Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Malaga: Torcal de Antequera
Late night arrival to the parking below the natural park meant less sleep with alarm set before the sunrise. The downside of this parking was that it was 45 minutes walk from the entry to Torcal. Essentialy I spent my sunrise time in this walk rather than on the trail of Torcal...
However, all my worries cleared away, as soon as I passed one turn and saw a mountain goat staring at me. We stared at each other for some moments until I lifted my camera to make a shot.
I decided to follow this creature to see where it leads me and to my surprise there was a whole family of them chilling and strolling between the rocks.
After my hangout with the goats I continued by the yellow trail through Torcal but encounter with these animals was already a highlight of my morning. In the trail I didn't take any more photos but just enjoyed looking at the marvellous rock formations.
By the time I returned to visitors center, had my cup of coffee, Juan woke up in the van and took Luna out for a walk. To go down to our parking I was able to take a shuttle bus from Torcal visitors center that starts operating in the morning. These buses are running during the restricted hours of access by car, to control the influx of incoming vehicles and avoid the collapse of parking by the visitors center. The cost of the bus ticket is 2 euro and it saved me from another 40 minute walk.
We drove to visitors center parking in the evening when access for the cars was re-established and by the time fog was crawling in from the mountains. When everyone else was leaving, we enjoyed the eerie atmosphere to ourselves, taking photos at rock formation Tornillo.
As Luna is not keen on standing still, instead of long exposure I had to shoot at elevated ISO values. A few people pointed to "Stranger Things" vibes...and since we canceled Netflix subscription, will take these words as they are :)
And of course, when leaving the natural park, I had to take the photo of our camper van in this mysterious atmosphere.
When to visit Torcal de Antequera
The best time to visit is during the spring, autumn or winter with more pleasant temperatures.
For the night we drove down to Antequera village where I planned my strategic photowalk in the morning.
It turned out more spontaneous and I ran around the various viewpoints of the village.
And it wouldn't be a complete experience without a casual walk in the street observing the local life.
Granada: Beas de Guadix
I had a lot of aspirations about this area around Purullena, Guadix and Marchal, its marvellous rock formations were very intriguing to me. Unfortunately at this time a stormy cyclone was catching up with us in the south of Spain and weather wasn't too favorable. We arrived to Beas de Guadix with a grey sky above us and hiked to End Of The World Viewpoint (I kid you not it's called Mirador del Fin Del Mundo).
Well, if this end of the world is that beautiful, I could stay longer :)
Luna enjoyed running around and we parked near this village for the night.
However, the weather was getting worse and it continued raining all night and all morning. So we didn't have the light needed to shoot these textures. We still had Almeria on our agenda and after studying the weather forecast in all destinations we decided Almeria made more sense to us. I'm certainly going to come back here for better conditions. On the way to Tabernas we passed through a streak of snowfall, which was a huge surprise for spring Andalusia.
Almeria: Cabo de Gata
All the way through Tabernas and until Cabo de Gata it was raining. We arrived to camper van camp site late night. It stopped raining just by the late morning. We went for exploratory day hike to Cala Raja and were impressed by its beauty, so our decision was to return there for the sunset where I captured 2 different perspectives of the beach.
As the natural park is quite big, it wouldn't be possible physically to get to all the places within one evening. However, we did stop at Arrecife de Las Sirenas classic spot.
Almeria: Tabernas Desert
My fascination for Tabernas Desert was brewing for a long time. But being close to that we confronted a the vastness of it and lack of knowledge of where and how to explore it outside of thematic parks. I was reviewing a number of Wikiloc trails and blog publications. where people were expressing similar concerns about the lack of information. Our first attempt in the morning was to ascend Pico Alfaro, and we arrived to the place following Wikiloc route, and the beginning of trail wasn't very easily accessible and potentially risky to walk. We shifted to plan B parking on the opposite side from Oasys MiniHollywood and followed Maps.Me trail indications instead.
In the trail it's possible to encounter some abandoned ruins, mineral rocks and the area is home to a plenty of wildlife.
In the evening we went for another hike by the unpaved road that starts left from the Oasys MiniHollywood and leads to a panoramic viewpoint of the desert. It was a quiet spot with the views to ourselves.
In the below photo shot with my Sony FE 70-200mm f 2.8 G lens you can see the same formation that appears in the middle aerial photo. It gives a more comprehensive feeling of how vast this desert is.
On descent I let Juan and Luna go forward and caught them walking by the beautiful rock.
When to visit Tabernas Desert
Winter or spring time is the best to visit Tabernas desert to avoid extremely high summer temperatures. In the mornings it can be quite fresh and warmer clothing layers will be very handy. It's important to carry sufficient water for the hike as the temperature rises during the day and it quickly becomes pretty hot.
With this sunset hike our spring journey was coming to and end. The idea to stop by another scenic place for the night on our way back home couldn't be fulfilled as we were running out of gas and at this late hour many gas stations on the way were already closed. Lesson learned that in rural areas of Spain there are no self-service gas stations and those requiring staff presence are likely to be closed by 10 pm. We managed it to gas station in Huéneja in Granada province and this was where we spent our last night. And the rest is history...