The tunnels in Rincón de la Victoria are a perfect spot for the beginning of the path that, on one side, goes along sandy beaches, and on the other, follows inland trails among fields and reedbeds in the presence of recognizable watchtowers.
This long leg of the walk begins together with the city limits of Rincón de la Victoria. You will get to know all of Rincón´s beaches from the Arroyo Totalán stream in La Cala del Moral to the Torre de Benagalbón tower. The walk takes you along the coast of Vélez-Málaga though it starts gradually veering away from it so that you can walk through the slate and chalk hills and then by the fertile orchards of the Vega of the Río Vélez.
Almost at all times it coincides with an east-west direction, which is also the direction of the N-340 road. The Great Path of Málaga and the road run jointly from time to time, until the path turns north at the Vélez river.
The GR-249 uses the beach promenades, Paseos Marítimos, but also dirt roads, the beach, footpaths and roadside. Much of this stage is quite accessible, but its length, detours at the end and the industrial zone you arrive at, can give you an impression of the walk being harder than it really is. On the other hand, the variety of Stage 2 adds to its beauty, with its ever-changing terrain, closeness to the beaches and the landscapes.
In any case, Stage 2 is a good way to discover that the coastline of Málaga province is as unique as the Axarquía region and its main river.
The east coast of Málaga appears before the traveller´s eyes as a built-up zone where the beaches have sometimes been stretched to their limits. However, according to the fi ndings of a staggering number of prehistoric and historic remains of dwellings, it seems this coastline has never been free of human presence. This is the fi rst attraction of Stage 2, discovering how the coast held up as a resource. There are many excellent examples of the different models of the fi nal product.
Construction problems originally stem from the good climate, a main active ingredient of the southern edge of Málaga province. Then, the crowding of infrastructure and buildings is caused by, amongst other factors, the coast´s characteristically abrupt and mountainous terrain, up to the point that the mountains literally fi nish in the sea, creating escarpments and cliffs which can be a barrier for the walker or, as it happens in El Cantal, the area´s main attraction. It is interesting to discover how these inherited problems are being solved by environmental improvements and correct public use management, both of which are evident along the way. The beauty of this section of the coast of Málaga province, one of the few places with limestone cliffs, certainly deserves such an injection of care.
History, with a capital H, emerges along the Gran Senda de Málaga through the archaeological sites in caves, Phoenician settlements, Roman villas and factories, Arabic farmsteads, medieval watchtowers, 18th century forts, quarries and thousand-year-old paths.
Nature timidly survives on the sea cliffs and on the upper edges of the wider beaches, with beautiful populations of Rock Samphire and Searocket. And as a tribute to the remnants of the rural and agricultural coast which still persists, it is worthwhile to venture out into what´s left of the traditional irrigated crops on the fertile fl ood plains of Río Vélez, where the walker might be surprised by the timeless image of a pair of “pajuno” breed oxen ploughing the same land which sustained in the past the hundred years old sugar factories and cane sugar mills.