Malaga Natural Park

With the flames of the summer heat virtually burned out and with the advent of the cooler autumn months, thoughts turn again to outdoor activities, like walking in the countryside. Keep cool with your cheap car hire Málaga, all of our cars come with air conditioning.

One day in October we picked up a suggested route to the Pico del Convento, given to us earlier in the year by our friend and walking enthusiast Kenneth. On the drive towards Ardales on the A357 which links Malaga with Campillos, I idly wondered about the reliability of suggested walks, having written several walks books myself in England years ago. Whenever I went back to check the routes I invariably found that things had changed, often beyond all recognition, the notion of greenbelt or protected land being entirely a political and therefore temporary definition.

We parked our car near the lovely El Mirador restaurant, which looks out across the embalses (lakes) and made our way up a beautiful, shady track, the first stage of the walk. In fact the directions were very reliable and easy to follow, although the description of a ‘short walk’ soon seemed to us to be another case of variable definition. Still, the countryside was spectacular, even though the almost violent gusts of wind prevailing on that particular day proved to be as challenging as picking our happy way along the last stretch, a rocky footpath to the cliff that looks straight through the inside of the El Chorro Jorge.

How lovely to be away from people, barking dogs and speeding traffic for a change, how exhilarating to be at one with nature, our thoughts gliding with the vultures that were playing on the wind currents above the gorge. Flung back down the hillside by the wind, we then made our way to the El Mirador restaurant for tapas and a beer, feeling tired, yet extremely content.

The route (4-5 km)

To get to the start

Use your car rental from Malaga’s airport and follow the A357 from Malaga towards Ardales. Just past the turnoff to Ardales, turn right, following the signpost to Los Embalses. Continue all the way to the El Mirador restaurant. Turn right just before the restaurant, which is above a tunnel, following the sign to the restaurant car park.

The walk

From the car park follow a track for a couple of hundred metres (with the lakes on your left), then turn right onto the gated forestry track (5 mins).

After roughly half a kilometre take the smaller track uphill to the right (10 mins). This will pass a trig point on the left after about 1km (30 mins), and then turn into a footpath about three-quarters of a kilometre later (45 mins). Keep following the footpath for a further half kilometre. It is rocky but well marked until it peters out at a very small cairn (55 mins). Pico del Convento is the rocky outcrop (619m) to your right. The walk simply continues ahead of you a further few metres for fabulous views over the cliff into the interior of the gorge. Be very careful, especially with children, at this point.

Return the same way.

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