Genal Valley, Natura 2000 Network

MALAGA – An isolated and little-known forest, a Mediterranean region full of rurality and biodiversity.

Sylvia melanocephala Espagne
Trithemis kirbyi Málaga
Oenanthe leucura Valle del Genal
Salamandra salamandra longirostris Andalousie

The forest of forests

White villages

The fall and its colours

Dragonflies

Karst

The Genal Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Andalusia, the road that connects Gibraltar and Ronda, used by smugglers and bandits, travelers and soldiers. The valley is surrounded by legendary mountains, covered with centuries-old forests and dotted with 15 white villages, perched on the slopes and populated by just 7,000 inhabitants. The two main communication routes are mountain roads: Ronda – Algeciras and Ronda – San Pedro. Here you breathe rurality and tradition. It is a valley largely unknown to the general public … an authentic territory par excellence.

The steep river valley is surrounded by protected natural areas visible from viewpoints: to the southwest Strait of Gibraltar, to the west Los Alcornocales, to the northwest Sierra de Grazalema, to the north the mountain ranges of the city of Ronda, to the northeast Sierra de Las Nieves, to the east Sierra Bermeja, to the southeast Sierra Crestellina and to the south the Mediterranean Sea and to the coasts of Africa, an incredible panorama that allows us to appreciate the Serranía de Ronda in all its splendor.

The Genal River is one of the last wild rivers of Andalusia that was recently saved from a dam construction project thanks to the union of the inhabitants of the valley. The Spring located in Igualeja has been declared a Natural Monument. The Genal, a modest river, short and shallow … but what a character! In winter, the rains and storms feed a stream that becomes a rough river and a paradise for native fish. In the spring, water flows happily and welcomes populations of dragonflies and frogs. In summer, the stream withers and offers a pleasant refuge from the Mediterranean heat; It dries to its mouth and forms a small stony plain. In autumn, the first rains revive the river, on its banks the fresh grass grows and the fruits of autumn are the pretext for beautiful walks. The Genal dies the river Guadiaro in the place of Las Juntas del Río.

low whitewashed houses, narrow streets, mountainsides, white villages, popular Andalusian architecture, identity

Low houses once painted in whitewash, narrow streets in medieval style and steep slopes that betray a mountainous situation … Here are the white villages, which fascinate travelers and consecrate popular Andalusian architecture as one of its strongest marks of identity.

Genal River, Forest gallery

Few of the Iberian rivers have escaped the fever of dams. The Genal is an exception and hosts a biodiversity as much rare as it is threatened.

Forest, Genal, cork oak (Quercus suber), chestnut (Castanea sativa), Genal Valley

The cork oak (Quercus suber), with its evergreen foliage, offers an eternal spring landscape and the chestnut tree (Castanea sativa), with its spectacular golden foliage in autumn, delights us with the “Copper Forest”.

White village, Benarraba, Genal valley, church

In winter, the clouds rise from the cold and wet bottom of the valley on the wooded slopes and flirt with the village of Benarraba.

The forest is dense and omnipresent. The Genal Valley and its surrounding is an authentic “forest of forests”, mainly cork oaks (Quercus suber) with persistent foliage that offers a landscape of eternal spring and chestnuts (Castanea sativa) orchads, with a spectacular golden foliage in autumn (the so-called “Copper Forest”). Other areas are alternately occupied by holm oaks (Quercus rotundifolia) and portugese oaks (Quercus faginea). The summit of nearby Sierra Bermeja are covered by forests of pinsapos (Abies pinsapo) and maritime pines (Pinus pinaster). As for the banks of the Genal, they are bordered by a narrow riverbank forest; and the lowlands are covered with wild olive trees (Olea sylvestris). Not forgetting the cultivated groves of olive, almond, orange, cherry and other fruit trees, with staggered blooms and offering the best of nature. Few regions offer such a rich diversity of forests and fruit trees.

The valley is bordered by mountains, the rocky ridges protrude everywhere along the way. The magnificent Jaraestepar (1,427 m / 4,681 ft) stands out, a bare ridge, covered with sparse grass and very stony that houses a splendid karst landscape in Los Riscos de Cartajima. If you look at the sky, griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) are likely on the wing.

We offer a Málaga wildlife tour which is perfect to explore ist best natural areas and taste the Mediterranean feel.

The Genal Valley is above all a rural territory, populated by people down to earth, who know traditions, old time agriculture, trees and small herds, that have favored the polyculture. The villages were built by the Berbers at the time of Al-Andalus and have stood the test of time. Their names betray their origin and sound like poetry. After the Christian conquest, life in the Moorish paradise becomes more difficult as rebellions arose, but in vain … the result was conversion or exile.

The list of white villages is divided into two groups: Alto Genal (former Haraval): Igualeja, Pujerra, Parauta, Cartajima, Júzcar, Faraján, Alpandeire. Bajo Genal: Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría, Algatocín, Benarrabá, Gaucín, Jubrique, Genalguacil.

Colors of Genal: the different shades of green from its forests crisscrossed with the blue of the sky and the Mediterranean Sea, the white of the rocky peaks, villages and winter mists, and the red of Sierra Bermeja and cork oaks trunks. Overall, nature offers us a very attractive color palette.

The Genal Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Andalusia, the road that connects Gibraltar and Ronda, used by smugglers and bandits, travelers and soldiers. The valley is surrounded by legendary mountains, covered with centuries-old forests and dotted with 15 white villages, perched on the slopes and populated by just 7,000 inhabitants. The two main communication routes are mountain roads: Ronda – Algeciras and Ronda – San Pedro. Here you breathe rurality and tradition. It is a valley largely unknown to the general public … an authentic territory par excellence.

The steep river valley is surrounded by protected natural areas visible from viewpoints: to the southwest Strait of Gibraltar, to the west Los Alcornocales, to the northwest Sierra de Grazalema, to the north the mountain ranges of the city of Ronda, to the northeast Sierra de Las Nieves, to the east Sierra Bermeja, to the southeast Sierra Crestellina and to the south the Mediterranean Sea and to the coasts of Africa, an incredible panorama that allows us to appreciate the Serranía de Ronda in all its splendor.

The Genal River is one of the last wild rivers of Andalusia that was recently saved from a dam construction project thanks to the union of the inhabitants of the valley. The Spring located in Igualeja has been declared a Natural Monument. The Genal, a modest river, short and shallow … but what a character! In winter, the rains and storms feed a stream that becomes a rough river and a paradise for native fish. In the spring, water flows happily and welcomes populations of dragonflies and frogs. In summer, the stream withers and offers a pleasant refuge from the Mediterranean heat; It dries to its mouth and forms a small stony plain. In autumn, the first rains revive the river, on its banks the fresh grass grows and the fruits of autumn are the pretext for beautiful walks. The Genal dies the river Guadiaro in the place of Las Juntas del Río.

The forest is dense and omnipresent. The Genal Valley and its surrounding is an authentic “forest of forests”, mainly cork oaks (Quercus suber) with persistent foliage that offers a landscape of eternal spring and chestnuts (Castanea sativa) orchads, with a spectacular golden foliage in autumn (the so-called “Copper Forest”). Other areas are alternately occupied by holm oaks (Quercus rotundifolia) and portugese oaks (Quercus faginea). The summit of nearby Sierra Bermeja are covered by forests of pinsapos (Abies pinsapo) and maritime pines (Pinus pinaster). As for the banks of the Genal, they are bordered by a narrow riverbank forest; and the lowlands are covered with wild olive trees (Olea sylvestris). Not forgetting the cultivated groves of olive, almond, orange, cherry and other fruit trees, with staggered blooms and offering the best of nature. Few regions offer such a rich diversity of forests and fruit trees.

The valley is bordered by mountains, the rocky ridges protrude everywhere along the way. The magnificent Jaraestepar (1,427 m / 4,681 ft) stands out, a bare ridge, covered with sparse grass and very stony that houses a splendid karst landscape in Los Riscos de Cartajima. If you look at the sky, griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) are likely on the wing.

Colors of Genal: the different shades of green from its forests crisscrossed with the blue of the sky and the Mediterranean Sea, the white of the rocky peaks, villages and winter mists, and the red of Sierra Bermeja and cork oaks trunks. Overall, nature offers us a very attractive color palette.

The Genal Valley is above all a rural territory, populated by people down to earth, who know traditions, old time agriculture, trees and small herds, that have favored the polyculture. The villages were built by the Berbers at the time of Al-Andalus and have stood the test of time. Their names betray their origin and sound like poetry. After the Christian conquest, life in the Moorish paradise becomes more difficult as rebellions arose, but in vain … the result was conversion or exile.

The list of white villages is divided into two groups: Alto Genal (former Haraval): Igualeja, Pujerra, Parauta, Cartajima, Júzcar, Faraján, Alpandeire. Bajo Genal: Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría, Algatocín, Benarrabá, Gaucín, Jubrique, Genalguacil.