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GR7

Having braved the elements in a 1250km-long trek across the length of Andalucía, Michelle Lowe and Kirstie Shirra answer the question: “What is the GR7?”


By:  Michelle Lowe / Kirstie Shirra
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Waymarked footpath crossing entire length of Andalucia from west to east
Location: Cadiz, Malaga, Cordoba, Jaen, Almeria and Granada
Distance: 1,163 km
Time: 34 - 45 days
Difficulty: Varies from easy to challenging – you can select sections to suit ability
Practical Advice: don´t forget comfortable clothes, layers, provisions and a first-aid kit
Stands out for: being part of the E4 route which runs along the whole mediterranean coast
Did you know? many of the routes pass along ancient roman paved roads

The GR7 (Gran Recorrido Siete) is a 1,163km long footpath crossing the length of Andalucia and a great way to explore the region’s countryside and villages and meet its people. The route, which is mostly made up of car-free footpaths, starts on the west coast in Tarifa and makes its way through the provinces of Cadiz, Malaga, Cordoba, Jaen, Almeria and Granada. If you want a real adventure you can do the whole thing in 34-45 days, but there are also lots of sections of the route which are perfect for day hikes or trips of several days to a week.

The route it part of the 10,000 km European Route No. 4, one of many long distance E routes that stretch across Europe. It passes include Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece, starting in Tarifa, and ending in Crete. These paths were marked as of 1972, “as a way to bring people together when the European Union was still just a concept”, explains Juan Terroba, representative of Ecologists in Action in Ronda. “In Andalusia in the 1990´s it was FEDAMON (Spanish Federation of Mountain Sports and Climbing) who was in charge of marking the GR7 paths”.

It is marked (though somewhat sparsely in parts) with red and white paint markings on boulders, trees and occasionally signposts. The scenery the path takes you through is beautiful and incredibly varied: from rolling farmland; into orange, chestnut and almond groves; along the steep cobbled streets of pretty white-washed villages; down into lush green valleys; along dramatic rocky ravines; and up into the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

You can expect to see outstanding flora and fauna on the route. The Sierra Nevada national park for example has the highest number of endemic plant species in Europe, and wherever you are on the route, depending on the time of year, you will find yourself passing though a gorgeous array of wildflowers and aromatic herbs and surrounded by the calls of the abundant birdlife. It is possible to see golden eagles, skylarks, green woodpeckers, peregrine falcons, kestrels, Bonillo’s eagles, and griffon vultures. You’re also likely to see the mountain goats, ,and if you’re lucky, Mediterranean pine voles, wild cats, wild boars, foxes, badgers, beech martens and genets.

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One of the most popular sections to walk in a week is the section passing through the Alpujarras. The area is renowned for its beautiful whitewashed villages whose Berber architecture reflects their past as the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors. The route takes you through picturesque villages including the highest village in Europe, Trevélez - famous for its smoked hams, and the bustling villages of the Poqueira Valley including Pampaneira, Bubión, and Capileira.

Debate

The section that passes through Ronda is the only segment which has been cut by the controversial construction of the Los Merinos Urbanization. “It is curious that a hiking route many thousands of kilometers long has been cut at only one point. And it happens to be here”, explains Juan Terroba, the local representative of Ecologists in Action for Ronda. “They are building a lake and a stone wall right where the GR7 is supposed to be! Neither the Junta or the town hall have so far created an alternative route”. In 2008, the Andalusian Mountain Sports Federation managed to sign post an alternative route which “will allow hikers to cross Malaga”, explains Paco Jiménez. “We have used an old right of way which turns off right before Cuevas del Becerro and follows a “royal cattle track” (Cañada Real) until reaching Cerrato”.

 

Tertulia recommends


Must see

Parque de los Alcornocales en Cádiz
Contains the most abundant population of cork trees in Spain
Oficina del Espacio Natural, Plaza de San Jorge, 1, Alcalá de los Gazules, Cádiz, 956413307 / 08

Sierra de Grazalema
Unesco Biosphere reserve and natural park which crosses both the province of Cádiz and Málaga
Oficina del Parque, Avda. de la Diputación s/n, El Bosque, Cádiz, 956716063, juntadeandalucia.es

Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada
The largest National Park in Spain
Oficina Principal Parque Nacional, Ctra. antigua de Sierra Nevada, Km. 7, 18191, Pinos Genil, Granada, 958026300, reddeparquesnacionales

Sierra de Cazorla
The largest protected area of water in Spain with 209,920 hectares
Oficina del Parque Natural de la Sierra de Cazorla. C/Martinez Falero, 11, Cazorla, Jaén, 953720125, juntadeandalucia.es

 Eat

Cheap and cheerful
Alquería de Morayma, 12-32 € (por persona)
Ctra A-348, Cádiar-Torvizcón Km. 52
Cádiar, Granada
958343221, alqueriamorayma.com/

Home cooked meal
Hotel Rural La Paloma
Carretera Salinas-Vva. de Tapia (A-333) , Km. 7
Villanueva de Tapia, Málaga
952750409, hotelrurallapaloma.com/


 Sleep

Cheap and cheerful
La Seguiriya, 60 €
C/ las Peñas, 12, Alhama de Granada, Granada
958360801, laseguiriya.com

Camping
Camping Trevélez,
Ctra Trevélez-Orgiva, Km. 1, Trevélez, Granada
625502769, campingtrevelez.net


Getting there?


Our journey begins at Lances Beach, Tarifa.


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Bibliography


These books related to GR7 may interest you.

Links






6 comments

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El 25 July 2008 a las 8:36 PM, Manolo dijo...

quien pudiera hacer esta ruta!!
qué envidia!!


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El 19 April 2009 a las 5:53 PM, Jose Antonio dijo...

Hola, encantado con vuestros comentarios en la tertulia, se deberia pòner mas interes en divulgar estos GR y realizarlos en pequeños recorridos, para asi demostrar a las administraciones que son de utilidad publica y que deben de enfocar todos sus esfuerzos en conservarlos, ya que esto tambien tendria su parte positiva en el empleo dado estos tiempos. Saludos.


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El 30 August 2009 a las 8:59 AM, jeremy dijo...

Your post mentions the gr7 stretch through the Alpujarra. If any walker wants help with this stretch they can contact me. I can provide accommodation and baggage carries through the area.


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El 30 August 2009 a las 9:21 AM, jeremy - www.walkalpujarra.es dijo...

Si algun senderista quiere ayuda en pasar por el tramo alpujarreño que mira al http://www.walkalpujarra.com/es/gr7esp.html donde hay detalles de donde alojar y conseguir servicio de descripciones precisas de la ruta, y traslados del equipaje de hotel a hotel.


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El 13 December 2009 a las 4:02 PM, Wolfgang Zoellner dijo...

I loved your report about European Route number 4. Personally I missed any signs of GR7 in the Area of the main street of La Indiana (between Montejaque and Ronda). I liked your comment on the interruption of GR7 nearby Ronda. It happens too often that Andalusian hiking pathes are intercepted by newly grown Urbanisations without any circumvention. And the Junta of Andalucia does not care. Andalucia could benefit from hiking tourism, but the Junta seems not interested in attracting international tourists for hiking in Andalucia during winter season. Instead they support golf and beach tourism only.
Please allow a additional remark: There exists a varitation of E4 which passes the very southern part of Germany from Lindau to Bad Reichenhall.



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