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The Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama
The Natural Park made up of the three mountain ranges of the Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama is located directly north of Nerja and offers plenty of opportunities for walkers, climbers and photographers to get more than just a beach holiday from a visit to the town. The Natural Park covers an area of some 40,663 hectares, crossing the provincial boundary between Malaga and Granada and including the municipalities of Nerja, Frigliana and Competa in its boundaries as well as many other villages such as Alhama de Granada, Salares and Otivar. In fact, the Natural Park is made up of twelve separate municipalities.
The peaks of the park form a natural border between Malaga and Granada with the Tejeda and Almijara mountains on the Malaga side and the Alhama range within Granada province. The area has an abundance of quartzite and gneiss which date from approximately 300 million years ago although each separate mountain range has its own characteristics with the Sierra Tejeda primarily being comprised of limestone which, thanks to severe weathering, has led to steep ravines and cliff faces. The Sierra Almijara is home to one of Spain’s most important areas of dolomitic marble meaning the range is characteristically made up of grey and white tones where the marble has been broken down over time. Thanks to the decomposition of these rocks sandy areas have been created where pine groves have flourished and formed the most prevalent ecosystems including Austrian, Aleppo and Corsican pines.
The area, which was designated a natural park in November 1999, is home to a number of sites notable for their geological and historical significance, the most famous of which being the Nerja Caves which continues to be studied internationally and regularly reveals more secrets of the regions past. These are not the only caves in the area though, in fact the Natural Park is riddled with them which has undoubtedly been a factor in the parks human history with smugglers and bandits using the mountains and then later anti-Franco guerrilla fighters during the Spanish civil war using them to escape to and provide hiding places for munitions.
Nowadays the park has a far more leisurely use, increasingly being improved for tourist's to use and access. From Nerja the easiest and quickest way for you to get to the park is simply to follow the signs to the Nerja Caves and just before the monuments entrance take a left. From here you can follow the track upwards and start exploring the Natural Park.