When you think of Granada what comes to mind? The Alhambra. The marvelous Arabic-turned-Christian palace that attracts more visitors to Spain than any other monument—and rightly so. And yet, Granada is much more than just the Alhambra; there are fascinating neighbourhoods such as Albacín, Sacramonte, the old centre and the Jewish section, numerous narrow winding streets, views from the lookouts of the Alhambra with the backdrop of the Sierra range, the famous tapa bars and flamenco dancing in caves.
Even though it seems Granada could keep you occupied for days or weeks don't miss the opportunity to see some of the surrounding towns and countryside while visiting the area.
Getting back to nature near Granada
The Sierra Nevada is beckons nature lovers, but even before you get into the mountains themselves there are a plethora of other places to visit.
Just 8 kilometres from Granada is a town, Monachil, which is perched on the side of a canyon in the Sierra Nevada National Park.
The town of Monachil takes no time to wander through as it isn't very large. The variety of hikes along the canyon two kilometres from the town are spectacular. As the Sierra Nevada is nearby, and the aforementioned wonders of Granada, these hikes are relatively unknown to tourists.
The Cahorros route along the Monachil River
Along the Monachil river gorge is a rock climber’s paradise, but even if you don’t have climbing equipment (or inclination) the route called Cahorros is a fantastic place to go.
It is a marvellous hike to take kids on. Ours had more fun here than if we spent a day at an amusement park.
The hike is well marked. There is a public parking in the town that it almost at the beginning of the route. You will come to a large sign, which indicates this route in two directions: Cahorros por Portachuelos and Cahorros por Sendero del Rio. It is a circular route, but the most scenic part is by the river (Sendero del Rio) which is the right fork at the sign.
The hike starts off easy with a small path through lush foliage along the river bank. Later on though, you start hitting hanging bridges, and seeing waterfalls.
Once you get into the gorge you get some real Indiana Jones-style hiking. At some points you may have to crawl to get through spots, or sit down and do a bum shuffle. It all may sound daunting, but it is actually easier for the kids than the adults as they can scoot through the tight spots much easier. Also, in a few places, it seems like the rocks are overhanging the river and you may not immediately think there is a way around, but look closely as there are metal handholds nailed into the rock to make navigating safe and easy.
Pack a lunch, camera and take your time. There is so much to take in that you won’t want to rush.
Information and map of the Cahorros route
Web for Monachil: www.monachil.es
If you want information in English about hotels and restaurants, go to the tourist page, scroll down the left-hand side until you see turismo, click and you will see that you have the option of getting a PDF in English.
Web for Andalucia: www.andalucia.org
Map of routes along the Monachil river: Map of routes
Restaurants in Monachil:
La Cuchara: lacucharadecarmela.com
La Cantina de Diego: restaurantelacantinadediego
Taberna la Guardilla (FB): @tabernalaguardilla
Ruta del Veleta: www.rutadelveleta
Monte Vélez: www.montevelez.com