Competa Hikes has created several of its own walking routes, tried and tested for maximum enjoyment and learning. These can and will vary, but here are some examples of the routes and walks you will experience on a standard walking tour with Competa Hikes.
Old Silk Route
The Old Silk Route is a beautiful route steeped in history. Our walk takes you along but a small part of it, as the trading route runs from Malaga to Granada. The warm south-facing slopes of the Sierras of the Axarquia perfectly suited the silk moth, so by the 10th century the Moors had established al-Andalus as the major silk producing region in the western world. Mulberry trees were cultivated in great numbers and beautiful white-washed villages started poping up along the trail. The mulberry trees have gone, but the pretty pueblos blancos still cling to the hillsides. Many of the ancient paths still exist, and our walk at Competa Hikes crosses just a fraction of it. The terrain varies from steep mountain paths to gently descending tracks. The walk starts at Casa de Mina, beginning with a gentle hike for about half an hour. There is a 45 minute relatively steep climb to the silk route where you can also see the fire outlook post that is still in use today. There are spectacular views, and weather permitting you can see down to Nerja and the Mediterranean sea. From the fire lookout point you can see Colmenar, Comares and Rincon – again weather permitting! As you are so high up, the clouds can sometimes be below!
Three Village Walk
Three villages walk combines the three largest villages on the mountain, Cómpeta – Canillas de Albaida – Archez – Cómpeta (3 hours). You walk along terraces irrigated with an ingenious irrigation system which dates back to Moorish times where among other things avocados grow. There are beautiful views down to the coast as well as up to Maroma. The walk ends with refreshments in Competa, before you are returned, reinvigorated, to Finca Los Pinos.
Difficulty – Varies from medium-hard
Time: Approx 7 hours
La Maroma is the highest mountain in Axarquia at 2066m. The word “Maroma” means length of rope and refers to the 30m sections of rope used to descend the natural well shaft to an ancient icehouse near the summit. La Maroma can be crowned under snow for weeks at a time during winter and spring months, although this is also the best time to climb the mountain, depending on visibility. It can be a relatively easy walk, and extremely rewarding with a sense of accomplishment and far reaching 360-degree views to the Mediterranean and across the Sierras. There are several notable and very different routes up to the top of La Maroma, however at Competa Hikes we have chosen two different ones to ensure that you get the most out of your hike. One way is starting from Hotel Los Caños de la Alcaiceria. The walk starts by rambling through mixed woodland, where in the autumn months all the leaves are an amazing array of colours and adds a sense of warmth and comfort to begin your ascent. This route is a mixture of quiet and stunning woodland and amazing far-reaching views. The walk takes approx. 7 hours and is about 13km in length. The second route we love and cherish starts from El Alcazar and takes you a longer 16km route that takes just over 7 hours. This trail is more obscure, taking you through springs (most of them dry) and narrow “Gateways” from old trading routes. This route also takes you past clusters of Cairns and gives you a different view until you reach the top, compared to the first route.
Walk to the Lost Village
Time: 4 hours
The Lost Village – Acebuchal – is a beautiful hamlet situated in the heart of the natural park on the borders of Competa and Frigiliana. Acebuchal was originally founded in the 17th Century and sits on a traditional “muleteers” route between Granada and Malaga. It has always acted as a stop for passing traders, a great place to rest and get supplies. When the civil war between the fascists and Republicans finished in 1939, Franco decided to go and end all resistance movements, starting with the Guerilla group known as The Marquis. This meant that Frigiliana and Acebuchal were on the front line in this war against the Guardia Civil and Franco. The Lost Village of Acebuchal remained abandoned until 1998, following the battles that raged on until 1952. By 2003, the village was rebuilt by hand and had electricity and water, due to one mans dream, Antonio “El Zumbo”. His family now run the only restaurant and rural hotel in the village, with delicious, traditional and typical Spanish “campo” food – Spanish countryside food. There are several walks that include walking through and around the village of Acebuchal. This one starts from the accommodation, Finca Los Pinos. We walk from the accommodation along a beautiful track straight into the natural park. The walk then takes us to a beautiful shaded river and then up a goat trail and over the mountain side. This walk is medium, due to some steep climbs up narrow tracks, but there is an option for those who would like the walk to be along the main track into Acebuchal. For more walks that go through Acebuchal, please look at our other walking pages. There is a walk to Frigiliana, and to one of the Fabrica de la Luz, which is not to be missed!
Difficulty – Varies from Medium-Hard
Time – 5 hours
This hike is a beautiful one and can be quite hard going in places due to steep climbs. However, it is definitely worth it! You start at the viewpoint overlooking Competa and walk up a track towards Casa de la Mina and around the back of Competa. Views from up here look down to the coast at Torre del Mar and on a clear day, the Atlas Mountains and Morroccan coast can be seen. Best time of year for this is early Spring. You continue to walk up towards the track, surrounded by pine trees and the sounds of birds and animals, leaving the noises of the town far behind you. Once at the top, views of mountains and lush valleys complete the walk. There are picnic tables and benches to sit on and admire the views, aswell as eat! In total, the walk takes about 2.5 hours, but there is an extended full day walk that you can also do from here.
Difficulty: Easy – Medium
Time: 9 Hours
The Rio Chillar is one of Sierra Almijara’s most celebrated spots. This walk takes 9 hours including stops for food and pictures…of which I am sure you will want to take plenty! The walk is mostly in the river, and therefore sensible footwear should be worn, such as strapped on sandals or waterproof boots. There is a moderate ascent with this walk, and luckily the rocks in the river are rarely slippery. Although the walk is relatively short, at 13km, it is hard going wading through the water. The route takes you along the most beautiful section of the river, where amazing wildlife and lush fauna can be seen. At the end of the river, we stop for some food and refreshments (and more photos!) and then walk back along a canalisation, which overlooks the walk you have already done and offers spectacular views. The day begins with a light breakfast in Nerja and then ends in Nerja. We will transport you back to Finca Los Pinos for dinner or arrange a set menu in town. Definitely one of our favourite walks, and a favourite of locals and tourists alike. Although there are few steep ascents, we give this walk a medium rating and would recommend that any one participating is relatively fit…many have awoken the day after with very stiff muscles!
Fabrica in Canillas De Albaida
Difficulty – Easy – Medium
Time – 4-5 hours
This walk begins in Competa, where we will have a light breakfast before starting our walk to Canillas de Albaida. This walk is easy, short and offers beautiful views across worked fields growing various different organic produce. Once we reach Canillas, we start the next part of our route, a 3-4 hour walk to the Fabrica de la Luz. This area is an idyllic spot for a picnic, declared as an “Area Recreativa” and it has various facilities in place, such as clean bathrooms and BBQ area. Once we reach the fabrica, depending on the time of year, we will have a picnic or BBQ and enjoy the sounds of the River Turvilla and the peace and tranquility that nature provides. There are various different paths that follow the river up towards the mountains, and further into the lush area surrounding the river with amazing botanical variety, including:
- White Willows
We give you the option to explore on your own, or you can return to the accommodation in a vehicle, or alternatively you can extend the walk to follow the river up into the mountains near Puerto de Collado (the viewpoint in Competa) and walk back to be picked up and returned to the accommodation. The beauty of this walk is that it is flexible, beautiful and really a little piece of paradise, with stunning surroundings that vary at all times of the year. It is almost unbelievable that this piece of nature is here in the mountains!