We had left the coast near Gibraltar and found a lonely place for the night somewhere. The next morning, we went to explore Castillo de Castellar. Once an abandoned village inside a castle, now revitalised by artists and with a hotel in the castle building. Afterwards we drove further inland to go for a hike with the promise of a cold river to cool off.
The origin of the castle can be traced back to the 7th century. It was used by the Moors who conquered the Iberian Peninsula via Gibraltar. Actually, it is a village inside a fortress, with narrow streets, white washed houses and many flowers.
The castle is located in the mountains of the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales next to a reservoir. The National Park is one of the biggest in Spain, characterised by having the most extensive cork oak forest in Spain and one of the largest in the world. It is in a magnificent state of conservation, while the cork is still used.
From Castellar de la Frontera we drove further inland to El Colmenar, from where we wanted to hike into the canyon of the vultures (Cañón de las Buitreras).
The hike starts from a hydro-electric power station in El Colmenar and leads along the river. It didn’t reach the water until after 45 minutes, we finally got to where the canyon starts and we found a great place for a swim. The path would continue further along the canyon, but we preferred to spend the rest of the day at the water.
While enjoying the cool water, we could watch the vultures circle around the canyon, but also other birds, trouts in the river and a lovely dragonfly.
When we came back to the car, it was a little overheated from waiting in the sun. We drove further into the Los Alcornocales National Park until we found a secluded spot under the big oak trees, where a cool wind made it a pleasant night.
We were now taking a short detour to the coast again, just to visit a garage at Estepona, which of course was Edi’s idea. Find out more on our next post!