Just a few kilometres from the city centre you can find this enormous lung of greenery.
Any time of year, the Montes de Malaga (Mountains of Malaga) can be the perfect escape from the city’s hustle & bustle. Immerse yourself in nature, between the flora and fauna of the Malaga Mountains.
Los Montes de Málaga, covering an area of 4,996 hectares, is full of pine trees and some olive trees. You can spend a day in the mountains without leaving the city. Inside the park, there are approximately 150 kms of forest tracks and small paths through the mountains; 45 of them are passable and in good condition.
It is noteworthy that to get to the park a car is needed, renting one for the day is not at all expensive (you can rent a car from 34 Euros a day and pick it up at the train station Maria Zambrano). If you are in excellent physical condition and usually ride bikes on the road, renting a bike could be another option, but be warned, it’s a pretty tough road, for advanced cyclists only, and somewhat dangerous because you must share the narrow road with cars.
The best way to access Montes is from Calle Victoria (next to Plaza de la Merced), namely the local road MA-345 (Source Olletas). Once you start going up, the signs will show you the way until you find a direct road that goes into the mountains. Along the climb you will see a number of restaurants – called “sales” – on the side of the road. They are characterized by their rustic appearance and specialise in food typical of the Andalucian mountains. They provide viewpoints, where you can see almost the entire city of Malaga.
Upon entering the National Park, along the road, there are numerous entrances to the trails closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians and cyclists, 4 of the trails are clearly marked on the road: El Cerrado, Pocopán, Torrijos y Umbría de Contadoras. The first two circular paths are walkable in about 1 hour 30 minutes, and the last two are shorter, completed in approximately 30 minutes.
Los Montes de Málaga Cycling
As mentioned earlier, cycling is a good choice for those in good physical condition. It is important to cycle up with great caution and stay to the side of the road, as there are cars that tend to go up or down at high speed. There are two special bike trails that are well marked: the “Picapedreros- Boticario” bike lane, which is accessible from the entrance to the park “Molino de San Telmo”; and the bike track “Lagar de Contreras”, which is accessible from the entrance to the park “Picapedreros”.
Park entrances are easily recognized. You’ll see, at the side of the road, the entrance to a dirt road, closed with a green bar. There they have a sign with the names on.
It is said that the mountain wildlife including wild boars, foxes, rabbits, weasels, and multiple types of birds. However I must say I’ve been there three times, walking the trails, and I’ve only seen flocks of sheep owned by some of the inhabitants of the park. Twitchers may be very interested in a visit with the plethora of bird species that live there.
The Gastronomy of the Montes de Malaga
My favourite part of visiting the mountains is having some food before going down! That means visiting some of the restaurants that are beside the road. It’s a great opportunity to taste the typical gastronomy and also at a great price. My personal recommendation is the restaurant “Sale El Detail” (address: A700 road, 20; coordinates 36.812006, -4.374701). My culinary tips: Gazpacho or porra, which are very similar (Gazpacho – a mix of blended tomatoes along with breadcrumbs, garlic, vinegar, onion and oil and is eaten cold) and Porra (wheat or bread moistened and then cooked in a pan with eggs, green peppers and chorizo).
Another site that should not be missed for a great photo is the viewpoint from the restaurant “El Mirador” – there, you will see how high up you are and can take beautiful photos with the city of Málaga in the background.