Our walking guide in Eastern Andalucía – John Keo

During this enforced travel sabbatical, we think that reliving moments from past holidays is a great way to brighten up a day.  To help, we’ve taken the opportunity to focus on some of the familiar faces or places that many of our customers will recognise from their Preferred Travel holidays.

One of the best, and healthiest, ways to discover a destination is to explore it on foot and more so in the company of an expert guide. Their local knowledge ensures you will discover so much about the local culture, flora and fauna, and keep fit at the same time.  We believe our walking guides are the best in the business and we know from our loyal customers they become not only the face of their Preferred Travel holiday but also the keen eyes and often, for a variety of reasons, the ears of your holiday!

Meet the expert: John Keo – Eastern Andalucia

Many of our customers who have travelled to Eastern Andalucía will have met John. Either as a friendly face on arrival at Malaga airport or more likely guiding walks through the beautiful Andalucian countryside. John, along with Linda & Graham, has been leading walks for us since 2012 when he quickly became a firm favourite amongst our walking holiday customers. Here John has kindly given us more insight into his life in Frigiliana in southern Spain.

I have lived in Andalucia for 11 years now and I have been a Walking Guide for the last 9 years.  As a keen hiker back in Ireland, I was well used to hillwalking in general. I used to take mountaineering courses for fun back in Wales and Scotland, so I had some good experience to rely upon when I finally decided to do it professionally here in Spain.

I live in the small but busy village of Frigiliana. It’s a mountain village standing at 1000 feet above sea level. Perfect for my hiking habit. I open my front door and I’m already in the mountains. 

For those of us who are used to living in the cities and towns, you will recognise the advantage of not having to commute to the walks. As a working Guide, the conditions are excellent for at about 9 months of the year. With almost no rain or ice or snow, we can walk continuously from October through to May in glorious sunshine and mid-twenties temperature. I often say there are only 2 seasons on the Andalucian coast; High Summer (June to September) and Low Summer (October to May). 

The busiest hiking periods are from Christmas to Easter. Active Tourism is a rapidly growing phenomenon. The Flop and Drop beach tourism will always be strong but I find that folks are healthier and living longer than before and they want to DO stuff.

Walking is ideal but there is also biking, Kayaking, climbing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving too. I have a steady stream of hiking buddies from October onwards to May. The Grey Geese who fly south for the winter; some for a couple of weeks, others for a few months. The cost of living is significantly lower than Ireland, Britain or Scandinavia so they get good value for money here and a much needed vitamin D boost from the long hours of sunshine. I own a small house here now with my wife after renting for a couple of years but I always tell visiting folks to long term rent rather than purchase. Less grief and more opportunities to experience other places in Andalucia. We have regular visits from family and friends. They much prefer to come here to see us than for us to visit them back in Germany or Ireland. Even after 10 years hiking here I have barely scratched the surface of available hikes and trails in this area. The coast of Granada, Malaga and Almeria are full of hidden villages and beaches and mountains that could take me a lifetime to explore.  

We sincerely hope that our customers will soon again be able to enjoy a guided walk with John and with like-minded travellers from across the UK.   Our Walking in Eastern Andalucia holiday is operating on selected dates from September 2020 to June 2021 from a wide selection of UK airports, see here for details.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading a little more about John in his own words and also a look at the lovely selection of his pictures (see our Facebook site for the full collection) – many taken whilst with Preferred Travel Services customers.