Outdoor Activities in the Costa del Sol

Information on the national parks, nature reserves and locations for hiking, walking, horse riding and other outdoor activities around the hills inland of the Costa del Sol's coastline and in the province of Cadiz...

  • The Costa del Sol covers around 300 Km of Mediterranean coast
  • Long sandy beaches are found mainly to the west of Málaga
  • Torremolinos, Benalmádena and Fuengirola have the most popular beaches
  • To the east of Málaga, the beaches are generally smaller and there are more cliffs and coves
  • The Balcony of Europe (Balcón de Europa) is in Nerja

The main natural parks include the Parque National De Las Nieves, the Parque National Montes de Málaga, the Parque National Sierra de Grazalema, the Parque Naturel Los Alcornocales and the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama.

The mild winter climate means a wide range of outdoor activities are available throughout the year. Below is information on:

Walking, Hiking and Climbing

Walking (excursionismo), hiking (caminata) and climbing (escalada) are managed by the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation.

The Federación Andaluza de Montañismo (Andalucian Federation of Mountaineering) is a not-for-profit umbrella organisation for mountaineering and climbing clubs in Andalucia. The federation works to provide mountaineering and climbing education and coordinates the construction and maintenance of mountain refuges. The federation website includes maps of refuges in Andalucia and contact information for member clubs.

The Sierra San Bartolomé in the Parque Natural del Frente Litoral (Cádiz province) is a popular venue for rock climbing as well as many other outdoor sports.

Natural parks

The Costa del Sol has many natural parks that offer numerous possibilities for walkers and hikers, with guided tours available for visitors. There are daily limits on the number of visitors who can access certain areas of a park and some areas are completely closed to the public. It may be necessary to book in advance to visit one of the limited access areas. The parks are particularly busy at weekends and during holidays. Information is available at the park centres or from regional authorities.

Sierra de la Nieves Natural Park

Sierra de la Nieves Natural Park, Parque Natural Sierra de las Nieves, is located in the Serrania de Ronda region. It encompasses the Torrecila Mountain (1,919m) and also deep ravines and gorges, such as Caina, which has a 1,100m drop. The Nature Park of Sierra de las Nieves has a range of flora from Spanish firs to holm and cork oaks. Walkers can follow natural paths and see many protected species, including wild cats, birds of prey and mountain goats.

The weather in this area can change very quickly, so it is wise to know what weather to expect and to leave details concerning the intended route with a guard or a friend.

Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

The Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema is a stunning natural area located in Cádiz and Málaga provinces. The park is an ideal location for hiking, rock climbing, canyoning and other outdoor pursuits. The Garganta Verde is a 400-metre deep canyon that is home to a large colony of Grifon Vultures (Buitros Leonados) and birds of prey. Access to the walking paths is restricted at all times and access to the Garganta Verde is restricted during the Grifon Vulture breeding season. A permit is required and is available from the Grazalema Oficina de Turismo.

Los Alcornocales Nature Reserve

This park is most well-known for its cork oak forest. There are also 18 different species of birds of prey and other fishing birds.

Montes de Málaga Natural Park

The Montes de Málaga Natural Park, Parque National Montes de Málaga is found to the north of Malága city. This park has Aleppo pine covered mountains. Like the other parks, Montes de Málaga Natural Park also has a wide variety of wildlife.

Natural Park of Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama

Known in Spanish as the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama, this nature park covers the vast mountainous area from Málaga to Otívar. The Maroma Peak offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean.

National Park Torcal De Antequerra

Parque National Torcal De Antequerra is found south of Antequerra. This park features the Torcal rock formations. There is a visitor centre at the park with an interactive exhibition to discover the origins of the rock formations.

  • Tel: 952 031 389

Ardales Park

There are numerous activities available in Parque Ardales that covers the Guadalhorce river gorge and pine forests. This ecotourism resort provides many outdoor activities such as hiking, caving, climbing and water sports in the reservoir.

Horse Riding

The variety of terrain in the Costa del Sol makes it ideal for horse riding (hípica). There are many riding schools and stables (establos or picaderos) that offer lessons.

Information about horse riding and licences to ride at clubs and horse riding disciplines is available from the Royal Spanish Horse Riding Federation (Real Federación Hípica Español).

A preferred trekking destination is the Serranía de Ronda. Schools and stables also organise excursions. The most well-known equestrian centre in the Costa del Sol is the school of Equestrian Art. It organises events and competitions, in addition to providing training and examinations.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

Good road as well as mountain biking is possible in both Malaga and Cádiz provinces. Vejer de la Frontera and Conil de la Frontera are especially good places for off-road mountain biking, with maintained paths as well as single track.

Vías Verdes are paths, open to walkers as well as cyclists, created along disused railway lines; these paths make for easy riding with only slight gradients. The Sierra Greenway Via Verde is 36 Km long and connects Cádiz to Seville.

Fishing

Fishing (pesca) in Spain requires a permit.

For information concerning clubs and competitions, contact the Regional Fishing Federation for Andalucía (Federación Andaluza de Pesca Deportiva).

Golf

There are over 40 golf courses in the region and one municipal course at La Cañada. The golf high season takes place in the winter months as the weather is particularly mild and prices are adjusted accordingly. Some courses will only admit members. However, more and more courses are adopting "pay and play" and "phone and play" schemes. Most golf courses require a handicap certificate.

The Costa del Sol Tourist Board provides additional information about golf academies, shops, competitions and courses.