Top natural pools and rivers to visit in Malaga

Previously I wrote a post about free thermal waters in Andalusia, this time it’s the turn of the crystal clear natural pools in Malaga. All for fighting the high temperatures for free during the summer. Do you want a refreshing bath? Continue reading…

Do you prefer beach or mountain holidays? What about if you don’t have to decide? Hiking trails are usually not recommended during the summer, except in the cases where there are natural pools or rivers you can walk through.

Recommended gear when hiking through rivers

I recommend you to get ready, even more if you want to walk through any of the recommended rivers. It is a good idea to bring a waterproof backpack and the most important, shoes you can use inside the water.

There are special shoes for walking on rocks through rivers but many people prefer to use just old shoes. I guess it depends in how many times you want to practice this activity.

Natural pool in El Chorro

This natural pool is made of the water from Guadalhorce river. Amazing natural views and many water activities to practice.

Activities in El Chorro

This place is located near Desfiladero de los Gaitanes and Caminito del Rey, both known because the amazing sightpoints.

For getting to El Chorro from Malaga by car you must take the road  MA-5403.

Exact map location: https://goo.gl/maps/qguqW2dry5t

Hiking through Chillar river

The walking trail of Chillar river is very popular, that’s why it could not be as quiet as years ago. Being a popular place is not a reason for not including it into this list as it has a great beauty and a few natural pools where you can bath.

Río Chillar

This route is in the Natural Park of Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama. For getting there you must take the coastal road N-340 heading to Nerja and continue until you find the road signal Parque de la Naturaleza.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/FPC8gUSZ3oz

Natural slides of Río Verde (Green River)

Between the municipalities of Nerja and Almuñecar in Granada, it is the Barranco de Chorreras in Rio Verde.

For getting to the natural pool and slides you must follow the hiking trail starting at the foot of the gorge.

There are Canyoning activities you can join online. Some of the webs offering activities in Rio Verde for all ages are:  Activitiesmarbella.es (English) or barranquismorioverde.com (Spanish)

barranquismo en Río Verde

For getting there you must take the road a-4050, a mountain road with amazing views. You can get to that road from Almuñecar if you take the N-340 or from the highroad A-92 when heading to Granada from Malaga.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/9A6DL8dtFFL2

El Charco Frio in Benaojan (Cold Pond)

In the mountain range of Sierra de Grazalema is the municipality with a great natural environment and hiking routes. At the beginning of the route you will find a signal post, you must head to the left for reaching the Cueva del Gato, where is the natural pool with crystal clear waters. The right path will lead you to the train station of the next municipality by following the riverbed, also very recommended.

Cueva del Gato

The name of Cold Pond is because the low temperature of the water as it comes from an underground channel.

If you like speleology, there are  nice routes with underground waterfalls. It is only recommended for trained people, there are important currents that make it a dangerous place for neophytes. If you are interested there are websites that offer their services for doing these activities.

For getting there you must take the road A-343 and A-367 heading to Ronda.

Activities in Cueva del Gato (*):  Alijibe.com (Spanish)

(*) Entering the interior either as a person or as a guided group requires official permission and it is not always available.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/PRWkeM3YNGw

Natural pools in Barranco Blanco, Coin

Two great natural pools you should visit are in Coin, a municipality in Sierra de Mijas mountain range.

It is not possible to get direct access to this place by car, you have to go by foot or using a bicycle. The easy way for getting there is driving to Alhaurin el Grande and then take the road A-387 to Coin. Before getting there you will see a signal post indicating the direction to Barranco Blanco. You can park the car near the bridge crossing the river.

Piscinas naturales en Barranco Blanco, Coín

The short hiking trail follows the riverbed of Alaminos river and will show you waterfalls and natural pools where having a good bath.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZgYTYsQsXPP2

Natural pool of Viñas in Ojen

Ojen is a municipality close to Marbella, there you can get to the natural pool of Viñas.

I haven’t visited this pool personally but I read that is a quiet place.

For getting there from Malaga you must head to Marbella and take the exit to Ojen. The natural pool is on the foot of the municipal cemetery after descending the stairs.

Charco de las Viñas en el Río Ojén

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/i38FvCSjWk32

Charca de las Nutrias in Estepona

This natural pool (Pond of Otters) has enough depth so that even some swimmers dare to jump from the top of a rock that is at high altitude.

There are some small waterfalls and different areas where you can bath.

For getting there you must walk a rising dirt trail next to the river.

Charca de las nutrias en Estepona

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/5LgdcyomNxJ2

Pozas del Padrón in Estepona

Also known as Charca de las Extranjeras (Foreigners Pond). A cool hiking route  by a river is always fancy, even more if there are natural pools where you can have some fun.

Charca de las Extranjeras en Estepona

For getting there by car you have to take the highway A-7 and the exit to ‘Escuela de Arte Ecuestre de la Costa del Sol’. After 6 kilometres you will find a place where parking the car, the first natural pool is around 300 metres far from there.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/Bf9BsvjmjtF2

Charca de las Mozas in Benahavis

The main pool is more than 4 metres depth, that’s why some visitors dare to jump from the higher rocks into the water. There are other 2 smaller ponds where swimming next to the main one.

The river itself is part of a nice hiking route you can try.

Charca de las Mozas en Benahavis

It is close to the urban area and a busy road so it might not be a quiet place.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/G55wdofshWG2

Charco del Canalón en Istán

This natural pond is in the Rio Verde Valley. Visitors can enjoy also a refreshing hiking route though the river.

There are several pounds, some of them with small currents while others are quiet, ideal for relaxing. No doubt this is a good place to enjoy with friends or family.

For getting there you must take the exit to Istan from the highway A-7. You can park near the hotel Altos de Istan.

Location in map:  https://goo.gl/maps/mTEQu41YZ7x

Charco Redondo (Round Pond)

Between Algatocin and Jubrique municipalities you will find a bridge crossing the Genal river, very near there is a natural pond with a shore that feels like a beach.

They have made a small dam for making the pond larger and keeping the water inside. Very near of this place there is a camping area and a typical restaurant where you can eat.

Location in map: https://goo.gl/maps/p4jLkCEY9tw

Higuerón River Trail

In Frigiliana (near Nerja) you will find several hiking trails. One of them is the recommended Higueron River Trail.

A 8 kilometres trail where you will find waterfalls and crystal clear waters.

You will need shoes and a waterproof back-pack or similar where storing the electronic devices.

Infierno and Paloma ponds

Infierno Pond is a very singular place with great natural beauty. There are a few small waterfalls and it is surrounded by rock formations.

Charca del Infierno en Manilva

The hiking trail is in most areas through the river, because a great part of the route is within canyons It could be dangerous if the forecast says it might rain. Very close of this location you will find the Hedionda termal baths and the Paloma pond.

I recommend you visiting the three natural pools in the area, including the Hedionda Baths, a thermal water pool. Find the area in this map:  https://goo.gl/maps/5fMJqQNN8ET2

If you want to know everything about free thermal water pools in Andalucia, check my other post in the blog.

February – The month of the Almond Blossom and Springtime in Malaga

The cold season is gone, now we can see the increase in temperatures as February approaches. It is late January and early February when we find the first signs of spring in Malaga.

almond-blossom-ronda

One of the first signs that let us know of the imminent arrival of spring is the Almond Blossom.

Spring weather in Malaga

The cold season experienced in mid-January is uncommon on the Costa del Sol. In the province of Malaga, whose shores are caressed by the Mediterranean Sea and a benevolent climate all year round, winter is practically non-existent and at worst  usually lasts a few days.

While even a good part of the peninsula is covered with a white blanket, autumn changes almost imperceptibly into spring; a spring that begins to take shape at the beginning of February.

One of the first signs that let us know of the imminent arrival of spring is the Almond Blossom.

A hiking trail can show the walker landscapes where the colour that stands out is the soft pinks and whites of the almond trees. A true delight for your senses.

Spring hikes while visiting Malaga in February

If you visit Málaga in February, whether it is during Valentine’s Day, the Carnival, or just to escape for a few days from the firm grip of the winter in your place of origin, I recommend to visit some of the white villages to enjoy the Almond Blossom.

Especially recommended are the regions of the Axarquia, the Guadalhorce Valley, Sierra de las Nieves and Montes de Malaga in February, all only a few kilometres from the coast.

The so-called Ruta de los Almendros (Almond route) runs along some picturesque places and villages of the Guadalhorce Valley, also known as the Orchard of Malaga. Towns along this route are Almogía, Alora (Natural Area Desfiladero de los Gaitanes) and Cartama, where you can also enjoy products made of almonds.

Almond route in Malaga

Another route takes us through the beautiful valley and the mountains of Guadalteba, to the municipalities of Carratraca or Ardales; or Sierra de las Nieves (north of Marbella) and the villages of Tolox and Guaro.

Also the easternmost Costa del Sol, with its highest mountains in the province offers at this time of year beautiful countryside in white and pink. In the so-called Axarquia, we can see fields of almond trees in the villages of Arenas and Daimalos (northeast of Velez-Malaga) or Totalan (east of Malaga capital).

Other towns in the Axarquia, where you can enjoy beautiful views of almond blossoms are Moclinejo, Macharaviaya, Comares, Riogordo, Periana, Alfarnate, Colmenar (to the north between Malaga city and Velez-Malaga ) and Algarrobo or Sayalonga (east of Velez-Malaga).

Activities during February in Malaga

Those who come to Malaga in February can find interesting activities:

Soup of the 7 branches in El Burgo on February 28

On the 28th, February, an event scheduled for the Day of Andalusia takes place in the municipality of El Burgo. The traditional event ‘Sopa de los 7 ramales’, is very interesting for all of you who want to enjoy the most typical gastronomy of this white village. This festivity has been declared Tourist Singularity of the province of Malaga.

This typical dish of El Burgo served in the past as food for the peasants, is made with the following products of the municipality: traditional bread, garlic, potato, tomato, asparagus, egg and pepper.

The name of this soup comes from the 7 fresh ingredients used in the cooking.

In addition to the tasting of this soup there will be various activities scheduled for all audiences. Guided tours or musical activities as well as a craft market, everything you need to spend a day in this picturesque town of Malaga with family and children or with friends.

The village, in the Sierra de las Nieves, is an ideal place for practicing hiking. Some of the highlights that I recommend you to visit if you like nature is the waterfall of the river Turon and the recreational area of ​​La Fuensanta.

Day of Andalusia on February 28

In addition to El Burgo festival there are many events and activities that you can do on February 28, Andalucia day and holiday in this autonomous community.

Torremolinos, Marbella, Malaga and many other municipalities celebrating the Andalucia day with food and handcrafted stands as well as live music and traditional dancing.

The Benalmadena Cable Car offers a hiking trail 800 meters above sea level

Benalmadena Cable car opens again in 2017 on Friday, February 17th. The opening time will be from 11am to 6pm and it will open every day of the week*.

Cable car ticket also gives you access to a birds show, some of the birds are griffon vulture, white head eagle or owls among others.

The journey time of the cabins is 15 minutes.

cable-car-benalmadena

*The schedule is valid until April 1st. For details about the opening times in later months you can check the official page here.

Hiking in Monte Calamorro

From the summit of Calamorro Mountain you can walk a hiking path with a guide. The path crosses a part of this Malaga mountain at around 800 meters above the sea level.

The hiking route features a comfortable walk among pines and typical Mediterranean vegetation where enjoying a natural environment and pure air.

family-friendly-hikes

If you decide to walk this route without guide person, there are marked paths which will head you to different viewpoints. I recommend bringing a camera with you to immortalize the beautiful views of the Costa del Sol, Sierra Nevada and even the African coast on clear days.

  • This hiking route is 3 km. long and will take approximately 1 hour and a half.
  • Route difficulty is low so it is recommended for everyone.

For getting to this hiking route at Calamorro Mountain you can take the cable car for getting to the summit or use any of the trails from Benalmadena or Torremolinos, although this option is not for everyone because of the distance and the steepness of the terrain.

One of the most popular routes you can do from any direction is from Calamorro Mountain summit to Cañada del Lobo (Wolf’s Gorge), just 2.5 kilometers large.

canada-del-lobo-torremolinos

Calamorro Mountain services

The cable car joining Arroyo de la Miel with Calamorro Mountain summit has leads to the appearance of services and activities aimed to everyone:

  • Guided walks with a monitor
  • Rest areas
  • Viewpoints
  • Paragliding area
  • Bird’s shows included in the cable car price.
  • Restaurant and fast food.
  • In summer there is also an astronomical observation area.

Cable car prices

Buying a ticket online is cheaper than if you buy in person however website does not sell single trip tickets, you must buy it in person.

  • Adult round trip
    Price online 11,90€ – Price at desk: 14,50€
    Adult single trip: 8,50€
  • Round trip for children between 3 and 10 years old
    Price online 9,50€ – Price at desk: 11,00€
    Children single trip: 6,50€
  • Disabled round trip
    Price online: 8,90€ – Price at desk: 9,50€
    Single trip for disabled: 5,50€

In some special events there are promotional discounts or free tickets for some family members. I recommend you to follow this blog to be updated!

Restaurants and where to eat

There are eating places at both the cable car area in Arroyo de la Miel and the summit at Monte Calamorro:

  • Cafetería at the entrance of cable car
    In Arroyo de la Miel inside the cable car area there is a restaurant.
  • Cafetería at Calamorro Mountain summit
    In the arrival area of the cable car there is a café with beautiful views of the coast.
  • Fast food at the summit
    Small kiosk with hot dogs, pizzas, ice cream and drinks.

How to get to Calamorro Mountain and the Cable car in Benalmadena

There are two options, one of them is using the cable car in Benalmadena, another is using your own vehicle or walking directly to the summit.

If you are going to use the cable car there is a free parking area close to Tivoli World, from there you can go by foot.

Address: Explanada del Tivoli. 29630 Benalmadena (Malaga)

Do not own a vehicle? Then you can go by train to Arroyo de la Miel (use the commuter train), the cable car is at 5 minutes by foot heading to Tivoli World.

Aditionally if you prefer going to the Calamorro Mountain by foot the approximate distance is 6 kilometres from the train station. The terrain is quite steep so be advised. It is only recommended if you know what you are doing and you are in good shape.

For visitors reviews and map location visit: https://goo.gl/maps/7DecSpLgoY62

For more information please visit the Cable Car Benalmadena web site at http://telefericobenalmadena.com/?lang=en

This is part of our family friendly hikes in Malaga.

6 Easy hiking trails in Malaga for family trips

Malaga is surrounded by mountains, all kind of hiking trails ideal for nature lovers. In this article I will recommend some easy hiking trails that can be made all year round and even with children, perfect routes for going with family or spend a nice day with friends.

family-friendly-hikes

Winter, autumn or summer activities, a chance to teach your children the beauty of this province by practicing any of the trails below. Those trails have a common characteristic, they are not difficult nor too long, perfect hiking trails for all ages.

Sharing hobbies and activities with children is important, memories they will keep for all their life. Activities like hiking will teach them to understand and respect nature.

Hiking trail in Sierra Bermeja

There is an easy path on this mountain range where you can enjoy a beautiful Pinsapo forest; a Pinsapo is a tree specie that has managed to survive millions of years.

The hiking path ‘Paseo de los Pinsapos’ (Pinsapos walk). It is well signed and starts with a descent; pay attention, you might be able to spot any of the species that live in this area: mountain goat, chameleon or Andalusian lizard among others.

  • Collection of plants is not allowed.
  • One way distance is 4.1 km.
  • The best way for getting there is from Estepona heading to Jubrique. La mejor ruta para llegar es desde Estepona tomando dirección a Jubrique). At the road cross at the mountain port ‘Puerto de Peñas Blancas’ you must take the road signed to Pico de los Reales, the hiking trail begins from one of the curves of this road.

Sierra Bermeja

How to get there and map of the area: https://goo.gl/maps/dhQSFfjiJpv

Hiking path in Marbella

In the Dunes of Artola begins this hiking trail, exactly at the parking where you must leave the car.

Along the route you will be able to see some fossils dunes, others are the moving dunes that can change their place depending on weather factors.

  •  Surface is tough and without unevenness, it is a path recommended for everyone.
  • Because being close to the beach you can take a bath if it is too hot.
  • For getting there you must take the road exit to Cabopino from the highway between Mijas and Marbella.

Dunas de Artola en Marbella

How to get there and map of the area: https://goo.gl/maps/LtVbKgU1tkF2

Visiting the Guadalhorce river mouth

In the past it was a Phoenician port and actually it’s a natural place with its own flora and fauna.

It is a perfect place for going with family and walk enjoying the day.

  • The route has bird spotting stands.
  • For getting there you must head to Guadalmar, between Torremolinos and Málaga.

Desembocadura del río Guadalhorce

Map and how to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/2VZF3EbbPcr

Fuente de Piedra Lagoon

The perfect season for visiting Fuente de Piedra Lagoon is between autumn and spring, a place where enjoying this natural reserve and finding an important population of aquatic birds.

This lagoon has been an important salt resource since Roman times until the middle of the 20th century. Actually it is a wetland where you will find one of the most important flamenco colonies in Europe.

For getting to this lagoon you must head to Casabermeja from Malaga, drive surrounding Antequera by the North driving through the A-47 and the A-92 roads until you get to the Fuente de Piedra exit.

Foto de flamencos en Laguna de Fuente de Piedra

How to get there and map: https://goo.gl/maps/LNBVxwpq73t

Hiking in Malaga Mountains

Lagar de Torrijos place is at the North of the Natural Park of Malaga Mountains. It is an area from where you can have a nice walk by a dense pines forest.

It is a nice family route, you can make a round day if you try the typical ‘Plato de los Montes’ dish.

Montes de Malaga

How to get there and map: https://goo.gl/maps/CPsG3pzERV92

Hiking route in Mijas Costa

This route follows the coast of Mijas and begins at the watchtower of Cala de Mijas. This route covers a large part of its route through a wooden footbridge and is part of a project that aims to connect the entire Malaga coast.

It is a very simple route thanks to its lack of hills. Along the route you will enjoy beautiful views of the coastline, fauna and flora of the area.

The following link is a map showing the point of origin of this route: https://goo.gl/maps/VHvjrBygM8C2

More hiking trails

Sharing hobbies and activities with children is important, memories they will keep for all their life. Activities like hiking will teach them to understand and respect nature.

Those are just some of the easy hiking trails in Malaga for going with family or friends, there are many more. If you want to know more about Natural Parks and hiking routes in Malaga and Andalucia check our guides.

Caminito del Rey in Google Street View

Caminito del Rey, a trail now known worldwide for its beautiful views and past danger, has caught the attention of the giant Google which has digitized the path for its popular application Google Street View.

caminito del rey map

The application of Google allows the user a panoramic view and horizontal movement along a path of preset images, something that has already been used in such sights as the pyramids of Egypt or the world’s major cities and which allow the curious observer the feeling of somehow visiting the place.

Without doubt this is good news for those among the lucky ones who have already visited and want to remember the path or those who are expecting their turn to do so.

Caminito del Rey is a popular tourist attraction which has recently been refurbished and for which you have to book the visit from their website (http://www.caminitodelrey.info), although it has been very successful and currently there is no availability for the tour.

The tour takes between 4 and 5 hours depending on the pace, it is a linear path so when you reach the end, you have to take a bus to take you to the starting point or walk back which will take you in total 6 hours return trip.

If you choose to start from Alora keep in mind that a large part of the route is uphill, however if you decide to start in Ardales it is downhill, so it will take less time to walk it.

If you still haven´t got your ticket do not worry, the Caminito del Rey is located in a beautiful natural area which you can enjoy without reservation and free of charge and enjoy the cuisine of the villages.

How to get to Caminito del Rey

You can take a regional train from Malaga train stopping at El Chorro. Another option is by road to Ardales.

Opening time is 10 am to 2 pm during November to March and until 5 pm between April and October.

Marbella 4 Days Walking – Hiking event in October

If during the second week of October you’re enjoying the golden autumn sun near Marbella and you like outdoor activities and hiking, mark these dates: From October 9 to 12 will take place Marbella 4 days Walking, an international sports event to enjoy four different hiking routes through the streets, the beach and the surroundings of Marbella. This event, which in its country of origin Netherlands brings together each year thousands of participants, takes place for the first time in the beautiful city of Marbella.

October is a great month to enjoy hiking trails, the excessive heat of summer subsides and the temperatures are very pleasant to enjoy the walk.

On October 8th will be officially inaugurated the Marbella 4 Days Walking with a festival and people wishing to participate may enroll. Along the way there will be stalls with refreshments and rest areas. Participants who complete the 4 routes (a total of 80 km) will be awarded a medal.

If you would like to take part in the Marbella 4 Days Walking event, check out the website www.marbella4dayswalking.com where you can find additional information.

We recommend to book in advance when coming to Malaga: