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Granada tours - Granada Airport to Granada - free, unguided walk

Dusk at the Granada gate, Santa Fe. CC Landahlauts. More.

Overview

This route follows part of the shifting, ancient trail that connected Granada with Loja, Antequera, Malaga and Seville to the west. Moorish drainage projects converted what were the flood-prone and swampy banks of the River Genil into today's moist and fertile fields (frogs still feature in local cuisine) and the Catholic Monarchs took grateful advantage of these improvements when they came east and set up camp outside Granada in the final phase of the Reconquest. The exploits of their knights here are exaggerated and augmented in the splendid 16th century ballad repertoire, which is fundamental to appreciating the work of local boy Federico García Lorca. Your route reflects pretty closely that described by Nicolás de la Cruz y Bahamonde, a Chilean from Cadiz, in his Viage de España, Francia, é Italia (1812), mainly to dodge the motorways and housing developments which have been the local authorities' response to this historic landscape.

The de la Feuille 1706/1747 map: poetic but lethal. Granada is top-right, Loja/Antequera SW, then cross the hills to Málaga or go NW to Sevilla.

Itinerary

The entire route is very long, so unless you want spend two days of your weekend in Granada getting from the airport then you may want to cheat at the beginning or the end by respectively taking a taxi from the airport into Chauchina or taking a bus from Santa Fe to Granada - the 240 and to some extent the 242 and 336 provide a pretty frequent service.

  1. Walk left out of the terminal and out through the perimeter gate. Turn immediately right through the field (now plantation forest), and follow the perimenter fence as it wheels right (W). After about 1km you will reach a track running perpendicularly N-S. Turn N (right) on it and follow it as it turns W and then N again, still following the perimeter fence, until you reach the A92 motorway.
  2. Cross the A92 (2 lanes * 2 carriageways with a decent central reservation) and walk 200m straight on along an industrial estate road in construction (hopefully a bar will appear here one day), and then turn left and walk a couple of hundred metres to a junction with a real road. Turn right (N) and walk along it to the small settlement of Romilla. As you enter Romilla, instead of bearing left along the Calle Nueva veer right a few metres along the Chauchina road, and then turn sharp left down the Calle de Real in order to take in the unremarkable parish church.
  3. On reaching the end of the Calle de Real, slalom left then right in order to continue N through fields on the Camino del Río until you reach the Torre de Romilla/Roma, just to the right of the road. This is a ~15th century, 3-storey Moorish defence tower built of field stone with a lime and mud mortar (similar examples on this walk) which, as Juan José Casado has protested, is falling down - Chauchina council and the other authorities diverted their construction-boom receipts elsewhere.
  4. Just beyond the tower on the Camino del Río, take a track to the right. After about 800m, take another one 90º right. After 300m it turns 90º left. Follow it for about 1500m when it ends in the Meadows of the Gypsy on the road crossing the river from Fuente Vaqueros to Chauchina. Turn right along this road to arrive in Chauchina. The road enters the urban area, crosses Morera, curving to the left, and ends in a small square with signs right for the Ruta de Washington Irving and for Granada/Malaga. Follow them until you reach the parish church, and turn right down the street before it. At the end there is a vaguely communist bar and cybercafé which is perfectly pleasant.
  5. Walk out of the door of the bar and straight ahead for 30m. To the left, admire the parish church (late 20th century, 19th century(?) bell-tower) and, next to its entrance, the Doric column section from the Sierra del Turro, Loja which was declared unfit for Charles V's palace in Granada. To the right, enter Bar Marinetto, order another beer and see what they've got to eat.
  6. Turn right out of the door and walk the few metres to the Plaza de la Constitución and the convent and church of the Poor Clares with the image of Our Lady of the Thorn, who cured Rosario Granados Martin of revolting leg sores in 1906.

    Our Lady of the Thorn, Chauchina. CC from Wikimedia.

  7. Apart from a roast chicken shop, little entertainment is to be had here, so retrace your steps. Walk along the south side of the parish church, turn left past the apse and then 100m later turn right down Miguel Rios. Stay on this as it exits the village, crossing a tiny tributary of the Genil, the River Dilar. Continue midst fields and enter the outskirts of El Jau, passing new flats of surpassing ugliness on your left, and you will arrive at a crossroads with several "children crossing" signs and on the other side of the road indications to Santa Fe. Turn left with the newish white school building on your left and an elderly garden wall on your right. At a chemist's turn right. The road bifurcates immediately. Step into Bar la Pacheca on the RH furc for a moment, and then continue by the LH furc, following it round to the left and continuing to the end. If you have time, have another wee something in Rincón de San Cecilio to the left - another atmospheric little bar selling Alhambra beers and into which the first bishop of Granada used to pop before the Romans martyred him. Then turn right to get to the village square, with the unremarkable parish church at the end on the right.
  8. La Fuente de la Reina, the spring here from which Isabel is said to have drunk, is not worth visiting, so, with the church away to your right, cross the square and continue straight past the "no entry" sign along the Camino de Santa Fe. On leaving the village, with fields on your left, this becomes the Camino de Jau. Follow it as it crosses over one branch of the A92 motorway and then under another, becoming Buenavista. Keep following this, more or less straight, as it passes through Santa Fe's grim but brief suburbs and finally, just after a large brick school on the right, deposits you in a small square containing Santa Fe's Loja gate, built in 1652, demolished, and rebuilt in 1950. Pass through it and along a street stuffed with banks to reach the main square, the Plaza de España. (Just before the square, on the left above a bank, is casino La Unión, which apparently does food. Anyone been there or know somewhere else that does decent food?)
  9. Due to earthquakes and modernisation, very little apart from the street plan remains of the Santa Fe built by the Catholic Monarchs as a military camp in 1491, scene of the capitulation of Boabdil the same year and of the conversation with Christopher Columbus in 1492 which led to the discovery of the New World. If you want to take a bus to Granada, there's a bus stop here. Sights and drinking holes:
    1. The well-kept C18th parish church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, crowned by the cross-cloven head of Tarfe the Moor, decapitated in romance rather than fact by Garcilaso de la Vega.

      Garcilaso de la Vega and Tarfe the Moor.
      Semanario Pintoresco Español, 1845.

    2. The 1931 town hall decorated with Latin American national arms.
    3. The corn exchange, now turismo.
    4. The Casa de América - a decent collection of big-name early C20th art.
    5. Bars Reina Isabel and Isla to your left and the café selling buns and piononos, the local speciality in front of you a couple of doors to the left of the town hall.
  10. Leave Plaza de España heading along the same street, c/ Real. There's a little Alhambra bar down c/ Flores to the left, but otherwise keep straight on through the Granada gate, which has a couple of bars and a restaurant. Carry straight on and turn right (there's a sign to the courts, the juzgados) down the Paseo del Señor de la Salud. At the end is the chapel of St Catherine/the Galicians (Ermita de Santa Catalina/los Gallegos), commemorating the surrender of Granada on St Catherine's Day and/or Galician soldiers who participated in its construction and the war. 
  11. Carry on along the LH side of the chapel on a road that becomes Simón Bolívar, and later Belicena, and passes the municipal cemetery. It then proceeds to Vegas del Genil/Belicena between fields, scheduled to be broken up by the final section of the A44 Sierra Nevada motorway. Avert your eyes from the fiendishly ugly outskirts of Belicena, but when you arrive at Plaza de la Constitución (older buildings, gloomy cypress in middle) you may wish to turn left down Calle Real de Belicena. After about 150m on the right there is a San Miguelería, and just after it the pleasantly undistinguished parish church. In the streets to the left there is also a cute bakery, Mario y Javier.
  12. Head another 20m down the Calle Real beyond the church and turn right between two rows of old white single-storey houses. At the end head 45º right across the field and then continue right along c/ las Viñas. At the junction turn left past the cul-de-sac sign onto Avenida de la Constitución and continue along this, with revolting new houses to your right and what the idiots thought was going to be building land and industrial estate to your left. The houses stop but the road continues, turning into a track and passing through fields. About 1km later your path is traversed by a new road, with more unsold development on the other side of it. Head right to the roundabout and then, parallel with the track, left SSW for another kilometre until you get to central Cúllar Vega, which has a number of small shops and eateries-drinkeries, none of which overwhelmed.
  13. At an ugly little fountain-roundabout, fork leftish on the broad pavement under the trees to pass by the east end of the mudéjarish parish church. Continue straight down Picasso, passing the Ayuntamiento, and at the end veer rightish along Avenida de Andalucía. Follow this towards Churriana, crossing the Dilar, at which point is becomes c/ San Ramón. Stay on this, forking leftish past the hideous bronze dedicated to the poor bloody workers (Churriana has for some reason acquired a substantial collection of bad public sculpture) and then passing Telepizza before turning second left up Gloria. At the end turn right past Bocadillería Morente and a few metres later, outside Bar Los Cazadores (which I rather liked), cross in a diagonal fashion Plaza Marañas to the left, exiting onto Plaza del General Queipo de Llano. Unfortunately Bar Diego is closed or gone, so exit the square in the opposite corner onto Villa. Continue straight along this as it changes to Martin Sierra until you reach Churriana's Plaza Mayor and the 16th century parish church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, well worth a visit if you can find someone to let you in.
  14. Turn south down Comandante Valdés and walk straight through Plaza José Antonio to the house with the large cross on its façade. The negotiations for the surrender of Granada are said to have taken place in the Moorish fort that stood here. Turn left down Rosario, part of the Moorish settlement, left up General Franco (Bar Génova is fine), then right along Plaza Santa Cruz. At the end on left is the 18th century Casa Calvo Valero. Turn left up Cecilia, right down Comandante Franco, second left down Perdones, right along Baño, then left at the end, also on Baño. Immediately on the right are the remains of the 12th/13th century Arab baths, with three vaulted chambers which drew water from the Arabuleila irrigation canal, but apparently without three secret tunnels leading to the Alhambra, the Moorish fort above, and the countryside.
  15. About-turn and head south on Toril, turn left on Habana, and follow it for a couple of kilometres of suburban sprawl, in the course of which it becomes Camino de Churriana, until you arrive at a crossroads-square in the old centre of Armilla, with the parish church of St Michael Archangel on your right. Beyond it is the Calle Real, in which apart from a few bars nothing of great interest was found. A couple of plain eateries are said to lurk down San Miguel, straight ahead, but one could not be arsed.
  16. So left and NW it is on Fernando de los Ríos, with yet more post-Honeckerist architecture which should remove any remaining doubts re the wisdom of not taking the bus from Santa Fe. Under the motorway, over a streambed, and after an age you'll arrive on the banks of the Genil. Probably ignoring the good but overpriced Meson Gregorio, cross the modern bridge so you can take a photo of the (actually Moorish++) "Roman" bridge, and walk straight up to central Granada, where you should find something to amuse you.

[
If suitably encouraged, I may at some stage post, translate and comment on a selection of the often marvellous writing inspired by and situated along the path over the last 1000 years. I guess this might work as an expanded version of the route itself, which I was going to post until I realised the instructions were getting drowned in historical and literary detail.
]

Details

Grade leisurely
Base Granada (Meeting point information here, where relevant - make sure you have the right one!)
Location tags Andalusia, Armilla, Chauchina, Granada, Santa Fe, Vegas del Genil,
Theme tags airport, archaeology, free, gastronomy, history, industrial, literature,
Your guide(s) Self-guided
Walking distance 32 km / 19.88 miles
Walking time 6.4 hr
Total return travel time from base to walk
Total time from "hello" to "goodbye" 7.36 hr

Photos

Coming soon! Please try the overview or itinerary for pictures.

Comments

  1. [...] far as I know the first famous traveller recorded as having used ***this route*** was Rodrigo Tellez de Girón, Master of the bloodthirsty Order of Calatrava. He died aged 26 [...]

Page URL

You can find all this information, as well as the booking form, at http://oreneta.com/baldie/baldie/spanish-walking-tours/granada-walking-tours/granada-airport-to-granada/

Health warning

These free walk instructions have not been properly checked and are offered without guarantees of any kind. Generally it's smarter to try to walk from rather than to the airport first, or there's a distinct possibility you may end up running across muddy fields as your flight disappears through the clouds. On the other hand, at least you'll know the way to the nearest pub.

Contributions

If you've got an airport route of your own that you'd like to share, please do get in touch.


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