Going on an adventure as a single traveller doesn’t have to mean spending time in bustling destinations where you can meet lots of people – sometimes it can be good to take things at a slower pace and escape from the stresses of daily life.
Choose to visit a peaceful destination like Andalucia in Spain on a small group walking holiday, for example, and you can stroll through glorious landscapes and really get back to nature.
Here are just a few of the highlights you can look forward to if you decide to explore this corner of Spain.
Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama National Park
This national park spans 40,600 hectares and is home to numerous walking trails that you can discover at your leisure. The mountain range within its boundaries separates Granada from Malaga and provides a stunning backdrop for your trip.
One of the paths you can follow is an old silk route that used to connect the Iberian Peninsula with the Arabian nations. The valuable material used to be transported to the region by the Moors as far back as the 8th century and the ruins of small huts and inns along the side of the track will remind you of its heritage as you hike.
There is also plenty of wildlife to look out for as you wander, with mountain goats, peregrine falcons and golden eagles among the creatures you may spot during your holiday.
As you might expect after learning that this region of Andalucia was once an important trading area, there are numerous old villages that dot the countryside in and around the mountains.
One that is particularly worth visiting is Salares, which has a rich and varied history. Over the years, it has been inhabited by the Greeks, Moors, Phoenicians and the Romans, among others. Its most striking feature is the church, which was constructed on the site of a former mosque.
The minaret of the Muslim place of worship still stands – and serves as the belfry. It is decorated with tiles and sebka materials, which makes it really noticeable in comparison to the whitewashed houses that comprise the village.
Other settlements you can pass through while walking in the area include Canillas de Aceituno, Sedella and Competa.
This particular part of Andalucia is well off the beaten tourist trail, so you’ll have the chance to explore the stunning valleys and mountains without being surrounded by throngs of tourists. There are plenty of remote sites to see in the national park, but among the best are the Honeymaker’s Cave – where the locals used to keep beehives – and Cerro de Atalaya, a rocky peak from where you’ll have amazing views across the coast.
As you’re in the mountains, there is no shortage of summits to ascend, with many standing at heights of less than 2,000 m, making them completely manageable in a day. One of the best if you’re after a challenge is El Lucero, which is 1,769 m tall. The route to the top (and back down again) will take you around ten hours to complete, but the amazing views of the rugged Andalucian landscape from the peak make it more than worthwhile.
If you’ve visited the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama National Park, are there any walking trails or sights you’d recommend to fellow travellers?