Route of the Mountain Areas

ITINERARY: Antequera - El Torcal - Alora - El Chorro - Ardales - El Burgo - Ronda - Atajate - Jimera de Líbar - Montejaque - Benaoján - Grazalema - El Bosque - Arcos - algar - Charco de los Hurones - Puerto de Gáliz - La Sauceda - El Picacho - Alcalá de los Gazules - Montera del Torero - Los Barrios - Facinas.

The mountain areas of Ronda and Cadiz put before us the most interesting examples of unique Mediterranean landscapes with their rock formations, climate and perfect integration with traditional usages. They conserve varied vastiges of earlier ages, such as the Spanish fir forest in Grazalema, the gall oaks of Las Nieves mountains, the laurisilva of the Canutes (narrow valleys), or the magnificent living mushrooms which protect the land from the East Wind.

The first part of the route ahs a marked geological character: El Torcal in Antequera; the great gorges such as the one in Ronda or the Gaitanes Cliffs; and caves such as those of La Pileta or Nerja. On arriving at El Burgo, one may stray from the itinerary to visit Las Nieves mountains and the spa of Tolox, and to wander along the forest paths.

From Ronda, the route moves on to the mountains of Grazalema, the place which records the highest levels of rainfall in Spain (though not in the Peninsula as is often mistakenly believed). Worthy of note is the presence of the Spanish firs, a species dating back to the glacial period. The route then continues into the cork oak park, with narrow valleys called canutos, in which, thanks to their microclimatic conditions, laurales, gall oaks and rhododendrons grow. In the more open valleys it is possible to observe interesting ash tree woods and trees forming a tunnel such as the one over the river Majaceite, between El Charco de los Hurones and Puerto Gáliz or between El Bosque and Benamahona; in the loamy areas there are remains of carob tree and wild olive tree woods.

There is a great wealth of fauna, such as the deer, the wild boar and the roe deer, which liver in the shadiest areas and which is the most difficult species to spot owing to its timidity and scarcity. The otter and the mongoose may also be sighted, aswell as birds such as the Imperial Eagle, the Golden Eagle, and the short-toed eagle. Finally this route can be easily admired from the roadside.

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