If you’re planning a holiday in Malaga, Spain, chances are you’re thinking about hitting the city’s beaches, as well as exploring a couple of cultural attractions. While doing all this is undoubtedly worthwhile, I thoroughly recommend adding another activity to your list – visiting the Montes de Malaga Natural Park.
All about the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
Located just north of Malaga city, Montes de Malaga Natural Park is the place to go if you want to experience some of Malaga province’s spectacular countryside. What I particularly like about it is that as well as being very scenic in itself – think pine trees, valleys and rivers – it also offers stunning views across the Costa del Sol. So, your reasons for coming here can be at least twofold!
Of course, there’s more to it than scenery alone – after all, it’s a wonderful place to spot wildlife, not to mention tackle a hike or two, though I’ll talk about that in more detail in a moment. The highest peak in the range is the Cresta de la Reina at 1,030 m, and others include Monte Victoria and San Anton.
How to get there
If you like the sound of Montes de Malaga Natural Park and fancy exploring it, then hiring a car is definitely the way to go. In fact, you may as well do so for the duration of your break, since you’ll then have the freedom to go on day trips whenever you please. It’s usually easiest to hire a car from the airport, and you can find out more about how to go about this through companies like Auto Europe.
Once you’re in the city and ready to set off for the park, the journey is simple enough. Start off at Fuente Olletas petrol station and head on to the regional highway (MA-345), which is handily also known as the Mountain Highway (that’s Carretera de los Montes in Spanish) – simply follow the signs from there.
What to do
Once you arrive in the park, there are several ways to explore. Firstly, you could take a trip up to one of the most famous viewpoints and admire the panoramas. Secondly, you could head off for a stroll and try to spot as much wildlife as possible or, thirdly, you could follow one of the five signposted walks. I’ll give you a brief overview of these in turn.
First up, we have the viewpoints. One of the best is the Mirador del Cochino – which translates to the somewhat odd-sounding title of the Pig’s Viewpoint. If you want to see the finest vistas across the Costa del Sol, this is the place to come to. Plus, it’s known as good area for spotting birds of prey, so if you’re a keen twitcher it’s also worth making a trip here.
And if it’s wildlife you’re chiefly interested in, you can look forward to coming across a really exciting mix of animals. While birds of prey can be seen sweeping across the skyline, back in amongst the Aleppo pine trees that fill the park you can see everything from spine-footed lizards and geckos to badgers, boars and polecats.
Lastly, if it’s walking you fancy, there are several routes to choose from. Should you be after something relatively short, the Sendero El Cerrado is a 4 km circular walk which takes you through pine forest to the aforementioned Mirador del Cochino. You’ll know you’re there when you see the sculpture of the boar, which has been crafted from recycled scrap metal.
The Sendero de Picapedreros, meanwhile, is a 7 km uphill linear route, and so is slightly more challenging. The effort is well worth it, though, since you’ll pass rushing waterfalls and an impressive aqueduct.