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Nerja and Frigiliana – the underground gem of the Spanish Costa del Sol and a perfect place for all mountain hiking lovers – another idea for a short trip from Malaga

09/08/2020 10:45 AM

Nerja offers not only beautiful caves, which are often called an underground paradise, but also some great hiking trails. On the way back to Malaga, we suggest making a little detour, a few kilometers north, where a beautiful, picturesque, white village is situated. Of course, we are talking about Frigiliana, which will satisfy the needs of the most demanding lovers of mountain hiking. If you are not a keen mountaineer yourself, maybe a cup of strong Spanish coffee, with a breathtaking view of the mountains, could lure you into visiting this place. And all this only 50 km east of Malaga!

On one of the beautiful, sunny, June weekends we went for a short trip from Malaga to Nerja. This is one of the most interesting options for a short trip from the capital of the province. It's best to start the first day of your two-day trip with a pleasant trekking along the Chillar River. Unfortunately, we were unlucky and the trail was closed due to the quarantine, so we don't have any photos that could encourage you to go there, but it's definately worth it! As soon as the situation calms down, we will definitely try again.

There are free city car parks in the area:



https://goo.gl/maps/HMqgSwGc5QiBoVWw5 (there is a market on Tuesdays, so on this day you will not be able to park there)

After you park your car, go north to enter the trail here. It is of medium difficulty, mainly because you partly walk in the river itself - so be prepared to get wet! To reach Vado de Los Patos, a natural "pool", we have to walk 8 km (16 km there and back - about 6-7 hours all together, depending on your pace). Do not forget to wear a swimming suit and comfortable, full shoes (part of the route runs through the riverbed, the water sometimes reaches the ankles and sometimes even higher – we recommend full shoes which can stabilize your feet, in flip-flops or sandals it is easy to slip on wet stones) . Take some water, sunscreen and whatever you need for a little picnic! It is a very nice place where you could easily spend the whole day, but if you are planning to visit the cave later, on the same day, remember that the last visit is at 6:00 PM. As I mentioned, we have not been able to enter the trail recently due to quarantine (it was closed and guarded by the police), but we would like to share a little video we found on YouTube.

Cueva de Nerja, is one of the most famous and most frequently visited attractions of the entire Costa del Sol. We went there in June 2020, just after Andalusia had entered the third phase of the quarantine, and there were only a few visitors so we bought the tickets directly at the entrance. However, we suggest that you buy a ticket online at http://www.cuevadenerja.es/, because in the high season there are usually a lot of visitors and it’s better to book in advance to be sure not to miss it. A standard ticket costs 13 EUR, unless you choose one of the more sophisticated options – they offer specially prepared guided tours like "Science Underground" or "Cave Secrets".

An audioguide is included in the ticket price, so while walking between stalagmites and stalactites, we can learn how the cave was discovered, what parts it consists of and what geological, archaeological or biological treasures it hides.

The cave was discovered in 1959 by accident - a group of friends was walking around the area, when they noticed a narrow entrance to the cave, they decided to check what was inside. There, they came across some very old pottery and skeletal remains. Frightened, they turned back and immediately informed their family, friends and teachers about their discovery. They later participated in further exploration of the cave. It turned out that the cave had a very high archaeological value, so it was restored so that it could be made available to visitors. The official opening took place in 1960. Since then, every summer there is a "Festival internacional de música y danza" - "International Festival of Music and Dance", where even Paco de Lucia once performed. It is possible that the cave wall paintings are the oldest art so far found in Europe. Unfortunately, most of these paintings are not illuminated. Light favours the development of cyanobacteria and micro algae, which are present in the cave (they are responsible for the green colours of some parts of the walls). In order to protect the wall art, it’s kept in the dark. In the cave you will also find a 32 meters high column, which was placed in the Guinness Book of Records.

After leaving the cave, it is worth taking a short walk to the nearby hiking trail. I chose the longer version, it took me an hour to walk about 3 km. It is situated above the cave and there are information boards with some facts abour the cave itself and about the local fauna and flora.

We’ve also heard that renting kayaks on Playa de Burriana is a very cool option. Then you can swim left (east) – apparently there are many amazing caves and cliffs there. Unfortuately we read about this when we were already back to Malaga. Hopefully we can catch up next time!

On the second morning, we stopped in the picturesque village of Frigiliana. With a population of only 3000 inhabitants, located within the natural park of Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama it attracts visitors with its amazing landscape, a maze of winding, narrow streets and with quite a variety of optons for all lovers of mountain trips. In the photo below you can see all the hiking trails along with the information about the distance, estimated time needed to complete them and the level of difficulty.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to park in Frigiliana, despite the fact that there are free public parking lots. You just have to be patient. For vanlife enthusiasts, we also have one very nice parking lot in Torrox. There is a sign that it is not allowed to enter it with a campervan, but when we stayed there, there were quite a lot of campervans. Anyway, we had a police control there and they told us that this sign does not apply to our car because we do not have a camper, just a van. Good to know 🙂

Other articles about the province of Malaga:

 What does the Greek word “malaka” have to do with the Spanish coast of the sun – Costa del Sol? Do you know in which Spanish city an aphrodisiac from fermented fish guts was made? In the same where Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas were born. Today we will tell you the history of Malaga.

Which museums in Malaga offer free admission every Sunday and how to plan a perfect day not to miss anything – for fans of painting, contemporary art, history and archeology.

Where can you find out what cars were designed by Ettore Bugatti or what was the name of the first woman who designed her own plane? Málaga Museums, part two.

Walk along the King's (Little) Path and among the limestone rocks of the El Torcal de Antequera natural reserve - where you can go from Malaga for one day trips.