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Slow Travel Google Map: Spain, Andalusia, Sierra de Grazalema

Author: Clive
Notes: August 2006. Clive and Sue show the sites in their corner of Southern Spain. The green line shows the boundary of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. www.grazalemaguide.com

Boundary

Grazalema Natural Park

Gardens

Our house and Garden

photo

Clive and Sues house In the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema.

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Monuments

Acinipo

The ruins of the Roman city of Acinipo or old Ronda are a fascinating insight into this part of the world 2000 years ago.

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Roman ruins of Ocuri

Virtually abandoned and sadly in a huge state of disrepair. We have never seen the visitor centre open. Ocuri, like Acinipo was once a very important place. We do visit from time to time by hopping over the fence to see the remains of the village, baths and
the amazingly well preserved temple.

The Giant Dolmen

The "Dolmen gigante". A relic from the distant past. The mountain called "lagarin" holds some mysteries yet to be discovered. people were burying their dead here over 6000 years ago. Climbing to the top of this hill makes us feel like we could reach back in time and touch the very people that lived, worked and died here.

Museums

Molino Abajo

This beautifully restored flour mill is open to the public for an insight into how the water powered machinery ground and prepared the flour to be made into bread. Read more at their website.

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Ronda museum

The archaeological and ethnographic museum of Ronda is housed within the Mondragon palace. The building is beautiful if a little neglected.
The historical section reflects the wealth, variety and significance of Ronda's archaeological and historical heritage from all periods. A suite of rooms exhibits items from cave dwellings, megalithic sites, the Roman city of Acinipo, Roman and Moorish burial sites, and from recent centuries of urban development.

Sights

Cork Oak Woodland

Cork is an outer layer of bark that grows on one particular type of oak, Quercus suber. The habitat created by this long term crop is very important to many animals and plants of the Mediterranean area. Spain grows around 25% of the worlds cork supply.
There are some cork woodlands within the Grazalema park but the main forest is known as "los alcornocales" and lies a few miles to the southwest. It also has natural park protected status.

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Garganta Verde Griffons

One of the largest Griffon vulture colonies in Spain.

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Piletas cave

The "cueva de la pileta" is a painted cave with numerous drawings. Most of them are lines or patterns, but there are also human figures and animals, painted in black, red and yellow. Probaly the most exceptional drawing is called El Pez. Located in the deepest part of the cave the 1.50m long drawing shows a fish, which is interpreted as a flatfish (Pleuronectiformes), probably a European Flounder (Platichthys flesus L.). It has both eyes on one side of the body and the form of the fins is typical. Other findings from this cave include some of the oldest pieces of pottery ever found in Europe and human bones.

Puerto de Boyar

On the road from Grazalema to El Bosque this part of the sierra is simply stunning in the springtime. Vast arrays of wild flowers especially orchids thrive here. The area is also famous for it's many species of butterfly.
It is from this point that a good walk can be had to the "Goatherds leap". This is a towering cliff of near vertical limestone. From here you can then traverse the mountains to Benaocaz or return the way you came. It is one of our favorite walks

Puerto de Palomas

At around 1300 metres the "doves gateway" is on the road from Zahara to Grazalema. It offers stunning views and is an excellent place for nature and bird watching. Spanish Ibex reside on the slopes as well as Griffon vultures and Eagle owl.

The Pinsapo forest path

In the Sierra del Pinar. Some of the finest examples of the Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo) grow on the slopes. It is a vegetation relic of the tertiary period. An authentic living fossil, the Spanish fir grows best on land around 1000 meters above sea-level.
The footpath goes from Grazalema to Benamahoma but we normally go up to the forest and then return back the way we came. This footpath is closed during summer months due to fire risk.

The peak of Torreon

The highest peak here in the Grazalema mountains "Torreon" (1654 meters) is found in the Sierra del Pinar. Its a 3 hour uphill climb all the way. Views of wild Spanish Ibex are pretty much guaranteed as well as Griffon vultures and eagles. This path is closed during the summer months due to fire risk.

Towns

Cortes de la Frontera

A wealth of parkland surrounds Cortes as to the north is the Sierra de Grazalema, to the south Alcornocales Park and there are views of the Serrania de Ronda. The village has grown through the commercial production of cork harvested locally and to a lesser extent, woven tree heather branches called Brezo that create mat screens or roof thatch. An information centre can be found here covering both Grazalema and the Alcornocales areas.

Ronda

Ronda. "The city of dreams" Famous for it's bridge and Moorish past. A vast amount of information is available on the internet about this white town.

Ubrique

This mountain town is famous for its leather industry which the Moors established here. It is a lovely white town close to the source of the Ubrique river which divides the centre of the town in two. The town consists of picturesque steep and narrow streets and attracts a few tourists. The leather work shops can be visited here and the leather industry continues to thrive. There are sports facilities and a public swimming pool in Ubrique. Ubrique is a minor service centre for the villages in the surrounding area.

Villages

Benamahoma

This small village sits on the mountain side of a beautiful wooded valley. A plentiful fresh water source provides all water for the inhabitants and a trout farm before spilling into the Majaceite river. A water museum near the source is housed in an old water powered mill. A 6 hour walk through the Abies Pinsapo forest will bring you into this traditional white village.

Benaocaz

is another small mountain village, 6km west of Villaluenga. It lies at the foot of a huge mountain which dwarves the tiny village of 700 inhabitants. The buildings of Benaocaz are clearly of Moorish influence. There is a little museum of local archaeology and ethnology in the village. Benaocaz is 8km from the little town of Ubrique.

Benaojan

Is situated on the Malaga side of the parkland backed by mountains, with an expansive view to the south east. The tradition of making Chorizo, a spicy hard pork sausages, still continues to support the inhabitants. The river Guadiaro cuts its way through the valley below the white village which also boasts a train line and station.
The Pileta Cave, famous for prehistoric paintings, is within its environs as is the 2 KM long Cueva de Gato popular with professional cavers.

El Bosque

is located on the edge of the national park. Surrounded by forests and natural beauty. It houses the main visitor centre where entrance permissions to restricted walks within the park can be collected. El Bosque is known as being an excellent location for hang-gliding and annual championships are held here. The river Majaceite runs through the village and provides fresh running water to the trout farm and also provides hydropower for a traditional flour mill museum. El Bosque is located on the crossroads of the A372 and A373 roads.

Grazalema

The namesake of the Sierra Grazalema is famous but still retains its quiet charm.

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Montejaque

A quiet mountain village that traditionally makes Chorizo, a spicy pork sausage. It is finding a new income in nature and speleological tourism.There is a 17km walk from the village, over the top of the mountain called Libar, following a high plain to the town of Cortes de la Frontera. Nearby, Hundidero is a bottomless cavern gouged from the rock by water erosion that has created a tunnel of around 4 km in length. This series of halls and cascades opens again at Cueva del Gato, releasing the under ground flow into the Guadiaro river.

Prado del Rey

The current village was founded by Royal order, of King Carlos 111, in 1768 to colonize depopulated areas in the south of Andalucia. Poor soils here support vineyards growing the Pajarete grape and grazing. The villagers are dependent on these and crafts such as leather work, furniture making and honey production for their income. Nearby there are ruins of a Roman city called Iptuci.

Villaluenga del Rosario

A tiny mountain village, Villaluenga consists of inclined streets and whitewashed dwellings decorated with flowers hanging from their balconies. Nearby, the caves of La Yedra and La Rajada drip with stalagmites and stalagtites. There is a swimming pool in the village. Villaluenga is rather isolated on winding mountain roads.
West of Villaluenga, the unique countryside of La Manga contains prehistoric caves. Close to the village is a "Sima" or sink hole, water draining here remerges at Benocaz almost 2 km away. This is becoming a centre for pot holers and cavers.

Zahara de la Sierra

The remains of a 13th century Moorish castle can be seen on an outcrop of rock and Zahara is an extremely beautiful village that is built beneath

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