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9 Incredible Hikes in Malaga, Spain

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Located along Spain’s southern coastline, Malaga is considered one of the country’s best beach destinations, thanks to its warm, sunny weather and stunning stretches of soft sand. But Malaga is so much more than that, offering a thriving arts scene, world-class museums, and some of the best hiking trails in Spain for all skill levels.

So lace up those hiking boots and let’s hit the trail—here are the 9 best hikes in Malaga, Spain.

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Before we dive in, I wanted to point out that Malaga is both a popular resort city along Spain’s coastline and the name of the province where the city sits in the Andalusia region of the country. The province is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with laid back beach towns, like Marbella and Torremolinos, and endless green mountains in its footprint. 

While the hikes listed below are all a short drive from the city of Malaga, they’re all within the province of Malaga. Confusing, I know!

While Spain is at the tippy top of our bucket list, we haven’t quite had a chance to summit all of its mountains just yet. So we called in our friend and long-time Malaga resident, Cristina Reina of My Little World of Travelling, to help us out.

Take it away, Cristina!

Best Hikes in Malaga

1. Mirador de Pocopán

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Montes de Malaga Natural Park.
  • Length: 8.2 km (5.1 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 351 m (1,151 feet)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail map

Located just 50 minutes from the city of Malaga, Los Montes de Málaga, a park with impossibly green, rolling mountains, is one of the best places to enjoy this area’s natural surroundings.

View of Los Montes de Málaga in Malaga, Spain
Photo by arturbudowski of Deposit Photos

There are several beautiful hiking trails to choose from in Los Montes Natural Park. However, if you are looking for a moderate trail, the Mirador de Pocopán route should be at the top of your list. 

Along the trail, you’ll pass under beautiful holm oaks, which provide welcome shade under the bright Andalusian sun. The climb up to the viewpoint at Mirador de Mirador de Pocopán is steep, but you’ll be rewarded at the end with jaw-dropping views of green mountains.

2. Caminito del Rey

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Ardales, Malaga.
  • Length: 6.7 km (4.2 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 280 meter (1,151 feet)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail map

Caminito del Rey, translated as The King’s Little Pathway, is one of the most famous hikes in Malaga and, arguably, all of Spain. The trail follows a 100 year old pathway along a sheer cliffside of a gorge, which towers 300 feet above the rocky floor below. 

View of the Caminito del Rey hike in Malaga, Spain

The pathway was initially built as a walkway for construction workers, who were building hydroelectric plants on either side of the gorge. Once the plants were finished in 1921, the pathway was abandoned and no longer maintained, leaving behind crumbling concrete and rusty support beams. 

Still, thrill-seekers came here for the spectacular views—and the adrenaline rush—to cross the gorge. Unfortunately, five people fell to their death on the trail, resulting in it earning the reputation of being one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world. Thankfully, they made a new and much safer path for hikers in late March 2015. 

On this new and improved trail, you can see the jaw-dropping gorge, El Chorro Lake, and birds of prey, like vultures, swooping above. Be sure to keep an eye out for the old, crumbling trail, which runs alongside the new pathway. 

Hikers crossing a bridge on the Caminito del Rey hike in Malaga, Spain

It costs 10 euros to hike Caminito del Rey, which includes a helmet rental, in case there’s any rockfall in the gorge during your hike.  You can do this hike on your own, but you may want to book a tour with a local guide here, like this option or this private option, to learn about the unique history of the pathway and the beautiful flora and fauna. 

3. Dunas de Artola – Cabopino

  • Location: Dunas de Artola – Cabopino is located here, in Marbella.
  • Length: 2.6 km (1.6 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 32 m (104 feet)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail map

Dunas de Artola in Cabopino, one of the best beaches in Marbella, is an awesome bang-for-your-buck trail. This loop only takes about 30 minutes to complete, so it’s an excellent option if you’re hiking with kids or newbies. Plus, the entire trail is along a wooden boardwalk, so it can even be accessible for hikers with mobility issues. 

Wooden boardwalk along the Dunas de Artola- Cabopino hike in Malaga, Spain
Photo by quintanilla on Deposit Photos

The trail winds between the resort towns of Fuengirola and Marbella and offers stunning views of the coastline and the Alboran Sea. Along the way, you’ll pass towering sand dunes and may even get to spot wildlife, like rabbits and partridges. 

4. La Concha

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Marbella.
  • Length: 13.5 km (8.4 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 680 m 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Trail map

The coastline of Malaga is so renowned for its picturesque and sunny weather that it’s even earned the nickname of Costa del Sol— the Coast of the Sun. If you want to soak up some of that sunshine for yourself and are up for a challenge, head to La Concha, which is an excellent day trip from the town of Marbella. 

The trail starts from the parking lot of Hotel Refugio de Juanar and climbs up into the Andalusian mountains. While the ascent can be quite steep, the payoff is well worth it. The trail is surrounded by olive trees and other beautiful flora and, for the last half of the hike, you’ll be treated to dazzling views of Marbella’s coastline. If you are lucky, you might even come across rabbits or mountain goats along the trail.

La Concha with palm trees in front in Malaga, Spain

It does have some technical challenges—for example, there’s sections towards the end of the trail where you’ll use ropes to steeply climb up to the final mountain ridge, so this may not be the best trail for those hiking with kids or dogs. 

Nevertheless, once you reach the endpoint along the trail’s ridgeline, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the rolling mountains around Marbella and the sparkling turquoise water of the Mediterranean. You can actually even see the northern coastline of Africa from this viewpoint!

5. El Robledal – La Maroma

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Canillas de Aceituno, Malaga.
  • Length: 14.5 km (9 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 984 m (3,228 feet)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trail map

La Maroma is the highest peak in Malaga, standing at an impressive 20,692 meters tall (6,788 feet). It’s actually the westernmost peak that’s over 20,000 meters tall on the entire Iberian peninsula!

Located in the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park, La Maroma’s summit offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. You can access it from a variety of different hiking trails, but one of the most popular ones is El Robeldal Trail. It starts from the Alhama de Granada, a mountain area between the provinces of Malaga and Granada, and takes about four to seven hours to complete, depending on how fast of a hiker you are—and how many times you stop to take photos!

La Maroma mountain in Malaga, Spain
Photo by aciero of Deposit Photos

There’s actually two different routes along the El Robeldal Trail—one called the Sendero El Roberdal – La Maroma, which is more scenic and thus, more popular, or Albergue Los Barracones, a quieter option that’s a bit more on the wild side. Because fewer people take the latter option, the trail is unclear in spots and you have a better chance of encountering wildlife—so this is definitely the better choice if you’re looking for an adventure! 

As you climb up, both routes have pathways that are quite narrow and rocky, so be careful, especially during the wintertime, when you might encounter patches of ice and snow. If you’re hiking during the colder months, it’s a good idea to bring some microspikes along with you to provide better traction on icy terrain.

Once you reach the top, you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of faraway mountains, a rugged valley, and, in the distance, the towns of Malaga and Granada.

6. Pico de Mijas

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Mijas, a charming mountainside town about half an hour south of the city of Malaga.
  • Length: 12.5 km (7.8 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 927 m (3,041 feet)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trail map

One of the best things to do in Mijas Pueblo is to explore its incredible hiking trails. 

The mountains surrounding the town, Sierra de Mijas, are home to trails that range from easy to difficult. If you’re looking for a challenge, you should definitely try out the Pico de Mijas trail. 

You’ll start the trail from Puerto Colorado, a trailhead with convenient and free parking (located here). 

White houses in Pico de Mijas in Malaga, Spain

The route is well-signed and easy to follow—but otherwise, it’s definitely not a walk in the park. The trail is quite steep in areas and even has some technical challenges, including a bit of rock scrambling and using chains, bolted into the rocks, to help you climb. There’s also lots of sheer drop-offs along the narrow trail, so this might not be the best trail for you if you’re acrophobic!

While the route itself is quite steep and a bit of a challenge, it’s at least quite easy to follow, thanks to the copious amounts of signs along the trail. 

Once you reach the peak, you will get impressive views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the northern coastline of Africa, and the surrounding green mountains of Andalusia. 

7. Río Chillar

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Nerja, Malaga.
  • Length: 16 km (9.9 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 568 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • Trail map 

Rio Chillar is one of the best hikes in Malaga to do during the summer months. If you happen to be visiting Nerja, it’s also one of the best day trips from this small coastal city. 

Rio Chillar is quite unique—most of this walking route goes through the Chillar River (similar to the famed Narrows trail in Zion National Park), so you’ll need to do some preparation ahead of time. 

For example, you’ll need to time your hike when the river is at its lowest, from March through October, so that you can make the hike safely (and even then, keep an eye out for any closure or warning signs along the trail!). 

Rio Chillar hike in a slot canyon in Malaga, Spain
Photo by Jacek Jacobi of Deposit Photos

You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate gear for this hike. For example, wear appropriate footwear that will provide sufficient traction on the river rocks, which can be quite slippery. We have a cult-like love for our Tevas (here’s the kind that Jess wears and here’s the kind that Justin wears), which double as both hiking sandals and water shoes—score!

There’s limited shade along the trail, so don’t forget your sunscreen and be sure to pack a dry bag to keep your electronics and valuables nice and dry during the hike.

Rio Chillar running through a slot canyon in Malaga, Spain
Photo by aciero of Deposit Photos

You can turn around at any time on this hike, but the most beautiful part is when you reach “El Vado de los Patos”, a small natural pool where you can relax and enjoy the serene surroundings, including a small waterfall. 

Pssst… this trail can close down when there’s a high risk of wildfires or when the river is too low, so be sure to check on its status on AllTrails before heading here. 

8. Torcal de Antequera

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in Antequera, Malaga
  • Length: 1.8 km (1.1 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 37 m (11 feet)
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Trail map

Torcal de Antequera is one of the most interesting places to hike in Malaga. Located in the town of Antequera, it is well-known for its unusual-looking limestone formations, which date back over 150 million years. Over millions and millions of years, erosion by wind and rain have slowly carved these rocks into the funky formations that you see today, which kind of look like enormous versions of cairns (the small piles of rocks that mark a trail that are left by other hikers).

Rock formations at Torcal de Antequera in Malaga, Spain

You can choose your own adventure at El Torcal, given there’s three different route options: green, yellow and red. Of course, the green route is the easiest and the perfect trail for beginners. While it’s a short loop trail, it still comes with its challenges, given that the path is quite rocky and uneven. 

If you’re, instead, up for a challenge, choose the red route, which is over seven kilometers and leads you to the natural monument of “El Tornillo”, a very unique-looking rock formation that looks like several thin slabs of rocks have been stacked on top of the other. 

Regardless of the route you choose, the unusual rocks, carved by time, make you feel like you’re on a totally different planet. 

Cloud inversion with mountains and rock formations in Malaga, Spain

9. Parauta – Igualeja

  • Location: The trailhead is located here, in the town of Parauta.
  • Length: 11.3 km
  • Elevation gain: 558 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail map

If you’re visiting Malaga in autumn, add the Parauta-Igualeja trail to your itinerary. It is one of the most popular trails near the mountainside town of Ronda this time of year because of its stunning fall foliage.

In fact, the trail is part of the “Bosque de Cobre” (Copper Forest), which is so named for the chestnut trees and their leaves, which turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and brown, that carpet its valley.

Trees with fall foliage in Bosque de Cobre in Malaga, Spain
Photo by aciero of Deposit Photos

During the hike, you will pass through the “Enchanted Forest”, which is home to charming wooden statues of fairies and other magical creatures. And, of course, you’ll also get to admire the chestnut trees and their spectacular fall colors up close and personal. 

After your hike, explore the town of Parauta or head into the town of Ronda, which offers some incredible Moorish architecture. 

Best Time to Hike in Malaga

The best time to hike in Malaga is from October to April. The area enjoys mild winters, with plenty of sunshine—perfect for getting out on the trails! Just keep an eye on the weather reports if you’re visiting in November—this is usually the rainiest month, so don’t forget to pack a rain jacket, like this one for men or this one for women. 

Avoid hiking in summer, unless you plan to hike the Rio Chillar. While the average temperature is 28° C (82.4° F), it can also reach up to a boiling 40° C too (104° F)!

Hikers crossing a bridge at the Caminito del Rey hike in Malaga, Spain

This area is hot and sunny year round—so regardless of when you visit, be sure to bring along some sunscreen!

Now that you have your pick of the best hikes in Malaga, I hope you can see that this area offers so much more than just beaches! Do you have any questions about any of these trails? Let us know in the comments below!

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