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Drovers’ Roads – Andalucia, Spain

Surrounded by nature, stepping on routes that worked as corridors for herding, shepherding, and muleteering while you’re admiring the beauty of every single thing that is around you. This time you will be walking through a way of life that has defined the landscapes of this place. Drovers’ Roads in Andalucia, Spain is definitely a walk that you should take.

These roads can be found throughout Andalucia, which is famous for its captivating white villages. Grazalema is a great example of those villages and it is also one of the many places from which drovers used to depart.

Situated in a high valley in the Sierra del Endrinal, that is in the northwest of Malaga and takes a two-hour drive to reach. It’s embedded in the dominating rocky mass that is the Peñón Grande in the heart of Andalucia’s first designated natural park: Sierra de Grazalema. This village is made up of twisted cobbled streets, where a variety of colorful flowers fall over the window pots, high sierras appear above the houses and green valleys trail below them.

Different paths seem to be worn into the landscapes after years of use by goats, sheep, and mules that were led from Grazalema to other villages like Zahara de la Sierra, which takes five hours walking to get there, with its stunning Moorish castle seated atop a craggy cliffside.

The fortress is one of the most distinctive sights with the white houses that get along with the views of the breathtaking azure waters of the lake Embalse de Zahara. An ideal walk through this pastoral landscape joins together Grazalema to the neighboring village of Montejaque. The irregular rocky track of the medieval road borders the town beneath towering limestone cliffs.

From now on, the route will take you to the south through rolling grassland until you reach a point in which it weaves through the corkwoods. The path that you have to follow comes up from the dense woods into a clearing known as the cork patio. Below you will see leafy, open plains where the hum of the birds and the buzz of dragonflies can be heard; drovers would put their animals in this place to grace for a while.

Journeys between villages can be long, therefore, drovers had to camp overnight, huddled down at the nearest watering hole, but they weren’t always lonely. Those roads that they had to walk were the only way to get to the market. The main trail continues to what was once a farm and nowadays is a ruin, but further down you will see lines of olive trees cutting stripes across the hillside. Wildflowers and a huge variety of colors between pinks and yellows will catch your attention as you pass towering Sierra de Montalate.

The route will continue contouring along the edge of the valley, then it comes downwards, but this will allow you to have a view of the incredible Montejaque.

Just for you to know

Andalucia has an ideal climate for walking, the only exception is during the hot summer months. One of the best months to take this journey is in May because it’s when wildflowers are abundant. Also, the nearest airport to Grazalema is Malaga, and Andalucia Adventures provides different guided walking tours around the region.

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