Woods and rocks are gilded with early season Narcissus throughout Andalucia, alongside hellebores, giant squills, orchids and toadflaxes. Coastal sands are smothered in bright coloured displays and the dunes and macchie begins to stir. Add in delightful white villages, soaring limestone massifs and gnarled cork oak forests for an early spring wake up call. This tour will explore a number of 'Sierras' searching for hoop petticoats, jonquills and more.
A 10-days tour with Chris Gardner
Day 1 Arrival in Malaga
Following our arrival in Malaga we will drive east to Algeria for the night. If there is time we can look around the Cabo de Gata. This is a unique corner of Spain, with the lowest rainfall and many endemic plants. With luck we'll find the unusual Androcymbium gramineum among the rocks. Overnight Almeria
Day 2 Sierra de Filabres
Heading north we reach the Sierra de Filabres where we’ll search for the lovely white petticoat daffodil; Narcissus cantabricus monophyllos. We will spend time exploring the wooods and slopes for colonies of these and other early spring flowers before continuing onto the fine Parador at Cazorla for the night.
Day 3 Sierra de Cazorla
An interesting and scenic mountain area with a number of endemic species. At this season there will be the soft yellow Narcissus hedraeanthus. There are some pleasant walks in the hills and lovely tracts of woodland to explore where additional species of Narcissus might be found if the season is right. Overnight Sierra de Cazorla.
Day 4 Journey to Ronda via Sierra de Cardena
A transfer day that takes us across Andalucia to our next main centre, passing through fine sierra and rolling countryside where we hope to find the lovely Narcissus triandrus in flowers as well as a chance of assoanus and bulbocodium. Closer to Ronda and we will encounter various orchids such as Ophrys speculum, O. scolopax, Anacamptis collina and Himantoglossum robertianum. Hyacinthoides hispanica might also still be in flower in sheltered spots. Overnight near Ronda.
Day 5 Sierra de la Nieves
A somewhat higher area today where one of the few remaining tracts of Abies pinsapo persists on the upper slopes. Below these damp areas have Narcissus af. hispanicus, Helleborus foetidus and flowering Daphne laureola, whilst rocky areas are gilded with patches of tufts of pretty Narcissus assoanus and Linaria platycalyx. Other gorges host the lovely Linaria aeruginosa and if the season is early, white Antirrhinum graniticum. Overnight near Ronda.
Day 6 Sierra de Ronda
There is a complex of massifs and outcrops around Ronda and spending time among these we’ll find sweet-scented Narcissus cuatrecassasii, Ornithogalum reverchonii, Fritillaria lusitanica, endemic Orchis olbiensis, the large-flowered buttercup Ranunculus rupestris, pretty pink Fedia corniculata and Iris planifolia. Short turf has a frosting of Erodium cicutarium among which we might find milky Orchis conica. Overnight near Ronda.
Day 7 Sierra de Grazalema
Cliffs soaring from the grassy slopes and are topped with a classic white village; Grazalema. Along stream sides will be the last Narcissus papyraceus, but N. jonquilla should be in full flower and below another little village N. bulbocodium appears in wet ground and the surroduning meadows are good for various orchids and pink-flowered Centaurea pulla. The road snakes up to a spectacular viewpoint above Grazalema and there are architectural gnarled cork oaks framing the landscape. Overnight near Ronda.
Day 8 To Tarifa via La Janda
Crossing the plains we stop at limestone outcrops for lovely Linaria aeruginosa and then encounter the hefty blue turbans of that most impressive of all squills; Scilla peruviana. Sometimes the first Iris xiphium is in flower too. if we have time we’ll continue a little further to an area of sandstone rocks with a colony of carnivorous Drosophyllum lusitanicum. Overnight Tarifa.
Day 9 Barbate & Trafalgar
The coastal areas offer a change of scene with low-lying areas swathed in golden Lotus cretica, the large-flowered Centaurea spaherocephala and Malcomia littoralis among which appear Dipcadi serotinum. Closer to the sea is Romulea clusiana. Saltmarches have stands of handsome Scrophularia sambucina and Gladiolus italicus. Dunes are stabilised with architectural umbrella pines below which grow Ophyrs tenthredinifera, fine forms of O. fusca, the all green Gennaria diphylla as well as Scilla ramburii, deep blue Anagallis monellii and pretty snow-white Acis triphyllum. The scenic lookout from Trafalgar has stout Orobanche densiflora and weeping bushes of Lygos monosperma are weighed down with ivory flowers. Overnight Tarifa.
Day 10 To Malaga for flights
Return flights from Malaga airport