Sierras de Tejada, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park
The peaks of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park act as a natural border between the provinces of Malaga and Granada. The Sierras of Tejeda and Almijara are located on the Malaga side, in the heart of the region of La Axarquia. Alhama corresponds to the most western part of the province of Granada. From the peak of Tejeda you can see, from its 2,065 meters of altitude, spectacular views of the Mediterranean coast and the neighboring mountains, frequented by hikers and mountaineers.
In these mountains, white and grey tones predominate in the crests and ravines, a consequence of the abundant marble in the area. The decomposition of these rocks creates sands where the pine forests adapt and form the most widespread ecosystems, composed of Aleppo pines, black pines and even laricio pines. In the higher and shady areas, honey oaks and maples also appear.
The name of Tejeda comes from how abundant these trees were in the past. Nowadays there is a tejeda, the southernmost in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the best in Andalusia, which can be seen on the ascent to Salto del Caballo.
In these places, with trees and rocks, it is easy to surprise big eagles, such as the royal or Bonelli’s eagles, during their flight. Of great interest is the mountain goat population, an exclusive Iberian species, which has one of the most numerous in the country.
Rivers and streams descend rapidly down the slopes of these mountains, offering spectacular waterfalls, such as Los Árboles Petrificados, where the limestone water mineralized ancient trunks. In other cases, the waters give rise to some of the most impressive gorges, called in this place Cahorros. Other outstanding geological features are the Nerja cave, declared a National Monument, and also the Maroma chasm.
Although various cultures converged in this space, the three mountain ranges have a marked Muslim heritage, with white villages spread over valleys and mountain ranges that are difficult to access. The western part of Granada preserves the mark of the last Nazarite strongholds in Spain. Its fertile lands, rich in the production of tropical fruits like those of Otívar, mark its gastronomy. Traditional dishes include mountain stews, game, choto and the production of traditional goat’s cheese. On the other hand, Alhama has an interesting monumental and ethnographic set, of Roman, Andalusian and Moorish origin, with lime facades and twisted arches, staircases and towers.
The Axarquía of Málaga, with a markedly Moorish character, has one of the most representative architectural examples in the Torre Alminar in the village of Salares. Another attraction of the Málaga region can be tasted in the form of muscatel wine and raisins, the well-known Competa Wine Night being a good opportunity to savour these wines.
Natural Site of Cliffs of Maro and Cerro Gordo
From the viewpoint of the Torre de Maro you can enjoy the spectacular Natural Park Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo. The panoramic view is made up of steep cliffs interspersed with beaches and small coves that are difficult to access, while on the mountainsides hang impressive terraces cultivated at great heights.
This enclave extends from the coastal watchtower of Maro to Calaiza Cove and also includes a marine strip of great ecological value. Following the path that goes into the Cañuelo Forest, it crosses Mediterranean scrub and stands of Aleppo pine, along with rare species such as the Balearic buxus. This toxic shrub can withstand extreme temperatures and can live for more than five hundred years. The presence of birds, such as wagtails or seagulls, accompany them during the tour.
Going down to the beach, relatively recent agricultural developments, such as the cultivation of tropical fruits, can be observed on the cliffs. These new ingredients have been introduced into the traditional cuisine of the area, diversifying and enriching it.
In the vicinity of the Natural Park is the Cueva de Nerja (Nerja Cave) made up of different galleries, where you can find an endless number of stalactites, columns and waterfalls. In this place, important archaeological sites from the Palaeolithic have also been found: human remains, cave paintings, ceramics and various tools. Other visits can be to the Torre de los Guardas, known as the Balcón de Europa, the Aqueduct of the Eagle in the Barranco de la Coladilla or the remains of a Roman road in the Barranco de Maro. The extensive Posidonia prairies stand out. Corals, sponges and a wide variety of fish live in its shelter, some of them brightly coloured like the maiden fish or spectacular like the sunfish. A boat trip allows the visitor to get close to places that are not very accessible and of great beauty. During the trip, you can see the jumps and capers of the dolphins that cross the Mediterranean, while flying over the cliffs, you can identify lurking birds of prey such as the lesser kestrel or the swift peregrine falcon.