Hiking in Andalusia
The best hikes in the province of Almería
The best hikes in the province of Almería
After having bought our house in Andalusia, while cleaning up we came across a wooden box. A treasure you might think, or at least a scavenger hunt map? … Truth be told, we knew that no worthy inheritance was waiting for us beneath its lid… but it turned out to be something much better, almost priceless: the box was full of petrified shells and other fossils. A sign. We knew what we will start to look for when the day came.
Granted, in the first few years after moving from Germany to the Spanish province of Almería, we had long to-do lists to complete, meaning that hiking wasn’t exactly at the top of our list of priorities… and when we eventually found time for hiking, we didn’t manage to put everything down in writing and visually document our adventures, as a proper website operator should do 🙂 .
Luckily, all of that has now improved:
Finally, we found the time for our hobbies. Activities that for once have nothing to do with eating or drinking; namely hiking in Almería, Andalusia. Okay, figuratively speaking, of course, eating and drinking are interlinked with our passion for hiking, because in this way we manage to burn some of the calories 🙂 .
Andalusia, or in our case the province of Almeria, is a real El Dorado for hiking lovers. As we are located between the sea and mountains, it is possible to discover something new each and every day. There are breathtaking hikes along the sea, where you can put your feet (or submerge even all of yourself) into the water every now and then. You can also hike through the Ramblas (dry riverbeds) over thick rocks and through fine sand. And if you are drawn to the mountains, you can climb steep passages located directly behind our house, off into the mountains, the Sierra Cabrera, or in the surrounding area in the woods near Séron.
Hikes can be kept very short, but there are just as many long-distance hikes. There are hiking tours for flatland Tyroleans, as well as for energetic mountain goats. On some hikes, you might even encounter little challenges, which will bring joy to the adventurer in all of us. Some are circular routes, others go only in one direction, or even there and back …
In the case of “one-way hikes”, we offer a “shuttle service” by arrangement: we will drop you off at the starting point and park your car at your final destination. And for the happily exhausted, we will come to pick you up when you’ve finished.
If you require a snack in between the meals or for a quick energy boost, we would be happy to organize that for you,
You like to hike and enjoy our hiking paths and their stories? If you are interested in learning more about Almeria as a hiking area, then have a look here to read up on more hiking tours and ideas that we have compiled for you! From now on you will find a steadily growing number of wonderful hikes with a few pictures, that will leave you wanting.
Furthermore, we post impressions of our hikes on a regular basis which can be found on Facebook and Pinterest.
We share our hikes on Wikiloc so you can follow them at any time.
… and one more remark about the duration of the hikes: we take a lot of photos and constantly stray left and right from the path … so that doesn’t really mean anything 😉
… probably the most famous hike in the province of Almería
The first nippy October morning of the year has arrived. After suffering through severe storms for two days straight, the temperatures have pretty much gone south, and so our alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and it is a lousy 15°c – bbbrrrrrhhhh! – obviously, we had gotten quite used to the warmth.
After having breakfast for our guests and daring a peek at the weather forecast, we quickly realized though: it would be warm and sunny – typical Andalusian “autumn weather”. So, our hiking clothes were thrown on before we finally embarked on another hike to the mine in Bedár.
This circular path is probably the most famous hiking route in our region and the last time we walked that trail in springtime 2 years ago. Therefore, it is about time for a repetition.
At first, we go towards Bedár by car, because this gorgeous hike through the mines begins shortly before the entrance to the village. On the road, one can already spot a “tunnel” – the old loading plant of the mine railroad to its train for onward transport to the coast – where parked cars serve as an indication for bustling activity, even on a Sunday. Yet, funnily enough, we do not meet anyone along the way! It makes one wonder where all the car owners hang about?
Once at the parking lot, one only has to walk around the loading plant on the right, following the white and green mark, just to be faced with a pretty steep trail that leads uphill. For some reason, all great hiking paths in Spain start almost exclusively with a proper ascent. Everyone who prefers a bit more convenience might want to consider following the road to the left.
Shortly after, the path leads through a tunnel at the end of which a light can be seen. Here, the old railroad line extends from the mines to the loading plant at the parking lot. Thus, walking this route is an easy endeavour now. Even though the path proceeds to go up and down, the changes never turn out to be too steep.
After having passed the tunnel, one is met with almond and olive groves. Every now and then, carob and pine trees show up at the wayside. A short hike uphill and a long right-hand bend later, and the sight of the Rambla de Serena valley presents itself. What a view! In the background on the left-hand side one can suspect the sea while the rest of the background is comprised of the village of Mojácar and our local mountains, the Sierra Cabrera, with their pale green shade setting them apart from the blue sky.
Unfortunately, we have not walked high enough to be able to see our Cortijo, but on the “way back” we will get a little higher and then this undertaking will surely succeed as well 🙂 .
After being rewarded with this view, our hike continues comfortably for a short while – always downhill a little, which is a pity, because what we walk down, we will have to climb up again later – as we keep an eye on the terrific view.
Suddenly and unexpectedly the hiking path takes a right turn and leads through a small, short and very low tunnel (1,3m high). 2½ years ago we chatted during the hike and did not pay as much attention to the path as one should … because anyone who misses this junction will end up at the very bottom of the Rambla valley and is forced to walk all the way back up later. Which takes care of those additional calories, since you might as well indulge in a few more tapas then, but also kinda dumb 🙂 .
Once we leave this short tunnel, we find our way deeper and deeper into the actual mine. On the left is still the valley of the Rambla de Serena and on the right one can frequently spot the entrances to the different tunnels. In the meantime, we are walking on the former roadbed of the mine railroad once again. At least that much we know due to the old wooden train paths that line the beaten track every half mete. But compared to the trail that led to the tunnel, one might assume that mine ICEs had been out and about back there. Here, it could have been merely small wagons, if anything, that transported the mining waste straight out of the mountain.
The path to the next tunnel is quite narrow throughout a length of approx. 5m which is why ropes have been attached to the mountain face for safety reasons, allowing hikers to hold on to them if need be. Today, there are five of us and only one person – with a slight fear of heights – uses the rope. Everyone else felt that the “beaten track” was still broad enough.
After passing this tunnel as well, and having done so while slightly stooped over, we are lucky enough to gain some elevation as we climb an ancient staircase. At the time this thing was built, the DIN standard for stairs definitely did not exist yet.
We are still following the tracks of the old mine railroad, being led over an incredibly picturesque bridge. Here, the path is getting wider again.
From now on we walk uphill, over a relatively long period of time at that. Time and again we stumble across various buildings that cover the area of the old mine, but we can only imagine vaguely what this place must have looked like, back when it was still in use. In comparison to the silence that surrounds us as we hike through the abandoned mine, it must have been bustling with activity back then – loud and busy – as throngs of people caused the ambient noise to scale up by a few decibels.
Shortly before arriving at the village of La Serena, we reach the scenic outpost by the name of “El Hoyo Jupiter”, an old loading tower that belongs to the “Tres Amigos” mine.
Upon arrival at the hamlet of La Serena, one only has to keep walking “straight on” until reaching a T-junction. By turning left here, we soon approach the old village well. After quickly washing off the sweat and taking a sip from our water bottles, we continue on our merry way as we embark upon the final stage. We follow along the road for some time before taking a right turn at the first given opportunity. This trail extends atop of the tunnel that we walked through at the beginning, which means we are only a few meters away from the parking lot. Unfortunately, throughout this last part of our hike, the green and white mark that showed us the way to La Serena is nowhere to be found.
This hike impresses with its stunning nature but above all with the little adventures one encounters, giving this hiking path that certain something – which results in a little more than just “walking”.
Here is further information for all those sticklers for details among you: Bedár’s iron mine, as we can see it today, dates back to the middle/end of the 19th century. However, there are records that prove that the Moors were already mining minerals here during the late 15th century …
… and onward through the foothills of the Sierra Cabrera
there’s a shortcut to approx. 8 km and an extension to approx. 15 km
… with a “little” challenge
We should have started off earlier! It’s the end of September and in the morning it actually seemed quite cold to us. There are almost 13 km ahead of us and the morning sun, which is now relatively high up, is heating up the Alfaíx valley quite well.
A breeze is blowing through the valley and in good spirits, we start walking.
After a short distance, we are standing in the middle of the huge and high rock crevices that we have heard of so often. The valley of fossils opens right before our eyes and we hope that we can at least catch a little of the unspeakably beautiful sight on the countless photos.
The mountains around us seem to tower several hundred meters high and below we run and marvel – ok, the running and marvelling is the only thing that is not excessively exaggerated in this sentence – it is of course not several hundred meters. Here a dry river has dug its way through the sandstone and provides the majestic sight of the banks …
Fortunately, there is a cool shadow over the hiking path between the high rocks, because the path is not that easy to walk. You not only need good, sturdy shoes here – the rest of the body has to work hard too. In some places, the crevice is overgrown with quite thick reeds so that you need your hands and elbows to make room. Sometimes you even have to walk bent over for a few meters to get any further.
Every now and then you come across small clearings, where the warming sunlight makes the fossils in the mountains sparkle. One can see clearly that the whole stretch of land was under and not over water a long time ago. The mountains are also full of seashells.
One day when we bought our house we found a wooden box with shell fossils. Then we knew what we wanted to look for one day. However, we have to continue the hike without fossils … in order to remove these from the mountain, you need a hammer and chisel … or better a wireless drill … if only we can find someone who carries one. The simpler variant is likely to try again after heavy rainfall – may be some fossils will come off by themselves. Disadvantage: we have to be the first hikers after the rain, otherwise the good pieces will all be gone …
The landscape leaves us speechless. Soon after, we cross a small brook. Brook is perhaps not the right word – rather a trickle of residual moisture that has somehow survived the summer here in the shade – but if you live in a desert climate, you will be totally excited about it.
And suddenly in front of us: a seemingly insurmountable giant boulder with … a cord! It quickly became clear to us that full physical effort was required here – we don’t know Mission Impossible! Fortunately, when we got closer, the giant boulder was more like a rock and so the ascent with the “safety rope” was fun and not really difficult. But at least you got the feeling of being a little adventurer … the wimps Tarzan and Tom Cruise are nothing against the hiker who has conquered this obstacle!
The crevice itself was not even 2 km long, but it still took us an hour for this short distance. We owe that to the somewhat more demanding path and the many pictures we took.
When we leave the Valley of Fossils, we walk on through the dry river bed, past a ruin that must have come from better times, when the river still had water and the land was fertile.
It goes through the foothills of the Sierra Cabrera, our “home mountain”, sometimes uphill, then downhill again, sometimes gently, sometimes a little more strenuous.
At the next ruin, a hunter apparently made an old chair “seatable” again. From here he has a great view over the valley and can probably kill his prey quite easily. Our attention is directed to the pomegranate trees that grow here in a variety of places. Since we have already drained some of our water supply, we already have enough room in the backpack to store some bright red specimens. We look forward to enjoying them later.
From now on it goes uphill to hike on a fairly wide and comfortable path through the endless loops of the Sierra Cabrera. Again and again with a great view down to the sea.
The original hiking trail that we originally followed makes a detour to the Cortijo Grande and turns there to the former airport of Turre. We shorten the route a little and save 3 km … if we want to eat something for lunch, we have to hurry. The Spanish have little to no fun when it comes to mealtimes 😉 .
At the end of our hike – before we reach Alfaíx again – we walk past a huge plantation. Lemons as far as the eye can see. So we decide to come back here when the lemon trees are in bloom. The scent must be incredible given the amount of trees. Too bad you can’t record that digitally yet … scent output on the computer would be a great invention … on the other hand … in person and in colour is better anyway 🙂 .
through the Rio Aguas and Rambla Estrecho
Pheww, looks like we’ve caught the hiking bug again! Practically from 0 to 100 through Andalusia – well, through the Province of Almeria anyway. We hit the road every chance we get.
Today, due to time constraints, the walk has to be a little faster. The walk, not us. Of course, we don’t want to go any faster 🙂 . So we planned a route without great ups and downs and one that isn’t quite 10km long. It also happens to be right on our doorstep … perfect! More time saved.
So, we drive 5 minutes to the other side of Turre and park at a restaurant: Tio Tomas, which will play a role on the return …
In order to get to the Rambla of Rio Aguas we have to make a quick trip back to the main road. Some property is virtually blocking the path, so we have to head back to the road and go around the long way.
First, bending around the Rambla de Mofara and at first, it seems as if it’s going to be an easy walk. Almost boring, the wide Rambla with nothing to break the monotony. A little disappointed, we trot along, but the turnoff to the Rambla de Rio Aguas is not far away and we’re expecting much more excitement here.
And it does not disappoint. Just as we veer left into the Rio Aguas, the landscape changes. Where at the beginning, thick stones make the riverbed jarring and uneven, the vegetation increases, bit by bit, until finally, we are able to fight our way, arms and legs flailing, through the thicket.
On our travels, we suddenly get the urge to go into the woods. We wander over forest ground and through the autumnal leaves, well the Andalusia-form of autumnal leaves anyway. Oh, and don’t forget the apparent 30℃ heat. Yes, you read that right. 30℃. In places, even after the hot and dry summer, some small and even some larger puddles remain. Here the frogs have found a genuine paradise to dive into, protected by the reeds around the edge – our footsteps disturbing their tranquillity.
In the night, larger animals, like wild boars and mountain goats must have come here to quench their thirst. The ground around us churned up by a countless number of hooves, feet, paws, claws and all kinds of imprints I can’t make out
The thicket is becoming thicker and thicker (hence the name), the puddles – bigger and more frequent, so we have to try two, three different possibilities to continue our journey. The option we choose shows the Rambla to be particularly exciting. Thanks to the water, part trickling away, part evaporating and the extreme dryness, an impressively puzzling landscape has formed, as the earth cracks and opens. It appears to be somehow very special indeed.
Now, here we leave the Rambla and try to find and consequently reach the way that leads us out of the riverbed and then further, to the foothills and the first hills of Sierra Cabrera, our local mountains.
The way up there seems, at first, to be nowhere near as easy to climb, but we are in luck, and the path offers us a way through. With a short stop to take a breather and refuel on water, the walk is deserving of it’s “easy” label 🙂
At the top, the path leads to a few private properties. We cross the street towards Turre and flee once again into the undisturbed nature.
On this side, the path leads us into the Rambla del Estrecho. At first, the route is lined with high rocks, between which would grow reeds and bushes, which you would have to crawl through rather than walk. Interestingly enough, we also found rocks, peppered with shells. We recognised them from our walk through the valley of fossils. It is truly unbelievable, when you take a moment to imagine, that this entire landscape once lay deep under the ocean.
One last corner, we cross back over the road and stand, just a short time later, where we started, by the car … well … in Tio Tomas, the restaurant I mentioned earlier. How practical when a circular walk begins at a restaurant. Despite the “short walk” we notice that we are COMPLETELY exhausted and use this as an excuse to indulge in our other hobby. As a reward for our efforts, we decide on a cool beer and some tapas.