The end of summer and the gradual lowering of temperatures is the perfect time to encourage yourself to enjoy nature. province of Málaga can boast of being one of those with the most natural parks on its territory, surpassed only by Granada and equaled by Cadiz, perfect for a break from the beach routine.
Likewise, there is a peculiarity and that is that Malaga has one of the smallest natural parks in the country, Montes de Malaga, and part of the countryside occupies the largest park in Andalusia, Los Alcornocales. All the parks in Málaga share one characteristic and that is that they are some of the highest mountains in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
The mountains of Malaga
The Montes de Málaga Natural Park is one of the smallest natural parks in all of Spain, yet it is known as the great the green lung of Malaga. Its territory lies between the capital of Malaga, Casabermeja and, to a lesser extent, Colmenar. Los Montes de Málaga is ideal for hiking, cycling and mountain biking, and you can not only explore the beauty of the natural landscapes, but also enjoy the amazing cuisine. Between autumn and spring, its traditional sales are particularly popular.
The Natural Park has points of great interest such as the Lagar de Torrijos Ecomuseum. Also noteworthy is the visit to Fuente la Reina and Llano de Contadoras, from where we can enjoy impressive views of the Guadalhorce Valley and the Sierra de las Nieves. As for the viewpoints, there are some as spectacular as Vázquez Sell, El Cochino, Pocopán or Martínez Falero.
Sierra de las Nieves
Located in the Serranía de Ronda to the west of Málaga, this park is named for UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and became the sixteenth national park in Spain, the third in Andalusia and the first in Malaga.
This corner of Malaga province has great landscape value, great diversity and microclimate in which you can find peaks of almost 2000 meters above sea level, to the deepest chasm in Andalusia.
But what makes this park truly unique is its botanical wealthwith up to 15,000 species of plants, with a special hero: the Spanish fir, the botanical emblem of the natural park, as it is a type of fir that is unique in the world.
This area has as its main axis the mountain massif of the same name. Both its valleys and the various mountain peaks, such as La Torrecilla peak, the second highest in the province of Málaga at 1,919 meters above sea level, can be discovered through its hiking routes. The Salto de la Rejía waterfall, Peñón de Enamorados, Quejigales recreation area, Castaño Santo, Pinsapo de la Escalereta or Mirador del Guarda Forestal are other places to see.
A significant part of Los Alcornocales is located in the municipality of Cortes de la Frontera in Málaga, although almost all of the park is in the territory of Cádiz. A vast mass of cork oaks, holm oaks and oaks make up a vast forest of 170,000 hectares and in its 1,677 square kilometers live dozens of animal species, it hides rivers, lagoons, limestone peaks and caves covered with prehistoric paintings.
This area is a real paradise for hiking lovers. In addition, there are notable places such as the Natural Monument of Buitreras del Guadiaro, El Picacho, which with its 882 meters of height is the second highest point in the park, and the Visitor Center located in Cortes, a unique information point in Andalucía as it offers virtual walks through the natural parks of Sierra de Grasalema, Sierra de las Nieves and Los Alcornocales.
Sierra de Grazalema
Most of the territory of the natural park belongs to the province of Cádiz, but there is a very significant part of Málaga in the south and east of the Sierra de Grasalema, Cortes de la Frontera, Montejaque, Benaoján, Ronda and Jimera de Líbar.
Grazalema is distinguished by being the corner of the peninsula with the most annual rainfall and by its spectacular nature with fir forests, caves, reservoirs, rivers, archaeological traces and a large flora and fauna.
Among the most unique enclaves in this part of Malaga is Geological complex of the Llanos de Líbar. We must also add the natural monuments of Cueva del Hundidero (Montejaque) and Cueva del Gato (Benaoyan), as well as a particularly valuable cavity for the cave paintings found inside, on Pool cave. Presa de los Caballeros, Angosturas del Guadiarro or Buitreras del Guadiaro are other must-sees in this natural park.
The most interesting places in the park can be discovered through an extensive network of 20 trails. To visit them, as well as to get information and maps of the routes, it is necessary to book at the El Bosque Visitor Center, where it is advisable to call well in advance if you plan to go in the height of the season.
Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama
Málaga shares with Granada another of Andalusia’s most important protected areas, Las Natural Park The Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama with more than forty thousand hectares. The Sierras de Tejeda and Almijara are located on the Malaga side, in the heart of the Axarquia region.
Although different cultures have come together in this space, the three mountain ranges have a pronounced Muslim heritage, with white villages scattered across valleys and mountain ranges that are difficult to access.
In these mountain ranges, the white and gray tones of the ridges and ravines prevail, as a result of the abundant marble of the area.
The park also has a rich fauna where you can see flights of great eagles or mountain goat, an exceptional Iberian species that is one of the most numerous in the country in the park.
Among its most spectacular enclaves are “Rahíge” and Saltillo, the Alcázar recreation area, the rivers with “cahorros”, Lucero peak, Cuesta del Cielo or the village of Acebuchal. In addition, Mount Tejeda, the roof of Málaga, stands out at 2,065 meters above sea level.
Also part of the Malaga side of this park are the towns Salares, Canillas de Aceituno, Competa, Frigiliana, Canillas de Albaida, Alcaucin, Nerja and Cedella from which you can take various hiking trails or visit unique enclaves.