1 Jun, 2024 @ 10:00
4 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I visited a little-known town near Spain’s Ronda and fell in love with the scenery, food and hiking’

THIS little-known town near Ronda is enchanting, with stunning scenery, food and walks. 

Everytime I visited Ronda I stood on the Tajo bridge looking out at the miles of rolling green and longed to explore. 

Finally, last weekend I dipped into this vast expanse of countryside on a spring camping trip with my sister. 

Setting off from Estepona on the Costa del Sol, we quickly found ourselves on winding mountain roads that tested my driving skills. 

After about an hour of snaking through stony mountains, we descended into Ronda’s valleys, passing copious vineyards and olive groves. 

READ MORE: I visited Setenil de las Bodegas – a town literally carved into rock in southern Spain… these are my tips 

Though challenging to drive to, reaching Grazalema is definitely worth it.
Photo: The Olive Press

One thing that never fails to surprise me about Spain is the huge swathes of countryside where you might not see a soul for miles. 

But if I thought we were rural before, I was in for a surprise when we turned off to Grazalema. 

A one track road covered by trees winded through the green before giving way to stunning mountain views and fields of wildflowers.

The Sierra de Grazalema feels idyllic as you drive through fields of wildflowers.
Photo: The Olive Press

The drive called to mind famous routes like the Pacific Coast Highway and the North Coast 500 and I wished I didn’t have to take the wheel so I could fully appreciate the views.

Luckily, we were able to stop multiple times along the way to take in the scenery. 

Soon, we arrived in Grazalema and decided to take a look around the town before heading up to the campsite. 

Around the town, there are multiple free car parks to choose from a short walk from the centre. 

Grazalema is a small but charming town centered around the church, Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Aurora. 

The Plaza de España is the perfect place to enjoy a cold drink after a walk.
Photo: The Olive Press

Though simple, the grey stone church is a welcome change from the normal grandeur of Spanish religious buildings. 

The square in front is picturesque, with its mountain backdrop, ornate street lamps and cafes, 

where our few fellow tourists sip coffee and cañas. 

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We wandered around the town’s typically Andalucian streets, with white washed walls adorned with flowers.

Before long, we settled into the tucked away Calle del Agua for a drink in Torreon Cafe & Copas. 

The bar was nestled into a small square with a fountain filled with flowers at its centre. 

Around us, locals laughed over €12 menu del dia’s and tapas. 

After enjoying our smoothies, we marvelled at the Los Asomaderos viewpoint, right next to the tourism office. 

You could spend a whole day wandering to the town’s various miradores, stopping to try local delicacies in the many artisan food shops along the way. 

There are many small delicatessens selling local food, snacks and wine.
Photo: The Olive Press

Grazalema is particularly known for its variety of sheep’s milk cheese, named after the town. The variety, which has a strong flavor and leaves a slightly blue cheese aftertaste, is made all over the mountain range, but if you’d like a masterclass, visit Queso Payoyo Rural.

This traditional cheese factory on the outskirts of town offers tours, tastings and even on-site accommodation. 

The Sierra de Grazalema is also known for their olive oil and I indulged myself with a small bottle.

After that we made the short drive to our accommodation, Camping Tajo Rodillo. 

When we arrived I was shocked and surprised by our surroundings. 

Overlooking the campsite was the imposing Peñon Grande, the gateway to many hikes taking you behind the camp and into the hills. 

There was plenty of parking outside the campsite.
Photo: The Olive Press

Going through the gates, we were swiftly checked in by a friendly lady and given the choice of a few camping spots. 

Our ‘parcela’ was on a raised platform and we had our very own parasol and picnic table, so it felt like we had our very own little enclave. 

Our site was rustic but comfy.
Photo: The Olive Press

On the site, there were showers, toilets, laundry rooms, a cafe, a pool and its very own mirador. 

We settled in, watching the sun set behind the peñon before tucking in for the night. 

The campsite had its very own mirador
Photo: The Olive Press

The next morning, we grabbed a coffee and breakfast from the cafe, totalling at just €7 for two coffees and toasts. 

Then, we set off to hike the Llanos del Endrinal trail. 

From the campsite, there are many walks to choose from depending on your energy, skill level and if you have little ones with you. 

Tired from the long drive the day before, we chose the Llanos del Endrinal because it was well signed and easy to navigate (so the internet told us). 

Once you have found the path behind the campsite, follow the path up the hill, stopping to admire the huge rocks and views along the way. 

READ MORE: ‘We visited this vegan friendly restaurant in Estepona’s old town – this is our verdict’ 

The valley is surrounded by huge rocks, or ‘peñon’s
Photo: The Olive Press

Then, when you reach the top you will be rewarded with stunning vistas over the valley. 

Stop a while and take in the view, with butterflies fluttering between the wildflowers. 

The views made me feel like I was in the Alps or Canada. Photo: The Olive Press

At this point, you can choose to go back down the hill or carry on and do part of another hike, the Pozo de las Presillas trail. 

This is what we inadvertently ended up doing after not believing the hike could be over once we reached the top of the hill. 

However, I recommend this option just the same. 

It gave us a chance to delve further into this idyllic landscape, see the white houses of Grazalema speckled into the green valley and get some more exercise. 

Once we realised what we’d done, we decided to turn back when we got tired and arrived back at the campsite in time for lunch. 

After a quick bite to eat it was time to head home, but I easily could have stayed in the Sierra de Grazalema for longer. 

At just €18 a night for a pitch equipped with plugs, light, showers and toilets, I can’t wait to come back and take on some more walks in this hidden gem.

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