Lately we have stopped looking for “child-friendly walks”. We are well over the buggy stage now, the kids are older and stronger and we find that once they’re with their friends and having fun, it is us old fogies that are struggling to keep up!
So we’ve gone pro. And suddenly there’s so much to choose from! Living on the coast in Torre del Mar, the mountains are literally on our doorstep.
We decided to take on the iconic peak of El Cielo (meaning both “sky” and “heaven”) that soars above the pretty coastal village of Nerja. It reaches an impressive 1,508m at only 6km from the coast, so though we accepted from the outset that we probably wouldn’t make it to the top, we were hopefull of some good views.
How to get there
Coming from Malaga on the A-7, take the second exit (295) in to Nerja in the direction of Maro. At the roundabout take the first exit. Look out for the ruins of the old sugar factory facing the sea on the hill on your right. At the next roundabout take the second exit. Pass the old Eagle Aqueduct on your left. One more roundabout; take the second exit on to Calle Ctra. a la Cueva. About 100 metres up the hill is the entrance to the Nerja Caves.
There’s a car park here, or at this time of year the gate is open, so drive on through in to the natural park. The track is fairly rough and pot-holed but doable. After about 4km, you’ll arrive at a Y-junction. You can park here.
To the left, a signpost points you to the área recreativa El Pinarillo (another 2km). To the right a wide path is signposted for Pico El Cielo. A barrier prevents you from driving any farther.
So backpacks on and off we set!
The wide gravelly track is smooth and and easy to follow.
This hike would be ideal for an all-terrain buggy, though with some huffing and puffing on the steeper sections.
Up and up we went. The main path is wide and clear all the way. Lots of parallel cross-country paths cut through the trees and rejoin the track further along, but these were too steep for us to take on the ascent. We used them as shortcuts on the way back for a very rapid descent. Watch your knees though!
The sierras are so beautiful at this time of year. After all the recent downpours, the valleys have been washed clean and rejuvenated. Almond trees are blossoming and the smell of damp earth and pine trees makes me feel alive.
Spring flowers including wild irises and orchids are bursting out everywhere while aromatic rosemary, lavender and thyme creep around the rocks.
Time for lunch with a view.
Soon after, we spotted a rocky outcrop to the right of the path which we climbed out to for some snaps.
We had some fun taking daredevil-looking shots from just the right angle.
You can continue on this route up to Cortijo de la Civilia and on to the summit. This time we didn’t make it to the top, but it’s in our sights now.
Here’s the Wikiloc map to guide you all the way to the summit.
Read about the full El Cielo hike here.
Read about another blogger’s experience on El Cielo.
Other hikes near Nerja
A breath-taking walk from Cañuelo to Cantarriján beach through the Cerro Gordo natural park.
Have you hiked up El Cielo?
I would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below.