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Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 03. Vélez-Málaga - Torrox

Diputación de Málaga
GR 249. Stage 03. Vélez-Málaga - Torrox.

Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 03. Vélez-Málaga - Torrox

Routes On foot On a bicycle
Difficulty - Blue -Easy
Access -

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.

3. Alternatives:

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: 

Two connections: GR-92 E-12, links up from km 5,5 onwards, and Puerta Verde in Vélez Málaga for 1.4 km at start of the stage.

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.

Hazards:

• Crossing smaller waterways without a bridge
• Road traffic circulating.

Duration - 4:00 horas
Length - 15000 Km
Routes

The Old Algarrobo Road (Up to km 5.5)

The third stage of the GR-249 sets off with a south-easterly heading from the Francisco Aguilar Roundabout, next to the sports centre named after the footballer Fernando Hierro. Passing by abandoned olive groves and unirrigated land, the stage begins with a gentle slope down a compacted-earth track. This runs alongside a tarmacked road and is separated by a sturdy wooden fence. You then pass some exercise stations for light physical activity, but the first landmark of note is an old building in ruins on the far side of the main road with stonework arches and plinths and rammed earth walls. The magnificent peaks of the Sierra Tejada and their mottled grey tones can be seen to the east. Most prominent here is the peak of La Maroma, among the highest in Málaga.

Continuing on, you then pass the track towards the ridge of Loma de Bentomiz and its fortress on your left and soon reach the Arroyo Seco river (km 1.7). Here, you walk south along the normally dry river bed, taking extra precautions if there are chances of storms. A short distance on, you cross over to the eastern bank and make a 90º turn, passing by the plant nursery Los Bambúes. The route then goes uphill to find the entrance to, and go through the underpass of the A-7/E-15 motorway. On exiting, you pass close by a golf course housing development with tarmacked roads. A change of municipality and the terraces of fruit groves emerge once again, on Cerro Era, complete with water storage pools. At the end of the asphalt road, the Old Algarrobo Road continues straight on, however the Great Path takes a right, to head directly south.

Continuing on through the winding streets of La Caleta, you arrive at the well-known fountain of Pilar, then cross the N-340 to soon arrive at the beach, with La Caleta Port to the west. This latter landmark is well worth a visit and is easily reached via the Coastal Path, which the GR-249 shares its way with from here on.

Along the coastline of Vélez-Málaga, Algarrobo, Torrox (To the end of the stage)

The route continues to the southeast, along the seafront boulevard of Algarrobo Costa. It follows a pathway that is separated from the sand by a low wall, alongside a row of houses on a one-way tarmac road. Remarkably, traditional small businesses and two-storey family houses here remain under the same roof, maintaining a tradition from the end of the 20th century that has all but died out on the Málaga coastline.

Typical seaside boulevards and residential blocks with garden areas gradually begin to crop up. A visit to the grounds of the apartment block just to your left before crossing the Algarrobo or Sayalonga River is recommended, to visit the 16th century watchtower. Known as Torre Ladeada (Lopsided Tower), del Mar (of the Sea) or del Portichuelo (Porthole), it fell into disuse well before its time, due to weak foundations and the onslaught of the wind and sea. Its 18th century replacement, found on the other side of the main road is named Torre Nueva (New Tower) or Torre Derecha (Right Tower). It boasts a staircase on the north side, added subsequently, leading directly to the upper-level entrance. It is one of the few visitable and an application to the Algarrobo Town Council is required.

Returning to the stretch of sand by the mouth of the River Algarrobo, you cross the wide section of the river over a delicate pedestrian bridge with a ramp and stair access. Phoenician ruins have been discovered on both sides, but separated by the river. During the period from the 9th to 6th centuries BCE, the much higher sea level created a large inlet, where the Phoenician elevated settlements of Morro de Mezquitilla and Chorreras were found. In addition, the western side of the river was home to the Necropolis of Trayamar, which along with the two settlements are protected as Cultural Heritage Sites, since 2010. The fast-flowing river in its upper reaches, originates in the Sierra Almijara mountains, before flowing through Canillas de Albaida, an area visited during Stage 7.

Tucked away between tall buildings and hiding behind some gardens and sports facilities in the neighbourhood of Mezquitilla, is the elongated chapel of the Virgen of Fátima. Also worthy of mention is the fishing boat beach mooring, with its metal winches on the beach and fishing nets spread out in the sun.

You enter the municipality of Vélez-Málaga once more, where the coastal belt becomes considerably more stretched out and multiple breakwaters appear. After passing the Arroyo Mamelucos waterway, the widened pathway travels parallel to the N-340, runs through Las Ballenas (Whales) Point or Morro de Mezquitilla. Not far on, a decent uphill section provides some rewarding views back to Mezquitilla and Lagos, from the top of the slaty cliffs. Wild poppies, Asteriscus maritimus and prickly shrubs make up most of the vegetation cover here. You then pass close by the previously mentioned archaeological sites before coming into Lagos.

On entering the town, you are welcomed by a string of majestic monkey puzzle trees. Among the village’s most appealing sights are traditional fisherman’s houses found just metres from the beach. Also of note are its river mouth and the Lagos Tower, situated at the top of a rockface, almost 50m above sea level, on the far side of the motorway. This 16th century watchtower has a large crack in its southern side, however retains part of its plasterwork with linear decorations.

The next section of pathway continues between the cliff face and the main road, soon arriving at Cachín Beach. Walking along the pathway adjacent to the main road, you then cross the River Güí over an attractive wooden bridge at kilometre 11.1, which indicates the end of the section through Vélez-Málaga municipality. The first town you come across in Torrox municipality is that of El Morche, home to the white Güí or Huit Tower situated on a rocky headland, 40 metres above sea level. Undeniably similar in its workmanship to the previous tower and perhaps it is not the easiest to access from the current position. The edifices and various structures, both public and private do tower over this part of the beach.

After passing traditional houses overlooking the beach, you arrive at El Morche’s seafront boulevard, which is your cue to leave the sand. On your right, before crossing over the Arroyo Manzano, stand two winches that were originally used to haul in the fishing nets during the 20th century. You then come to an unlikely yet mistreated dune system some 500 metres long, which serves as a relic of the former landscape. It is well worth crossing over to the beach side, on one of the walkways, in order to appreciate the Carraca Dunes, the last in La Axarquía. The route resumes along the very long beaches of Las Lindes and Ferrara and their seafront boulevards to Torrox Lighthouse and the Point of the same name (km15.5).

Sheltered by the Lighthouse’s viewing platform, which resembles the bow of a ship is the easily-identifiable Roman site. Just next to this is Torrox Lighthouse, which was built in 1864, stands at 26 metres tall and dominates the rocky point on which it stands. Incidentally, this rocky point juts out further into the Mediterranean Sea than any other of its type. There is a visitors’ centre for the site of the city of Caviclum within the lighthouse grounds, also dedicated to other adjoining structures such as the ceramics workshop, necropolis, baths and the salting and garum fish sauce factories.

Stage 3 of the Great Malaga Path draws to a close at the mouth of the River Torrox, one of La Axarquía’s longer watercourses.

How to get there

Discover more about the province of Malaga

Discover more about the province of Malaga