Walking in Competa – What you need to know!


Competa is perfect for a walking holiday

With its many paths and routes ranging from the easy to difficult, it is the perfect base.  You can start at an easier level and walk the goat path to Canillas de Albaida.  This is circa 3km and is a fairly level walk and in the spring the wildflowers are stunning.  Afterwards, you can work your way up to something more challenging such as the walk to the Lost Village of Acebuchal.  There are walks for hobby walkers or those new to walking as well as walks for serious walkers who like to set themselves a challenge. The intention of our blog is to give you some hints and tips to get you started.  The best way, however, is just to get out and explore. Whatever route you choose you will be mesmerised by the outstanding scenery and all that nature presents along the way. A particularly good example of this is the Rio Chillar walk in Nerja.  Read all about this fantastic walk with crystal blue pools and waterfalls here. To do this walk in its entirety takes about 8 hours and needs a good level of fitness.  However, for the less fit, it is possible to do as much or as little as you like.

Competa tourist office – a hive of information to start you off

The absolute best place to begin preparing. The tourist office has a wealth of information on the walks in the area.  They offer free maps and invaluable advice. They cover around 13 languages too!  Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10-3 pm and Sunday, 10-2 pm.  Their email is [email protected]. You will find them at the bottom of the village, as you come up into the village the road forks, they are just on the right-hand side. Pop in and see them, they are a friendly bunch and they have lots of information to get you on your way.  You will find they also have activities such as guided tours of the village and information on Competa’s history including a tour of the museum. Here is a video on Competa from the Competa Tourist Office. It’s in Spanish, see how many words you know! Tourist office video

Useful books and tools for your walks

Useful books to set yourself up with are the Rough Guide to Andalucia which is readily available on Amazon.  Along with Walking Holidays in Competa by Joost Schepel, see more about Joost further down.  His book is available in Dutch and English in many village shops. Another useful tool is Costa del Sol Tour and Trail (Axarquia), the link to the guide is available here Axarquia Guide. Additionally, take a look at the app, View Ranger! You can see why this app scores highly for walking, hiking and cycling paths and trails.  It’s available both on Android and Apple and is a marvelous aid for your holiday.  Find out more here on the View Ranger App In example they have two routes for the Three white villages, Competa, Archez and Canillas de Albaida.  Check them out here, one is 5.31 miles and is deemed easy, see it here Route 1  The other is 2.93 miles and is of moderate difficulty, you can see it here Route 2 We think the app is fantastic and hope you find it useful!

The Lost Village of Acebuchal walk

Another fabulous place to visit just outside of Competa! The Lost Village can be accessed from Frigiliana or Competa and even then, there are several choices. In Competa, you would start at the helipad,  which is about 10 minutes outside the centre of Competa so a car is ideal to get there. You can then follow the main road that cars use, along the track to the pretty shaded river, which is the perfect place to cool off.  Here you can continue on the route for cars.  Alternatively you could take the goat trail and go up over the mountainside, it is quite steep although manageable, you will wander through the rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage and lavender plants, yes it really does smell as good as it sounds. Parts of the route take you through the pine forest and encompass some wonderful vistas.  Routes can also take in the Fabrica de la Luz which is quite simply divine, here is a link to this lovely walk Fabrica de la Luz However you get there, the end goal is the Lost Village and let us tell you why we think you should visit. We will only give a little snippet because our next blog is all about the lost village of Acebuchal.

The Lost Village’s rich history

The village’s existence is documented as early as the 17th Century, although it is likely that it was populated well before then.  The name Acebuchal (pronounced athe-bu-chal) originates from the Arabic word acebuche meaning an olive tree.  The village itself had an important role to play as a staging post on the traditional muleteers’ route between Granada and Malaga. Village life was not easy! However, they were able to trade their raisin and tomato crops for staple ingredients like wheat, lentils and chickpeas. In the 1930’s Acebuchal found itself, like many other villages caught up in the conflict between the Franco Regime and the Republican Guerillas. In 1948 the residents of the village were ordered to leave by authorities as they were suspected of offering food and refuge to the Guerillas.  All 200 or so residents were told to leave immediately.  Homes, possessions and livestock were all left behind and so the village fell into disrepair over the next half-century.

The modern Acebuchal

Some fifty years later, in 1998 one of the sons of the original villagers returned, that man was Antonio Garcia Sanchez, known as “El Zumbo”.  Together with his wife Virtudes and his family, he restored a couple of houses in the village. Then seeing that tourism was increasing they restored 5 more and built the tavern in the centre of the village.  No mean feat when you consider that electricity and water were not brought to the village until 2003. Slowly but surely other former residents returned and restored their homes.  Now 36 houses, the chapel and the tavern form the village today. The Taverna, Bar Acebuchal is run by Antonio along with Antonio Junior, a more charming pair you could not hope to meet.  If Antonio senior passes you, he will usher you into his shop.  His locally produced honey, goats cheese and chorizo are delicious, don’t be afraid to barter with Antonio, but not too much, haha!

Authentic food

The food in the taverna is as expected for a mid-mountain eatery and sourced locally.  You will find goat, boar, lamb, rabbit and venison on the menu according to what is available that day.  We love their cheese and sausage platter, produced by themselves.   Just like their bread which is absolutely the best we have ever tasted.  It is baked on-site and the style is rotated so we have tried many varieties. Each loaf is served with local olive oil and salt, they are far too delicious.  Warning the loaves are large, we often take the remainder of ours home with us.  If you want something more substantial then dishes such as venison in chocolate sauce are rich and filling.  Or lighter, how about one of their delicious cakes? All we can say, whatever route you take this little village will melt your heart and like us you will want to return time and time again. Read about one family’s visit to the Lost Village of Acebuchal here in their blog

The Competa Walking Festival

The Competa Walking Festival 2019 was very successful with its fabulous September weather.  Undoubtedly you may want to know the date for the eighth walking festival which is already announced.  The 2020 event takes place from the 24-27th September. This is a hugely popular event that offers both easy and intermediate guided walks each day. So, whether this is your first walking holiday in Competa or you are a return visitor to the area this is a great event to attend.  The event is run by Walking Tours in Spain, Duncan, Onne and Joost Schepel run the business which is based in the centre of Competa.  They can also offer some fabulous guided tours, take a look here WalkSpain Understandably accommodation is in demand, as we write No 17 has already booked out to a set of walkers for the week.  However, you can check availability for our other houses here. Places on the Walking Festival are limited to 100 and each ticket costs a mere €20 for the four days, including bus tickets, coffees, teas etc.  You can also purchase a ticket for the final day buffet for €14 per person. You can reserve your tickets here at [email protected].

We’re happy to help!

If you would like to know more, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can message us at [email protected] To sum up, we can help with where to buy any last-minute forgotten items in the village. Definitely we can help with any extras to make your walking holiday in Competa special.

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