The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Away from the coastline, the quiet villages of Competa and Capileira take us to a hidden world of deepest Andalucia. The network of paths, passing olive groves and orchards, cross the region and offer panoramic views as we go.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 14150
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.
The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.
Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
Picture white villages perched on imposing hillsides reflecting the warm rays of the sun against a backdrop of the Sierra Almijara. Discover orchard valleys, olives groves and rural life as you make your way through the labyrinth of cobbled streets on your way up into the high country for panoramic views with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
The Andalucian town of Cómpeta is barely mentioned in any of the guidebooks on southern Spain, and the benefits are clear to see. One of the famous white villages, located in the Axarquia region, and steeped in Moorish history, Cómpeta remains an active farming town producing almonds, olives, avocados and even its own wine. It has a charming, thriving old town with two chapels, the one of San Sebastian and the other of San Anton, both from the 18th century. However, its magnificent 16th century Church of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion dominates the town with its belfry towering over the Plaza Almijara, the main square and focal point of Competa.
There’s a good network of footpaths in the region enabling us to mix short and long walks into the hills, stopping at charming villages, giving us a glimpse of a more traditional part of Andalucia. Once in the high country, we have frequent wonderful panoramic views and occasional glimpses of the Mediterranean in the distance
South of the Sierra Nevada range and north of the Sierras of Lujar, La Contraviesa and Gador, lie the Alpujarras Valleys. We have been exploring the valleys and mountains of the Alpujarras since 1990 – we’re pretty sure even the locals don’t know the trails like we do! Our leaders return again and again to this still hidden and little known area of Andalucia.
Capileira, where we stay, is already at 1300m, a pueblo blanco perched above the Poqueira Gorge and the landscape is that of mountains and terraced lands of orchards, vines and olives, irrigated by surrounding deep gorges. There are numerous walks from the village with a myriad of fine scenic paths diverging in all directions. This rugged yet stunningly beautiful area includes mainland Spain’s highest peak, Mulhacen, at 3479m the Iberian Peninsula’s highest mountain, which owes its name to the days when these valleys were cultivated by the Moors. Weather permitting we will stand on top of it, surveying the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and looking south to the Mediterranean.
Another hike, starting at the hotel, follows the pathways between six local villages, where red peppers and onions dry in the sun against white-washed walls and life moves very slowly. The circular Route of the Acequias takes us deep into the wild and remote valley beneath Mulhacen following ancient irrigation channels.
From Trevélez, at 1700m the highest village in Spain, we follow the ridge between Peña Bon and the Pico de Fuentefria along the GR 240, the long distance footpath which takes its name ‘Sulayr’ from the name the Moors gave the Sierra Nevada – the Mountains of the Sun.
Capileira is a charming small village, with it cobbled alleyways, craft shops and restaurants serving typical Alpujarran food. ‘¡Aqui se come muy bien!’, as the locals say.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Arrive at Malaga Airport and transfer by road to (1.5 hours) to the village of Competa and our hotel, the Hotel Balcon de Competa, where we stay for 7 nights' accommodation. If flight times allow, there will be a short introductory village walk before dinner.
Located in the Axarquia region of Andalucía, Competa is approx. seven hundred metres above sea level and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, countryside and Mediterranean, and is best known to many for its locally produced wine. The white-washed village is fascinating to explore with its labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets that date back to Moorish times. Our walks programme for the week takes us into valleys, with walks alongside streams, to hill tops offering panoramic views over the countryside side and to the mountains beyond as well as to Andalucian white-washed villages. This area has a strong Moorish influence as can be seen in the houses, cobbled streets and village fountains.
An example of the walks we plan to include in our programme (dependent on weather conditions and the ability of the group) are as follows:
Cerro Del Agua: A good introductory walk direct from the hotel. Exploring the valley of the Rio Llanada and climbing to the ridge of Cerro Del Agua before dropping down to the valley of Rio Cajula and returning to Competa via the village of Canillas.
Casa De La Mina and Cerro Gavilan: A lovely walk into the high mountain terrain north of Competa with a remote feel. Beautiful views of the Sierra Almijara to the north and to the coast, returning along an old mule track to Competa.
Puerto Blanquillo: From Fabrica De La Luz the walk is through a delightful unspoilt valley and penetrates well into the high sierras to reach Puerto Blanquillo
Frigiliana: A gentle walk along the valley of the river Torrox, with wonderful scenery and views down to the coast. We visit the “lost village” of Acebuchal, and there is time to explore the whitewashed inland village of Frigiliana before returning to Competa.
Salares: A good long top of the grade walk offers wide vistas involving significant descents and ascents as we make our way to the ‘Moorish’ village of Salares. Here we’ll find a local bar for well-earned refreshments.
Transfer by coach today between the two centres. Check into the Hotel Finca los Llanos, a beautifully located property on the edge of the village of Capileira. Settle in and learn about your grade 6 walks for the following week at this evening's briefing.
During our time in Capileira our walks will take us along mule tracks and hillside paths through the Andalucian white-washed villages, into the Poqueira Gorge, down into the Poqueira Valley and up towards Mulhacen, the highest mountain in Iberia. Picturesque viewpoints, splendid lunch spots and Moorish history awaits us. There will also be a day at leisure for you to explore on your own, relax at the hotel or a possible extra excursion. An example of some of the walks we may include in our programme (dependent on weather conditions and the ability of the group) are as follows:
The Six Villages Walk: A classic exploration of typical Alpujarras white villages, little changed since Moorish times. This is a walk out of the hotel and over the low ridge to the south east of our village. Following tracks and mule paths through gentle countryside and quiet villages, we finish the day in Mecina where we can have refreshments as we wait for the bus to take us back up to Capileira.
Route of the Acequias: We take transport to the head of the valley and then continue on foot up the Poqueira Gorge. Our route meanders through the jumbled rocks of the valley floor before arriving at a shady stream junction below San Tomas and ascends steeply to a goat farm at San Tomas at 120m where we join the Route of the Acequias: irrigation channels with origins lost in the mists of time. From here there are spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada mountains above. After a picnic lunch we find and follow the crystal clear chattering upper channel before descending for a wellearned rest and foot paddle in the lower channel. We then drop down into the woods and arrive back in Capileira in time for a refreshing drink or ice-cream.
The Sulayr Path to Trevelez GR240: A beautiful linear walk along the GR240, over high open moor, to the village of Trevelez. The main climbing comes at the start of the day, through pine forests, before opening out to give fantastic views as we descend into the Trevelez valley. Time for exploration & refreshments in Trevelez, before a bus back to Capileira.
Mulhacen/Refugio de Poqueira: At 3479m above sea level, Mulhacen is the highest mountain in Iberia. An ascent will be a highlight of the tour if local transport and weather conditions combine favourably. We take the National Park minibus up the bumpy trail to Alto del Chorrillo on the 2700m contour line, stopping on the way at a viewpoint to spot the Rif and Atlas Mountains of Morocco on the horizon. We ascend less than 800m, gently but steadily, mindful of the altitude, up the well cairned track past old shepherds' shelters and the remains of Civil War trenches. Near the summit cairn and shrine there are a number of good lunch spots among the ruined surveyors' shelters – although they may be filled with snow until late in the season! Careful not to disturb the ibex we descend to the minibus on our outward route, pausing at the Mirador de Trevelez at the edge of the ridge for views of the Trevelez valley and village far, far below. Please note: early & late in the season this may not be possible, but there are other high level alternatives, including a visit to the remote refugio Poqueira at 2500m
Poqueira Gorge South: A relatively low-lying walk on the west side of the gorge, with fine views from Atalaya de Soportujar over the Sierra Nevada range, coastal mountains and the Poqueira villages. An interesting and varied walk includes a Buddist retreat en-route
We travel by road to Malaga Airport for the return flight to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
10th Apr 2021 - 24th Apr 2021 (14 Nights)
1st May 2021 - 15th May 2021 (14 Nights)
2nd Oct 2021 - 16th Oct 2021 (14 Nights)
20th Dec 2021 - 3rd Jan 2022 (14 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
We stay at the friendly three-star Hotel Balcon de Competa in the dramatically set Competa. White houses with balconies bursting with flowers crossed by sinuous streets characterise the town, and surround the hotel. You will also enjoy modern amenities inside, with free Wi-Fi, swimming pool (although this may not be in use year round), tennis court, restaurant, cafeteria,bar in the gardens. A hint of walking to come can be seen in the countryside around the town, with views of La Almijara mountain range and the Mounts of the Axarquía dotted with vineyards. On the horizon, the unmistakable blue of the Mediterranean.
Continental breakfast and dinners are included and will be provided by the hotel. Lunches are not included, and can be bought using the banks, supermarkets and bakery that are within 400 yards of the hotel.
Our hotel, the rustic Finca Los Llanos in Capileira, is conveniently located in the village with amenities including a supermarket, bank and a bakery all close by. In the heart of the Alpujarras, it is part of the white town that appears to cling to the hillside.
The hotel has a swimming pool (open May-October), terrace, lounge and restaurant.
Continental breakfasts will be taken at the hotel and dinners (included in the holiday charge) will be taken in local restaurants. Our first meal is dinner on day 1 and our last is breakfast on day 8. Lunches are not included.
During our first week in Competa, we will walk at Grade 5 level, which includes walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Some walks will involve as much as 800m of ascent and descent and daily mileage between 8-10 miles. The walks are characterised by excellent views and airy lunch spots whilst there are plenty of opportunities to sample local food and drink. Our accommodation is located at approx. 600m above sea level and the maximum altitude reached on our walks is 1211m.
During the second week, from Capileira, the Grade 6 moderate walks includes full days with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding but equally rewarding.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Spain
The currency in Spain is the euro.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Continental breakfast and dinners are included in the holiday charge. While we are in Competa, dinners will be taken at the hotel and will be three courses menus, and on one evening we have a food and wine pairing evening, with local Andalucian wines. From Capileira, dinners will be taken at the hotel and also in good local restaurants, giving the opportunity to enjoy typical cuisine in a village atmosphere. Lunches are not included, but you will be able to purchase supplies from the local supermarkets and bakeries, and a lunch stop may include a local cafe on some days.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Spain
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Spain
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Spain. You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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