Around Andalucía with a Beluga
The route we present below runs through the beautiful Andalucía region, with a focus on visiting the best areas for sports rock climbing and mountaineering, without neglecting its beautiful cities, towns and people.
Andalucía is ideal for a camper van. Good and numerous places to stay overnight will make this a very economical trip.
Below you can see the most relevant features of this route, including a period of two weeks and a mileage of about 2800 km, however it can be easily customised according to holidays available and your interests.
Turn this route into your own route, either adjusting it to better suit you, or simply improvising thanks to the freedom that a rental camper van from chilicampers gives you!
|Total distance||2800 km approximately|
|Accommodation||Campsites and free parking spots|
|Activities||Rock climbing, mountaineering, sightseeing, gastronomy|
|Best season||Spring, autumn, winter|
|Vehicle||ChiliCamper VW T4 California hard top|
Includes diesel, food and accommodation. Does not include rental of camper (see rates)
If your passion is rock climbing and mountaineering, read on and let your imagination fly. Together with your colleagues of adventures, your equipment, rock and mountain climbing areas of top quality and a camper van, you will enjoy your holidays to the fullest. In chilicampers we have that ingredient, last but not least, that will allow you to enjoy Andalucía, one of the most traditional and beautiful regions of Spain, with total freedom.
In our case, for the last two weeks in December, four friends have embarked on a T4 Volkswagen California hardtop, affectionately known as the Beluga for its resemblance to the white whale, with three clear goals. First, visit all the provinces where you can go rock climbing, which are seven out of the eight which make up the region. The second goal, making an attempt to climb Mulhacen, which at 3478m is the highest mountain in the Iberian peninsula. Finally, to visit and enjoy some of the most iconic cities and villages.
The maps you see below show the route that we followed based on the days we had available and information gathered through climbing guides, the internet, and talking to local climbers. Click on More options to see the detail.
As for the various aspects of the logistics of the trip, we went food shopping before setting off and then bought a few things and refilled the fridge when needed. During the whole journey, even in the smallest villages, there are shops and supermarkets. Getting water is easy because there are many public fountains.
With regards to staying overnight, we usually stopped at the climbing areas, and also made use of the mobile app FurgoVW Furgoperfectos, developed by members of the FurgoVW forum.
Personal hygiene was also straightforward. We used the showers of campsites and swimming pools. To give two examples, at Camping El Chorro a good shower costs 2€, and in the swimming pool of Córdoba, where you can stretch by swimming a few lengths, a ticket costs 3.60€.
Finding places where to empty the waste water tank was not a problem either. The organisation La Plataforma Autocaravanas Autónoma maintains a list of service areas.
Without a care in the world, we left Barcelona in the morning, avoiding tolls, and arrived at Jaén at dinnertime. In Jaén we spent a couple of days climbing in the nearby Reguchillo area and in the evening enjoyed the good atmosphere in the centre of the city, packed with bars where the typical cañas and tapas are delicious. Salmorejo may have been the yummiest out of all the tapas we had during the trip!
From Jaén we headed to Córdoba, whose historic centre was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1994. Its streets and monuments invite you to stroll and wander around.
In the province of Córdoba, we were recommended the Espiel area, which also has a good and free indoor climbing wall. Here we had the great fortune to meet the soul of rock climbing in Espiel, Vicente Granado, who has put up most of the routes in the area and made us feel at home.
In a couple of hours from Espiel we reached Sevilla, where we enjoyed urban climbing under the psychedelic Alamillo bridge before heading downtown to spend Christmas Eve. The Giralda, the Torre del Oro, the flamenco quarter that is Triana, Plaza de España, etc. make Sevilla a charming town.
Leaving Sevilla behind, our route took us South, where we visited Cádiz and Tarifa. We continued up along the coast of Málaga and then went deep inland to El Chorro, not without stopping at the picturesque town of Ronda on the way.
We spent five days at El Chorro. The place well deserves a long stay. We climbed in several crags: Los Albercones, Escalera Árabe, Poema de roca, El invento and Makinódromo. The latter is well worth a visit even if you are not a very strong climber, because in its spectacular dome you will see some of the best climbers in the world. While we were there, Sasha DiGiulian made a visit to this sector.
The place is simply awesome. The Gaitanes gorge, with the Caminito del Rey and 300 metre high walls, is spectacular, and there is a friendly atmosphere with climbers from all over the world. As it happened, we spent New Year there, and at the party organized by local climbers, outdoors, with sound system and bar included, we were dancing and chatting with a bunch of climbers who master the eighth grade!
From El Chorro, we went to El Torcal de Antequera, with short routes but in a fantastic karstic labyrinth, and Loja, where we spent a day. Then we returned to civilisation in Granada, with the famous Alhambra at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the winding and full of character Albaicín quarter, it’s a must.
At this point two of us escaped to make an attempt to Mulhacen (3478m). Being our first time in Sierra Nevada, and in the middle of the winter, we opted for one of the itineraries without technical difficulty. Our starting point was the Central Eléctrica de la Cebadilla, just above the pretty village of Capileira and 1500m above sea level. From here we walked up to the Poqueira hut, located at 2500m of altitude, where we spent night. The next day, and with our crampons on, we climbed up 1000 more meters of altitude to the summit of Mulhacen, from where the views are splendid and one can see clearly the African coast. The descent, being on snow up to the hut, is very fast, so the 2000 meters of altitude from the top until we reached our ChiliCamper, are perfectly doable.
We celebrated reaching the summit of Mulhacen with cañas, tapas and an excellent cocido alpujarreño in Capileira.
It is worth mentioning that Sierra Nevada is a large mountain range, where sometimes strong winds can blow very hard. The website of the Poqueira hut regularly offers reports including weather forecast and snow conditions.
However, La Alpujarra is not only whitewashed villages and mountains, no. Near Capileira, and on our way as we toured the beautiful road around Sierra Nevada, we found Trevélez. Trevélez is one of the highest villages in the peninsula and is famous for its ham. We did not hesitate and bought a whole ham, which an expert guy cut removing the bones and vacuum packaged it in a few minutes. It is delicious!
After touring La Alpujarra we made our last stop near Fondón, in the Almería province, where there is a rock climbing area called Cacín. And since our time was running out, the next day we headed back home, happy with the amount of routes we had climbed, having set foot on the summit of Mulhacen, and because the ChiliCamper had worked like a charm, both from the mechanical and the comfort points of view, as we were four people with equipment for rock climbing and winter mountaineering, and clothes for two weeks. The Volkswagen T4 California hardtop is just great!
We encourage you to start planning your own route at home, taking into account that in the winter you need to look for South-facing crags and bring good boots, crampons and ice axe for Sierra Nevada. On the contrary, temperatures during the summer can be high, and to enjoy rock climbing you will need to choose carefully the orientation of the crags and the time of day.
If you want to know more details about this route, do not hesitate to contact us.
Motorhome service areas
Andalucía a rock climbing guide by David Munilla
Espiel on Facebook
Rock climbing in Jaén
La Solera ham drying room in Trevélez
Camping Hostel El Chorro