The original population nuclei of Mijas and Benalmádena are quite close together, just where the southern profile of the white Sierra de Mijas slopes more gently. Stage 33 cannot use the direct eastwest line that joins them (approximately 6 kilometres) but instead rises into the mountain, traversing the ridge and describing a north-south arch.
The gradients are significant here, but the slopes are made easier by the excellent design of the traditional paths. This, coupled with the reasonable length, make this Stage a highly recommended one to achieve the fundamental objective of the day: getting to know this modest but interesting mountainous coastline of the Costa del Sol, much beloved among the inhabitants of surrounding villages. It is common to pass walkers and cyclists, each on their own selection of paths through an extensive network of tracks and tracks that criss-cross the woodland area.
The paths covered here usually have a good earthen surface and they are not used by motor vehicles. While the tracks have an acceptable and safe conservation level, in certain sections where vehicle access is possible, the sand doesn’t compact, causing gullies and bumps which make walking more difficult.
A mountain range whose peaks are between 900 and 1,150 meters in altitude, separated from the coast by 10 kilometres at most, in a straight line, has to offer excellent views of the coast of Málaga. In addition, the proportion of clear days and blue skies is very high, ensuring the spectacle. This is probably the main asset of this stage, the successive panoramic views over all aspects of the sierra.
The distinguishing features of the Sierra de Mijas are the dolomites that prevail, rocks that are derived from marble, white when fresh-cut but acquiring a beautiful grey exterior due to the weathering process. Erosion also yields red clay but more frequent than this is the bright white coarse-grained sand, forming deposits many centimetres deep. The extreme porosity of the terrain is due to the karstifi cation of the rock’s cracked and fractured surface, so that the storm-water drainage is almost instantaneous, percolating toward the numerous potholes.
Such a dry environment requires the incorporation of specialist vegetation, principally the three species of pine trees to be found during this stage: some Maritime pines, more Aleppo pines but mostly Stone pines. The thickets and undergrowth are dominated by the aromatic plants and thorny scrub, but in certain enclaves there are broadleaf shrubs and even Holm oak copses attempting to come back in favourable areas. One of the most complicated sectors to recover are the aggregate quarries, although small in the district of Mijas, those of Alhaurin de la Torre are extensive, this Stage allows you to visit both settings.
There are a few easily recognized endemic plants along the way, some quite striking and usually adapted to the dolomite mountain sands, while highlights of the fauna are an excellent population of Spanish Ibex, which are easy to see in some areas, the conspicuous Large Psammodromus lizards and the impressive Eagles.