Your Next Destination is the Genal Valley
Chestnuts and cork oaks, the sound of rivers and streams create a wonderful atmosphere for those who find joy in hiking.
It is not secret that the Genal Valley provides us with rural tourism, and one can hike along its trails and enjoy its tasty food, typical for mountain villages. This natural paradise is relatively close to the coast if this is where you are, but also from any other inland part of Málaga. A trip to the villages in the Genal Valley is something you must do if you stay in the province of Málaga.
This valley is placed in the area of the Serranía de Ronda, in the southwest of the province and it covers the surface of 485 km2. The name of the valley comes from the river Genal that goes across it. There are plenty of small towns in this area (fifteen all together), divided between the Upper Genal (Igualeja, Pujerra, Parauta, Cartajima, Júzcar, Faraján y Alpandeire) and the Lower Genal (Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría, Algatocín, Benarrabá, Gaucín, Jubrique and Genalguacil). Its population is not numerous as there are not more than 7,000 inhabitants, who show signs of ageing and follow a tendency to migrate to other areas (promo video).
The Genal Valley has a mild climate, which is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The temperatures in the winter and summer are more extreme in the Upper than in the Lower Genal. This means that frost and snow are more common in the Upper Genal, in shady areas. The average temperature in the Upper Genal is round 15ºC, and it is higher than in the Lower Genal.
The annual precipitation is 1000 l/m2 in the entire area (similar to the Sierra de Grazalema).
Traditional economy is based on farming and crafts, like chestnuts collection, crafts made of esparto and cured pork products. Recently, tourism has turned into an important source of income for the above towns.
The Genal Valley is always a good choice, but you should above all visit it between October and December when it is spectacular. Thanks to the advertising campaign of the Copper Forest with chestnut trees, rural tourism has grown in this area. The forest is named after the colour of its leaves in autumn, with reddish, ochre and copper shades.
However, if you wish to visit the area in summer, besides the activities which are related to rural tourism (hiking, mountain biking, canoeing..), you will be able to go for a swim in pure, clean ponds, such as the pond at San Juan (St John's) Bridge in Algatocín, Escribana Pond in Benarrabá, Pontoco Pond in Gaucín, el Azul [Blue] Pond or Esteban Pond in Jubrique, or Moclón Pond in Júzcar.