Hiking path along the river Majaceite in Grazalema: ideal for children and pets
As those of you who follow our blog already know, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park offers endless possibilities for hiking and other nature-related activities.
This time we wanted to focus on a plan for the whole family, fun and ideal for those who go with their children and pets: the journey along the course of the river Majaceite from El Bosque to Benamahoma. This trail is one of the most walked around the park thanks to the beauty of the route and its low difficulty, so you will probably meet a lot of hikers, especially if you go at the weekend.
It has a length of 5km (or double that if making a return journey) with a well-marked trail and no steep slopes, and it takes about two hours at a normal pace. Here is the step by step route from the Hotel Fuerte Grazalema.
8:00 a.m. Departure towards Benamahoma
We leave the hotel and head towards the village of Grazalema until the detour to Benamahoma, totaling 18 km of curvy but beautiful road. Once we have climbed to the Puerto del Boyar, we recommend stopping to admire the beautiful views from this spot, just to the left before starting to go back down. There we will find a small car park and a viewpoint.
We follow the path down, pass Benamahoma and continue on to El Bosque. Before starting the route, we need to get our strength up, don’t we? Breakfast time.
9:00 a.m. Breakfast in Venta Julián
Upon entering the town of El Bosque, and once past the bridge over the Majaceite, on the right is Venta Julián, a meeting point for hikers, bikers, cyclists and climbers who gather early in the morning to have a good breakfast and to get the strength to start the activity.
We recommend a good muffin with liver or pork zurrapa, one of the delights that this area offers. However, the classic tomato, prosciutto and oil is always a hit. This shop has been open since 1971 offering the best local produce in the area, all kinds of local cheeses and sausages, a tradition which has now reached its third generation. It is still run today by Julián’s family.
10 a.m. Point of Departure
Once you have enjoyed breakfast and our body has the calories needed to start the route, it is time to start walking. We can walk from Venta Julián to the start point, next to the Youth Hostel (easy to find by asking a local or just checking Google Maps) or return by car to the entrance of the village, where we will find a sign pointing to the Majaceite route along a stone walkway that leads to the farm.
Once parked, it will be easy to find the sign indicating the road, right next to the bridge which crosses the river. The trail follows the crystal clear river and riverside vegetation, taking us into a forest full of poplar, ash and elm trees. The wild fig tree is one that we can see more on this tour, where we will also have the luxury of listening to birds like orioles, sandpipers, blackbirds, robins and even a kingfisher. With luck, some scurrying otter might cross the river.
The route, mostly flat, passes through narrower sections, a few gradients with stairs and concrete or wooden bridges crossing to the other side of the river. The denser vegetation leads us to a humid environment where the smell of fern invites us to breathe clean air. On the trail, we stumble across some ruins of watermills which used to grind wheat. The route allows us to enjoy small waterfalls and beautiful scenery while spending a Sunday with the family.
12.00 Arrive at Benamahoma
Without even realizing it, we have already reached Behamahoma, the car park being across the route. It’s 12 pm and since the path is short, we continue walking the streets of this quaint village to the Eco Water Museum, located in the old mill.
During the visit, we are told about the ecological importance of the water cycle in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, the place with the greatest rainfall index in Spain. This interesting visit allows us to see reproductions of oil and flour mills, bakeries and fulling mills which were linked to the water power in Grazalema.
1:00 p.m. Time for lunch, cheese tapas and wine
We turn back on ourselves and go back to the car park where we find the fig tree bar which sits alongside the river. Here you can have lunch while listening to the noise of water splashing downstream. Here a wide selection of meats and cheeses are available to taste, as well as cold beer and local wines. Ask for tagarninas if they are in season and, of course, payoyo cheese! Afterwards, a coffee will come in handy to get us back on track.
15.00 Return to El Bosque
Two hours of walking back down the same road is waiting for us, this time downhill. Due to the low difficulty, going back down on the same path will not be difficult, quite the opposite. At 5 pm, we will be back in El Bosque. For those who still want to continue exploring the area, they have the option of visiting the Botanical Garden of El Castillejo where you can see the rich vegetation of the area.
WHERE TO STAY
Another option to finish the day in Ronda is to stay at Hotel Fuerte Grazalema and admire the beautiful sunsets facing Grazalema Natural Park from your pool and jacuzzi. This hotel, one of the most recommended places in the area for its quality, tradition and service, has become a place to stay in at least once in your lifetime. It also has a small farm, spacious rooms, a restaurant with a unique view and a cuisine based on local products. Pets are also allowed.