I love living in Malaga because of its proximity to both the sea and the mountains. Last weekend, I decided to skip the sand for once, and head to the mountains for a nice, long hike. I swapped the palm trees for pine trees- a total surprise. I didn’t know Malaga even had pine trees! 😛
Another little-known fact (to me at least hahaha): There is a train that goes directly from Maria Zambrano to El Chorro! I learned this the hard way, so I thought I’d share the love with you. It’s not well-advertised, and is actually quite obscure in person too. This is surprising to me since El Chorro is the home of the notorious El Caminito Del Rey, which draws in so many locals and tourists, it’s usually sold out!
For those traveling from Malaga
If you go to http://www.renfe.com/ you can search for trains going from Malaga Maria Zambrano to El Chorro and the return trip for dates and times.
Knowing the train is available makes everything so much easier. I took a train from Malaga Centro to Alora, then an ominous 35+ minute bus ride from Alora to El Chorro. The train is cheaper and obviously much faster. It’s a 42-minute one-way trip compared to an almost-2-hours one way by train and bus. Online, El Chorro seems so remote and out of the way. But with the train, it could easily be a weekly trip for those who love hiking!
El Chorro has much more to offer than just El Caminito del Rey. There are multiple mountain biking and hiking trails varying in difficulty and length. I discovered, by accident, the other side of El Chorro, which includes a gorgeous lake, an opportunity for water sports, and even more hiking.
Tips + Tricks
Take sunscreen. The sun in Spain is intense year-round. There is little shadow on the mountainside, so be prepared with your own sun protection. Take a hat, and consider a lightweight long-sleeved shirt.
Take your own water supply and ample snacks (that won’t spoil in the heat). Crackers, bananas, and canned tuna do well to give you your carbs, potassium, and protein!
Remember that everything takes longer than expected, especially hiking. Plan your hike with adequate time and have a plan B if you miss your return bus or train.
If you’re going independently, DON’T make it a late trip. Leave early in the morning. The heat is always the worse after 2pm, so don’t decide to leave your flat at 12pm. Plus leaving earlier obviously gives you more time to enjoy the trip with increased chances of convenient transportation.
The trails are pretty straightforward. Where I come from in Ohio, hiking can be a lil dangerous with trees, hidden falls, and cliffs. The Spanish trails are wide-open, which has its pros (not getting lost) and cons (no shade). Even though the trails are easy to follow, I’d still recommend the buddy-system! Find a partner and go hiking. Don’t go all by yourself!
I checked out only the mountainside of El Chorro this time, but my next trip, I fully plan to check out the lake. I’ll report back with more photos then. 😉