The best printed map of the Sierra Nevada is the one that comes with the Penibetica map and guide “Sierra Nevada – Parque Nacional”, scale 1:40000, ISBN: 978-84-937953-1-3, available from bookshops in the local area. This is a relatively new version of the map that includes the Sulayr GR-240 path. One caveat that you should be aware of is that some of the trails marked on the map are not real paths! This is because they correspond to the routes described in the guide, some of which cut across country.
Outside the area covered by the Sierra Nevada map, things are more difficult. There is a series of detailed military maps covering the whole of Spain, but these are out-of-date and far from clear.
There are a number of smaller scale regional and road maps, including the ones on the right, which are available from the Amazon website.
The mapping we use in our information sheets is available online in electronic form from the Instituto Geográfico Nacional de España, and is free for personal use. Click here and then click on Download Centre to visit the Instituto Geográfico’s map download page. You can switch the language to English by clicking on Welcome at the top right of the page
The map tiles cover the whole of Spain. Click on “search in viewer” to find the code for the tile covering the area you’re interested in. For example, Güéjar Sierra is in square 1027-1. If you then click on “see list of products” on the right, you will get a list of map tiles availabe for the area currently shown in the map viewer. There are various types of map availabe – we use the MTN25 Raster (1:25,000 scale mapping in TIF format). Before you can download any maps, you need to sign up for an account and agree to the licence terms.
The TIF map tiles can be opened in any picture viewer software (e.g. Windows Photo Viewer), but you’ll be able to do more with them if you open them in a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) package. Quantum GIS (or QGIS) is an excellent free GIS software package – click here for more details.
Key to Maps
Click here to for a key to the topographical base maps we use in our downloadable information sheets.
Glossary of Spanish Geographical Terms
The following are terms you may find on Spanish maps.
- Acequia Irrigation ditch
- Arenal Gravel ‘river’ formed by erosion
- Arroyo Stream
- Barranco Ravine formed by seasonal flows of water, which generally runs steeply down the mountainside, cutting across paths, and occasionally washing them away. Dry except after heavy rainfall and during the snowmelt season
- Camino Road or track
- Canal Canal
- Cañada (Real) Ancient right of way traditionally used for droving livestock, but now popular with trekkers
- Carretera Road
- Cerro Hill
- Collado Saddle
- Cortijo Country house
- Cuenca River basin
- Cuerda Mountain ridge
- Cueva Cave
- Cumbre Top (e.g. of a mountain)
- Desvío Diversion
- Fuente Spring
- Manantial Spring
- Matorral Scrubland
- Pico Peak
- Pista Dirt track
- Prado Meadow
- Puntal Peak
- Rambla Dry riverbed, generally wider and less steep than a barranco
- Refugio Cabin offering basic accommodation in bunk beds
- Río River
- Sendero Path
- Vereda Path
- Vía pecuaria See cañada real