Sunday in Spain is not always the most exciting, especially if you have children, so we make a habit of exploring the local area and finding new places. It’s not quite close your eyes and point to somewhere on the map, but can be just as hit-and-miss, which is part of the fun.
Recently we decided on finding a hike (or bushwalk as we antipodeans like to say) and were lucky enough to come across an area just north of Salobreña called Los Guájares – a municipality of 3 villages which have retained an Andalusian rustic charm, as yet unspoilt by tourism. Frigiliana it certainly ain’t; it’s much rougher, but that was part of the appeal.
There are a series of hikes available in the area, but owing to the heat and the whingeing children, we decided on the least difficult, El Castillejo. Starting from Guájar Faragüit we downed a quick coffee with a bunch of old men who looked like they had started their day about 10pm the night before, then wound our way down through the old part of the village through cobblestoned streets that could barely fit the 4 of us abreast. Occasionally, we’d come across a parked car that you would swear had been pulled apart and reassembled there, simply to make visitors stand and wonder at how the hell it got there… not that I fell victim to their cunning plan.
As we passed the river and the fringe of the village, old men were busy working the irrigation systems in their orchards, which they informed us were mainly to supply the local market in Motril. We made our way up the hill where the vegetation almost instantly changed to dry, prickly bushes but were buoyed by the signs directing us to an archaeological site, which turned out to be the ruins of a fortified Moorish village.
In typical Spanish fashion it was completely uncared for, but the advantage there is that you can walk all through the old fortification and clearly make out living quarters, ovens, stairs, water tanks etc. You got the feeling you shouldn’t be trampling on the site, but there were a handful of signs suggesting you do just that. There really are very few places in the world where you could be alone in such a place, without an entrance fee in sight.
The walk continues on to Guájar Fondón but is not circular, so we decided to turn back, making it about 70 minutes in total.
We finished the morning up at Guájar Alto where there is a fantastic freshwater swimming hole with a pebbled ‘beach’ and all. The water was cold, but the setting was beautiful and conveniently you can drive your car right up to it.
The Los Guájares council website has more information, with several other harder hikes available and plenty of other swimming opportunities, including waterfalls.