Frigiliana – Rio Seco - Nerja

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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 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 delightful. 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 down to Nerja through a patchwork of orchards, vineyards and olive groves is one of the easier of the Frigiliana-based walks, mostly downhill following well-graded earth tracks, although some shallow paddling and the occasional use of stepping-stones are needed along the Rio Seco. As always in the mountains, a walking-stick or pole and stout non-slip footwear are recommended.

The walk 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 skirt along the ornamental esplanade below the village, then wind steeply down through orchards and olive groves to ford the Arroyo de las Bancales.

We then follow a good track winding alongside the stream for three or four kilometres before crossing a small ridge into the valley of the Rio Seco. Despite this name I have never known it completely dry. We then follow the course of the river for a couple of kilometres, sometimes skirting along one bank or the other and sometimes in the riverbed itself, often through a tunnel of the giant cane which fringes the river. I usually find it easiest to splash through the shallow water, but it's generally possible to keep your feet dry if you pick your way with care.

Leaving the river, the walk now runs parallel to the coast through more avocados, oranges and lemons, interspersed with irrigation channels and the ubiquitous plastic greenhouses to the outskirts of Nerja. This final stretch is notable for the large flocks of cattle egret and groups of goldfinch to be seen in the orchards. It's also worth a short diversion to the Ermita de San Isidro, a small white chapel perched on a grassy knoll overlooking the track. This small hill often produces wonderful displays of wildflowers, carpeted in spring with blue iris-like barbary nuts and in autumn with drifts of autumn squill and tiny delicate narcissi.

Spain - Southern Spain - Malaga - Axarquia

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Mountains, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife

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