GR7 : Tarifa-Antequera

Itinerary, description of stages, practical informations, accomodation, GPS tracks of the GR7 from Tarifa to Antequera.

GR 7 – Tarifa to Antequera

The GR7, also named European itinerary E4, goes from Tarifa at the southern point of Europe, crosses Andalucia then goes east to Valencia region and Catalonia to end in Andorra. It’s part of a project of a way until Athens.
I made only a part of it until Antequera. In spring 2014, it was wonderful with flowers, white villages, natural parks, Ronda, canyon of  Gaitanes…
I took some options especially the first three days in order to avoid long stages at the beginning but I found a way closed (privatised) on the third day.
The GR7 is poorly marked so it needs either good maps and orientation skills or GPS (or smartphone application).
Cheap accomodation is difficult to find in some places. If you are not camping, the stage between Jimena de la Frontera and Ubrique is long.

The way: GPS track : GR7 Tarifa – Antequera. The link is opening Openrunner website. There, it’s possible to see the track on Spanish IGN topographic map. Warning : in some places, my way was through privatised trails (read detailed commentaries below).

Websites :

The website Rutasyviajes : GPS tracks to upload

The website of the natural parks of Andalucia, Espacios Naturales de Andalucia : topographic maps, description of trails. There is information for Estrecho natural park (east of Tarifa to join Los Barrios), Alcornocales natural park (between Los Barrios and Ubrique), Sierras Subbéticas (south of Cordoba).

Maps :

I used Iphigenie application (available on Apple Store and Androïd : http://iphigé It gives access to topographic maps of Spanish IGN.

My daily stages :

1 Tarifa – El Pelayo
18km Notes : Short and nice stage in part along a beautiful coastal trail.
The GR7 goes west of Tarifa along Lances beach and joins Los Barrios in a very long stage. I choosed to do it in 2 days to make the first days more comfortable. It has other advantages : at the east, the trail “La Colada de la Costa” is, for 13 kilometers, on a wild part of the coast, moreover, the GR7 goes to Los Barrios and the day after back on the same way for 3 kilometers. This option isn’t longer and in El Pelayo, it’s possible to sleep in the youth hostel.
I followed la Colada de la Costa until Guadalmesí. The way is well marked. After  Guadalmesí, it’s possible to take a bad road or to follow on the coast. I went until the beach of Cala Parra. Then a trail goes inland to Cortijo de la Hoya, and then to the road Algeciras-Tarifa just above El Pelayo Youthhostel.
GPS track Tarifa-El Pelayo. 500m of ascent.
5h Logistic : Nothing on the way. In El Pelayo, Youthhostel  (no restaurant on low season, no kitchen – 20€ breakfast included without Youthhostel card (18€ with the card). Several restaurants 800m below in direction of Algeciras. In El Pelayo, small grocery.
2 El Pelayo – Los Barrios
21km Notes : Easy walk, 21km, 350m of ascent, almost no asfalt (excepting at the beginning and to enter in Los Barrios), gorgeous views. From the Youthostel, you have to go up 500 meters on the main road to take a trail in the picnic area of  El Bujeo. It’s marked : Carril bici : Puerto de Bujeo – Hoyo de Don Pedro. You can use shortcuts to avoid some of long curves of the main trail (it’s especially the case down from  Mirador de Hoyo de Don Pedro. At the back of the jail, a way marked Botafuegos to Jaramilla goes, without asfalt to Los Barrios through the dam lake of Rio Prior. Trace GPS El Pelayo – Los Barrios
5h Logistics : nothing on the way. In Los Barrios, Hotel Real : single room 25€. There is also a four stars hotel…
3 Los Barrios – Castillo de Castellar
24km Notes : the GR7 makes long way round and follow in part a road. I decided to go straighter. The distance of 24km is for this option but …this way is closed. The first part to leave Los Barrios can me made without any problem. I recommend to take it instead of GR7 : from the cemetery, it’s marked and goes by la cuesta de Palmares. You can join back the GR7, much more directly and with less asfalt near the waste reprocessing plant (easy to find, it smells).
The second part of my way is closed with fences, lockers at the Dos Hermanas pass until Guadarranque dam. It’s a pity as this way through Cortijo de Navahermosa valley is an old asfalt end road. I read that there were demonstrations to make this way public. Perhaps for the future…
670 mètres of ascent. Trace GPS Los Barrios – Castillo de Castellar.
6h Logistics : After Los Barrios, nothing until down of Castillo de Castellar where there is la Venta de Jarandilla. If it’s hot, it’s a good place to stop before the steep ascent by the roman way. Inside Castillo de Castellar, 3 stars hotel (Tugasa Castellar) and houses for rent. It can be interesting for several persons. Otherwise, you have to sleep in Castellar de la Frontera. I finally rented a room directly to owner (35€). Restaurants, shops and a small grocery.
4 Castillo de Castellar – Jimena de la Frontera
21km Notes : the way is easy but poorly marked except the last 5 derniers kilometers. At the end of the asfalted road, a trail goes to the former Castillo de Castellar train station. After crossing the railway line, the way follows it on the east side. Just when you begin to see Jimena de la Frontera, it crosses again the line near Rancho de Los Lobos.  250m of ascent mainly at the end to go up to Jimena de la Frontera. Trace GPS Castillo de Castellar – Jimena de la Frontera
5h Logistics : nothing on the way. In Jimena de la Frontera, several possibilities. Hostal El Anon. I went to posada Casa Grande (30€) almost at the end of the city on the way to Ubrique (so a bit less distance for the following stage…). Friendly owner, it’s possible to use the kitchen and the living room. A bit further, Los Alcornocales camping rents bungalows.
5 Jimena de la frontera – Ubrique
37km Notes : long stage of 37km and 1080 meters of ascent mainly on an old transhumance trail. The end to Ubrique is quite long. Once up after Jimena de la Frontera, most of the way is on a crest. Nice views to Africa and  Gibraltar during the ascent. Then typical Mediterranean mountainous countryside. A lot of part with shadows. The way is often marked.
Nice walk along Diego Diez garganta : luxuriant vegetation, shadow, freshness of the stream. 20km after Jimena, in the place called on the map Albergue de la Calderona and where there is a sign “Albergue de ganado El Robledal”, there is a spring (above the white house which is below the trail). It’s a good place for camping. Trace GPS Jimena de la Frontera – Ubrique
9h Logistics : 6 km before Ubrique, at the crossroad, bar restaurant la Mesón rural del Mojón de la Víbora. In Ubrique, Casa de huespedes Rosario (Calle Botica 3) in the upper part of the town was full. It seems to be the cheapest option in town. In the street at the back, calle Madera, Casa Emilia rent modern apartments with kitchen (40€).
6 Ubrique – Montejaque
26km Notes : on the way up after Ubrique, there is a sign marked : “Area recreativa”, it’s avoiding Benaocaz. Coming from Villaluenga, it’s marked on one side GR7 Benaocaz and on the other GR7 Ubrique. The distance of 26km is with this “shortcut”. From it, you can have views to Benaocaz. Until Villaluenga del Rosario, the GR7 is parallel to the road but not on it. Then way up first to a valley and then to Llano del Líbar. From there, it’s a good jeep trail, going down to Montejaque. The global ascent is of 1050 meters with the highest point at 1030 meters. Trace GPS Ubrique – Montejaque
7h Logistics : In Villaluenga del Rosario : hotel, pension, bars, restaurant, shops, cheese directly form the factory (village speciality). In Montejaque, lodging can be more difficult. No cheap solution. La Cabaña Hostal no longer exists.
7 Montejaque – Cuevas del Becerro
35km Notes : The GR goes up to the hill in front of Montejaque until Escarihuela Ermita. Not a lot of marks but not too difficult to follow. After crossing the railway line, it goes on the road for around 300 meters to, then follow, straight as the road is curving left. On the way up, there are different options to go to Ronda. The GR7 goes straight and avoid the city center. I went right following the sign Ronda 3km. This way gives nice views to the bridge and the old town.
To leave the city, I didn’t see marks. After the railway station, it crosses the railway line. Just after Dia supermarket, take the road right. 100 mètres further, before the roundabout, in front of Renault garage, the way is on the left, crosses railway line, passes under Ronda circle road. It’s a bit difficult after to choose the right road to join Arriate through Fuente de Don Pedro.
In Arriate, on the other side of the valley,  it leaves the town passing in front of La Unión church. In Parchite, the GR follows straight on a trail on the other side of the railway line. Then the GR croos A367 road to follow it 10 meters aside. At a moment, it might goes on the other side of the road. I miss it and ended inside golf field project. Finally, it reaches and follows cañada real de Granada until a trail, on the right to reach Cuevas del Becerro that you can see below.
1000 mètres of ascent.Trace GPS Montejaque – Cuevas del Becerro
8h Logistics :Passing through Ronda it makes a long day. There is a hotel in Arriate but it was full. In Cuevas del Becerro, it’s possible to find a nice clean room with shared bathroom in bar Alfredo (15€ ).  Banks, bars, shops in Arriate and Cuevas del Becerro. Two bars between Ronda and Arriate.
8 Cuevas del Becerro – Ardales
20km Notes : Short stage on trails and small roads with 530 meters of ascent. The countryside is beautiful especially in spring and Ardales is a nice white village.
The way is marked in some crossroads. But sometime not : at the end of the first ascent after Cuevas del Becerro (Puerto de la Mesa), take a trail on the right that goes directly to Serrato. Trace GPS Ardales – Cuevas del Becerro
5h Logistics : It seems there is a bar in Serrato. I didn’t pass in front of it. All services in Ardales. Hotel El Cruce at the exit of the city (20€ la nuit) with clean rooms with private bathroom.
9 Ardales – Valle de Abdalajís
25km Commentaires : Quite montainous stage with 1000 meters of ascent and the canyon of Gaitanes on the way.
From Ardales, the way start from the hotel El Cruce. It’s marked. In El Chorro, it’s worth make a detour to see Gaitanes gorge, either on the left when reaching the road (view in front) either on the other side of the lake after the camping (view to Caminito del Rey).
Take care of the red and white marks above El Chorro, at a moment the marks are going up instead of taking a direct trail to Valle de Abdalajís (a spring on this way). I don’t know why. Trace GPS Ardales – Valle de Abdalajís
6h Logistics : In El Chorro, accomodation around de 8€ for the night, for example at the end of the village, the last house. Small supermarket. In Valle de Abdalajís, hostal Vista a la Sierra (at the end of the village on the road to Antequera). Further, after the cemetery, a bit up above the road, el Refugio de Alamut : friendly, big room with private bathroom, small swimming pool (20€).
10 Valle de Abdalajís – Antequera
21km Notes : Almost no marks for this stage. Around one kilometer after Valle de Abdalajís on the road to Antequera, the GR goes on the right (sign “Huerta de Santa Maria”). It goes up to 700 meters in a pass above Cortijo del Castillo. Then, it reach an asfalted road MA4402. I took it down to the main road Valle de Abdalajís – Antequera and followed it for more than 3 kilometers.
To reach Antequera, I took left and passed in front of Magdalena Convent (now 5 stars hotel). From there a nice trail (el camino de Arquillas) goes to Antequera.
490 mètres de dénivelés. Trace GPS Valle de Abdalajís – Antequera
5h Logistique : A bar in Ventorillo de Magdalena. In Antequera, for pilgrims, the albergue is next to Santiago church (donativo).

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