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Trekking and hiking in southern Spain

Travel Articles

With its mostly sunny weather, the south of Spain is an ideal location for a holiday spent trekking and hiking. Whether close to the beaches, or inland in the pretty countryside, there are many opportunities to be had.

Before starting out, make sure you have the correct clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Always carry sufficient water to refresh yourself along the way, along with a snack or two to get the energy levels up again.

The following are suggestions for the best areas for hiking and trekking in the south of Spain, at various levels of difficulty.

1. Caminito del Rey, El Chorro, near Ardales, Malaga

El Caminito del Rey, El Chorro, near Ardales, Malaga, Spain
Photo by Viajes con flow/Wikimedia

The Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Path) was previously one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. This was due to the sheer cliff-side drops and the fact that whole chunks of the path were missing and there were few guide rails to hang onto. In fact, it was closed for some time after several people died although some brave souls did still sneak in and attempt it.

That has all changed after the Junta de Andalucia performed major renovations to the route. The pathways are fixed and handrails, stairs and bridges have been added for safety. The caminito is around 7.7 km (just under five miles) in length and usually takes about four hours to complete. If anyone has a fear of heights, however, they might find the hike trying.
Caminito del Rey, El Chorro, near Ardales, Spain
Caminito del Rey, El Chorro, near Ardales, Spain
Caminito del Rey, El Chorro, near Ardales, Spain

Of interest to note, the Caminito del Rey was first created to allow workers access to a dam they were building at El Chorro Falls. The dam was completed in 1905 and in 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the pathway to inaugurate the dam, hence it received the royal title.

2. The Mulhacén, Sierra Nevada

Situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, close to the city of Granada stands the Mulhacén. The mountain stands 3,479 meters (37,448 feet) in height and is the highest peak on the Iberian Peninsula. Due to icy and snowy conditions in the winter months, this hike is best done during the summer months and normally can be completed in one day. The image below was taken in winter and shows the mountain as viewed from Veleta's peak.

The Mulhacen, Sierra Nevada, Spain
Photo Ismcuacor/Wikimedia

A number of trails exist to reach the peak of the mountain, ranging in levels of difficulty. The most difficult route is via the northern face and is best suited to experienced mountaineers. However, the most popular, and easiest, route is up the southern face, which only takes two hours from the Mirador de Trevélez (Trevélez Lookout) in the Alpujarras. Whichever route you take, the views are astounding. Of course another benefit of this trek is the chance to visit the fascinating Moorish buildings of Granada while you are in the area!

3. La Ruta del Salto del Cabrero, Grazalema Natural Park

Located in the Grazalema Natural Park in the Sierra de Cádiz mountain range, the Salto del Cabrero route, which translates roughly in English to the "jump of the goatherd," is set in one of the greenest areas of Andalucia. With its verdant valleys and rocky peaks, it is a truly beautiful landscape in which to hike. 

La Ruta del Salto del Cabrera, Grazalema Natural Park, Andalucia
Photo Arturoborrero/Wikimedia

The Salto de Cádiz route is 3.3 km (2 miles) in length, there and back, and normally takes just over two hours to complete. Bird lovers will appreciate the vultures swooping over the area, looking for food.

La Ruta del Salto del Cabrera, Grazalema Natural Park, Andalucia
Photo by Arturoborrero/Wikimedia

Enjoy these rewarding trekking opportunities in the south of Spain. These, and many more hiking trails are available in the region.


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