Take a day trip to Vélez de Benaudalla from Almuñécar and the Costa Tropical. Discover an amazing canyon, nature walks, a castle, a Nasrid garden, & a dam! It is the perfect place to get out and explore beyond Almuñécar for the day! There are neat little hidden gems to see and we’ve created a route for you to follow. You just choose what is of interest to you and stop along the way.
Vélez de Benaudalla is a village of about 3000 located in a beautiful canyon surrounded by nature, blue skies and mountains. It is on the old road to Granada and is a great scenic drive. This little village is the gateway to the Costa Tropical if you are starting in Granada. It is full of history, so it is an ideal place to stop and explore as well. We will provide you with many choices of things to do along the way for your day trip.
Table of Contents
- Day Trip to Vélez de Benaudalla
- Detailed Route Vélez de Benaudalla Day Trip
- Cañón del Rio Guadalfeo
- Museum of Olive Oil (Museo Aceite Andaluz)
- Leaving the Museum
- Village of Vélez de Benaudalla
- Leaving the village to the north
- Presa de Rules
- Leaving the dam to head back to the coast
- Additional References and Resources for your journey
- How to get from Almuñécar to Vélez de Benaudalla
- Information about Driving in Spain
Day Trip to Vélez de Benaudalla
Cañón del Rio Guadalfeo
Museum of Olive Oil
Vélez de Benaudalla Pueblo Blanco
Vélez de Benaudalla Castle
Presa de Rules
Detailed Route Vélez de Benaudalla Day Trip
It is assumed you will be driving a car for this route. As you depart Almuñécar or La Herradura, take the A7 east towards Granada. After passing through the long tunel de Itrabo, you will take the first exit, number 322 to Lobres. After exiting, you will follow the signs towards Lobres, but when you get there go straight through the main Lobres roundabout. Follow the road to the end and you will see a sign towards Granada, turn left at that final roundabout. You will then come along to a much larger roundabout and at this time, you will follow the signs to Vélez de Benaudalla N323a. This will take you on your journey starting with the Cañón del Rio Guadalfeo.
Cañón del Rio Guadalfeo
There are 3 stops within moments of each other, as you approach the canyon, which are all worth a quick look.
1. Walking trail under the canal de Vélez
This trail takes you into the campo a bit and has a few signs about the flora and fauna.
Map location QFP5+2F Lobres or 36.785052, -3.541305
2. Waterfall from the canal de Vélez
While this is a man-made waterfall, it doesn’t take away from the fun. Water is rapidly released from the canal above causing a bit of a roar, as well as a nice mist. If you have kids, they will be very excited about this and it is all safe behind a big fence. It is full of energy and worth a quick stop. You may leave your car parked here and explore a bit more on foot. There is a small road that leads up to the top of the canal. You may be able to walk this in 5 minutes and get great views.
Map location QFP5+FW Lobres or 36.786187, -3.540193
3. Tajo Los Vados
This is the canyon which the river Guadalfeo carved out over time. At this point, there is an awe-inspiring 100-meter cliff face and worth a stop to soak it all in. If you are lucky, you will see some cavers and rock climbers creeping up the face of it. From this parking area, you may also explore a bit on foot. You can follow the little trails up, just above the parking lot. In addition, many people cross the road and walk through the riverbed towards Vélez de Benaudalla. This is a nice walk and you will see plenty of wildlife and nature as you walk the river. Even if you decide not to stop, it is a gorgeous drive through the canyon.
Map location QFQ6+RX La Bernardilla
Museum of Olive Oil (Museo Aceite Andaluz)
It’s time to learn about a wonderful local product, olive oil. At this museum, you will tap into all of your senses and enjoy some favorites gastronomic products of Andalucía. During your visit, you will learn about the production of olive oil and also have a tasting. You will also be able to taste wines and cheese from the area. This is a very low-cost activity and you can decide if you only want to tour the museum or add a bit of tasting. Click here for prices.
Map location RF9F+JJ Vélez de Benaudalla
Leaving the Museum
As you depart the museum, continue heading north on the N323a. Follow the signs to the village of Vélez de Benaudalla or the Nasrid Garden (Jardin Nazarí). When you exit off of the main road, you will be on a smaller street (A4133), going through the center of the village.
Village of Vélez de Benaudalla
You will find quite a few things to do in this village and it is also a great place to stop for lunch or tapas. We will list our top 3 things to see in the village. In addition, we provide you with links to more information if you would like to add more to do.
1. Nasrid Garden (Jardin Nazarí)
The Nasrid Garden of Vélez de Benaudalla is full of traditional architecture, plant life, and even caves. You can explore the beautiful buildings and see how the waterways integrate with the surroundings and the structures. You can also go inside some of the caves and experience a vertical garden too.
Map location RFJJ+PR Vélez de Benaudalla
2. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario
This is the place of worship built on this site. This church was built after the conquest of Granada by the Christians. It is worth a stop to see if you can peek inside or enjoy the views as you drive by. The footprint of the church is in the shape of a cross, which may be viewed from the Ulloa Castle, just above in the background. There is more information on the town website.
Map location RFMM+3P Vélez de Benaudalla
3. Ulloa Castillo Vélez de Benaudalla – Castle
Vélez de Benaudalla Castle has its roots in the period of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Following the reconquest of the peninsular territory of Muslim power, different types of towers were created throughout the area of Granada, which was the last stronghold of the Nasrid Kingdom. Read more on the history here. While this is called a castle, it is more like a unique tower. There are great views from atop the hill and worth the time to check it out.
Map location RFMP+59 Vélez de Benaudalla
Leaving the village to the north
As you depart from the Castle you will come back down to the main road that goes through the village (A4133). Make sure you turn to the right, opposite of the way you entered, and continue until you exit the village center. This road will eventually come to an end and a decision point. Choose to turn right up the hill towards Órgiva (A346), towards the Rules dam & reservoir (Presa de Rules).
Presa de Rules
Within a few minutes of going towards Órgiva, you will see signs and a parking area for the Presa de Rules (Rules Dam). Turn left and park. Here you can park and walk across the top of the dam. You will have the reservoir to one side, with gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and on the other side, you will see the water spill from the dam, as well as the Guadalfeo River and the gorgeous valley. If you have any spare stale bread, bring it along. There are huge fish in the reservoir and people love to feed them. The water’s color changes with the weather, sometimes it is an amazing turquoise blue and other times is dark. Yes, these two photos are the same reservoir!
Map location VG53+WV Vélez de Benaudalla
Leaving the dam to head back to the coast
As you depart the parking lot, turn to the left towards Órgiva (A346). You will reach a large roundabout. At this point, you decide if you are ready to return back to the coast. If so, turn right and get on the A44 towards Motril and Málaga, eventually, you will move to the A7. If you are up for more of a drive with windy hairpin turns, continue on another 15 minutes or so to Órgiva. This town is adorable and is one of the many villages in Las Alpujarras. You can even keep going and make your way to Pampaneira as well. Enjoy your day!
Additional References and Resources for your journey
- Details of walking and exploring the Guadalfeo River.
- The tourism board site for the town and Nasarid Garden
- Tajo Los Vados information on the town hall site
- Tourist route guide to Vélez de Benaudalla (pdf in Spanish)
- Information about the Guadalfeo River
How to get from Almuñécar to Vélez de Benaudalla
It is about a 20-30 minute drive by car from Almuñécar to Vélez de Benaudalla, but we plan to give you plenty to see along the way so plan a half-day away with lunch!
It is about 25 minutes by public bus from Almuñécar to Vélez de Benaudalla. There are a limited number of buses each day and you may want to be sure there is a return bus. If not, you may need to stay overnight or find a bus to Motril or Almuñécar. You can depart from the Almuñécar bus station. You may purchase tickets within the station or you can book now in advance. Click here for timetables and prices for buses.
This is a great area to cycle and explore. Our directions on the route take a car along the A7, but a cyclist would remain on the N340 and follow the signs for Granada and then frontage roads to Vélez de Benaudalla.
Information about Driving in Spain
- How To Get From Malaga To Almuñécar
- 9 Useful Tips For A Car Hire In Spain
- How To Figure Out Parking in Almuñécar
- Driving in Spain – Everything you need to know and more!
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