Frigiliana - Rio Higueron - Alto de la Garza - Frigiliana

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Frigiliana is one of the most picturesque of Andalucia's white mountain villages, perched on the lip of the deep rocky gorge of the Rio Higueron and one of the best walking centres in Andalucia. Northwards from the village the tumbled peaks and wild canyons of the Sierra de Almijara Natural Park stretch to the horizon. To the south, gentler and more fertile valleys, crowded with olive and citrus groves, avocado orchards and vineyards, sweep down to the Mediterranean.

The steep winding streets of the village itself are well worth exploring. Tiled murals recount Frigiliana's central role in the expulsion of the Moors and the church and the remnants of the Moorish hilltop castle above the village deserve a visit. There are also plenty of cool bars and restaurants, as well as shops selling local honey, wine and crafts. The surrounding farmland still has a traditional feel and one will often meet a wandering goatherd, a lumbering ox cart or a mule clattering up the hill.

This walk has a couple of steep ascents and descents, but is a short and relatively easy introduction to the Higueron Gorge and the magnificent mountains of the Sierra de Almijara. The route starts at the five-way junction at the end of the Paraje del Ingenio. The splendid Palacio del Ingenio, overlooking the junction, was once the home of the Conde de Frigiliana and subsequently a molasses factory. From here we wind steeply down through avocado orchards into the Higueron Gorge, ford the river, then follow its course upstream for nearly two kilometres. We splash backwards and forwards across the shallow waters of the tumbling, rushing mountain stream, shaded by pine and eucalyptus, their sharp fragrance mixing with scent of thyme and rosemary on the surrounding slopes. In spring the valley is bright with wildflowers: Jerusalem sage, cistus, helianthemums and broom, with torrents of oleander cascading down the hillsides.

Leaving the river, we climb steeply up through pinewoods on the far bank, with tantalising glimpses back down towards Frigiliana and the sea, then emerge onto a long ridge broken by outcrops of rock and carpeted with flowering shrubs and herbs. Next comes an easy stroll down the spine of the ridge with splendid views across the mountains to the east, before we drop back down though the pinewoods to the river and back to Frigiliana.

Spain - Southern Spain - Malaga - Axarquia

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Mountains, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Toilets, Wildlife
17/12/2010 - Sandra Drew

A superb walk - certainly one to repeat especially for the ridge views on waypoint 6. The photos were most useful.

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