Almanchares Gorge - AxarTrail Holiday

Now that you have had a chance to thumb through our website and pick out one or two walking holidays that you find exciting, how do you choose which walks are suitable for you?

We offer a range of walking holidays catering to all walking styles and abilities, and to help you choose the right one, we have graded the walks: easy, moderate and strenuous.

This type of grading can be very ambiguous; have you ever been told that a walk is easy, only to find that it was much longer, steeper, or with challenging terrain underfoot?  

So, how do we grade our walks? When walking in Andalucia and following an official route, you will often see a well-designed and informative board at the start of the walk. It includes a map of the trail and a brief description of what to see. You will also notice a small grid of information titled MIDE.

What is the MIDE System? It is a joint venture between the government of Aragon and the Aragonese Mountaineering Federation to simplify the criteria for assessing the difficulty and commitment of a route.

There are four pillars to this system.

Medium: (Environment) Takes note of the environment where the activity takes place.

Itinerary: The difference between the types of routes on the walk.

Displacement: Assesses the degree of difficulty that the terrain brings to the walk.

Effort: Estimates the level of general physical demand of the route.

We grade all of our walks through the MIDE system, which gives you a general overview of what to expect, and in the information that we will send you, you will see the MIDE grades listed.

The MIDE system
A 'Moderate' walk in El Torcal
An 'Easy' walk up to Comares
A 'Strenuous' walk to Saltillo Suspension Bridge

Even though the MIDE system can give you information on particular elements of a walk, this can still leave you wondering what the walk will be like. We take the information from the MIDE system, and although this is subjective, categorise the walks into Easy, Moderate, or Strenuous.

Easy: Walks for those who are reasonably fit and who have previous walking experience. Walking is on well-maintained surfaces, although there may be short sections where the path is uneven and broken but quickly passed with care, with the walk taken leisurely. There may still be sections of the walk on a steep track or where the ascent can be longer. 

Moderate: These walks require a good fitness level and will be on steep paths, over open countryside, and with short sections that may have slight exposure. Walking will be on a mix of terrain, including rocky trails, and may require care on small, uneven areas. Short sections of the walk may require four points of contact. The length of the walk may require a reasonable pace to ensure we complete it in time.

Strenuous: Longer walks that require a higher level of fitness. It will include longer sections of continuous ascent, rough or broken paths and tracks, traverses with drop-offs, and distances requiring a moderate pace to ensure we complete the walk in daylight hours. Sections of the walk may require four points of contact and include short scrambles.

If you are still trying to decide the suitability of a walk, we have a tried and trusted approach.

A straightforward way to see if these walks suit you is to match your current walking abilities to the itinerary; if you are walking and ascending around the same, or indeed more, then this should be a good match.

It is worth considering a few other factors that may affect your walk, which the MIDE system does not assess.

The heat: It can be warm even in winter, especially with no or a gentle south-blowing wind, and continuous exposure to the sun can sap your energy. You should factor this in, as it will add some workload to your walks.

The Paths: Walking is a flourishing activity, but away from the popular routes, the paths can often be across rough and broken rocks. It could only be for short sections or longer, requiring extra concentration and energy to navigate, adding additional workload to your walks.

On the sunny side, unless you're undertaking one of our Adventure Walking Holidays, we do not do yomping! We enjoy our day out on the trails, with frequent stops along the way, and if there's a cafe bar anywhere along the route, then we'll be stopping in it.

Naturally, if you have any concerns or questions about a particular walk, please let us know, and we will provide additional information to help you decide.