Canillas de Albaida is a charming village in the Malaga province of Spain, right on the edge of the stunning Sierra Tejeda National Park. This peaceful spot is a wonderful place to get away from it all and is also an excellent base for walking tours.
Canillas de Albaida: getting there and the basics
Reaching Canillas de Albaida is relatively straightforward, with the village just a 1.5 hour drive from Malaga Airport. If you’ve organised your trip here as part of a hiking holiday with a company like Explore Worldwide, they will arrange your transfer.
The village itself is made up of traditional whitewashed houses and can trace its origins all the way back to the 13th century. It’s very small, with a population of less than 1,000 people and an area of just over 33 sq km.
You can spot Canillas de Albaida from quite a fair distance away, because the white buildings are a stark contrast to the verdant forested slopes of the mountains that surround it.
Attractions in Canillas de Albaida
Despite its small size, there are several notable landmarks in Canillas de Albaida. Many of these are religious in nature, such as the Nuestra Senora de la Expectacion church, which is situated on the village square.
The Santa Ana Hermitage is also worth a visit, with its location on a promontory overlooking the village meaning it has outstanding views of the surrounding countryside. The temple itself is relatively simple but picturesque nonetheless.
As you wander around the network of narrow streets and alleys in Canillas de Albaida you’ll get a sense of the village’s Moorish past. This settlement – and many others in the area – has strong ties to the Moors who ruled these lands centuries ago. It wasn’t until the 15th century that Catholic monarchs gained control of the region.
There are indications of its Arab associations all around, from the fields that dot the slopes close to the village to some of the roads that lead in and out of it.
Walking around Canillas de Albaida
As we’ve already mentioned, this village makes an outstanding base for a walking or hiking holiday, with plenty of trails to tackle close by. One of the most historic and interesting is the route along an ancient silk road, which was travelled by the Moors as far back as the 8th century when they first introduced this material to the Iberian Peninsula.
Ruined inns and other buildings can be seen at various points along the way, acting as a reminder of its former importance as a trading route.
There are many opportunities to climb higher into the mountains to seek out wonderful views – the hike to the hilltop lookout at Fogarate is just one example. For something a little more strenuous, the trek to the summit of Cerro Verde – a 1,346 m high peak – is another option and one that many walkers are keen to tackle during their stay in the region.
As well as uncovering the breathtaking natural beauty of the Sierra Tejeda National Park, you can also discover more of the area’s Moorish heritage by visiting villages such as Salares, where the buildings have a distinctly Arabian appearance. A highlight here is the church of Santa Ana. This was constructed on the site of a former mosque, with the minaret now used as a bell tower.