A route, first waymarked in 1999, which feeds into the Vía de la Plata (starting in Seville) at Mérida, thus enabling pilgrims from Granada and south-eastern Spain to continue on to Santiago de Compostela.
The Route. 406km long, starting in Granada and leading northwest via Moclín, Alacalá la Real, Alcaudete, Baena and Castro del Río to Córdoba and then on via Cerro Muriano, Villaharta, Alcaracejos, Hinojosa del Duque, Castuera, Campanario, Don Benito and Medellín to Mérida. Takes on average 15-16 days to walk the entire route.
Waymarking. Well-waymarked throughout, with the yellow arrows familiar to those who have already walked the Camino francés.
Terrain. Very strenuous and rarely flat until Alcaracejos (3 days walk from Córdoba), much of it through olive planatations; hilly scenery often topped by forts and lookout towers dating from the time of the Arab occupation of Spain. Walking is mainly on old tracks and paths, with some very quiet minor roads. After Alcaracejos the Camino goes through pasture and agricultural land, punctuated by the hilltop fortress villages of Magacela and Medellín, where the route crosses the Río Guadiana, to Mérida.
Weather/When to go. Avoid July and August but otherwise the route is normally practicable throughout the year. March-May and September-October are recommended.
What to see. Important cathedrals, churches, castles and fortresses, as well as the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita (Mosque) in Córdoba. Remains of Roman, Visigothic and Arabic Spain.
Accommodation. Hostales and pensiones in all places of any size (except Campanario) but no refugios as such at present except in Mérida. Basic R&F (roof and floor) facilities are available (e.g. in sports halls) in some places (good Spanish needed) to groups of pilgrims (good Spanish needed) but not always to individuals walking alone in towns where a hostal or pensión exists.
Distinctive features of the route/General. A very solitary route with few pilgrims at present and daily stages that are frequently (and unavoidably) long (30-35km), due to the uninhabited nature of much of the terrain. On several parts of the route pilgrims will not encounter any towns or villages all day long and well-organised daily planning is needed. There are several shallow rivers without bridges, especially in the section after Córdoba and where, according to the weather, pilgrims may have to wade across. However, despite its physical difficulties this is a very interesting route and recommended to anyone who is already fit.
The Camino Mozárabe or Vía de la Plata, Part B, Granada to Mérida. Alison Raju. CSJ, London, 2nd edition 2009. Includes complete route-finding instructions, details of places of interest, accommodation and services. Available through our Bookshop.
Website. Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Córdoba: http://www.caminomozarabe.es/index.php . This site provides downloadable route descriptions (in Spanish) and downloadable colour maps of the daily stages, including the options of starting in Jaen and linking into the route in Alcaudete or beginning in Málaga and joining it in Baena.
Cyclists. Much of the route is accessible to very fit, energetic mountain bikers though there are sections where the cycling pilgrim will need to dismount and push his/her machine up steep hills.
Language. Pilgrims without a reasonable command of Spanish will find this route difficult. Please see our FAQ Do I need to speak Spanish or French? for suggested ways of learning.
Thanks to Alison Raju, February 2009 and 2011, and to Peter Robins for the web-links, July 2007.