In May, 2016, I spent seven days exploring the Andalusia region in southern Spain. The trip was organized by the travel company Country Walkers. Our group of 14 travelers and two guides (Nicholas L., Richard G.) hiked in the mountains, enjoyed local foods, and learned about Andalusian culture.
Granada has an illustrious history of its Moorish culture dating from 711 to 1492. The Alhambra palace is the finest example of Granada’s Islamic past. Alhambra was designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. I stayed at the Hotel Eurostars Gran Vía.
La Joya is a small rural village located west of Granada and north of Málaga. Hiking was my primary activity. I stayed at the very quiet and peaceful Hotel Fuente del Sol.
Hiking detail: La Joya to Antequera: 8.5 miles, moderate, 1200 feet gain, 2000 feet loss.
This nature reserve is part of the Sierra del Torcal mountain range and is located near the town of Antequera. The Torcal’s limestone formations are impressive.
Hiking detail: 1.5 miles, easy to moderate.
Grazalema is a small village within the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in a mountainous region. I had two days of hiking in the beautiful moutains. Picnic lunches in the forest were delicious. I stayed at the hotel Puerta de la Villa.
Ronda is much bigger than Grazalema and La Joya. Ronda’s spectacular New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), built in 1793, spans a 360-foot deep gorge that divides Ronda into the old town (La Ciudad) and the new town (El Mercadillo).
During my visit to the 5000-seat bullring (Plaza de Toros), I watched equestrians practice with their horses inside the bullring. The riders span the age range from middle school to young adults.
I stayed at the lavish hotel Parador de Ronda.
Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain. Our group concentrated on the Seville Cathedral and the Royal Alcazar.