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Climbing in Spain - Useful Information

 

 

 

 

Useful Information for Climbing in Andalucia

 

Andalucia is the massive rural province that dominates southern Spain. It has long been a favoured winter climbing destination for sun starved British climbers because it combines loads of great crags - El Chorro, Archidona, Loja and Desplomilandia - with a stable , pleasant climate. The map below outlines where we are based and some of the more important crags.

 


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Malaga airport is 45km from our base in Villanueva de Rosario and it takes about 40 minutes to reach us from the airport, whilst Granada airport is 72km away and it takes about 50 minutes from the airport.

Food + Shops

The town of Villanueva de Rosario has several small grocers - one is about 50m from our house - where you can pick up essentials. In the centre of town the is a branch of 'Dia' - essentially just like a large Spar. There is also a bakers and fishmongers very close to the house. All the local shops close between 2pm and 4/5pm, but then stay open to about 8pm. All the town shops close early on a Saturday and are completely closed on Sunday.

There are a couple of banks in town and both have ATM facilities.

Antequera is about 15km away and offers a full shopping mall experience with the massive Eroski complex on the outskirts of town. This is also the best place for cheap fuel.

There are not a lot of climbing shops in the area - the most convenient places to buy climbing equipment are in either Malaga or El Chorro. There are several shops in Malaga including two specialist stores - El Yeti and La Trucha (Calle Carretería, 100, 29008 Malaga, Spain - Tel: 952 212 203).

Also in Malaga are a couple of sports superstores that sell the odd bit of climbing equipment - Forum in the Larios shopping centre (Avenida de la Aurora, 21, 29002 Malaga, Spain - Tel: 952 369 393) and Decathalon (Avenida Simon Bolivar, Centro Comercial La Rosaleda, 29011 Málaga - Tel: +34 95 264 0598 / www.decathlon.es).

The Decathlon is probably the easiest to find as it is just off the motorway and very close to the airport. It is also close to a couple of Carrefour supermarkets that lie on the way to/from the motorway, although the ease of both accessing them and getting back on to the motorway leaves a lot to be desired.

The small climbing store in El Chorro is great if you are in the area.

Further afield in Granada the best climbing stores are Sherpa and Solo Aventura - both are good independent climbing shops.

 

 

 

Villanueva del Rosario

 

Hermita at RosarioThe village of Villanueva del Rosario is a small white Andalucian town that is situated 45km north of Malaga and 75km south west from Granada. The town has an elevation of 750m and lies at the base of the El Jobo and Camarolos hills and is surrounded by a stunning landscape that is also home to the highest peak in the region - El Chamizo (1,641 meters).

The hills behind the village have been settled since Roman times, but Villanueva del Rosario only gained its independence from the nearby town of Archidona in 1812 and was originally called Pueblo del Saucedo. Archidona opposed this loss of its power both bitterly and violently, so eventually the new village turned to the Council of the King's Chambers where the towns independence was finally confirmed in 1827. Three years latter the village changed its name to Villanueva del Rosario.

The town’s location next to the important Guadalhorce river in a natural pass between the coast and the interior of Andalucia means that the area around the current town was one of the first places to attract settlers. Romans, then Arab and Visigoth settlers took up residence in settlements by the river bank. The oldest site is that at El Ventorro del Cojo and cave paintings from the Lower Paleolithic period have been discovered in the El Malnombre cave in the Camarolos Mountains. There are two interesting Copper Age archaeological sites in the area - one at the Finca Tardón and another in the Peñon de Oso area of the nearby hills.

There are also Visigoth burial grounds in the surrounding hills, but unfortunately people have damaged and stolen from them over time, leaving little to be seen today.

The current town centre was built in the 18th Century and was well known for its many willow trees (sauces). These are still in evidence today and originally gave the village the name of 'Puebla de Saucedo'– the locals are still called Saucedeños.
The imposing mountain front that can be seen from the town greatly enriches an area that is diverse and attractive in its own right one can find pines, live oaks, gall oaks, black poplars, ashes and broad expanses of olive trees. The area not only hold sites of unexpected beauty but also has the highest peaks in the region with El Chamizo (1,641 meters),  Alto de Hondonero (1,420 meters) and El Pelao (1,387 metres).

Climbing up the hillside from the village you pass the hermitage shrine of the 'Virgen del Rosario', patron saint of the village. If you carry on up the hill, you reach the natural spring 'El Nacimiento', which provides the drinking water for the village. Higher up the mountain leads to the Hondoneros plain at the base of the Sierra Los Camarolos and Sierra Gorda Mountains. This is an area of great natural beauty - a wonderful place for the whole family to really enjoy a day out in unspoiled countryside. There are five routes for walkers in the area which are Tosquilla, Tajos, Chamizo and Las Fuentes I and II which give the visitor a chance to take in the natural beauty of the area

Details of these routes can be obtained from Tourist Information: Town Hall: Plaza de España, 9 (29312). Telephone: 952 742 008; Fax: 952 742 213

Weather for the village can be found at Tutiempo

 

 

Insurance

It is recommended that you obtain personal insurance to cover you for cancellations or personal injury.

There are several specialist companies that you can approach that offer good cover for climbing and other mountain sports including:

 

 

Antequera

 

Antequera and La PenaThe historic Andalucían town of Antequera is set on a rich, fertile plain and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is a very pleasant city, where people don't seem to have had their natural friendliness extinguished by over-exposure to the multitude of UK visitors.

The town's historic past is easily appreciated by visiting a wide range of attractions - there are Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains, burial mounds (dolmens) and baroque bell towers.

The town and valley are overlooked by an enormous crag of limestone, called La Peña de los Enamorados, or "The Lovers' Leap". The name comes from a local legend about an impossible love affair between a young Christian man from Antequera and a beautiful Moorish girl from nearby Archidona, who were driven to the top of the cliff by the Moorish soldiers, where, rather than renounce their love, they chose to hurl themselves into the abyss. This will soon be a major attraction for climbers as well because these awesome rock walls now have a good collection of routes - 80m ropes and plenty of stamina needed.

The Dolmens in Antequera are considered to be the finest example of megalithic construction in Europe and date back to the Copper Age 4500 years ago. These mass tombs, made of huge slabs of rock weighing up to 180 tonnes, were created by the original Iberian people. There are many such dolmens in Andalucía, but none as large as the Cueva de la Menga. When it was excavated in the nineteenth century, many hundreds of skeletons were found in its inner chamber. They were discovered in 1905 by a local gardener and are now open to the public.

The Antequera Lobo Park (Wolf Park) is a great attraction.  There are four large enclosures of Iberian wolves, European wolves, Timber wolves and the very rare white Alaska - Tundra Polar wolf. The Park covers an area of 40 hectares, and is protected with many rare plants and animal species.  There are noble Andalucian horses available for riding and also a petting zoo with different animals for children.

Fuente de Piedra (approx 15km from Antequera) is one of the largest salt water lagoons in Spain and it becomes home to 1000's of migrating flamingos during early Spring. The area however, is protected, so although you can walk and drive around the lagoon, you can't get to close There is a Visitors Centre that has a clear view to the lake and gives information about the 100's of different bird species that can be found in the area.

Hojiblanca is one of the oldest Olive Oil producing companies in Spain and their headquarters are on the outskirts of Antequera, where they have recently finished building their own museum dedicated to the heritage of olive oil production.It has many artifacts including an impressive 17th century beam press and plots production history using scale models of implements and presses. Produce is available to sample and buy too. · 

El Torcal Park Nature Reserve has 17 square km of some of the most beautiful and impressive limestone landscapes in Europe. It is a popular venue for walkers and climbers which is located on the outskirts of Antequera near the village of Villanueva de la Concepción.

The whole area was under sea until one hundred million years ago, then violent movements in the Earth's crust forced it upward to form hills and mountains up to 1.300 m high. The limestone had a layered horizontal formation that over millions of years has been eroded by the rain and wind to form incredible shapes.

There are three routes through the park for walkers which have been marked out with different coloured arrows on wooden sticks. The green route is the shortest and easiest, 1,5 km. and takes about 30 minutes. The yellow route covers most of the green area, is 2,5 km. long and takes you to "Las Ventanillas" The Windows, at 1.200 m. for panoramic views of the valley of Málaga. Finally the red route is the longest and most difficult, 4,5 km. taking about three hours, with a viewing point 1.339 m. up where you can see the whole of the El Torcal Park and, on a clear day, the Africa Coastline. The park now also has two Via Ferrata routes.

 

Archidona

 

The town of Archidona once ruled over a lot of the surrounding area including Villanueva de Rosario and dates back to prehistoric times, as proven by important archaeological findings from the Palaeolithic period

Initially settled by the Turdulo tribe, around 1,500 B.C. and then by the Phoenicians who it is believed began building the town walls. When finished, these made the town very difficult to conquer so that during the Roman period it was known as "Arx Dómina". The Moors finally named it "Medina Arxiduna", from which it gets its present name. It then became a major centre of commerce with periods of both great affluence and also recession until the town we know today began to take shape in the 16th century.

The village’s long and eventful history, coupled with the desire of its inhabitants to preserve the artistic heritage born of the key role played by the village down the years, has resulted in Archidona being declared a Village of Historical and Artistic Importance

Plaza Ochavada Situated right in the centre of the town, the Plaza Ochavada is one of Andalucía¹s jewels of Baroque architecture. It was built in 1786 by the local master builders Antonio González Sevillano and Francisco Astorga Frías, who proposed an original structure octagonal in form of French origin, in which the common Andalusian patio style was incorporated into a classical style.

In the interior one can see the marvelous harmony of red brick and white walls, a common feature of present-day design in the town. Another sight worth seeing is the Plaza de la Victoria, the centre of life in the town. Here there are three important buildings: the Town Hall, the old granary, or Cilla, with its stone Baroque entrance and the Iglesia de la Victoria.

Archidona is not only a beautiful and historic town, but is also rich in natural surroundings, allowing for rural tourism at its best and a full range of trekking, cycling and general mountain activities.

There are two nature trails worth noting in particular: the Hoz del Arroyo Marín and the Lagunas (lakes) de Archidona. The Lagunas Grande y Chica (Big and Small Lakes) of Archidona have been officially declared a nature reserve of Andalucía. It is a humid area of salt water, rich in sulphate's and of high ecological value.

 

 

 

Spain - Travel + Outdoor Information:

Malaga Spain. Directory for Malaga with lots of interesting information

SOL Spain On Line - A great website with information on Spain

tuSPAIN - The magazine for Spain on the web. An old site with useful info.

General Travel + Outdoor Information:

Pilgrim Routes Walking Holidays - Hiking & walking holidays including the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Route

Traveling5.com - Travel directory resources and information websites.

NewTraveling.com - links to Travel directory resources and information websites.

Business Directory - Directory of UK companies and businesses, arranged by category.

Free Web Directory - A human edited web directory

World Website Directory

U Will Find - Add URL & Submit Site to Free Website Directory

URL.biz - Climbing

 

 

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