The first section of the variant runs along the bank of the Guadalhorce River. It is a stretch of medium difficulty and not very long. During a part of the tour, the vegetation of riverbank, poplars, willows and ash trees, mainly, together with the flow of the water, will bring us freshness and shade. Very interesting the views that the hiker has when approaching Antequera.
Paths that link
- Coincidence up to km 2.0 with Stage 12 of the GR 249 Gran Senda de Málaga
- Coincidence with the GR-248 Gran Senda del Guadalhorce up to km 6.5
- Derivation for Wildlife Observation at km 6.5
- Coincidence with the GR 7 E 4 between km 21.3 (road A-7075) and the Birth of the Villa (km 22.4)
- Partial coincidence with the SL-A 22 La Escaleruela km 22.4.
This long three-stage variant that connects Stages 12 and 21 of the Great Path of Malaga with an alternative route begins in Villanueva del Rosario, passing through Antequera and the Abdalajís Valley. It has a fundamentally southwest route and a total length of about 67 kilometers. From the geographical point of view, it runs through the headwaters of the Guadalhorce River, with the main obstacle of crossing the natural passage between the Torcal de Antequera and the Sierra de la Chimenea, and again coincides with the longest of the rivers of Malaga in El Chorro, downstream of the Caminito del Rey.
Stage 1 of the Variant connects Villanueva del Rosario with Antequera, with a zeta-shaped route that begins and ends in a northeasterly direction, with the longest stretch in a western direction. This part of the province of Malaga is surprising mountainous, tracing the Path a winding route through the northern slopes of the so-called Central Limestone Arch. However, during a very important part of it you walk near the bed of some river or stream, following the traditional regional roads. The rest goes through undulating terrain of half a mountain, above the permanent channels. Thus, from the Platero farmhouse the profile shows a continuous but very smooth ascent, of 150 meters of altitude in 7 kilometers, to then stay in saw teeth until the vicinity of Antequera, where it descends again with a certain slope.
Perhaps the greatest success of the route is to know the Public Mount of the Alhajuela-Cortijo Guerrero and its surrounding areas. It is a large extension of plaster hills, loams and clays that generate quite special landscapes, grooted, with aromatic scrub or reforested with conifers. This same material, waterproof and located under the limestones of the mountains, causes upwellings of some importance, some of them as famous as the Birth of the Villa.
The municipalities of the town and the city of Torcal have a relatively recent history, as indicated by the meaning Villanueva, which became independent of Archidona in the sixteenth century, being delimited precisely by the bank of the Guadalhorce. It is at kilometer 7 that you finally change to Antequera.
The first section of the variant runs along the bank of the Guadalhorce River. Apart from that, in Villanueva del Rosario stand out the parish church and hermitage (in honor of the Virgin of the same name), the Old Fountain and the exhibition of engravings by José Hernández (National Prize of Fine Arts in 1981), favorite son of the municipality, located in the House of Culture. Villanueva del Rosario is located at the foot of the Sierra de Camarolos, declared a Special Conservation Zone (ZEC), a space of great geological and biological richness. Villanueva del Rosario is a true paradise for climbers and in its mountains it has some of the most difficult roads in the world. Some of them are so famous that they even have proper names such as the Chilam Balam or the Shiva Plant.
Antequera has one of the largest concentrations of churches in all of Spain (about 30 temples in the urban center) of different architectural styles (gothic and baroque to date). Alongside them, it is worth highlighting its archaeological heritage, among which stand out the Dolmens of Menga, Viera and Romeral, declared World Heritage. Its historic center is also worth a visit with a good number of manor houses and mansions that are integrated into an architectural complex declared a Historic-Artistic Site. Highlights include the Alcazaba, the Palace of Nájera (City Museum), the Royal Collegiate Church of Santa María La Mayor.