The Montes de Malaga Natural Park is the closest protected area to the capital city of the Costa del Sol. Discover what you can do in this part of the province of Malaga.
The almost-5,,000-hectare wide Montes de Malaga Natural Park is one of the natural parks of Andalucia. Located in the hills 5 kilometres north of Malaga, it is considered the “green lung” of the city. 96% of the natural park is owned by the capital city of the Costa del Sol, while the rest belongs to the towns of Casabermeja and Colmenar.
The park is swept by the basin of the river Guadalmedina and that of its tributaries, among which the Arroyo de Los Frailes stands out. The height of the hills of the Montes de Malaga Natural Park ranges from 80 up to 1,000 metres above the sea level, and they are home to many species of mammals, birds and plants.
History of the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
It was declared Natural Park in 1989 after a process of repopulation of pine woods took place to ensure the security of the area.
In fact, from the 15th century until the first decades of the 20th century, the area surrounding Malaga had been exploited, the ancient trees being eradicated to make space for the plantation of vineyards and olive-yards. However, this took its toll on the city. Countless inundations devastated the towns around Malaga and the city itself during the centuries, as the first was registered in 1544.
When the 1878 phylloxera plague eradicated the practice of plantation of vineyards, the inhabitants of Malaga decided to get under way the reforestation process, starting in the 1930s, alongside the creation of El Agujero dam.
What to do in the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
The main activities to do in the Montes de Malaga Natural Park are hiking and bicycle touring. Moreover, 45 km are suitable for vehicles, out of 150 that build the forest tracks.
If you fancy a more cultural discovery, don’t miss the archaeological sites located inside the park, such as the Casabermeja rock painting, or a visit to the 1843 Ecomuseo Lagar de Torrijos. In this museum, which is also a Visitor Centre, you will have the possibility to get to know the culture behind the making of the wine, how to bake some bread, an oil mill and the old property where all of this used to be made.
Opening hours of the Ecomuseo Lagar de Torrijos:
As an unmissable culinary experience, you can’t miss the Plato de Los Montes (the Dish of the Mountains), a speciality of the area. It is composed of pork loin in lard, fried potatoes, pork sausage, fried egg, blood sausage and fried peppers.
Which are the walking tours in the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
There are five walking tours you can use to discover the beauties of the park.
1. Sendero El Cerrado
Starting from El Cerrado picnic area, this 4km circular walk will show you the sector devastated by the 1989 forest fire. Despite being reforested, you can still spot the zone where the fire destroyed the most, although the regeneration of the trees themselves will leave you astonished.
Don’t forget to stop by the Mirador del Cochino, a viewpoint with mesmerising views over the park and the city of Malaga, named after a recycled scrap metal sculpture of a boar.
2. Sendero de Torrijos
This 2,5km long walking tour starts from the Ecomuseo Lagar de Torrijos and leads you along the water course of the Arroyo Chaperas. During the walk, you can spot the 19th-century homes, among which the Lagar del Pacheco and the Lagar de Santillana.
3. Sendero de Picapedros
The only walking tour that starts from the south-west of the park, this 7-km long walk is also the longest one. To get here, take the A45 from Malaga towards the north and exit at Jardín Botánico de la Concepción.
The main features of this walk are the Molinos de San Telmo, the starting point where mills to make bread are located, the 18th-century aqueduct of San Telmo, which used to provide Malaga with drinkable water, and the spectacular 30-metre high waterfall of Picapedros.
4. Sendero de Contadores and Sendero de Pocopán
These last two walks start from Fuente de la Reina, and they will make you discover some other fantastic landscapes of the Montes de Malaga natural park. They are respectively 3 and 5 km long.
How to get to the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
Thanks to its location near the city of Malaga, the park is extremely easy to reach. You can enter from Fuente de la Reina, located in the eastern part of the park. The A345 will take you there, leaving from Malaga and reaching the Parque de Torrijos.
Places to stay near the Montes de Malaga Natural Park
The surrounding area of Malaga is spread with fantastic holiday homes where you can relax and enjoy the fresh air and the wild atmosphere. If you are dying to discover this aspect of the Costa del Sol, check out the best holiday homes and villas in the surrounding area of the Montes de Malaga Natural Park. Choose the one you like the most and get to know the mountain range of Andalucia.
The Montes de Malaga Natural Park adds great value to the province of Malaga, being it a unique landscape.
Have you ever been to this natural park? Do you think it is worth visiting at least once? Tell us in the comments!