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Discover the Genal Valley

In the Serranía de Ronda – The Lower Genal – The Upper Genal.

View over Jubrique from the chestnut farms.

ABSTRACT. We will review the most significant sites to be visited by travelers who wish to enjoy the best rural tourism in the Serranía de Ronda and discover the Valley of the Genal.

In the Serranía de Ronda

A practically obligatory part of any trip to Andalusia, Ronda offers much more than the city and its historical monuments … Take advantage of your visit to sink into the Serranía de Ronda, a series of mountains with remarkably preserved traditions and landscapes. The Genal Valley is home to fifteen small white villages, all picturesque and representative of the famous tourist route of the Pueblos Blancos along the A-369 road. By means of communication and geography, we can distinguish the settlements in the northeast of the valley under the name High Genal, or Haraval. As for the southwestern villages, which are aligned along a ridge or on the foothills of Sierra Bermeja, they form the Lower Genal.
Work of art in Genalguacil street.

Work exposed in the open air in an alley of Genalguacil – .

The Lower Genal

West of the Valley, the A-369 national road (Ronda – Algeciras / Casares) leaves the mineral world of Jaraestepar and explores ‘La Dorsal’, a line of ridges overlooking the villages of the Lower Genal: Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría , Algatocín, Benarrabá, Gaucín. Five watchtowers along the road allow you to appreciate the landscapes of unspoiled Mediterranean mountains. Further south, on the left bank, between the river and the Costa del Sol, rise Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja, which is home to Jubrique and Genalguacil, accessible from Algatocín via the Venta de San Juan or by the forest dirt road that connects Genalguacil in Estepona (on the coast).

The Ridge of the Genal Valley river, Sierrezuela de Algatocín and Peñón de Benadalid.

The Ridge On the right bank of the Genal river, the slopes are crowned by a line of rocky ridges and are home to the mouitain-sided Lower Genal villages.

Atajate, gate of the Lower Genal

Dolmen of Encinas Borrachas, near Ronda.

After the Jaraestepar, comes the sinkhole of Encinas Borrachas and its dolmen (6,000 years old). Then, the modest village of Atajate, an obligatory passage for hikers, and an ideal ‘venta‘ to rest before diving into the valley.

Rural chapel of Benadalid

Ermita de la Candelaria in Benadalid, end of the local procession.

In Andalusia, the processions to the Virgin end in an ‘Ermita‘, a quiet sanctuary in the middle of preserved vegetation. La Candelaria de Benaladid offers a pleasant and bucolic stopover. The village also has a castle of Muslim origin.

The Ridge of Algatocín & Benadalid

The Ridge: Sierrezuela de Algatocín.

The western ridge ‘La Dorsal’ is topped by rocky cliffs such as Sierrezuela de Algatocín and Peñón de Benadalid.

On the road, it is advisable to stock up in the Super del Genal mini-market.

Benalauría, the wild river

Genal River, Benalauría

A white village pioneer for its rural development policy and cooperative initiatives.

Below the village (400 meters of vertical drop), the best-preserved section of the Génal river.

Base camp in the Genal: Benarrabá

Benarrabá, camp base for exploring the Serranía de Ronda.

Our base ideally placed to discover the valley and its surroundings (Grazalema, Gibraltar, Ronda, Casares), offering services to travelers, tranquility and the charm of places off the beaten track. Many hikes.

Gaucín’s castle, balcony of the Serranía

Gaucín's Castillo del Aguila seen from SIerra del Hacho

Main village in the valley, outpost of the Costa del Sol, with many artists’ studios. Perched on a limestone rock, the listed historic site Castillo del Águila watches over Gibraltar. Overlooking the village, the small mountain Sierra del Hacho offers pretty excursions.

Sierra Bermeja

The Spanish Fir of Sierra Bermeja grow on peridotite rocks.

The Red Mountain of Sierra Bermeja, rocky massif formed of peridotite and sheltering relict forests of conifers (pinsapos, maritime pines). Unique geological and natural values in Spain.

The ‘Museum village’: Genalguacil

The Village Museum of Genalguacil and its outdoor sculptures.

A mountain village that surprises with its contemporary art museum and its outdoor sculpture exhibition. From the Place de l’Eglise, the views are magnificent over the ‘Dorsal’ and the Lower Genal. Hike from Benarrabá.

Jubrique: chestnut trees and carnivorous plants

Portuguese sundew Drosophyllum lusitanicum.

The happiest and most jovial inhabitants of the valley organize an annual competition for the elaboration of brandy. On dry land, between the chestnut trees, a very rare carnivorous plant grows: the Portuguese sundew Drosophyllum lusitanicum.

Casares: where the river finds a second life

Sierra Crestellina Casares signals the end of the Genal Valley.

The valley suddenly widens and agricultural landscapes appear as the river dries up for a long section before merging with the Guadiaro. Sierra Crestellina stands guard over the Valley.

hundred-year-old chestnut in fall foliage.

The chesnut treeRepresentative tree of the valley for its importance in the local economy and the shape of the autumnal landscape.

Hike in the cork oak forest.

Hiking in the Genal Valleyin the midst of recently debarked cork oaks.

The Upper Genal (Haraval)

Nearby the mountain pass of Encinas Borrachas, a diversion of the A-369 bypasses the Jarestepar (Sierra del Oreganal) and the karst formation of Los Riscos and allows access to the Upper Genal (el Haraval) and its villages: Alpandeire, Faraján , Júzcar, Cartajima, Parauta, Igualeja, Pujerra. The valley is more closed there, the chestnut groves more dense and the villages more modest than in the Lower Genal. Many dirt roads cross the river and connect the villages.

Landscapes of Harraval, the High Genal, in the Serrania de Ronda.

The mixed and cultivated forest of Haraval, the Upper Genal brings a variety of shapes and colors to the landscape.

Alpandeire, in the footsteps of Brother Léopoldo

Alpendeire, birthplace of the revered Fray Leopoldo.

Birthplace and final destination of the hiking route of Fray Leopoldo (1864-1956), chaplain in the city of Granada and revered throughout Andalusia.

Faraján: waterfall and cultivated terraces

Chorreras del arroyo Balastar near Farajan in the Genal Valley.

Las Chorreras del arroyo Balastar: two cascades of travertine (tuff) about 20 meters high, completed by an irrigation system from the Muslim era.

Júzcar: Industrial heritage

Renovated Fábrica de Hojalata, Júzcar, Alto Genal

Historical fabric ‘Real Fábrica de Hojalata y Altos hornos de San Miguel’.

The village has recently reinvented itself by painting its walls in blue instead of the traditional white.

Los Riscos de Júzcar et Cartajima

Los Riscos de Júzcar et Cartajima, iconic karst near Ronda.

Karstic model located in the Sierra del Oreganal and little known despite its extension and interest. Ideal and quiet excursion. Many rocks with evocative shapes.

Parauta, between Genal & Sierra de Las Nieves

Parauta, isolated and charming mountain village.

Quaint and secluded white village. Remarkable tree in the village: Encina Valdecilla. Large areas in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park.

Pujerra, in the country of chesnut trees

Large chestnut, monumental tree, in Pujerra.

Local museum of chestnuts and traditions.

Headquarters of the most dynamic Operators’ Cooperative.

One of the most popular trailscrossing the Copper forest.

The source of the river in Igualeja

Natural Monument Nacimiento del Río Genal

Attractive picnic area: Nacimiento del Río Genal Natural Monument.

Note the National road A-397 (Ronda – San Pedro de Alcantará) which also gives access to the Upper Genal villages, and later to the western and less frequented area of the Sierra de Las Nieves, to the picturesque landscapes of Sierra Palmitera and finally to the Costa del Sol.

The Guadiaro Valley

Further west, the neighboring Guadiaro valley, a transition zone with the Sierra de Grazalema natural park, which offers connections with the villages of Bas Génal. Access Ronda – Cortés de la Frontera is by the MA-8401 road or by train.

Views from the Mirador de África over the Guadiaro valley and the Massif de Líbar (Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park).

The Massif de Líbar and the Guadiaro Valley –  seen from the Viewpoint of Africa is part of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

Rural tourism in Andalusia and the Genal Valley.

Rural tourism in Andalusia and the Genal Valley.