Running in Guadix (Andalusia, Spain)

You may have never heard of Guadix, it is not on the usual tourist circuit, however this town is an excellent place to visit (and run). In Granada province, Guadix is a town with a strong history. Guadix has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is famous for its cave houses that have been occupied since the 11th century.

Months ago, while hunting through AirBnB for our trip in Spain, we stumbled across this cave in Guadix [insert link]. We knew it would be an unforgettable experience for our kids to stay in a cave in the mountains of Andalusia, and it was much cheaper than staying in a bigger city, so on a whim, we booked 10 nights on the spot.

On arriving in Guadix, we had no idea what to expect, and at the train station, it turned out that no-one had heard of the street our cave was on, or where the cave was. With the aid of some very resourceful cabbies, who stopped at least 3 times to ask friends how to get there, we eventually found our cave.

It turned out that our cave was situated high above the city, with an incredible view of the cave district, city, orchards, fields and the snowy Sierra Nevada. One look a the maze of streets, caves and alleys and I wanted to go for a run. I patiently waited for the following morning when the kids were asleep, and set out for an easy dawn 5kms.

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I didn’t plan a specific route. Given the incline, I aimed to head sideways rather than down, so I could see as much of the city as possible from a number of angles. I headed west along the side of the hill and turned down any street that looked like fun. Each part of the city was completely different. The cave district was all white with terracotta roofing along the edges of hills, there was another cave district yellow walls. As I descended closer to the city, there were older terrace houses, new terraces that all look the same, and shopping districts. The climb back up to the cave was a good bit of bonus hill training.

In the 10 days we had in Guadix, every run was completely different. Streets would lead to new and interesting places, surprises at every turn. Around one corner would be a plaza of trees, around another a picturesque church with gigantic wooden doors, around another a narrow alleyway full of the most incredible buildings, while some roads would lead up to lookouts where you could get a full view of sunrise.

Running in Guadix was such an exciting adventure every time I stepped out the door. There were a few times when the trail runner inside wanted to head into the hills, however all the trails I could find were barred by private gates, so I never ventured in with a fear of offending someone.

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