The best hiking trails in Malaga are great for nature lovers looking to discover the southern region of Andalucia. The Spanish city is one of the most internationally renowned hiking destinations, with hundreds of routes winding into lush valleys and climbing to breathtaking mountain peaks.

    While many of these trails are open throughout the year, you should know that Malaga (and its surroundings) can test your endurance with high temperatures. It’s a good idea to plan your hike for the cooler morning or late afternoon periods and to bring plenty of water. Here, we’ve highlighted our favourite hiking trails that explore famous Malaga summits and reward you with extraordinary views.

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    Pico del Cielo

    Test your fitness and discover sensational coastal views

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    Pico del Cielo is set deep in the Sierra de Almijara mountain range. The trail is renowned for its sprawling panoramic views of the nearby seaside and rugged coastline. At 14.5 km each way, this challenging journey will give hikers with a considerable level of fitness a solid workout.

    Much of Pico del Cielo follows an even and consistent trail. As you approach the summit, the path becomes increasingly vertical and precarious. With the last climb taking you to a lofty height of 1,508 metres above sea level, stellar views across the Axarquía region reward your efforts.

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    2

    Cerro Lucero

    Experience limitless views and historic mountainside forts

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    Cerro Lucero takes hikers high into the famous Sierra de la Almijara, reaching one of the region's most notable peaks and showcasing some truly astonishing views. The best time to tackle this 10-km trail is between May and October, when fields of splendid wildflowers are in bloom.

    After departing from the charming town of Játar, you follow an age-old trek marked by easy-to-read signs. You can also see historic semi-ruined Civil Guard outposts that battled Francoist Spain forces in the 1950s. Uninterrupted views of the surrounding valleys await you at the summit.

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    photo by Eliza Saroma-Stepniewska (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    Caminito del Rey

    Complete this famous hike to soak up majestic views

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    Caminito del Rey, or The King's Little Path, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Malaga. Much of the hike stretches along narrow walkways that hug cliffsides and cross gorges. Unsurprisingly, this route had a dangerous reputation but it has become much safer after restoration work in 2015.

    At 7.7 km and with few climbs to speak of, Caminito del Rey is a relatively easy hike that takes around 2 hours to complete. However, if you're planning to tackle the trail during your visit to Malaga, you need to book in advance to secure your spot.

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 3.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +34 951 55 00 99

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    4

    Pico Torrecilla

    A challenging route that rewards you with mountain views

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    Pico Torrecilla is found in the marvellous Sierra de Las Nieves Natural Park, featuring the 2nd-highest peak in Malaga, after La Maroma. With the main hiking route starting and ending in Puerto Saucillo, this 20.5-km journey to the top takes around 7 hours to complete.

    After passing through a picturesque pine forest, hikers can eventually find themselves in a wide-open mountainside expanse with superb views of the surrounding mountain range. The final ascent to the peak is noticeably steeper, but the countryside vistas from this soaring location are certainly worth the effort.

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    5

    Guadalmina Canal Trail

    Take a casual wander through the Spanish hinterland

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    The Guadalmina Canal Trail is a reasonably laidback stroll through the Spanish countryside. This 4.7-km trek is very popular with locals and tourists alike during peak season in Malaga. Accessible year-round, this looped trail starts and finishes near the Guadalmina River, passing charming hillside orchards along the way.

    The path follows an old irrigation channel, which keeps the region looking rather lush. Hikers will soon arrive at a historic wooden bridge that stretches across the serene Angosturas Gorge. It’s a relaxing trek that won't leave you completely exhausted, unlike most hiking trails in Malaga.

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    photo by Tanja Freibott (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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    Molinos del Tajo

    Explore the rural countryside and take in wonderful city views

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    Molinos del Tajo is a leisurely hike around the picturesque mountaintop city of Ronda. This relatively peaceful 6.1-km walk leads you down a series of countryside paths, where you're presented with picture-perfect views of city skylines and quaint rural farmhouses.

    With the trail accessible throughout the year, you’re bound to experience stellar vistas of the world-famous Puente Nuevo bridge before delving into the surrounding olive groves and vineyards. After completing this hike (usually within a couple of hours), head into town for a delicious lunch or dinner as a reward.

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    7

    Río Chillar

    A river trail leading to waterfalls and swimming holes

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    Río Chillar offers a different hiking experience in Malaga, as you won't be climbing mountains but exploring the depths of the namesake river. Located within the Sierras de Tejeda and Almara Natural Parks, the entire trail is about 8 km each way, though you can turn around early if that's too far for you.

    If you decide to complete the entire journey, you’re rewarded with 2 grand gorges, a myriad of swimming holes, and a beautiful waterfall. Make sure you bring some river-hiking footwear as you’ll be spending much of this adventure ankle-deep in water.

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    8

    Sendero de las Cascadas

    Wander into an idyllic gorge of cascades and pools

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    Sendero de las Cascadas is an outstanding loop trail that begins and ends at the alluring hillside town of Tolox. Across the trek’s 9.8-km length, you get to roam deep into an eye-catching ravine lined with waterfalls, swimming holes, and attractive views that stretch along the highlands.

    Sendero de las Cascadas is accessible throughout the year. It’s marked with clear green-and-white indicator signs, making it easy to find and stay on the path. The scenery has a gorgeous copper-and-salmon hue because the ground contains rocks with an array of heavy metals.

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    9

    El Torcal de Antequera - Yellow Route

    Delve into limestone formations and find staggering viewpoints

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    El Torcal de Antequera is one of Malaga’s most popular hiking destinations. The nature reserve is home to several colour-coded trails that explore its awe-inspiring karst landscape. Many hikers consider the Yellow Route as one of its most impressive trails, thanks to its spellbinding scenery and encounters with local wildlife.

    At almost 3 km, the El Torcal de Antequera Yellow Route isn't the longest but has several steep inclines and limestone formations to navigate. This loop trail also leads you to numerous enchanting viewpoints and even a public observatory.

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    10

    Arabic Staircase

    Climb this age-old landmark and descend into charming villages

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    The Arabic Staircase (Escaleras Árabes) is a well-trekked and incredibly unique trail in the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Park. Featuring a towering stone stairway that travels up the side of a mountain, this route was built in the 15th century to serve as a local trading route for the Mozarab people.

    This 9-km trek is marked as moderately difficult, providing a fascinating loop that continues past the top of the staircase. As you make the return journey from the summit, you'll pass through overgrown woods that descend towards the welcoming villages of Valle de Abdalajis and El Chorro.

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    photo by Jerome Bon (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Hudson Brown | Contributing Writer

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