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GR 249. Stage 03: Vélez-Málaga - Torrox

GR 249. Stage 03: Vélez-Málaga - Torrox
Trail Type Lineal
Full length in metres 19100 m.
Estimated Time 4:10 h.
Net Head in Metres 305 m.
Cumulative Elevation Gain 180 m.
Cumulative Elevation Loss 125 m.
Difficulty Assessment according to MIDE
1

Medium

2

Itinerary

1

Movement

3

Stretch

General information

Itinerary

From the higher Vélez-Málaga, you can go down the old livestock path, called Vereda del Camino Bajo of Algarrobo,  to its fishing port, and then to the village of Algarrobo along the Mediterranean coast. Following the beaches of villages Mezquitilla, Lagos and El Merche, you will arrive at the outstanding Lighthouse of Torrox and then upstream to the village with the same name. Below this point, you will see the tops of the Tejeda Mountains.

 

Summary
Description
How to Access
Spots along the trail
Accessibility
Characteristics
Ways to tour
Cartography
Towns
  • Characteristics

    Type of Section Length % of total
    Longitud Total 19100
    Asphalt or Cement Sections of the Path 11500 60 %
    Track or Forest Track Sections 5900 31 %
    Footpath Sections 1800 9 %
  • Ways to tour

    Regarding the kind of transport which can be used along different stages of the path, these are divided in those that can be crossed on foot, on a mountain bike, or on a horse. Nevertheless, there is to know that you can walk along the entire stage when this class of routes is indicated, but if you decide to travel on a mountain bike or horse, there is to check that there are no temporary restrictions or town regulations that do not allow their use at some parts of a stage, and then choose alternative way. We also underline that riding a mountain bike on some stages may include travelling by uneven or steep road surface, which requires some or a lot of effort.
    • On foot
    • On a bicycle
    • On a horse
  • Cartography

    Named in counter clockwise direction, the way they will be needed, as they will needed, the maps are as following: in the northwest corner the 1054-I (Vélez Málaga), then the 1054-III (Torre del Mar), the 1054-IV (Nerja) and the 1054-II (Torrox).

  • Towns

    Velez-Málaga

    Where to eat

    Clik here

    Where to stay

    Clik here

    Torrox

    Where to eat
    Where to stay

    Click here

Environmental Information

Rivers and Waters
  • Rivers and Waters

    The two main activities of the environment surrounding the walk, tourism and irrigated farming, coupled with increasing housing demand, require enormous amounts of water. As you can see during Stage 3, the water network is extremely poor and carries very little water. This is due to the geology of the terrain made up mostly of shale and some limestone, and the short running courses of the natural drainage system of surrounding hills which are very close to the Sea (with the exception of the two main rivers). With what´s available, in order for the area to be populated and the economy to function, water has to be found further north-west (El Pantano de la Viñuela reservoir) and north east (Sierra Almijara), as well as searching for underground water.

    Streams have always been important in the development of this part of the Axarquía region, but it is a very common occurrence that during much of the year and the height the Great Path of Málaga crosses, the streams turn to a mere trickle or dry streambeds with very little vegetation consisting of some cane, oleander and tamarisk. Río Torrox and Río Seco are important to the GR as you walk along them to go down and up from the starting point and towards the fi nish. Between the two main rivers, to list the most notable ones, there are the Río de Algarrobo, El arroyo Mamelucos, Los Ríos de Lagos and Gui, and
    El arroyo de Manzano.

    El Río de Algarrobo y Sayalonga is doubly important. Back in the area between the 9 th and 6th century B.C. the sea level was higher and the beach was shaped into a cove (not merely a river delta as nowadays) and the elevated parts of the river’s banks were home to Phoenician settlements of Morro de Mezquitilla and Chorreras. On the other side of the watercourse and according to the Punic tradition, in the east, the Necropolis of Trayamar is located, which, together with the previous sites have been protected as part of cultural heritage from the year 2010. The above-mentioned river has its source in the Sierra Almijara, between Canillas de Albaida and Cómpeta, in an area that the walk runs through at a later stage, and so this river´s waters are higher upstream. The other major river in the area is, of course, the Torrox river, and it also boasts an archaeological site, in this case the so-called Mansio de Claviclum de Itinerario Antonino. At the mouth of the river a salt fish factory, garum industry and ceramic production were started. Later converted into a Necropolis, these ruins are now directly visible from the walk. The residential areas and the baths are at the back on the “peninsula” which forms the tip of Torrox. Torrox River also has its source in the Sierra de Almijara, between Frigiliana and Cómpeta (Stage 5) where it is known as Patamalara, with beautiful crags and waterfalls.

    Water is as important to the current inhabitants as it was for the Phoenicians and Romans; along the walk´s itinerary you will find ponds holding water for the irrigation of terraces of subtropical trees, and irrigation channels called “asequías” that carry the water. Arriving at the beach of La Caleta you will find a type of well called an “aljíbe”; the base is built of stone and vaults are made of brick, it is elongated in shape, and equipped with a waterwheel. And a little further down is the Fuente el Pilar, in the middle of the N-340 road, a popular water supply in the village. Finally, and as it has become the norm in the Axarquía coast, waste water management faces problems because of the narrowness of the coastline. This way, wherever the valley is wide enough the spot is used to build a water treatment facility, as it happens at kilometre 18.2 on the east side of Torrox river, while the manholes and pumping stations are scattered along the walk. This place, on the other hand, is a superb spot to learn about the type of irrigation used in the Axarquía region, with crops under plastic tunnels and others grown on terraces on both sides. In the gardens at the beginning of the walk, projects to improve the irrigation involve the complementary use of the wastewater, with additional water supplied from newly dug wells and from the reservoir of La Viñuela.

Animal Life
  • Animal Life

    Birds

    Along Stage 3 you have a chance to see communities of urban-dwelling birds, birds typical of transformed areas covered in ruderal vegetation and, mainly, sea and coastal species as this stage largely runs along the shoreline. You will also be crossing streams and riverbeds, which, in spite of being dry a lot of the time during the year, still bring lots of interesting elements. The highlight here is shore birds, mostly waders and gulls, given the seasonal presence of water at the mouths of the rivers.

     

    Highlighted Species

    In the urban environment where Stage 3 takes you, you will see the Collared Dove, Pallid and Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Spotless Starling and House Sparrow, among other species. During winter you can observe Crag Martins in urbanized areas near the beach as they arrive from higher areas to spend the cold months sheltered near the sea; also Wagtails, Common Chiffchaffs and Common Starlings. The area at the beginning of Stage 3 where ruderal vegetation is predominant, you can watch Common Kestrel, Little Owl, Bee-eater, Zitting Cisticola, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler and different species of finches (Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Serin). Upon reaching the coast, birds typical of the marine environment take the grandstand, for example the gulls: Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed, Mediterranean and Audouin´s.

    Sandwich Terns and waders such as Sanderling and Turnstone are common at the first line of the beach. Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets, Cormorants and Monk Parakeets also show up during Stage 3, together with some specimens of Mallard, Moorhen and Coot in the seasonal pools which tend to appear around the river mouths. Thanks to the closeness of the Vélez river mouth the numbers of species along the coast can elevate greatly during the migration. It is the spring and autumn months when you should pay close attention to anything that flies and you might spot some exceptional species.