There’s a lot of places to go hiking in Malaga and its province. However, the majority of those who visit this city in Andalucia don’t venture to them and end up spending their time in the city – which, to be fair, is one of the prettiest, most colorful and lively places in Spain. Yet, this part of Spain is an incredible destination for anybody who loves nature and adventure, as there are many good hiking opportunities: this is one of the best places to hike in Spain.
To find out more about the best places to hike in Spain click here. And for more hikes in Andalucia, check my post on the best hikes in Sierra Nevada.
Located north of Malaga there is the Montes de Malaga. This a natural park with gorgeous hills, mountains and hiking trails of various levels of difficulty: it’s one of the best places to go hiking in Malaga. Another beautiful park is El Torcal, which is located a bit more inland: the karst landscape is stunning there. Adding to this, there are some beautiful villages scattered around the province, so any trip to this part of the country is worthwile.
This post highlights the best places to go hiking in Malaga and its province, dividing them by difficulty level. I will also be sharing some tips on how to organize a wonderful trip in the region.
10 Great Places To Go Hiking In Malaga
Fuente del Esparto – Almendron
One of the most challenging hikes in Malaga, this is a difficult, circular hiking trail that runs for around 18 km, all the way to Almendron and the Tajos de Sol until reaching Navachica. On the way down, the path follows the ravine of the Rey and of the Cazadores. What makes it hard is the difficult terrain, which is irregular and stony.
The ascent to Almendron is also very challenging as there are some very exposed parts on the trail. It definitely isn’t suitable for people who don’t enjoy heights. Add to this the fact that there is virtually no shade along the trail and it is easy to see why it’s one of the most difficult hikes in Malaga.
The views along the way, however, are magnificent. On one side there is the Chillar river, surrounded by the peaks of Cisne, Lucero and Maroma. On the other side there are the ravine of Cazadores and the peak of Cielo. The views spread all the way to the Sierra Nevada, Sierra de Loja and Alhama de Granada and to the sea. With such amazing sights it’s easy to see why this is one of the best hikes in Malaga.
Cerro Lucero, also known as Raspón de los Moriscos, is one of the most stunning peaks of the Sierra de Almijara. Among the hikes in Malaga, this one is thought to be a regional classic. The trail goes through Puerto Llano and then becomes steeper. It eventually gets to the barren, rocky peak of El Lucero. Throughout the hike, there are fantastic views over the Sierra de Almijara and the Mediterranean Sea.
This used to be a strategic vantage point during the Spanish Civil War, so there are some interesting ruins on the summit. In a way it reminds me of the Alta Via dei Monzoni, one of the nicest hikes in the Dolomites. It’s probably why I find this a must when hiking in Malaga.
This 10 km trail can be walked in around 4 hours. The starting point is located at 1.5 km from Puerto Blanquillo, which is at around 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from the city. Not the nearest of the hikes in Malaga, actually.
Moderate Difficulty Hikes
Caminito del Rey
When hiking in Malaga, thoughts immediately go to Caminito del Rey, which is by far the most famous trail. Once thought to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, as some sections of the trail were missing from the pathway and there are many cliffside drops, it has been fixed and it now is simply marvelous.
In fact, the trail was closed for years for renovation works, and it opened again in 2015. It takes about 4 hours to walk this 8 km trail, which, with its stunning views, is one of the nicest hikes in Malaga.
El Candado (Malaga) to Rincon de la Victoria (GR 249)
This is one of the longest hikes in Malaga, but it’s thought to be of medium level difficulty as it is mostly flat. The trail runs for little over 16 km, though they can be walked in around 4 hours. It is one of the coastal routes of the Senda Litoral of Malaga. It goes through the Peñón del Cuervo and El Cantal. The starting point is El Candado club, named after the marina where it is located. After around 0.5 km the trail reaches the beach of Peñón del Cuervo.
It then leads to La Araña, a pretty village with a watchtower once used to protect the Bay of Malaga; and then goes through Arroyo de Totalán and La Cala del Moral, another lovely coastal village. From there, the trail follows a promenade for around 1.5 km to reach El Cantal, one of the nicest places in the region for its breathtaking views of the coast. The trail ends in Rincón de la Victoria, famous for the nice beach and the fisherman quarters. Thanks to the pretty views, this is one of the recommended hikes in Malaga.
The Arab Escalera
Hiking in Malaga, this is an unmissable trail. It runs for around 11 km, which can be walked in 6 hours. It is named after the staircase that was built at the beginning of the 20th century and that is incredibly well kept. The views along the trail are fantastic, a real reward to those who reach the top.
The trail starts in El Chorro, a village at around 40 km from Malaga that can be easily reached by car or train. From the station, it goes through a forest and then becomes more difficult, as it gets narrower and steeper.
Ardales to El Chorro (GR 7)
The Ardales to El Chorro trail is part of the GR. It is one of the nicest hikes in Malaga, going by the Moorish ruins of Bobastro and emerging to offer a peak of the Caminito. The descent to El Chorro is quite steep. The trail can be walked in around 5 hours. Ardales, the starting point, is at around 50 minutes drive from Malaga and can be easily reached via public transportation.
Of the hikes in Malaga, the Guadalmina Channel trail is a lovely one. It is practically flat. It runs next to the riverbed of the Guadalmina River. A nice addition to the trail can be the aquatic route of the Angosturas del Guadalmina. The trail starts a couple of kilometers before Benahavis. The trail was inaugurated in 2014, when a bridge allowing to cross the Angosturas del Guadalmina was finally built.
The path goes through a canyon all the way to an irrigation channel that gives it its name. The views of the lower basin of the Guadalmina along the walk are beautiful. In the warmest season, swimming in the natural pools of the river is a pleasant break – making it a nice option when hiking in Malaga. It’s a good trail for families with children, who typically enjoy the pools.
Ribera del Guadiaro
This 9 km trail is one of the easiest yet pretties hikes in Malaga. It connects the villages of Estación de Benaoján and Jimera Estación is well marked. Of the Grand Senda de Malaga is it trail n. 25. The starting point is the bridge over the Guadiaro river in Estacion de Benaoján. There, the path rises along a forest track to the Oaks of Monte de las Viñas.
What makes it a must when hiking in Malaga is the splendid views of the valley, called Angosturas del Guadiaro, and those of the mountains of the Sierra Grazalema Natural Park. The first part of the trail goes through the forest and is all in the shade. Towards the end of the trail, there are views of Martín Gil peak, one of the highest mountains of the Sierra de Líbar with its 1400 meters.
The path runs along the banks of the Guadiaro and Genal rivers. It’s one of the nicest yet easiest hikes in Malaga, as it is mostly flat, with some easy ascents and descents. Since there are trains that run between the two villages, it’s easy to get back to the starting point.
Rio Chillar – Nerja
One of the nicest hikes in Malaga is the one that goes from Rio Chillar to Nerja. It is very easy, so it is ideal for families and during the summer months. It goes through the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama. Along the trail there’s plenty of shade and rivers to cool down. However, it is better to avoid it when there’s chances of rain, as the area is prone to flash flooding.
El Torcal de Antequera
One of the nicest areas to go hiking in Malaga is El Torcal de Antequera, which is one of the most unique places in Spain. It is a limestone rock forest, perfect for families with children. The area is a considered a floral paradise, thanks to the large variety of plants, which include various species of orchids and wild roses. The area is also good for wildlife spotting: there are griffon vultures, golden eagles, weasels, fox and wildcats.
What makes this one of the best hikes in Malaga is the view point of Las Ventanillas. From there, a path goes all the way to an area known as “Ammonites,” famous for the fossils. There are several trails inside the Natural Reserve, but keep in mind that some of them can only be walked with a guide. Guides can be found through the visitors’ center.
El Torcal Natural Reserve is located at about 45 km from Malaga, and 13 km south of Antequera.
For more places to visit and things to do in Antequera, check this post.
When to enjoy hiking in Malaga
The weather in Malaga is good year round and the temperatures rarely get below 12° Celsius. However, the summer is incredibly hot. So I would not recommend hiking in Malaga during the summer months. The best months to visit the region are April and May in the spring, and October in the fall, though chances of rain are higher in the fall.
Malaga is the most obvious access point to all the incredible hikes in Malaga. The city is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, not to mention one of the largest in Spain. It is a pleasant place to visit with a great selection of tourist attractions – museums; examples of interesting and beautiful architecture; the beaches of the Costa del Sol nearby. And there are plenty of good accommodation options and restaurants.
Among the unmissable places to visit in Malaga there’s the Alcazaba. This is a Moorish castle that was built in the 11th century on a hill located right at the center of the city. It is really well preserved and from there there are great views of the city.
Right under the Alcazaba there are the ruins of a Roman Theater, which is actually free to visit and it’s also well preserved. The Castillo de Gibralfaro is another Moorish castle, though located on a different hill and much like the others offering a great view of Malaga. It’s a bit of a hike (or a bus ride) to get all the way there.
Other places to visit in Malaga are the Cathedral, located right in the center; the Picasso Museum, with exclusive paintings by the artist; and the painter’s birthplace.
Best places to stay in Malaga and its province
Malaga has a very good selection of places to stay for all kinds of travelers and budgets, making it a great starting point for hiking in Malaga. There are good accommodation options in the entire province. Here’s a selection:
- Apartamento Malaga Centro is the ideal place for a family of four or a small group of friends. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- La Casa Azul has lovely cozy rooms. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Las Acacias Hostal is a fantastic budget option. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- La Vista, in Competa, is located at less than 6 km from Puerto Blanquillo. Among its perks there is a nice pool. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- El Arpa is a well equipped apartment outside El Chorro. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Salvatierra Guest House is a nice place to stay in Ronda. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Hotel Infante is located in the heart of Antequera. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Those who want to go hiking in Malaga but have an even smaller budget can count on a selection of camping sites, all of them with laundry facilities, a grocery store and restaurants and coffee shops.
- Sierra de las Nieves has pitches (with or without shade) and bungalows. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Presa La Viñuela is terraced. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- La Sierrecilla, in Humilladero, is near Antequera. There’s a nice l pool, but the restaurants are often closed. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
The good news for those who want to go hiking in Malaga is that the city is well connected to Europe and the rest of Spain via its airport. Many budget airlines fly to and from Malaga.
Other useful information
Various companies offer guided hikes in Malaga. Some target families, other offer walking holidays. Various sites such as Wikiloc contain a lot of information for those who want to go hiking in Malaga. However, keep in mind that although the main page is in English, the others are in various other languages and the translation is generally poor.
Have you ever been hiking in Malaga?