“Not many people know about Andalucían Walks. But quite frankly, there are some things
not many people will ever be fortunate enough
to know or experience either”
Discover the true rural heart and soul
of country and mountain life in southern Andalucía.
I’m Javier, and I’m a mountain guide in southern Spain.
I offer guided walking holidays in the coastal hills and mountains of southern Andalucía where I live.
However, besides offering conventional walking holidays, I have also pioneered a holiday walking programme comprised of seven highly diverse and interactive guided themed rural walking tours, each in themselves representing a unique walking experience of which I am sure most, if not all, of your club members have never experienced before.
On each of my themed rural walking tours you can expect to have exciting brushes with history, culture, gastronomy, rural idiosyncrasies, traditional ways of life, ancient agricultural practices, old surviving customs, ceunturies-old crafts and techniques, among other fascinating experiences.
And what’s more, you will have these exciting encounters by engaging with country and mountain folk such as goatherds, farmers, local country people, muleteers, artisans, Iberian ham curers and dryers, apiarists, cheese makers, and vintners – just to name a few – all of whom relentlessly maintain their centuries-old customs and traditional ways of life.
Of course, apart from meeting and talking to country and mountain folk, each themed walking tour includes scenic walks or hikes to get to the destination or particular point of interest.
Would it surprise you to know that I am the only walking guide in the wider region to offer these specific types of specialist themed rural walking tours as part of a walking holiday package?
Moreover, it would be difficult – practically impossible – to have these exclusive and unique experiences on a conventional walking holiday anywhere else. And that’s because they are all very specialised tours that offer a very unique and clearly defined experience.
Ultimately, the benefit to you of coming with me on a guided themed walking holiday is that you will be having the most authentic, enriching and complete walking holiday experience possible – perhaps unlike any other you might have had before.
Here are the themed walking tours that are available as part of a walking holiday package. In fact, if you wanted to, you could even book a complete 7-night themed walking holiday and do them all:
Authentic mountain farmstead
A unique opportunity to spend some time with a local Frigiliana farmer, and to get involved on his farmstead to experience the authentic, rural way of life in the hills of Andalucía – plus many other special delights too numerous to mention.
Finest Iberian ham
The Alpujarra mountain range is arguably the premier cured ham producing region of Spain. Our walk through this beautiful region will take us to the highest village in Spain where a local family will invite us into their traditional, family-run, Iberian ham curing and drying factory where we will learn the secrets to producing this esteemed product.
On the trail of legends – the muleteers
Step back in time as you walk along a classic, centuries-old mountain trade route in the footsteps of Moor and Roman traders, muleteers, bandits, outlaws, and 20th century anti-fascist mountain guerrillas, to the most remote and infamous inn in the sierras.
Wining and dining Axarquian style
Prepare your tastebuds for a visit to an internationally acclaimed vineyard, whose wines are sold to 3* Michelin restaurants across Europe and U.S.A., as you sit down to a gastronomic extravaganza of local haute cuisine and some of the most exclusive and noble Muscats in the world.
A day with the bees
Get busy with a visit to the bee and honey capital of Málaga province where you will learn of the centuries-old tradition of bee husbandry that was established by the Moors, plus a visit to the bee and honey museum and a walk into the countryside for a fascinating insight into bee society, and a hands-on experience of bee husbandry and honey production.
It’s a goat’s life
A fascinating and engaging insight into rural Mediterranean life through the eyes of a goat. Don’t be dismissive! You will see goat herding, goat husbandry, milk production, cheese-making and sustainable rural development in a completely different light by the end of the day. Guaranteed!
Frigiliana: the award-winning village
Visit the historic, award-winning village of Frigiliana, the epitome of Andalucía’s “pueblos blancos”, with its excellently preserved Moorish quarter and the scene of the final Moorish rebellion in Andalucía. You will go on a walk around its pretty countryside, including a visit to the ruins of an 11th century Moorish fortress where the final bloody confrontation took place.
Would you like to know a little more about what one of these unique themed walking tours is like? Read this intriguing and fascinating description of the walk with the muleteers, as an example :
Three spectacular natural environments – in just one location!
I run my business in an idyllic region in southern Andalucía known as the Axarquía.
Surprisingly, it is still somewhat unknown in the UK and Irish walking fraternities, so chances are you and your fellow walking club members may not have heard about it before.
But for the fortunate few who have experienced it for themselves, they consider it a walker’s secret paradise, for it renders a beautiful and subtly captivating rural Mediterranean landscape.
From the moment you arrive, you will immediately be struck by an Axarquían countryside typified by a tapestry of rolling coastal and inland hills and mountains; its undulating landscape blanketed in a thick and never-ending tropical and sub-tropical patchwork of exotic crops, groves and orchards.
Crisp white blotches of clinging whitewashed villages contrast strikingly against the pastel hues of the vast sloping background of nearby sun-baked hillsides, and the precipitous limestone mountains further afield.
In mid and late spring, the lush and gently rolling meadows and pastures of the upper valleys of the High Axarquía region become ablaze with wildflowers, meandering amongst ominous fortresses of stunning limestone outcrops.
The tiny and well-preserved mountain village of Sedella, of Moorish origin; one of the highest and most remote villages in the Axarquía, sits in the foothills of the highest mountain in the range, Maroma (2068m).
In these high mountain regions of Andalucía, one can still see mules and oxen drawing wooden carts laden with produce, negotiating the winding country lanes from village to village.
If one is lucky, it might be possible to come across a battery of well-groomed and attired horses reposing outside a local village bar, the consequence of a group of country folk having ventured into the village for an evening jaunt and a drink.
And yet, the Axarquía still represents much more than this.
What you will actually discover is yet another breathtaking and imposing landscape, for the Axarquía also shares its geography with arguably the most stark and abrupt mountain range and Natural Park in Andalucía: the Natural Park of Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama, whose highest mountain, La Maroma, is 2,068 metres above sea level and a mere 11 miles (17 kilometres) from the Mediterranean coast, not to mention being the highest point in the province of Málaga.
You will thus be walking, in not just two, but three absolutely spectacular natural environments: a cultivated and tranquil agrarian countryside dramatically positioned against a stunning and inhospitable mountain backdrop of arresting karstic features – and always within close sight of the shores of the azure Mediterranean Sea.
Now, I wouldn’t blame you if you began to imagine what it would be like to have the Cotswolds perched on the north Devon or Cornish coasts in the shadow of the formidabble Scottish Highlands. But if that were indeed possible, even I would have to admit that that would be a truly amazing thing to see and experience.
You now know a very privileged secret
“Who seeks, and will not take when once ’tis offered, shall never find it more.” William Shakespeare
The great wordsmith, William Shakespeare, must have had his fair share of experiences with opportunity’s elusiveness. And without doubt, he must have also learned that not all opportunities are the same, and that every once in a while an opportunity so rare and unique will come along that it would be impossible to avoid taking notice.
Attracted mainly by its beaches and mountains, most people remain oblivious to the Axarquía’s true underlying character, believing that merely walking in its mountains, visiting its whitewashed villages or dining in its many well-intentioned restaurants constitutes an enriching and accomplished experience. These experiences provide but a superficial understanding and appreciation of a region that is much more profoundly complex, dynamic and charismatic in nature than would initially appear.
However, it is sad to think that for many visitors the truly authentic experiences of the land and its people often remain unnoticed. For this reason, simply hiking to the highest mountain, visiting the prettiest village and dining in the best restaurants, more often than not, belies a much deeper and richer character. If you are to have a truly enriching walking holiday experience in southern Andalucía, you must be guided underneath the veneer of what you can see, to discover what you can’t see.
So, what exactly constitutes a genuinely enriching and gratifying experience? I think it is the breadth and depth of one’s engagement with both the land and its people, for it would be difficult to fully understand and appreciate the one without the other. And when that engagement occurs in the most natural and meaningful way, the result can be wonderfully unique, thought-provoking and refreshingly intimate, thus transforming an ordinarily banal encounter into a complete, satisfying and unforgettable walking holiday experience.
It is through these unique experiences, by going beyond the banal, the familiar and the expected, that one will begin to understand the Axarquía and Andalucía in ways that would never before have been possible. By having these experiences, everything will soon begin to make sense, and you will feel satisfied that you have indeed discovered its true rural heart and soul.
A bird’s eye view
The maps below give an excellent bird’s eye view of my base town of Nerja and my geographical location:
The Natural Park is located on the southern Mediterranean coast of Andalucía, Spain, and equidistant from the historical cities of Granada and Málaga.
The mountainous Natural Park (shaded green) and the idyllic Axarquía region (shaded pink) and their geographic situation.
My base town of Nerja is at the confluence of three spectacular natural environments: the Natural Park, the Axarquía region and the Mediterranean sea.
These benefits will surely impress you
So what are the benefits to you and your group when you book a walking holiday with me? Here they are:
* Education and qualifications
* Diverse background and social experience
* Highly motivated, well organised, confident, experienced and sociable person
I have a BSc. Hons. degree in Fisheries Science (Plymouth University, UK), a postgraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Quality Management (European School of Business, Spain), and a Higher Vocational Certificate/Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety.
I’m Spanish, but English is my native language. I was born in Spain but lived in the West Indies during all of my formative years and early adult life; lived, studied and worked in the UK for many years; worked and travelled around West Africa; worked and travelled all over Spain, and have finally settled down in southern Andalucía where it all began in the very first place.
My regular visiting walkers often ask: don’t you ever get bored doing the same walks all the time? And I tell them: “walking is just a vehicle and a pleasant distraction. I don’t do it for the walks; I do the walks for the people”. And that’s not me just spewing out some pretentious marketing codswallop – I’m a sociable creature at heart, but equally importantly, my diverse life experience and business background have provided me with the skills and experience needed for making it all happen.
– Affordability, flexibility and convenience for you and your group –
THE TRIP AND BOOKING
Cheap direct flights
Quick airport transfer time
* Design walking programmes to suit your group’s needs
* Flexible date planning
There is a high frequency and availability of cheap and direct flights to Málaga from most UK airports throughout the year.
It only takes about 35-40 minutes on the motorway to get from Málaga airport to my base town of Nerja 65 kilometres (40 miles) away.
Your group or club can design its own bespoke walking holiday programme by choosing from different variables such as conventional walks, multi-day cross-country treks, special interest walks, themed rural walks or alpine trekking; as well as taking into consideration other important variables such as time of year, group size, age, etc. in order to achieve a more varied and interesting experience for everyone in your party.
I maintain a completely flexible approach to organising and offering the walking holidays. Unlike other walking guides and companies who usually only offer fixed dates at a fixed price, you have complete freedom to book a date at any time during the walking season of 1 October – 31 May, and on any starting day during the week.
– Benefits are even better if they help you to SAVE MONEY –
* Fully licensed, insured and authorised
* Holiday letting industry experience
* Price flexibility and fairness
* British-trained mountain guide with First Aid qualification
* Supporting local and isolated mountain communities
* Local guide with permanent base and local knowledge
My business trades as “Andalucían Walks” and is a legally registered Spanish company and mountain guiding business (Andalucian government license number AT/MA/00223) with comprehensive public liability insurance as required by Spanish law.
Since 2001, I have been running my own holiday letting business in my hometown of Nerja, promoting my properties to the UK and northern European markets. Subsequently, I have acquired an intimate understanding of foreign travelling guests’ needs and expectations, where diplomacy, reliability and sociability are often needed – experience that has served me very well in developing my walking business. Rest assured that you will be in safe, reliable and experienced hands.
Most of my prices, where possible, are expressed in minimum and maximum terms to reflect my fairness, openness and flexibility in regard to the seasonal changes that inevitably occur. I endeavour to give my clients the best price and value for money throughout the year.
I chose to pursue the Mountain Leader qualification provided by the British Mountain Training Association specifically in the interests of my market and customer base – British, Irish and northern Europeans – who should be familiar with the Training Association and recognise the quality and reputation of its training standard. I also have a National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) Silver Award in mountain navigation and a First Aid Diploma (40 hours).
This is a core business philosophy: first seek inputs on a micro or local level within small and highly isolated mountain communities before seeking inputs from elsewhere. Your involvement with Andalucian Walks has a direct and positive impact on communities and individuals which in turn contributes towards maintaining their arts, crafts, quaint traditions and unique ways of life.
I have been living in Nerja and the Axarquía region for many years and am also permanently based in the Natural Park throughout the year. I have extensive knowledge of the Natural Park and surrounding areas, including its history, local anecdotes, local fauna and flora, idiosyncrasies, best local bars and restaurants and a wealth of personal contacts to lean on.
– Looking after you every step of the way –
THE WALKING EXPERIENCE
* Bilingual guide with local contacts
Three spectacular natural environments and rural landscapes
Good walker/guide ratio
Complimentary use of equipment
Clean and comfortable accommodation
Just think of me as an English guide with intimate local knowledge and an ability to speak Spanish just in case you need to, but can’t. Over the years, I have met many interesting people, established many long-lasting relationships, and developed an extensive local network of contacts that will indirectly ensure that you have an enjoyable walking holiday experience.
The Axarquía region and the Natural Park of Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama together provide a spectacular natural environment for walking that is still relatively unknown and untouched. You will be walking in breathtaking scenery with very little tourism pressure, and always within sight of the Mediterranean Sea.
Having relatively small walking groups (max. 14 – 16 persons) gives me better control and works well with my style of guiding. This means that you will benefit from my informative talks and discussions, and my regularly pointing out interesting things along the way.
I understand that it is sometimes difficult to travel with walking gear and equipment when going abroad, and so to mitigate this inconvenience, I can also offer limited numbers and types of walking equipment at no extra charge (walking poles, backpacks, waterproofs, etc.). As equipment is limited, interested parties will need to advise of their requirements in advance.
I have personally visited and inspected all of the accommodation that I offer, and so I can wholeheartedly vouch for their comfort, cleanliness and suitability.
– Best winter climate in Europe for walking – bar none –
THE GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Simply the best winter climate in Europe for walking – bar none
A dramatic and spectacular geological and geographical location
Interesting rest-day activities in and around Nerja
And that’s a fact. The southern Mediterranean coast of Spain is known as the “California of Europe”. You and your walking group will enjoy winter weather that is exceptionally reliable, with a realistic chance of experiencing sustained temperatures of 20C or 21C during January and February! The excellent Mediterranean climate makes Nerja a prime winter walking destination – possibly the best in Europe – and allows you to confidently plan your walking holiday for almost any time of the year.
Nerja is positioned on a narrow strip of elevated coastline, tightly sandwiched between towering peaks of over 1500 metres and the warm sandy coves of its Mediterranean coast. It is the only town between Gibraltar and Valencia – a distance of more than 1000 km (620 miles) – with such an unrivalled and privileged geographical location: on the edge of an impressive Natural Park and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Nerja is a first class tourist resort with a comprehensive range of services and activities to offer the discerning travelling adventurer.
I can include in the walking holiday package any additional activities that members of your walking group might wish to do on their rest days (cost of activity not included). There is a wide choice of watersports in Nerja; a golf/driving range within a 20 minute drive; quad biking; painting; cultural excursions to Málaga, Seville and Granada; visits to the Alhambra Palace, among many others.
* Unique and defining benefits of Andalucian Walks
Summary of guided walking holidays
Below is a summary of my available guided walking holidays:
Summary of Available
Guided Walking Holidays
Day walks and hikes (1: Nerja based)
Explore the mountains, gorges and valleys of the southern foothills of the sierras and the lowland hills of the Mediterranean coast – all from the convenience of your permanent and sophisticated base town of Nerja. Prices start from €423 for 7 nights per person sharing
Day walks and hikes (2: rural locations
in the Natural Park)
I can also offer permanent bases in rural locations in other areas in and around the Natural Park. With a choice of your own private accommodation in a grand, centuries-old cortijo (Andalusian manor house); or a private, self-contained hamlet surrounded by spectacular countryside in the foothills of the Natural Park, you will have the perfect bases from which to enjoy walking, horseback riding and the solitude and tranquility of nature from a more rural perspective. Prices start from €820 for 7 nights per person (no sharing limitation)
Themed rural walks (multiple locations)
Discover the historical, rural, cultural, traditional and gastronomic secrets of the Axarquía and Alpujarra regions on diverse and engaging itineraries through stunning walking landscapes. Prices start from €680 for 7 nights per person sharing
Multi-day cross-country hikes (multiple locations)
Setting off along a classic cross-country route spanning the entire southern flank of the sierras, you will traverse the entire mountain range by village-hopping through beautiful mid-mountain territory on a series of moderate walks. Prices start from €373 for 4 nights per person sharing
Alpine hiking and trekking in the neighbouring Alpujarra region and Sierra Nevada National
Park (Lanjarón based)
Nerja’s extreme proximity to my partner’s base in Lanjarón (1 hr. by bus) in the Sierra Nevada National Park, declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, means that you can realistically incorporate into any of the walking programmes, a modest exploration (1 – 3 days) of this impressive region. Highlights include reaching the summit of the highest peak on mainland Spain (Mulhacén, 3478m) on a one-day or two-day overnight trek, or discovering the beautiful Alpujarra mountain region, famous for its architecture, gastronomy and beautiful walking trails. Prices to be arranged
Exclusive one-day trip: El Caminito del Rey
Discover what was once regarded as the most dangerous walking path in the world, and with good reason. Thrill seekers were once drawn to walking along its narrow concrete walkway suspended high up on the sheer walls of the spectacular but precipitous Gaitanes limestone gorge, with many losing their lives. Now, recently restored in 2015, and even more spectacular than before, El Caminito del Rey has received both national and international accolades and prizes, and is offered as a one-day excursion from Nerja. Prices to be arranged
Don’t forget that you can design a bespoke walking holiday programme to suit your requirements,AND, you also have complete flexibility to decide on your dates. Not many independent guides or walking holiday companies can offer this degree of flexibility – but I do! Here are just a few examples of what is possible:
Example 1: Day walks and hikes (with permanent base in Nerja or Frigiliana)
7 nights/8 days walking holiday consisting of:
Accommodation in a 3* hotel during the entire walking holiday
Between 4 – 5 walks or hikes with any optional number of rest days
Any level/grade of walk or hike possible
Cultural excursions to Málaga, Seville, Granada, the Alhambra palace; or local activities can also be arranged
Example 2: Cross-country hiking (multiple locations)
For a slightly longer and more adventurous walking holiday, you could village-hop through the sierras on an exhilarating cross-country hike:
Accommodation in multiple locations throughout the sierras in small village guesthouses and B&Bs
Itineraries of between 3 – 10 days of cross-country trekking
Any number of rest days possible
Limited choice of walking grades/levels possible (most graded as moderate)
Example 3: Themed rural walking holiday (multiple locations)
Choose between 3 – 7 individual themed rural walking tours to create a walking holiday programme based exclusively on the themed rural walking tours of your choice:
Accommodation in multiple locations throughout the Axarquía and Alpujarras in 3* hotels, small village guesthouses and B&Bs
Simply choose the individual themed rural tours of interest to you to create a suitable package
All themed rural walking tours are graded as moderate (except Iberian ham tour)
Any number of rest days possible
Example 4: All walking holiday programmes (multiple locations)
For the ambitious and enthusiastically masochistic, an adventure holiday could be created with a little bit of everything, including, but not limited to:
3 – 5 days of cross-country trekking
2 – 3 days of themed rural tours
2 – 3 days of walking based permanently in Nerja
2 – 3 days of alpine trekking in the Sierra Nevada
Any number of rest days
1 day on the Caminito del Rey
Hurry and book!
Don´t wait! The walking season is already underway, and late autumn and spring are great times for walking and enjoying the beauty of the landscape that will soon pass its peak. For much more detailed information on my walking holiday programmes or to book a walking holiday with me, you can visit my website by clicking on the link below; or keep on reading to find out about my two special offers.
You can download from my website a printable A4 poster of this proposal in .pdf file format that you can pin up on your club’s noticeboard in order to generate interest among your members. Alternatively, you can forward the poster to your club members via email. To view or print the poster, just click on the link below. But before you do, don’t forget about those special offers below.
In addition to all of the unique and defining benefits that you will enjoy when you book a walking holiday with me, such as the complimentary afternoon and morning walks on your arrival and departure days, respectively, I am also going to offer you one (1) additional free walking day on your itinerary if you and your walking club book a walking holiday (minimum 7 nights and 12 people) before 31 December 2018 for arrival before 31 May 2019.
My second offer
Before I say goodbye, there’s just one more thing I’d like to tell you that I think you will be interested to know.
I’m always developing exciting new routes and walking holidays, and from time to time, special offers. In fact, I’m developing an entirely new walking holiday itinerary right now.
I recently secured a truly grand “cortijo” (Andalucían manor house) situated on a large private estate in stunning countryside in the Natural Park. It comes with all the trappings and finer details most walking enthusiasts appreciate. And what’s more, I managed to negotiate offering it to my walking holiday groups at a surprisingly attractive price. But more on that in the near future.
Since I started this business, I have acquired a reasonable and slowly growing following. Those in my following know that they will receive special benefits over those who are not, and that they will also receive special offers from time to time, long before I broadcast it to the “walking masses”.
It’s like being a member of an exclusive club.
Statistically, for some strange reason, a high percentage of people who receive this e-mail will actually ignore taking up this offer; but if you are one of the astute few who don’t, the benefits to you and your walking club could be very rewarding.
Naturally, to be privy to these special benefits, you’ll need to be on my e-mailing list to enjoy these privileges before anyone else. All you have to do is send me an e-mail to the address below with the following in the subject line: subscribe
Of course, should you wish to unsubscribe at any point, just let me know and I will do so unhesitatingly. And I promise (mountaineer’s pledge to the mountain Gods) to only send emails or newsletters on a very infrequent basis (literally once every 4 – 6 months).
Make your best decision – right now
I have literally wracked my brains to come up with all of the reasons why you and your walking club should book your walking holiday with me, not to mention the opportunity of experiencing something new and completely different. All that is left now is for you to take my word for it and grab the opportunity to experience it for yourself. You will be enchanted by the Axarquía – I know you will.
However, you also know as well as I do how easy it is to put things off if you’re busy.
But if you send me a quick email right now while you’re still enthused and the matter remains fresh in your mind, I’ll reply to you immediately – or just as soon as I get back from one of my walks.
My contact details are at the end of this letter.
Don’t wait, and certainly don’t put it off for another second.
Remember: you can enjoy the amazing benefits of working with me, and your clients will also enjoy having a unique walking holiday experience to remember.
I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. Don’t forget that if you make a booking before 31 May 2018, you and your walking group will get one (1) free additional walking day included in your itinerary.