Finding the abandoned village of Marchalico Viñicas is not straight forward but your efforts will be well rewarded. We drove up the rough track a short way from the A-7 motorway but apparently the track from the N-340a is a bit better for the nerves. Steady and slow driving was the key, but we did walk the final mile or so! During heavy rains these tracks tend to suffer significant damage so just be careful out there.
The scenery all around Marchalico Viñicas is incredible. The limestone and gypsum karsts make for a very harsh landscape and this, once the village’s reason for existing, was ultimately its downfall. It was simply a victim of its location which just couldn’t sustain a thriving community in more modern times. The civil war did the village no favours though, and as young men went off to fight and never came back, its demise was sealed.
Walking through the village is like stepping back in time. You can’t go into any of the abandoned and crumbling houses which is a shame. One shows signs of some attempts at restoration but the bags of concrete outside are now solid blocks suggesting that someone’s dreams came to a sudden end. There is evidence of the quantity of gypsum to be found at every turn with crystals glistening in the sunshine. Climb above the houses and you might also come across an era, an old stone circle which was used for threshing crops. Whether you are there for the history or the splendid views, you won’t regret making the effort.
If you would like to know more about unusual places to visit in the Almería region, our friend Kevin Borman has an excellent book to get you started. You’ll find Flamingos in the Desert on Amazon. There is an wonderful chapter on everyday life in Marchalico Viñicas which recounts vivid memories of those still alive who once lived in the village, and their younger relatives.