This terrain is flatter and placed under the steep western side of the Tejeda Mountains with a dense replanted pine wood. The stage goes across undulating ground with olive trees and allows us to enjoy the view of the most important spots in Axarquía.
Stage 8 passes through the municipalities of Canillas de Aceituno, Alcaucín, La Viñuela and Periana, with varying distance between them. It follows the River Alcaucín down from the sunny north-western slopes of Sierra Tejada to the reservoir of La Viñuela. Then, following the valley of the River Guaro, it climbs once again, up to Periana. One obstacle it does avoid, where possible, is the network of roads between the reservoir and the Zalia (or Salia) and Don Manuel bridges.
The stage gets going on an attractive pathway (less so on a few urban sections perhaps) in a north-westerly direction. It connects Canillas de Aceituno with Alcaucín along the edge of the Natural Park of the Sierras Tejada, Almijara and Alhama. There is a noticeable difference between the sheltered woodland on the rocky slopes and the wild landscape beyond, with a scattering of country houses.
The path from Alcaucín to the end of the stage is mostly over unsurfaced or concrete tracks. The initial section follows the river of the same name, which turns progressively south from the Natural Landmark of the Tajos del Alcázar gorges. It flows through traditional agricultural land and the ever-present sub-tropical farmland. The Path then runs between two almost parallel roads, one towards Boquete de Zafarraya and the other linking Alcaucín with La Viñuela. It avoids these via El Cerrajón and its housing developments.
The route takes a sharp turn to the north-east along the reservoir’s meandering boundary, keeping this on your left-hand side. The ground is soft and muddy here and there is little tree cover due to its proximity to the water’s edge and housing developments. This changes from Las Mayorales Recreational Area onwards, and the Path traces a gradual arc round to the north following the River Guaro and then the Arroyo de Cantarranas.
This dramatic change in the landscape brings the Great Path to a magnificent centuries-old olive grove. You will notice small plots of land separated by dry stone walls all the way until Periana. Terraces cover many of the slopes, with colossal and age-old Carob trees, and are frequently bordered by Almond trees.
The site of the Cueva de la Fájara cave is spectacular from a geological and speleological point of view. The walk along the boundary of the Natural Park offers the chance to compare the reforested areas with the more human infl uenced sectors, keep in mind that not too long ago grape vines dominated these very slopes of the sierra.
Both sections follow traditional footpaths which used to connect the villages. There are superb views, as you walk towards Periana, of Boquete de Zafarraya, the tourist area and residential area of Pantano de la Viñuela and Comares village. Strolling along the old train tracks of Málaga to Ventas de Zafarraya, which was in use between 1922 and 1968, is also one of the curiosities and attractions of this Stage.