Among the vast surface of olive trees, you can enjoy splendid panoramic views of Antequera Plain and the Genil Valley, which is next to Cuevas Bajas (Low Caves), and due to erosion, it creates steep slopes, as well as some river bank groves with a big variety of water birds.
Stage 15 runs through the northernmost region of the province of Malaga, coming into contact with the fertile plains of the River Genil. There is a reasonable climb up the hill, Cerro de la Cruz, which is where the three municipal areas of Villanueva de Algaidas, Cuevas Bajas and Cuevas de San Marcos meet. The route passes through the former two. It can be divided into two sections in terms of direction, with the first running north approximately to the halfway point and the other north-west. Both the distance and the gradients are quite manageable.
Given the setting, it seems more than appropriate that the route shares the stage with the Mozarabic Way, since the town at the start has a medieval chapel and an abandoned convent. Sections of three Long-distance Footpaths (GR in Spanish) that pass through this area, share this starting point.
The route passes through the village of La Atalaya and then climbs towards the country estates of Loma Vieja and Loma Nueva. It continues its way up until the border of the three municipalities, from where it begins its descent. Keeping to country tracks throughout, this section offers impressive views over the Genil valley. Passing through the hamlet of El Cedrón, it then heads once again close to the course of the River Burriana, to the stage destination.
A gully carved out of the rock where the town of Villanueva de Algaidas lies, (meaning New Town of the Forests), is an island in a sea of olive trees. This surviving crop is a remnant of the original vegetation which thrived in the shady conditions. You cross the watercourse over a late medieval bridge, still in use today, which leads on to the neighbourhood of La Atalaya.
The panoramic views over three provinces from the viewpoint of El Cedrón are spectacular on a clear day. Passing through El Cedrón (with its Jewish origin) and visiting La Moheda, (founded by the Andalusians), the route offers an attractive image of traditional village life that has fortunately stood the test of time.
The gully carved into the rock where Villanueva de Algaidas stands (Villanueva of Forests in a free translation) is a true island in the sea of olive trees, a relic of the original vegetation caused by the shadiness of the slopes. Such is the attraction of the place that there was the convent of our Lady of the Consolation of the Algaidas built here, which was awarded by the fi rst Duke of Osuna in 1566 to the Congregation of the Recollected Parents of San Francisco de Asís. Attached to the ruins of the convent is a Mozarabic rock chapel dating back to the IX and X centuries with the Church divided in three naves (the Baptistry, the sacristy and the prayer area) and a nave used as housing quarters. Normally you can visit it without any problems. A medieval bridge still in use crosses the river and communicates with the watchtower.
The Cerro de la Cruz (Junction Hill) is one of those important those landmarks which as its name suggests, is a place where three boundaries unite. But for the traveller it may be the spectacular panoramic views over three provinces from the viewpoint of the Cedrón, conveniently explained in a commemorative panel.
Finally, the visit to the farmhouses of the Cedrón (of Jewish origin) and the Moheda (founded by the Andalucíans) offers some beautiful glimpses into communal life in these small centres of population which thankfully resist the passage of time. The Moheda is out of the way but so close that it is worth a detour. The connection with Camino Mozárabe is one more added value to the stage.