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Hiking trail

Yegen to Mairena

Hiking trail · Alpujarra de la Sierra
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  • Unpaved Road with Distant Views
    / Unpaved Road with Distant Views
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Bursting Pomegranates
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Cuesta Vinas Natural Springs
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Church in Válor
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Nechite Valley
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Winding Track to Mairena
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 1200 1100 1000 900 800 10 8 6 4 2 km

After a 30-minute taxi transfer to Yegen, you’ll continue on foot to Mairena, passing through a few Alpujarran villages and craning your neck right to admire the shifting panorama.

11.3 km
4:00 h
426 m
404 m

Today begins with a taxi transfer (30 minutes) to Yegen where the hike begins. British writer Gerald Brenan lived in Yegen throughout the 1920s and the village remains proud of their celebrity resident. Before beginning the walk be sure to wander the streets (which are largely unchanged since he was here!), and maybe visit the museum dedicated to him, housed in an inn where he stayed.

While Mairena boasts the romantic nickname, ‘El Balcon de la Alpujarras’ (the balcony of the Alpujarras), any one of the other villages along today’s hike could also justifiably claim that title. They each gaze out from their lofty perch on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, staring across the undulating foothills and the deep canyons gouged out by rivers. The east-west orientation of the mountains ensures spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

The footpath which connects these villages occasionally plunges into gorges only to climb steeply out the other side, however much of the hike contours gently along the mountain slopes, enjoying the ever-changing panorama on your right. The abundance of water nurtures life here and so you’ll pass through orchards laden with ripe olives, bursting figs and plump pomegranates, and past blackberry bushes and mulberry trees which beg you to eat them.

Author’s recommendation

Enjoy a sundowner on the terrace in Mairena while watching the lengthening shadows of the foothills with (on a clear day) the shimmering Mediterranean Sea beyond. User
Josiah Skeats
Updated: January 07, 2020

Highest point
1129 m
Lowest point
880 m

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.

There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.

Much of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

There is a short section after Nechite where a stream runs down the path. Take care on this section and remember rocks can be slippery when wet.


Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the steep ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.

Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Casa Museo de Gerald Brenan

British writer, Gerald Brenan, was escaping his middle-class English life and trying to pursue his simple passions of reading and writing when he first arrived in Yegen in 1920. This ‘poor village, high above the sea, with an immense panorama in front of it’ was the perfect discovery and soon became his home. Located in the inn where he once stayed, the museum in Yegen hopes to keep his memory alive and record the details of his stay.


Cuesta Vinas Fountain

Friendly rivalry exists between these villages with each proclaiming their water to be the freshest, but the water in the hamlet of Cuesta Vinas, which you will pass after 2.5 kilometres, verges on magic! The village fountain releases 4 streams of water, each one naturally carbonated and containing differing levels of iron. Now's your chance to be a water connoisseur and sample each spring.


Food and Drink

After leaving Yegen, today’s route passes the traditional Alpjuharran villages of Valor and Nechite after 5 and 7 kilometres respectively. Valor has a few restaurants where you can enjoy lunch, while there is nowhere to buy food in Nechite. Both villages have fountains where you can refill water bottles.


Plaza on Calle Real, Yegen (1063 m)
36.983217, -3.118487
30S 489455 4093017


Santo Cristo de la Luz Church, Mairena

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start in the plaza in Yegen by the fountain and play-park. Facing the information board for Sendero Local Gerald Brenan, BEAR LEFT to head uphill. As you reach the main tarmac road after 100 metres, TURN RIGHT. Walk along this road for 1.3 kilometres, ignoring all side paths.

1.40km – Shortly after passing the KM 39 sign, TURN LEFT onto the mud track. You will pass a Parque Natural sign. At the reservoir after 70 metres, TURN RIGHT onto the grassy vehicle tracks. This will soon lead into a narrow rocky footpath.

1.60km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross the paved road and find a footpath on the far side. This footpath is just to the left of a set of gravel vehicle tracks.

2.00km – TURN LEFT as you emerge onto a gravel road, following the wooden post with a red and white marking. After 100 metres, with the derelict building on your left, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to begin heading downhill.

2.40km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON heading downhill and ignoring the left fork that enters the orchard.

2.50km – With the natural springs of Cuesta Vinas on your right, TURN LEFT onto the paved road.

3.20km – As the road makes a serpentine left bend, ignore the paved road descending to a small hut on your right and then immediately BEAR RIGHT onto the flat gravel path. Upon reaching two electricity pylons after 100 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON and ignore the right turn.

3.50km – As the gravel road forks, BEAR LEFT to pass several white houses on your right. After 100 metres, as the path forks again, BEAR RIGHT.

3.80km – As you reach a T-junction with a gravel road shortly after passing a reservoir, TURN LEFT. There is a beautiful view to Valor ahead.

4.50km – As the road becomes paved and with the impressive arched bridge of the road ahead, TURN RIGHT sharply to descend into the valley. After 100 metres, TURN LEFT to continue downhill, cross the bridge (not the one for the main road), and then climb into Valor.

4.80km – Having climbed out of the gorge and entered Valor, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, ignoring a left turn, to pass to the right of the swimming pool (piscina) and towards the church.

5.00km – Having passed below the swimming pool, TURN LEFT to head uphill. This is just before you reach the sign for Fuente Alegre. After 100 metres TURN RIGHT, taking the first turn to walk along a narrow street. This will emerge into a stunning plaza surrounding the church. BEAR RIGHT to pass around the church and then follow the road that heads uphill.

5.30km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross the main road that runs through Valor and ascend the narrow street on the far side, signposted to Eras de Los Corrales and Sendero de Los Castaños.

5.40km – As the road splits, BEAR RIGHT to cross the (possibly dry) irrigation ditch and continue the climb uphill ignoring all side roads.

5.60km – Shortly after the metal railings finish on your right, and just after passing a streetlamp, TURN RIGHT onto the rocky footpath. There is a wooden GR7 signpost to Nechite. After 100 metres, BEAR RIGHT onto the unpaved road which heads uphill.

5.80km – As the road forks, BEAR LEFT to continue heading uphill. Ignore the right turn that heads downhill and passes a reservoir. After 50 metres you will enter a clearing and from here the path may be slightly overgrown and tricky to find. Near a small tree on your left, BEAR LEFT onto a footpath that runs between two fields. There are wooden GR7 posts however they may be overgrown. Check the map regularly to ensure you are on the correct path. Be careful as you must step over a trampled metal fence which is a trip hazard.

6.10km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over a set of vague vehicle tracks and resume the footpath on the far side.

6.40km – Upon reaching a gravel road, TURN RIGHT to head downhill following the white and yellow markings on the wooden post. At the metal gate after 50 metres, TURN LEFT onto the narrow muddy footpath which heads uphill towards a dead tree. Remain on this path walking with an irrigation ditch on your left.

6.90km – You emerge onto a paved road with an uphill and a downhill road on your left. BEAR LEFT onto the downhill road.  

7.00km – Having reached the outskirts of the village, BEAR RIGHT to continue walking along the paved road. After 20 metres, as you reach a signpost for Fuente del Rojo, TURN LEFT. After 30 metres, as the paved road bends sharply right, BEAR LEFT to walk with a dry stone wall on your left, following the wooden GR7 signpost to Mairena.

7.10km – Shortly after passing a water pipe on your left, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring the uphill left turn with a short section of paved road.

7.40km – As you reach a set of vague vehicle tracks, BEAR RIGHT. After 20 metres, as you reach more vehicle tracks, which have a metal grill just ahead, BEAR LEFT. After 100 metres, as you reach a gravel road, TURN RIGHT. At each junction, you are continuing to walk deeper into the valley with the gorge on your right.

7.90km – The gravel road eventually leads into a narrow footpath. There may be a stream running down the footpath for a short section. Walk carefully here and remember it may be slippery. This path then crosses a stream on stepping-stones and begins winding uphill.

9.20km – Having climbed out of the gorge and entered an area with small oak trees, BEAR RIGHT, ignoring a vague left turn.

9.60km – BEAR LEFT as you reach a dirt road in front of a derelict, breezeblock building. At the junction with another unpaved road after 100 meters, BEAR RIGHT. There is a wooden post with red and white markings to guide you.

10.10km – As the gravel road forks with a hut and an orchard on your right, BEAR LEFT to head downhill. Remain on this road for 600 metres, ignoring all side roads.

10.70km – As you reach a section of paved road with Mairena just ahead, TURN LEFT to head away from the play park and the main road. This track alternates between being paved and being dirt as it climbs towards Mairena.

11.10km – As the road forks beside an electricity substation and pylon, BEAR LEFT to continue heading uphill. After 15 metres you will pass an era (threshing floor), and then CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring all side roads.

11.30km – Finish by the church in Mairena. After checking into your hotel, why not relax on the terrace?


all notes on protected areas

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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11.3 km
426 m
404 m


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