Rio Guaro - Buddhist Stupa - Aldea Baja - Rio Guaro

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Rio Guaro - Torre de la Atalaya - Buddhist Stupa - Aldea Baja - Rio Guaro

The Torre de la Atalaya is a 15th Century watchtower built by the Moors to the south of Lake Vinuela, according to legend in a single night. Set on a commanding 450-metre hill, its position fitted it ideally for its role as a communications link between the chain of coastal observation towers, the fortifications at Velez Malaga and the Castillo de Zalia.

Starting from the northern end of the bridge where the A356 crosses the Rio Guaro, we drop down to ford the river beneath the bridge, then wind up the far slope through a tapestry of flowering shrubs and herbs, olive and almond groves and a scattering of evergreen oak and carob trees and feathery golden retama.

Reaching the tower, we're rewarded by a splendid 350-degree panorama: perched on the skyline to the west is the white mountaintop village of Comares framed against the Montes de Malaga; to the north the blue waters of Lake Vinuela with behind them, the mountain spine of the Sierra de Alhama sweeping in a great arc around the horizon, broken by the dramatic cleft of el Boquete de Zafarraya; further east the massive ridge of Maroma, the highest mountain in the province of Malaga; southward lies Velez Malaga and its fertile, heavily cultivated valley and beyond, the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean.

Continuing the walk we drop into a saddle north of the tower, then head west past vineyards and scattered villas until the shining gold and white dome of the Buddhist Stupa appears ahead. This is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from many countries and the nearby hamlet of Aldea Alta serves as their retreat centre.

Passing the stupa, we take a footpath leading down into a steep, wild valley below Aldea Alta, walking now through cistus, rosemary, broom, fragrant herbs and the sharp pungence of pines. Then, skirting around Aldea Baja, another small hamlet, we climb back up the ridge opposite to rejoin our original outward route and retrace our steps to the start.

Spain - Southern Spain - Malaga - Axarquia

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mountains, River, Wildlife, Woodland

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