Day hiking in Andalucia can be a dream for those who love the outdoors, the landscape and mountainous terrain make it perfect for adventurous hiking but there are some things to consider:
- Anti bite
- Fly repellent
- Torch/Headlamp + batteries
- Map [hardcopy]
Day hiking in Andalucia is a popular pursuit although due to the size and expanse of rural areas you can hike a full day and never see anyone else. As a result many areas are very isolated with no-one else around so it pays to be prepared.
Much will depend on the time of year too which we will discuss below, many areas such as the ‘Altiplano de Granada’ have their own microclimate and the weather can be quite changeable.
Goes without saying that water is essential on any hike, in Andalucia during the summer temperatures can easily top 40 degrees. On a challenging hike you’re going to use up a lot of water so a bottle plus a bladder in your backpack is a good idea.
One tip is to put your full water bottle in the freezer or add ice before you leave to keep it cold – it will warm up very quickly when the temperature begins to climb.
Andalucia has plenty of wildlife, during summer there are flies all over the place and if you’re unlucky enough to tread on a wasps nest then anti bite or anti sting cream is going to offer some relief. It’s not just flies that bite either, snakes, scorpions and large centipedes can all be found while hiking [we have seen them all in woodland]
The strength of the sun should not be underestimated and suncream should be in every backpack – a strong factor too. Day hiking in Andalucia can see you climbing to elevations 1000m+, many of these areas like watchtowers are in exposed places at the top of mountains.
It is surprising how quickly you can burn in the Spanish sun and it will absolutely ruin your day [and night] if you get too much. Taking care in the sun applies to hiking all year round, even in Autumn and Winter when the strength of the sun can be quite deceptive.
Staying with the sun it’s also a good idea to take some headwear with you. It doesn’t have to be fancy or some big frilly flamenco number, just something sensible, you see a lot of very lightweight [and cheap to buy] straw hats hanging in the back of workers vans in the summer as they value the protection a hat gives when working outdoors under the Spanish sun.
Flies are a real nuisance, some just irritate the living daylights out of you and others bite, there is a large black fly that can be found near water that is particularly nasty so fly repellent is an idea to have in the first aid kit along with the anti bite.
The terrain in Andalucia is a real mixed bag, you can seek out hiking routes using the likes of Alltrails but if you really want to get off the beaten path and explore then a good quality pair of shoes or boots is essential.
I recently relegated my Merrel shoes for a pair of Lowa boots, simply put they are way more supportive which is what I need for the places I go. Hillsides tend be very rocky, uneven and in some places unstable so the ankle support is good to have. More challenging hikes can throw up the unkown where terrain and challenges are concerned so good boots and a good pair of socks are the name of the game.
Everyone takes their phone these days but not everywhere has a reception. Before leaving make sure someone knows wher you are going and what time you are expected back. While out together we each carry a two way radio just in case one wants to go and explore and I usually take one on a solo hike as my wife is terrified of me keeling over again with another stroke. The point is that the ability to communicate, even if you are not far away from home/basecamp etc is important.
You may not think so but becoming temporarily lost on a hillside in Spain is very possible, we recently lost our bearings on a hike and ended up coming down a wooded hillside a way which we would not have chosen at all, in places it was more like the ‘Vertical Limit’ movie than a day hike in Andalucia. Both of us spent a significant amount of time decending on our rear ends but hey, you can look back and laugh as all was well in the end.
A compass can save you a great amount of untold hassle, it’s a handy piece of kit to have, is lightweight and takes up no space at all. There are many different brands out there but ours is a Suunto A-10 whcih you can pck up for around €20.00 euros.
Torch/Headlamp + batteries
A light source and ability to power it needs to be in every EDC kit and backpack, you just never know when you might need it. Should a disaster happen and you are forced to stay out for the night or navigate your way home after dark then a torch or head torch will be the most valuable thing in your arsenal.
We have torches all over the place at home, in the Shogun and in backpacks. A good torch is worth buying, they don’t have to be that expensive nor do they need to be big and heavy – check out this pair we keep in the Shogun sun visors
Lastly we have a map, an old skool hard copy that doesn’t rely on GPS, batteries or the ability to use an app of some description which quite frankly drives me round the twist.
A map is going to be your friend in a variety of different scenarios, it will help prevent you from becoming lost [or more lost] and it will help you dicover new places, make your day hike flow smoothly and guide you to places you may otherwise have missed. An essential for the backpack and to keep in the rig when you’re done.
- Stings & Bites – What to watch out for in Andalucia
- Alltrails – Hiking routes
- Wikiloc – Hiking routes
- Non first aid essentials overlanding Spain
So that is a brief rundown on what we have in our packs when hiking in Andalucia, if you’ve found any other ‘essentials’ or something you’ve found useful on your hikes in Spain let us know in the comments below.