencms/grazalema/turismo/
Zahara de la Sierra (or just: Zahara) is our neighbour village, only a 15 minutes drive from Madrigueras. One thing we have learned during our first summer here is that the people of Zahara know how to celebrate fiestas. They are real pros. The party really starts only after midnight and lasts until the break of dawn.
By day Zahara is a picturesque and calm village, spectacularly set at the steep slopes of a small mountain, which is topped by a castle. If you want to walk up here, you need to be as fit as a fiddle. But the beautiful center of the village with its shops, bars and restaurants and its breathtaking view on the valley and the reservoir lake is well worth the effort. Zahara is also a must-see!
Lots of information (unfortunately in Spanish only) can be found of the official page of Zahara: http://www.zaharadelasierra.es/
Until 2014 this used to be one of the most dangerous hiking trails of the world. Meanwhile, the provincial administration of Málaga has reconstructed the pathway and made it accessible to a broader public. The re-opening took place on March, 29th 2015.
The Caminito del Rey used to be a supply and access path for workers and engineers of the hydraulic power plant constructed between 1903 and 1905. It consisted of concrete plates resting on steel beams that were driven into the vertical rocks, up to 100m above the river Guadalhorce. The path got its name ("Path of the King") after the spanish King walked it for the opening ceremony of the power plan.t. Later the townspeople of the neighbouring villages welcomed the path as a shortcut connection between their communities.
During the most recent decades the path lost more and more of its meaning, and wind and weather, as well as vandalism made the path decay slowly over the years. When it became too dangerous to pass, the administration closed the path and tried to keep people from walking it by demolishing the access ways. But this showed to be a special challenge for climbers and adventurous hikers from all over the world. After a number of deadly accidents the administration forbade the admittance punishable by a high fine. This, however, didn't keep the fans away (me being one of them ;-)), seeking the thrills. Numerous YouTube videos show at what dizzy heights the passage led across the broken plates.
Between summer 2014 and spring 2015, a new wooden pathway has been built a bit above the original path. This makes the Caminito accessible for the average hiker, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the gorge. As the daily number of people accessing it is limited, you need to pre-order your tickets. Until September 2015 admittance is free.
The caminito is roughly 90 minutes away from our house (by car). Definitely worth a visit, when you're in the area. Here's a blog entry (in German) about our first visit to the Caminito after its re-opening in April 2015: Blog entry, 29-04-2015.
You will find loads of information about the Caminito, then and now, at: http://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/5140/discover-caminito