Valle de Abdalajís to Montejaque

Monday 09 March 2020: Valle de Abdalajís to El Chorro

Distance: 11.0 km Time: 3:10 Ascent: 400m Descent: 520mWikiloc

Today starts with a 330m climb over 5 km. The whole day spectacular walking below towering limestone cliffs.

El Chorro is famous for a scary walkway, Caminito del Rey (King’s Pathway), which hangs 100m above the base of the Gorge of the Gaitanes. Luckily for us it was closed when we arrived!

Woman harvesting flowers
Sierra de Abdalajís
Train to El Chorro
Limestone cliff overhanging the path
Jeff washing his hands in Fuente de La Viuda (Widow’s Fountain)
Sheep grazing in the mountains
Caminito del Rey along the cliff face 100m above the lake
We weren’t sorry it was closed today
Josefona Bridge for the train, stone 1926
The El Chorro bread is heavy and rustic, superb
Slow roasted leg of lamb for lunch with …
… a bottle of local wine on the terrace looking out to the Caminito del Rey seemed better than walking it

Tuesday 10 March 2020: El Chorro to Carratraca

Distance: 17.4 km Time: 6:00 Ascent: 880m Descent: 580mWikiloc
The time (and distance) includes waiting 40 minutes for Bobastro to open and 30 minutes at the Ruins.

We started with a 4 km climb to the reservoir 350m above El Chorro which took 1.5 hours. Followed by a descent to the Bobastro Ruins where Omar Ben Hafsun at the end of the 9th century converted to Christianity and built a city with a church in the mountains at Bobastro. It’s the only Mozarabic (Christians who lived in Moorish Spain) Christan place of worship existing.

After that the route seemed a continuous climb; around every bend another hill.  A hard day for us.

The highlight was lunch at Fonda Casa Pepa. Like Sunday lunch at grandma’s there are no choices, everybody gets the same. Huge bowls of soup and plates of meat from the kitchen are piled on the table and you eat as much as you are able, wine included.

Climbing out of El Chorro …
… the path passes below a rock face
An hour before we were down there at El Chorro
Ruins of a Mozarabic Christian church at Bobastro
More wildflowers today
The last few kilometers into Carratraca is on a sandy path
This little dog followed us 9 km, hope he got home OK
Lunch at Casa Pepa’s – just like at Grandmas – huge helpings of soups and meats, everyone gets the same
Virgin de la Salud Church
In honour of the Virgen de la Salud, who helped sick people when they came for the curative waters

Wednesday 11 March 2020: Carratraca to El Burgo

Distance: 22.9 km Time: 6:30 Ascent: 840m Descent: 810mWikiloc

Looking at the profile, this is a 6 “bump” day – 6 climbs, 6 descents from a low point of 390m up to 860m. Although it mostly follows wide forestry tracks there is a tricky section of almost invisible path marked by cairns.

We left Carratraca before dawn under a full moon
The sun shining on the Mediterranean in the distance after the first climb
The path between oak and cork trees
Abandoned marble quarry
Today’s wildflowers
Adding to a cairn across a trackless section
Roman bridge into El Burgo
With maintenance over centuries it still carries traffic today as it did 2000 years ago
Church of the Incarnation
Within the old Arab fortified site, built in the 16th century on an ancient mosque
We asked for a ración (large tapa) of hamburgers to share – food hungry walkers!

Thursday 12 March 2020: El Burgo to Ronda

Distance: 27.2 km Time: 7:30 Ascent: 830m Descent: 670mWikiloc

The longest stage on the Andalucian Coast to Coast walk and our longest day in a long time.

The walk starts with a comfortable climb on about 200m over 8 km following the Turón River. It then dips into the Valley and climbs 500m in 6 km mostly over loose scree, hard going. On reaching the top at 1169m, the path descends steadily into the Ronda plateau along a wide dirt road.

A mountain spring
Across the Turón Valley
Wildflowers along the path
The climb starts on …
… up a loose gravelly path
And then there was more
We saw at least 10 Griffin Vultures circling
Track up to Lifa
Lifa – an old Moorish watchtower to guard the path from the Turón Valley to the Ronda Plateau
Looking back at the Turón Valley from the Puerto de Lifa at 1169m

Friday 13 March 2020: Ronda

A rest day in Ronda. These are the photos from last time, 2015.

Ronda is the place where to go, if you are planning to travel to Spain for a honeymoon or for being with a girlfriend. The whole city and its surroundings are a romantic set… Nice promenades, good wine, excellent food, nothing to do…”
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)


The new bridge (1751) spans a deep chasm between the old and new towns


The old bridge, 16th century


The first bridge across the Guadalevín River may have been Roman


Inside the Arab Baths, the best preserved in Spain


Steam room of the Arab Baths, with roof vents


The old road into Ronda from the Arab Baths


Mudejar walls & entrance, 14th century (restored 1975)


Almocábar door (C13th) with 3 successive gates, part of the heavy fortifications


After the reconquest of 1485, the main Mosque was converted to a Church


All that remains of this mosque is the minaret (14th century)


Arab influence remains in the array of sweets


Entrance to Ronda's Bullring

Saturday 14 March 2020: Ronda to Montejaque

Distance: 11.7 km Time: 3:10 Ascent: 380m Descent: 430mWikiloc

The first half is mostly downhill, descending 250m from 720m at Ronda. The second half is uphill, sometimes steeply, gaining 300m in 4 km before the descent into Montejaque. Click here to see our 2015 photos.

Leaving Ronda, looking up at the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge)
This is today’s climb

St James Church (16th century) on Montejaque Plaza

After 255 km this is where our Andalucian Coast to Coast walk comes to an end. In response to the Coronavirus the Spanish Government has banned people from leaving home except to buy essential supplies, or for work and ordered all restaurants and bars to be closed. Thus it is no longer practical to keep walking.