The Beaten Path: The Stunning Walks of Southern Spain
The south of Spain is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists head there to pick up a tan, relax in the sun and enjoy the entertainments on offer. However, the wonderful coastal walks are often neglected as the focus remains on the beaches, but for anyone living there or frequently visiting, they present one of the finest ways to enjoy the coast.
The Strait of Gibraltar
The rolling hills around Tarifa are a popular spot for walkers, and it is not difficult to understand why. On a clear day, the views across the Strait of Gibraltar present a perfect opportunity for photographs, while the sea air provides a refreshing breeze against the heat of the sun. There is a hill walk that allows for some excellent views across not only Tarifa but also Bolonia and across the sea to Africa. The walk gives a great choice of picnic spots along the way for a well-earned break after the climb. The walk is around 7 miles long and could be a lovely walk for day trip or one part of a longer walking holiday. Another day, for example, could be spent walking along the beach at Tarifa, passing the interesting Baelo Claudia – a Roman archaeological site that sits right on the coast of Spain. Heading a little further along the coast you will find Cape Trafalgar and a walk along the cliffs, with the opportunity to see a variety of different bird species on their migration route between north and south.
By land or by sea
Further east along the coast there is the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Almara Natural Park, an ideal area for exploration by foot. Less than an hour’s drive from the Spanish port of Malaga, the park is a good stop off following a week of relaxation on a Mediterranean cruise. Cruises have recently been given the royal blessing, as it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge is due to officially name the new cruise ship, ‘Royal Princess’, in July this year. The ship’s major ports of call will include Málaga, Lisbon and Gibraltar, allowing thousands of tourists a different perspective of Europe’s coastline. Regardless of the royal status of the cruise, it is sure to create an exciting holiday when combined with a few days of exploring the Natural Park, allowing you to enjoy a little bit of everything. The park covers a vast expanse of mountains that are home to a range of different natural habitats, as well as the occasional deserted hut that was once used by shepherds in the area. It has not been completely deserted by farmers, however, with orchards to walk through and a range of herbs that are cultivated there. The park caters for walkers of all abilities, with walks ranging from just a few miles with little incline, up to mountain climbs for those who want to feel on top of the world.
The walking opportunities along Spain’s southern coast are not to be missed, and provide something a little different for those who get restless relaxing on the beach.
By Evelyn Crouch