Benaojan to Jimera de Libar

Benaojan

Route: Benaoján to Jimera de Libar

Area: Andalucia, Spain

Date of walk: 12th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 5.7 miles

Ascent: 800 feet

Weather: Cloudy at first, becoming sunny

On the last day of this short holiday in Spain, based in the sleepy village of Benaojan, we still had time for another walk and had planned to visit the Ronda Gorge. However a major 101km bike race was taking place in the area and this would have made Ronda difficult to access, and parking impossible. We soon came up with a Plan B, a walk that had been near the top of our list anyway, and as a bonus the start was from Benaojan 

We first had to move our rented car from the hotel, as the race was passing by the front door and the narrow access lane would be closed for the bike race. We parked at the nearby railway station, which is also the start of this walk, and if all went to plan we’d catch the train back from our destination, Jimera de Libar. After crossing the railway line we picked up a waymarked track which followed the course of the Rio Guadiano and the railway, both of which run along the deep valley we were following

The path undulated gently up and down and we made quick progress – we had to, since the train back was leaving at 1pm and if we missed it we’d have a rush to get to the airport for our flight home. In the event we made such good progress that we arrived at Jimera with an hour to spare, time which was well spent enjoying an ice cold Spanish beer at the local bar

It was a superb linear walk. The scenery was outstanding throughout and a particular highlight had been the wildflowers lining the path along the way. The train ride back to Benaojan only lasted about 10 minutes but it gave us a sample of the delights of the Bobadilla-Ronda-Algeciras railway line, one of Europe’s most spectacular train journeys

A few notes in conclusion at the end of this wonderful walking holiday in Andalucia, a new walking area for us:

We based ourselves in the small hamlet of Benaojan in the Molino del Santo, a lovely rural boutique hotel, which we can highly recommend. The staff were particularly helpful and friendly. The village is well located for walking – there are numerous walks in the immediate vicinity, including several from the hotel. Ronda is only a short drive away, as are two major walking areas – the Natural Parks of Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves 

The walks we followed were all sourced from ‘Walking the Mountains of Ronda and Grazalema‘ by Guy Hunter-Watts, and all of them were just as described. The book was an invaluable holiday companion. None of the paths which we followed were overcrowded, and on 2 of them we didn’t see another soul. May is a good time to visit the area as the temperature is warm but bearable, there are long daylight hours, and the countryside is bursting with wildflowers. We’d managed 5 walks in 5 days, each of them memorable for different reasons and I hope to return to this wonderful place

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