This article will give you an overview of the walking highlights in the region and signpost you to where you can find out more information about specific walking routes.
The Axarquia region is a walker’s paradise. It is jam packed full of distinctly different environments from lush stream beds in the valley floors, beaches, cliff tops, stunning wild flower meadows, olive groves, pine forests and high altitude areas carpeted in lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme. There are large areas of cultivated groves which give way to the huge Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama national park so there area is rich in wildlife – ibex, eagles, eyed lizards, chameleons, gold finches, dragonflies and interesting moths and butterflies are all common. You rarely encounter a fence and there are well worn pathways and mountain tracks which make the area very accessible to ramblers. You can walk here all year round but temperatures and the clarity of the air make Winter and Spring walking particularly rewarding.
All the major walks are marked with signposts and the start points often have large signs showing the route, climb and notable features. But the local government organisations have not collected all their routes together and made them accessible online so working out where the routes are, whether they are circular, how difficult they are and if there is a cafe on the way can be tricky – especially if you are not a local. Don’t let this put you off though. There are some great resources – both online and hardcopy that will help you choose and execute your walk(s).
- Maroma is the highest peak in the Malaga Province and higher than anything in the UK (2,066m). There are lots of different climbs from different start points ranging from ridiculously arduous to a comfortable stroll. A good summary of the approaches can be found here. Most of the local activity companies offer the Maroma summit as a guided walking option including transport to and from the start point.
- Lucero Peak (1,779m). This is an impressive looking shark’s tooth peak behind Nerja and Competa. If you start from a village then you are looking at an all day 26km walk. However there are a network of mountain tracks that you can take a high clearance vehicle on to give you a good head start. The best explanation of the routes and access points can be found here.
- Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama national park. Both Maroma and Lucero are in this Nature Reserve however there are many other walks worth doing along the parks boundaries particularly those encompassing a village or two so you can stop for a beer and a few tapas along the way. See the dedicated section below for the details of 9 specific walks.
- Rio Chillar (Nerja). This walk is very popular and it will be busy at the weekends, it’s even got itself on trip advisor where it is very highly rated! I won’t spoil this walk for you but suffice to say you get your feet very wet and it is spectacular. Find the start point at the back of Nerja (which is of course NOT signposted), park up and head off. If you don’t have a car just get a taxi – the locals know the walk well. If you do have a car use your GPS to get to this point (36.769600, -3.877673) where there is parking. A good 10 minute walk through an old quarry and you enter a gorge cut out of rock that heads up into the hills. Carry on as far as you can and if you have had enough just turn round and head back. After about 2 hours you come to a climbing set of falls – most people stop here for a dip in the ponds and then head back. You can climb up the falls and turn this into a circular walk of 8 hours. Most of the walk is through a stream so you get wet feet and walk on loose smoothed river stones. Don’t do this walk after heavy rain as storm surges in the gorge can be dangerous.
- The first 11 sections of the GR 249 – see the section below for detailed information on these 180km of trails.
GR249 Gran Senda de Malaga
This is a huge circular route around the Malaga province which was established in 2014. It is composed of 35 sections each of which can be walked in a day. 11 of these sections are based in the Axarquia region. The route links existing trails in the province and connects to the Mozarabic Camino de Santiago and the European Grand Tour (GR-92 E-12). There is a dedicated website for this walk and each section has a page with a map, waypoints, GPS points, videos, estimates of the time taken to complete and difficulty. All this information can be downloaded for you to print off or take with you on your phone or GPS device. The sections that fall in the Axarquia are as follows;
- Malaga to Rincon de la Victoria. 15.6km, 3h 20mins, difficulty=1.
- Rincón de la Victoria – Vélez Málaga. 24.4km, 5h 25mins, difficulty=1.
- Vélez Málaga – Torrox. 19.2km, 4h 10mins, difficulty=1.
- Torrox – Nerja. 10.5km, 3h 15mins, difficulty=1.
- Nerja – Frigiliana. 14.7km, 5h 05mins, difficulty=3.
- Frigiliana – Cómpeta. 26.4km, 8h 30mins, difficulty=3.
- Cómpeta – Canillas de Aceituno. 25.1km, 8h 30mins, difficulty=2.
- Canillas de Aceituno – Periana. 17km, 5h 35mins, difficulty=1.
- Periana – Pulgarín Alto. 13.5km, 3h 30mins, difficulty=1.
- Pulgarín Alto – Alfarnate. 18.1km, 4h 35mins, difficulty=1.
- Alfarnate – Villanueva del Rosario. 15.4km, 5h 15mins, difficulty=3.
Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama national park.
The regional government has a useful website section on the national park which you can refer to – make sure you use the vertical navigation on the left as most of the information is found by clicking on one of those square images.
- ALCÁZAR – LA MAROMA. 10.2km, 5h, difficulty=high.
- CANILLAS DE ACEITUNO – CASA DE LA NIEVE. 8.4km, 4h, difficulty=high.
- CASA DE LA MINA – PRADILLOS. 13.5km, 4h 40mins, difficulty=medium.
- DEL LUCERO. 3km, 2h, difficulty=high.
- FÁBRICA DE LA LUZ – PUERTO DE CÓMPETA. 16.9km, 3h, difficulty=medium.
- FRIGILIANA – FUENTE DEL ESPARTO. 7.6km, 3h, difficulty=medium.
- JÁTAR – PUERTO DE CÓMPETA. 6.8km, 2h 30mins, difficulty=medium.
- PUENTE ÁRABE. 6.1km, 3hours, difficulty=medium.
- SUBIDA AL PICO DEL CIELO. 10km, 4h, difficulty=medium/high.