Walking in Nerja is a pleasure but it’s great to get out into the hills and the open spaces and really appreciate the amazing scenery to be discovered right within the Nerja municipal territory. Here we have collected some details on the most outstanding and enjoyable of these walks.
Walking to the Nerja Dam.
This route follows the river Chillar and, year round, the water rises to knee level at some points. Access to the route is via Calle Picasso (one of the streets above the Municipal Sports Centre), which leads to a pathway down to the river bed. You can also get there from the mouth of the river at El Playazo Beach.
Follow the lane which winds through the crops of the Rio Chíllar river until you reach the confluence with the river Higuerón. On the hill which separates both waterways, La Cruz del Pinto (The Pinto Cross), there is a dry quarry. Behind the quarry, the river bed narrows and the lane continues to La Tecera Fabrica (The Third Factory) or Salto Grande (Great Jump), a small hydroelectric station.
From here, the path alternates between each of the river banks. After walking along the river bed for a considerable stretch, you will reach the tarn known as El Vado de los Patos (The Ford of the Ducks), where you will be able to take a dip.
Approximately 2 kilometres further you will see La Presa (The Dam) and at this point the river widens. On your left you will see a small eucalyptus forest, and a little further still you will find a couple of semi-ruined houses in front of which stands a large apricot tree. The dam is a large reservoir to the right of the river and will eventually reach the irrigation channels running through one side of the Chíllar valley.
You can walk back along the irrigation channels, about 6,5km, and, halfway, pass through the so-called Cueva de las Palomas (Cave of the Doves). The channel ends at the Tercera Fábrica. By following this alternative route back you can see the entire valley through which the river flows.
The distance from the beginning of the route through to the dam is about 8km.
Walking to Fuente del Esparto (El Pinarillo)
This is some of the best walking in Andalucia. From the N-340 coast road take the turn-off to the Cuevas de Nerja (Nerja Caves). At the entrance to the car park, follow the lane to the left next to a small pine tree.
The path rises between low hills and there are young pine trees on the right of the Barranco de la Coladilla de los Cazadores (Ravine of the Hunter).
After about two and a half kilometres you will come to a fork, the path to the right leading to the Cortijo de La Civila (La Civila Farmhouse) via de Cuesta de Romero (Romero Hill) and the path to the left taking you to the Esparto Fountain. The Barranco de la Coladilla, continuing in the bottom of the valley, is dotted with small pine trees, box woods, rosemary and juniper bushes.
The opposite side is the Cerro Mangüeno (Mangüeno Hill) where a firebreak runs along the crest.
Just under 2 kilometres past the La Civila fork and after passing the old rubbish dump, you arrive at a recreational area known as El Pinarillo (The Little Pine) which has drinkable water and barbecues. Following the path to the left you will arrive at Fuente del Esparto.
The name derives from the esparto grass, which was picked for use in local handicrafts as a base material in the manufacture of ropes, baskets, espadrilles, etc.
The distance from the N-340 is 6km.
An alternative route is along the base of the Barranco de la Coladilla. Access is gained by heading from the N-340 towards the old Fábrica de San Joaquin (San Joaquin Factory) and following a lane which begins from behind this factory.
Close by, you will see the Acueducto del Aguila (Eagle’s Aqueduct), built to carry water to this old sugar factory. Turn right through the tunnel under the N-340 and then left through a second tunnel. About 100m further on is a ramp to the right which takes you into the Natural Park. Keep following the path down into the ravine.
The ravine is cool and, if you are lucky, you may see wild deer and black squirrels. Eucalyptus trees abound. Just keep walking and you will come to a steep, winding hill. At the top, the lane forks. The left fork will take you to El Pinarillo from where you can follow the path to the left to reach Fuente del Esparto.
Walking up the mountains: Cuesta del Cielo
This walk requires a good pair of legs and some steady footwear! The first section of this route, up to Los Cortijos de la Civila (The Farmhouses of La Civila) is easy and can be made by car if so desired, although it does get progressively more difficult. From the farmhouses it is on foot to the Cuesta del Cielo (Hill of the Sky). The peak is 1,505m and is very striking because of its pyramidal shape. The ascent is steep but the views from the top are fabulous.
From a lane which begins next to the Camping de Nerja (Nerja Camping Site) start walking through the pine grove and leave it at a ruined house in the middle of a clearing on the left. Climb upwards through the olive grove, keeping the stone wall to y our right. This area is known as Viña de Maro (Maro Vineyard).
Upon reaching the last olive tree and next to a large pine there is a path bordering the hill and, in the distance, is the Cortijo de Juan el Molinero (The Farmhouse of John the Miller). The path winds half-way up the slope and then it is upwards to the farmhouse and views of Nerja, Maro and the Torrox Lighthouse. Crossing a pine grove, the path continues to La Civila from the Nerja Caves.
La Civila is a group of houses at the base of a hill and is surrounded by prickly pear and almond trees. From here to the Cuesta del Cielo is a two hour walk. Follow the path up the hillside Reaching the top of this hill, you can see the eastern slope and there is a magnificent view of the coast. You will see Punta de la Mona, Cerro Gordo and the fertile valley of the Rio de la Miel. Directly in front looms a peak called La Cabeza del Caballo (The Horse´s Head).
A few metres further up, next to a dried-up tree, the path forks. Take the left fork which follows the side of the mountain. The path eventually disappears and at this point you continue cross-country until reaching the summit, crowned with a mirrored cross.
The distance from the camp site is approximately 9 km