This stage offers varied scenery. It goes through the forest covered in cork oaks and pasture, and then expands from northward shady slopes, rich in plant life, to an old cereal fields area, where an old water mill can be seen.
Although originally the traditional Camino de Estepona might have been used to connect the village with the city in a straight line, when it was asphalted it was also a good reason to include other walks in it, which lead predominantly east but continue taking quite large detours and this way they achieve a very mountainous itinerary with steep sections uphill and downhill.
Although you may not associate such walking with the Costa del Sol, it should be enough to gaze at the massif of Sierra Bermeja to get an idea of the diffi cult walking and stark landscapes which await you. All this is added to an itinerary of lithological diversity which is truly surprising. Before it climbs up to the sierra, the Great Málaga Path follows a series of wide curves to discover the clay-based farmland, “bujeos” of the Arroyo de los Molinos de Casares and the schist of La Acedía. After a long itinerary uphill and following the southern skirt of the Sierra Bermeja, you make a sharp turn southwards and back to walking on metamorphic acidy rocks; then finally you tread the sandy soils which surround Estepona.
The distances seem to multiply during this Stage due to the constant ins and outs the paths have to perform as they are forced to cross the many streams; some streams are seasonal and some permanent. This mostly happens in the middle of the Stage.
Without a doubt the best of this stage is the heterogeneity of its type of soils and the following diversity of plants and human activities. The great feature of this stage is a truly rare rock around the world, plutonic in nature and originating from the Earth´s many layers, the peridotite. The appearance of this great ball of magma changed the whole lithological environment it got in touch with, causing the creation of metamorphic marbles, schist and chalk.
The view that the traveller will have of the western Costa del Sol will be surprising thanks to a privileged location of a watch tower which the walker will see for the first time along the GR-249. The broad bay Bahía de Estepona below and the sharp profi les of the African Rif Mountains and Straits of Gibraltar to south-west accompany the walk almost at every moment, whenever you are higher up, abounding in great spots for sunsets. Faced with the construction vortex of the coast which, fortunately hasn´t been as destructive around Estepona, Manilva and Casares as it was in other areas, the walk takes you many times to places where there are still surviving traditional gardens, working farms and old mills dotting the banks of rivers and streams which fl ow towards the south surrounded with such richness of flora and fauna that it could seem more appropriate in other places.