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News > Archived News 2014 > 2014 Holiday in Grazalema

Birmingham Group Biennial Holiday 2014

Our biennial walking week in Andalucía - by Sandra Sutton


See these photographs properly

I've been told that our trip to Andalucía this May was one of the best biennial walking holidays we've ever had. But, as the organiser I can hardly comment!

Every second year Birmingham Group members are offered the opportunity to book a walking break in Europe using HF Holidays, one of the best companies of its kind. This year thirty-six of us flew from Birmingham to Malaga airport and then by coach on to the beautiful "white village" of Grazalema in the Sierra de Grazalema, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Surrounding us were cork oak forests, olive groves, fertile farmland, wild flower meadows and the spectacular white-tipped limestone peaks of the sierras.

The HF holiday programme consisted of five full walking days and one free day and we were provided with the expertise of three leaders to accommodate our three levels of walk. The walks were between five and nine miles, depending on the terrain and the ascent.

On one of the days we visited the famous town of Ronda before circling the surrounding cliffs. Another of our trips took us by coach to the Zahara de la Sierra, the old Moorish outpost town. From there those taking the easier walks were treated to marvellous views as we descended to a reservoir, then on up towards Zahara village and the castle perched on top of a steep rock. The harder walk took the walkers into the remote foothills of the Loma de los Albarranes and from there back to Zahara along a river track. Other walks included areas around the Salto del Cabrero and the Sierra Endrinal, and Banaojan and Montejaque.

On our free day most of the group took a trip to Seville, the capital of Andalucía, to see some of its stunning architecture and attractions. These included the cathedral and the Alcazar Palace, although there was much else to see besides – and not nearly enough time to do everything!

Grazalema is perched on high cliffs overlooking a wide valley and provided a very scenic place to stay, with its cobbled streets and old, whitewashed buildings. The pretty central square is surrounded by cafés and at one end the church and at the other the town hall. Our base was the Puerta de la Villa, a family run hotel, well appointed with all the amenities and everybody delightfully friendly.

Good three course meals and lively conversation rounded off our days of walking.

And in 2016 – where to? Well there's plenty of time for me to investigate the options. But, keep in touch and I'll let you know!


This page was up to date on 01/04/2017.