The Costa del Sol may be known primarily for its sandy beaches and spirited nightlife, but the fantastic climate and wonderful natural spaces also make it a great spot for hikers.
Hiking in southern Spain is surprisingly varied, with a network of natural pathways, boardwalks and green routes for all levels. You’ll get to meet the locals, explore their traditions and customs, sample their gastronomy, as well as observe the flora and fauna, as you wend your way through Andalucia’s delightful scenery.
Some fabulous routes are available if you’re staying at CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts, some of which you will find below.
Caminito del Rey
The King’s Little Pathway, as the name translates, is not for those afraid of heights. Clinging to the sides of Gaitanes Gorge, the path is around 100 metres above the River Guadalhorce; the location is a natural beauty spot in the Malaga Mountains.
Aleppo pines, holm oaks and eucalyptus are joined by oleander, palms, canes and tamarisks, all viewable from the 7.7km circular route. There are two access points which give you a choice of a 2.7km or 1.5km route.
If your feet are itching for a few more kilometres, you could tackle all or some of the Great Malaga Path, Stage 20. Both ends of Stage 20 are very close to the Caminito del Rey, so you can choose your favoured route with fabulous views across the plains of Antequera and the Guadalhorce Valley.
For more information on planning and booking your Caminito del Rey visit, click here.
The Malaga Coastal Path
An ambitious project to link almost 200km of coastline with a single path, from Manilva in the west to Nerja in the east, is making great strides.
Offering a variety of towns, beaches, marinas, cultural heritage spots and areas of natural beauty, the Senda Litoral, as it is also known, will suit hikers of all persuasions. Malaga County Council has recently released an app that provides more than 2,000 geo-referenced points in the Malaga province; a handy tool when you come across something of interest.
Stage (Etapa) 7 runs from Benalmádena to Mijas, 18kms that takes in blue flag beaches, historical fortifications and ruins and of course, the sound of the waves and the fresh sea air. From CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts you can join the coastal path and head off in either direction, it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling revived.
The Great Malaga Path
The Great Malaga Path consists of 35 stages and covers a total of 650km, through 9 regions, 13 protected natural areas and 50 towns – a fabulous way to explore the province.
Stage 31 takes you from the tourist hot spot of Marbella to the hill town of Ojén – the contrast between start and finish points could not be more marked – through the Nagüeles pine forest in the Sierra Blanca mountains. Of medium difficulty, it’s a total of 17km with an estimated completion time of 5hr and 45 minutes.
Once out of Marbella, you get to enjoy the pine forests and mountain scenery including the famous ‘Pico de la Concha’ peak. A couple of spots along the route are La Ermita de los Monjes and Las Minas de Peñoncillo.
La Ermita de los Monjes is the ruin of a hermitage where a small number of Franciscan monks resided from the 16th century. Dedicated to three virgins – Virgen de las Angustias, la Soledad de la Sierra and Dolores – it was connected to Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Encarnación (Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation).
Las Minas de Peñoncillo (mines of Peñoncillo) relate to the production of iron used in the recent industrial history of Marbella and resulted in the deforestation of the area. The boundary stone at 10.8km is right on top of an open pit mine, though the cut is not visible from the path.
Once in Ojén, you can walk the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town with their plentiful drinking fountains. The wine museum will enlighten visitors to the town’s history as producer of the anise liqueur, aguardiente, which often accompanies a morning coffee!
These are just a handful of fabulous hikes waiting to be experienced in and around the Costa del Sol. Great sources for hiking routes are andaluica.org and gransendademalaga. Whether you’re looking for Marbella hikes or something in the mountains to test your stamina, Andalucia is waiting for you.