Montes de Malaga Natural Park

Montes de Malaga Natural Park

Extremely close to the city of Malaga is the Montes de Malaga Natural Park. It is characterized by its dense Aleppo pine forest, hills, valleys and large number of water courses. The protected area covers nearly 5,000 hectares. Its hills range from 80 metres to just over 1,000 metres above sea level. The park is located in the river basin of the Río Guadalmedina, which flows to the west of the park.

The Aleppo pine forest that is characteristic of the Natural Park Montes de Málaga protects the city from flooding after heavy rain. In fact, following the re-conquest of Andalucia, much of this area was given to supporters of the monarchy as reward for their service. It was promptly logged out and used to grow grapes, olives and almonds. The resultant flooding caused major problems in the city and the area was eventually replanted with Aleppo pine to attempt to remedy the problem.

The Park is made up of a medium-height mountain range running parallel to the Mediterranean coast and being about 15 km away from it. Nowadays, traditional activities are still being carried out inside the Park, such as the making of ‘mountain wine.’ Its vicinity to the city of Malaga, as well as its landscape interest, make the Park a highly valuable recreational area for the urban population and as an alternative to the Costa del Sol ‘sun and beach’ tourism.

The Montes de Malaga Natural Park is located directly to the North of Malaga city. Take the N340 towards Malaga and take the exit for Ciudad Jardine at junction 243. The roads loops under the motorway and descends through a tunnel towards the centre of Malaga. About 300 metres after the tunnel take a left turn and follow the road upwards past the Lidl supermarket, turning left at the roundabout. At the traffic lights, take another left and follow the road into the park.

The park is located between the Sierra de las Nieves Natural park to the west and the Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Almara Natural Park to the east.


There are five signposted walks in the park:

Sendero El Cerrado is a circular walk of around 4km. This route takes you through pine forest, some of which was destroyed by fire in 1989. One of the reasons the walks is particularly interesting is because it allows the visitor to see how the forest has regenerated since the fire. The best part of the walk is the view point ‘Mirador del Cochino’ which provides fantastic views of the park.

Sendero de Torrijos is a short straight walk of 2½km. It takes allows the walker to see some typical houses that were built around the 19th century. Some of these can be visited.

The Sendero de Picapedreros is a more strenuous 7km walk which heads uphill through forest. It takes in several waterfalls and provides wonderful views over the park.

The other two paths are the Sendero de Contadores and the Sendero de Pocopán.

There are plenty of places to visit in the Montes de Malaga Natural Park. These include the Ecomuseo Lagar de Torrijos which was a former lagar (a house which was predominantly used for wine production) which has now been converted into a museum.

An area called the Piedras de Cabrera has cave paintings in many caverns.

Colmenar, is a white village in the district of La Axarquía, characterized by its narrow and small streets. In Casabermeja, where remains of megalithic sepulchres are found, the Arabs also left their mark in the shape of the wall and the Zambra Tower.

“La Alcazaba,” is an Arab fortress, visit it to admire the Renaissance majesty of its cathedral and to immerse oneself in the liveliness of its historic city centre.


The Montes de Malaga Natural Park is home to a diverse number of species of birds, mammals and reptiles. It is one of the few places where chameleons are still found and has a significant population of long tailed newts. Polecats, weasels, wild cats, stone martins and wild boar are all found here. Many birds of prey including eagles, sparrowhawk, goshawk, buzzards and eagle owls inhabit the forests.

The predominant plant within the Montes de Malaga Natural Park is the Aleppo pine – planted to help prevent major floods. However, there are also many other types of trees including scarlet oak, madrona, olive tree and cork oak as well as the stone pine and Monterrey pine. There are areas of Mediterranean scrubland which plays host to more mature pine trees and lentisc, dwarf fan palms, oleanders and strawberry trees but to name but a few.


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