Sierras to the Sea - Self Guided

7 night walking holiday from the Cómpeta sierras to Frigiliana, Nerja & Maro


“Thank you for another wonderful holiday. It was a fantastic week and the walks were truly spectacular”

By the 10th Century the Moors had established al-Andalus as the major silk-producing region in the western world. The warm south facing slopes of the sierras of the Axarquia perfectly suited the silk moth. Mulberry trees were cultivated in great numbers and villages sprang into life. The mulberry trees have gone but the pretty pueblos blancosstill cling to the hillsides. Many of the ancient paths still exist and are the theme for this unique 8 day walking adventure.

Our Sierras to the Sea adventure walks the length of the south facing slopes of the Sierras Tejeda y Almijara, connecting villages on the way. This self guided walk starts in the west contouring around the south facing foothills of La Maroma, the 5th highest mountain in Spain. Each of the five sections of the linear route are ‘classic’ walks’ in their own right with great scenery, views and interest. The terrain varies from mountain paths to gently descending tracks. The first walk has many options and can be used as a guide to the walks you will be offered for the rest of the week. It is possible to opt out of any of the walks but few choose to do so. The trail ends in Maro to the east where the mountains dramatically drop to the Mediterranean sea. For guests who would like to extend their holiday, this tiny village is close to the popular resort of Nerja with easy bus connections back to Malaga and to Granada.

Itinerary & walks

Day 1 – Arrival day
Transfer from Malaga airport to Cómpeta and neighbouring Canillas de Albaida take an hour. The Hotel Mirador is located on the edge of the village. All the rooms are doubles with en-suite facilities and balconies with great views across the pueblo and down to the Mediterranean. In the evening a welcome meal at one of our favourite local restaurants in the village. The village, although small, has good restaurants, shops and is a great base for walks straight into the Sierras. Cómpeta, a short walk away has more restaurants and shops.

Day 2 – Sedella and Salares to Canillas
After breakfast, road transfer to the west to start the first section of the trail. Longer options start in Sedella and may include higher level paths on route to Salares. Shorter options start in Salares but all options end back in Canillas de Albaida. It is an ideal first walk as you are never far from villages but the area feels remote with some fine views of the mountains and down to the sea. You may choose to return to Canillas in time for a late tapas lunch, or a longer walk and finish with some cool drinks in the plaza. Walking time 4 to 6 Hours.

Day 3 – Canillas de Albaida to Cómpeta via the sierras 
All options for the second section of the trail start in Canillas and end in Cómpeta. The higher level routes climb up to Cerro Gavilan and the ancient ‘silk’ path through the sierras to Granada. The higher you choose to go, the more spectalular are the views of the mountains down to the sea. Shorter options get to Cómpeta in time time for lunch in the Plaza. Longer options descend from Gavilan to Puerto Collado on route to Cómpeta. The pliasant and level walk back to Canillas then takes about 30 minutes. Walking time 2 to 5 Hours.

Day 4 – Cómpeta to Frigiliana via El Acebuchal
This section of the trail connects the higher level villages in sierras to the lower, once abandoned village of El Acebuchal. It now hosts an excellent taverna and is a great location to end a truly memorable walk which ever walk option you choose. All these start with 4?4 transfers to Puerto Collado above Cómpeta and end with transfers from El Acebuchal to Frigiliana where you meet up with you bags and stay for two nights . Walking time 2 to 6 hours

Day 5 – Rest day in Frigiliana
Frigiliana is one of the best known of all the white villages in Andalucia. The famous battle just outside the town marked the end of the 700 year Moorish occupation of Spain. This resulted in the total collapse of the silk industry and the region went into decline. How things have changed. Frigiliana is very pretty and it’s proximity to the coast have put the town very much on the tourist map. It is a perfect location for a rest day with lots to do, places to eat and the opportunity to easily get to the resort of Nerja and beaches should you choose.

Day 6 – Frigiliana to Maro
Another classic walk with spectacular sea and mountain views. All the walk options start from the hotel down the steep sided valley of the Rio Higueron. Shorter options include a ridge or valley walk ending in Nerja and then stroll or taxi on to Maro. The longest option is a spectacular and challenging walk into the sierras then crossing the remote valley of the Rio Chillar before a gentle but long descent to the caves at Maro. The final two nights are spent in a small hotel in the centre of this tiny unspolit coastal village. Walking time 2 to 5 Hours

Day 7 – Maro beach and caves
The Maro caves, below the Sierra Almijara, are some of the largest and finest in Europe and too good to miss. For the last walk we offer a short coastal walk linking the Martello towers along the coast or a circular walk around the Tajo de los Bueys, This more strenuous option provides exceptional views back along the length of the sierras and down to sea. With both options there is time for a visit to the caves or an afternoon swim from Maro beach. A truly fitting end to this unique walking adventure. Walking Time 2 to 5 Hours

Day 8 – Departure Day
Many guests choose to extend their stay in Spain, either at the coast or visiting the historical cites and towns in Andalucia (See notes on Travel below) lage and some involve short road transfers. We classify the walks on our regular holidays as Grade 2 but the program for the week is never caste in stone. The program and walks throughout the week may be amended to suit prevailing weather, temperatures and the overall walking level of the group.


For the  first three nights you will stay in the Hotel Mirador in Canillas de Albaida. This small, recently renovated hotel has comfortable en-suite rooms, great views down to the coast and a small pool for use in the warmer months. The village, although small has a number of good local restuarants, a bakery and grocery shops. You stay for the next two nights in Frigiliana in your own self contained property in the centre of this well known and bustling pueblo blanco.  The last two nights are spent in the Apartmentos Balcon de Maro in en-suite rooms with balconies and sea views. The tiny coastal village of Maro is close to one of the prettiest beaches in Andalucia and a great contrast to the large and popular resort of Nerja just a few kilometres away.

Travel & More Information

On arrival, you will be met at Malaga airport. The transfer to Canillas de Albaida will take about an hour. On departure we provide a dedicated taxi from  Maro to Nerja bus station. From here there are  direct bus services to Malaga city/airport and to Granada. If you prefer, or you have chosen an early return flight, we can provide a dedicated taxi from your Maro hotel to Malaga city/airport for the additional cost of around €50.

If you would like to extend your holiday with a few relaxing days do have a look at This excellent website provides useful information on coastal and inland villages close to the end of the walk. The site also includes some very interesting historical information on El Acebuchal, Frigiliana and Maro, all of which feature on the ‘Sierras to the Sea’ itinerary.

The direct coach service to Granada from Nerja takes about two hours. The Alhambra is high on many travellers ‘bucket list’ and there is much more to see and enjoy in this great city. With a direct and regular bus service from Granada back to Malaga airport it may be a tempting option if you wish to stay on and visit  one of the most iconic historical buildings in the world.

The historic centre of Malaga is also highly recommended if you would like to stay on for one or two extra days. There is much to see and enjoy and an overnight stay could be a great option if you are restricted to early return flights. Bus and train transfers from the city centre to the airport are inexpensive, frequent and convenient.

Dates & Prices 2024

2 Guests in double/twin room £495 per person

3 Guests in two double rooms £495 per person

4 Guests in two double rooms £445 per person

Start on any date subject to accommodation availability and Spanish Steps resources.


What we include

  • 7 nights accommodation (See notes above)
  • First night welcome drinks and three course meal with wine.
  • Three breakfasts in the hotel MIrador in Canillas. Accommodation in Frigilana and Maro have self catering faciilities and we provide starter packs for breakfasts.
  • Holiday pack including individually prepared walk desciptions, maps, local information and telephone numbers for local support.
  • Transfers to and from trail heads.
  • PIck up from Malaga airport on arrival
  • On departure, taxi from Maro to Nerja bus station. (See Travel & More information above)

Reviews & Visitors Book

“I really can’t express how much pleasure and delight we got from walking from the mountains to the sea!!!  Peter your detailed notes, knowledge and wonderful, open spirit to make sure we had everything we needed and more, was so appreciated and really made all the difference to how much we enjoyed the week – biggest heartfelt thanks to you!! We are already talking together about our next adventure for 2020 and all of us want it to be with Spanish Steps, so we’ll see you then!!”    Bec, Jac, Jane & friends (Hants) May 2019

“Thank you for an exceptional holiday. It was our first real walking adventure and weloved it all. Special thanks & appreciation for your personal attention. This is truly a beautiful corner of the world & you have done something special through “Spanish Steps”. So great to be introduced to the pathways of Andalucia by people who care about it deeply. Hilary & Chris (Montréal, Québec) March 2020 (pre-coronavirus – just)

“Absolutely brilliant walk again today. Thank you for organising some lovely, varied walks. We did some of the best walks ever and had a really super holiday. Thanks for all your support and beers! We will recommend our friends to join you. Every good wish Anne & Tom (Leics) March 2020