GR 249. 03. Etappe: Vélez-Málaga - Torrox
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1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: Vélez Málaga can be reached from the autovía del Mediterráneo (A-7S), which runs very close to the town centre. The A-356 which connects the high Axarquía and the region of Antequera, is found to the west of Vélez and runs in the direction north-south.
Starting point: In the south-eastern part of Vélez Málaga, where the city is expanding, at the intersection of the Avenida Pablo Iglesias with the Camino de Algarrobo. The starting point is next to the sports complex Polideportivo Municipal Fernando Ruiz Hierro and is known as the roundabout of Francisco Aguilar.
Enjoy the walk safely: Rivers and streams that cross stage 3 are quite short. Additionally, the characteristics of the terrain and the fact that the rainfall is not too abundant here, converts the rivers into narrow streambeds which usually end up being dry. However, on the way down to the beach and walking up the subsequent rise you must cross the riverbeds of Río Torrox and Río Seco. In between the two, there are four smaller riverbeds you need to wade through and, although none should pose any danger, you should remember that they do serve as the natural drainage of the nearby hills and that specifi c weather conditions of the Mediterranean climate can result in torrential downpours which could complicate the crossings. Some sections of the walk follow an asphalted road which lacks a hard shoulder, fortunately these sections do not have much traffic. This happens, for example, between the nursery Vivero Los Bambúes and the housing estate Urbanización Baviera. There is a long section where you will be using the hard shoulder of the N-340 road and this, at times, offers little space for walking by the narrow breakwater and close to the crashing waves. In case of a storm you should take extreme caution and use common sense.
A similar situation occurs on some very unstable slate cliffs, made worse by the “invasion” of industrial buildings and equipment in this marine environment. It is recommended to use the dedicated path exclusively and to be well informed on the conditions of the sea and weather. It is possible to stock up on most supplies at this stage in the successive populated areas. Also, you will be passing by a couple of drinking water sources.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: Torrox has direct connection with Cómpeta and the Autovía del Mediterráneo (A-7S) through the A-7207.
Finish point: under the row of balconies along Almedina street, in the southern extension of Torrox. Nearby is the little square where the church and the convent of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves are located.
Possible "escape routes": possible exits for the walk are focused around the N-340 which runs beside the walk at all times and bus services are available. It is the artery that can be found even at the beginning (after the golf club, km 3) and at the end.
No return point: the middle point of the tour is the nucleus of the population of Lagos. From there it is more convenient to complete the course.
Connections to other footpaths and trails: The old road called Camino Viejo de Algarrobo is used at the beginning of the stage to go down to the beach. The fi rst section of it has been asphalted as part of the Puerta Verde de Vélez programme. There is a bicycle lane, two rest areas and various so-called Bio-Health stations (Estaciones Biosaludables). In 2013 the Puerta Verde de Vélez programme created four facilities in the province of Málaga, three of which have direct access to The Great Path of Málaga.
They aim at the recovery of the traditional footpaths and rights of way and re-unite the inhabitants of towns and cities with their immediate natural environment. La Puerta Verde de Vélez Málaga has a length of 1.4 km and entirely coincides with the beginning of the walk in Stage 3.
Camino Viejo de Algarrobo and the GR go separate ways at km 3.8, where the fi rst one keeps heading east and the latter swerves southwards. The Cerro de Bentomiz hill is considered by the surrounding town inhabitants (the nearest one being Sayalonga, Arenas in the north, Algarrobo and Vélez Málaga in the West) to be a superb destination for walking.
From any of these towns there are footpaths which climb its 709 meters. They are excellent for unparalleled views of the Axarquía and also to see the ruins of the Castillo of Bentomiz which sit on top of the hill. The walls of the castle have been built using stone socles, and using so called rammed-earth as the base. The footpath leading up this hill from Vélez Málaga is 800 metres from the start of this stage, well sign-posted as it branches off to the left.
La Diputación de Málaga, the province council, has designed the Topographical Guide of Walks in the Axarquía, thanks to the Plan de Dinamización del Producto Turístico Axarquía, designed to stimulate the tourist offers of the area. Our Stage 3 contains one of the walks described in that book, it is called Lagos Algarrobo and it connects villages along the Río de Algarrobo for about 14 kilometres and then reaches its highest point on the Cerro de Carraspite hill in Sayalonga. At the fi nish point of Stage 3 there is a starting point of another Puerta Verde footpath, from Torrox to Frigiliana and Almijara. It starts in Torrox
village and after about 19 kilometres and 1,000 m of ascent it reaches the Natural Park of the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama. It branches off to connect with the white village of Frigiliana. Finally, GR-249 and GR-92 continue to run together as before sharing itinerary, however as mentioned, they are waymarked in opposite directions.