There are many things one can do when being on holiday near Malaga, but my partner and I decided to go on a hiking trip which was not listed on any what to do around Malaga lists. We went hiking in the mountain range of the Sierra de Mijas. To make the trip in one day, we decided to use the cable car from Benalmádena to the mount Calamorro (770m), which gave us more time to spend in the mountains.
Getting to the Benalmádena Cable Car
In the morning, we caught a train from Los Boliches and got out in Arroyo de la Miel (Benalmádena). The train runs every 20 minutes, and the ride took only about fifteen minutes. If you are coming from Malaga, you can use the same train but from the opposite direction. (It is the C1 line you can also use when getting from or to the Malaga Airport). From the train station, it was five mins walk to the cable car station. Although we wanted an early start, we were dependent on the cable car which operated from 11 am (in June). This shortened the time we had planned to spend hiking, but at least we found this information on the website of the Benalmádena Cable Car the previous day and didn’t come too early.
Cable Car from Benalmádena
The cable car cabins are small, designed for max. 4 people and we were pleasantly surprised when they let us go alone, although there was already a queue forming behind us. As there were only the two of us in the cabin, the 15 minutes long ride was comfortable even with our backpacks. During the journey, we listened to an audio guide which provided interesting facts about the landscape we could see around us. There were four recordings – two for the ride up and another two for the ride back down.
Immediately after aligning from the cable car, a beautiful vista of the Costa del Sol opened in front of us. It was a bright, sunny day and the panorama extended from Gibraltar on the west to the Sierra Nevada on the east. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes and then continued to the rocky stairs we had to climb to reach the summit. The stairs were steep, and it was slowly becoming crowded with tourist. But it was worth the effort because the panorama visible from the peak included not only the sea but the inland as well. Again, we took a few minutes to take it all in and then started to look for the hiking route.
Hiking Trail in the Sierra de Mijas
There was no sign indicating the trail, only a narrow footpath turning off the stairs leading to the falcon show. This first part of the trek was tricky. It was a descent of about 150m, and the path was a mix of sand and crumbling rocks, and it required steady feet. But after the descent, the terrain changed, and the route continued more steadily. At first, there were only shrubs, sand and a blue sky to accompany us but eventually, trees appeared, some were even high enough to provide some shade.
It was wonderful. Most of the time we had the vista of the town and sea underneath us, although the path zig-zagged and ascended, only to descend again a few meters later. We met there just a one person, who sprinted past us during our lunch break. He seemed to be running in the mountains whole day. The path was marked sporadically, and we often consulted our map with GPS. Nevertheless, we miss the turn leading to the city, and when we finally realized the mistake, it was shorter to continue and take the next one. This last part of the trail was a long descent with the altitude of 600m and leading mostly through wooded areas of the mountain range. The descent was fun, and we were enjoying the last opportunities to observe the beautiful landscape. But as we found the next day, it was really demanding for our legs, and they hurt whenever we used stairs for the next couple of days.
The descent ended in front of a busy motorway, and there was no way we could cross it. We consulted our map again and found out that there should be a signed path leading simultaneously with the motorway. We couldn’t find the marked path and continued by following our GPS map until we found a dry water basin leading under the highway. It looked like a tunnel and at the end of it were stairs opening on to the furthest end of the town of Benalmádena. By this time we were exhausted, and instead of sightseeing the city, we had a coffee in one of the cafés and continued to the train station to catch a train back home.