Hiking in the Costa del Sol

Hiking in the Costa del Sol

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Lose yourself in nature with hiking holidays in the Costa del Sol

There's more to the Costa del Sol than just beaches. This glorious stretch of coast is also ideal for hiking - and in fact, it boasts one of Spain's most famous and challenging routes, the legendary Caminito del Rey. When you hike the Costa del Sol, you'll discover mountains with dazzling sea views, gorges, rocky crags and more. Discover the other side of Spain's biggest tourist region.

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Getting ready for your hiking holiday in the Costa del Sol

Why should I choose the Costa del Sol for hiking?

The Costa del Sol is a popular holiday destination thanks to its accessibility, great transport links and year-round sunshine. If you're looking for great hiking, it may not spring to mind immediately - but in fact, it offers a wealth of fantastic routes. You'll find a lot of diversity: there are coastal trails that are ideal for a gentle walk from one beach to the next, and there are mountains to climb and gorges to explore. Why not bring your dog to the Costa del Sol and tackle some of these trails with your four-legged friend?

What are the best hiking destinations in the Costa del Sol?

One of the best towns in the Costa del Sol for hikers is Nerja. Right at the end of the coast, it is flanked by mountains. This has some of the most popular hiking routes, and it also offers other sporting options: the sea here is ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving, and there's a famous network of caves to explore. Elsewhere, Mijas is another popular choice. This town is a little quieter than many others in the Costa del Sol, so it's ideal if you want some peace and quiet. That being said, you can choose holiday lettings in the Costa del Sol anywhere you like. There's excellent transport between the towns, so you'll never be too far from a great hike.

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The best hikes in the Costa del Sol

El Caminito del Rey

This is renowned as the toughest hike in Spain. It was once one of the world's most dangerous trails, but it has been carefully renovated with safety in mind. It'll still get your heart racing, though. Running for almost 8 km, the Caminito del Rey takes you along narrow wooden walkways that hug a sheer cliff face. Look down and there's a sheer drop of 100 m to the bottom of the gorge below, where a turquoise ribbon of water gives you great views. Hiking the Caminito del Rey is an unforgettable experience. Unlike the other hikes on this list, you'll need to book a ticket in advance, as daily visitor numbers are limited.

El Cielo

If you want to try hiking a mountain in the Costa del Sol, this is an excellent choice. El Cielo is a peak of 1,508 m, about 6 km from the centre of Nerja. Make sure to bring plenty of water, as the initial ascent is relentless, and it will take you about 4 hours to get to the top. When you get there, your reward is waiting for you: beautiful views that sweep across the coast and the Mediterranean Sea. If you're staying in Nerja, this is not the only peak you can explore. El Almendrón and El Fuerte also have great trails.

Los Picos de Mijas

There are several routes around Los Picos de Mijas, but perhaps the best of all is known to locals as "La Bola" (the ball), as it leads you up to a ball-shaped meteorological station. This is a tough hike. The path is sandy and rocky in places, so you'll need to be sure of your footing as you scramble up to the peak, 1,150 m high. You should also ensure you're wearing long trousers, as the trail has a great deal of vegetation. It takes about 6 hours in total, and the highlight is the stunning panorama from the top. On a clear day, you can see all the way to North Africa.

La Charca del Canelón

Although close to the popular resort town of Marbella, La Charca del Canelón is something of a hidden gem. The route is pretty easy, and it takes you inland, to a series of beautiful, clear river pools. It starts at the Nacimiento de Río Molinos park. Follow the river for about 2 km and you'll reach La Charca. Along the way, you'll find waterfalls and plenty of options to jump in the water and cool off. Although there's nothing technically challenging about the trail, you may need to ask a local for advice before setting out. Most of the land in this area is privately owned, and access points change from year to year.

FAQs: Hiking in Costa del Sol

What's the best time of year to go hiking in the Costa del Sol?

The hiking season in the Costa del Sol is from October to April. Do not risk hiking in summer. The weather in the south of Spain is extremely hot, and many routes do not have any shade. The Costa del Sol enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year, so hiking in winter can be very enjoyable.

Will I need to bring specialist equipment for my hiking holiday?

It's a good idea to wear hiking boots for routes like the Picos de Mijas, as the rocky terrain may be difficult in trainers. You may also want to bring hiking poles with you. Beyond that, you won't really need any specialist equipment. Most trails are clearly marked, so a GPS device is not necessary.

Are there hiking routes suitable for families?

Yes. El Fuerte is the easiest of Nerja's three peaks, and older children can manage it. Kids will also enjoy the Fuente de los Cien Caños trail. Near Villanueva del Trabuco, this simple trail leads you to a huge fountain with one hundred jets of water.

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