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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Spain & its Islands > Andalucía > White Towns & Rugged Mountains

White Towns & Rugged Mountains

Andalucia – rugged limestone mountains
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Extend your stay
Why not add on a couple of nights to explore either Seville or Málaga, if flying via either of these cities? Both are fascinating, historic places in their own right and each have surprises in store for the visitor, from monumental architecture to hidden treasures and secret corners.
  About Andalucia >Andalucia may have returned to Christian rule in the late 15th century, but the legacy of the Moors, who held power for nearly eight centuries, is still very much in evidence in its customs, gastronomy, architecture and language. The fact that Andalucia is such a melting pot of cultures is what makes it so captivating. There are two very striking features of this part of Andalucia: the pueblos blancos – towns and villages of whitewashed houses with terracotta roofs, whose inhabitants still see themselves as culturally apart from the people of the lowlands; and the rich flora and fauna of the Alcornocales Natural Park, which owes its name to the expanses of cork oaks, and the Grazalema Natural Park. The latter’s craggy limestone mountains belie the fact that it shelters over 1,000 species of flowers – best seen in April or May – and 136 species of bird, among them hoopoes, bee-eaters, Bonelli’s, golden and booted eagles, and one of Europe’s biggest colonies of griffon vultures.
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • rewarding walking in the Grazalema Natural Park with breathtaking views
  • rich wildlife and flora
  • explore atmospheric Ronda

Andalucia, Spain’s dazzling deep south, is one of Europe’s most entrancing regions. Brilliant white towns and villages (pueblos blancos) dot a landscape of rugged mountains cloaked in the remains of ancient oak forests. The striking limestone mountains and surprisingly green valleys of the Grazalema Natural Park are ideal for exploration on foot, with inviting trails that snake up through hidden pastures and over craggy ridges that offer incredible views of dramatic landscapes as well as the opportunity to spot Bonelli’s eagles and griffon vultures gliding through the skies.
Along the way we spot wild cistus and honey suckle, lavender and lovage, foxglove and salvias. Lunch is a picnic on top of a mountain ridge with a few cows for company.
     
The Observer
This is Andalucia at its wildest and most remote – a place where you are unlikely to meet another soul on many of your days. With plenty of ascents and descents each day, the carefully researched routes are challenging but thoroughly rewarding – there is a real sense of achievement as you reach mountain passes to discover breathtaking views usually stretching for miles over ridge after ridge, dotted with white houses glinting in the sun. Fittingly, you finish in dramatic Ronda, the most famous pueblo blanco of them all.

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Spain
 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
°C 11 11 14 16 20 24 29 29 25 19 14 11
mm 111 102 83 76 52 33 13 13 32 79 128 124

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

Spring flowers start to appear in February, although the best time is mid-April to mid-May. In March, the flowering gorse bushes provide a yellow carpet on the slopes.