Hikes & Trails

The town of Monda is located in the area of Sierra de las Nieves Natural park  (” Snowy Mountains”). Even though it’s not likely it will snow during your stay, when you climb some of the higher mountains in the area, you may find a dusting of snow at the top in winter! 

The Sierra de las Nieves Natural park was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995.

This means that we are, apart from a few rural villages, in a largely uninhabited area that has seen very little human influence.

For this reason this area has a rich variety of indigenous flora (pine, fir, ash, chestnut, wild olive and oak trees as well as juniper) and fauna, including wild boar, mountain goats and muflons.

This makes the area ideal for hikes, long or short, any hike in this area is always amazing, no matter what season!

What do you need?

First, let’s make sure you go on a hike fully prepared. Some of the below hikes are pretty easy, others may be more complicated, each hike is at least 2 hours, some go up to 8 hours, so make sure you check the below checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a perfect hike! 

  • Water

    Make sure you bring at least 2 litres of water each. Try to get yourself a nice water bottle that keeps the water cool during your hike.
    And don't forget water for the dog too!

  • Hiking shoes/boots

    Especially if you go on a longer hike, you want to wear good shoes that have good grip. Some of these hikes go high into the mountains and there may be some light climbing.
    Good hiking shoes will make that a lot easier and safer!

  • Walking sticks

    You may think you're too young for using walking sticks, but trust me, you're going to need them! Especiallly on the longer hikes they really help navigate uneven ground and stop you from falling over in case you'll trip!
    You can rent hiking sticks on checkout when you book the apartment.

  • Hiking App

    You can download the Wikiloc hiking app to get access to the best hikes in the area

  • Snacks / Lunch

    First of all, make sure you had a good breakfast before you leave to go on your hike. Secondly, pack a few snacks like a banana, some chocolates, a sandwich and a sweet drink like a coke, in case you get lightheaded from all those amazing views!

  • A jacket

    Even though it's nice and warm from the starting point of your hike, you'll find the higher you get in altitude, the colder it becomes, and especially in winter or autumn, it does get pretty chilly at the top!
    bring a hoody or a jacket to prepare yourself for this.

  • A backpack

    Make sure you have a comfortable backpack to put all your items in. One that is gentle on the shoulders to avoid rubbing.
    your backpack should also have handy pockets for easy access to your water and snacks if you need them.

  • First Aid

    Pack a few plasters and if you have them some blister protection too.
    especially if your shoes are new, you need to make sure you're prepared!

  • A working phone

    Make sure your phone has full battery and your 3G internet works. You may not get much signal in the mountains, but you can always move to an area where there is a signal in case you need help.

  • And the dog?

    Make sure you bring some treats for the dog, definitely bring a bottle of water, and if the dog is small and it has a coat, bring that too.
    Bring a good lead for the dog and add a GPS tracker to their collar. It would also be good to put some reflective material around the colar, so you can easily see them when they go off to discover the forrest.
    We also used to bring an extra backpack for our small french bulldog, in case she got tired, we could put her in the backpack.

Remember the emergency number in Spain is: 112

They also speak English, ask for an english speaking attendant

Hikes & Trails

The below hikes and trails can all be found on the Wikiloc Hiking App  this is a free app, and we have an account with them where we track all our hikes so you can follow them too! 

Refugio de Juanar - Macho Montes & Mirador del Corzo

The starting point for this hike is a Refugio de Juanar – a 15 minute drive from the apartment. 

Click here for the map location of the starting point

TIP: When parking at Refugio de Juanar, especially in the weekend, make sure you park away from the hotel – you may already see cars parked on the side of the road when you arrive. It get’s super busy with cars parked on both sides of the road, meaning that when you return from your hike the 2 way street is now a 1 way street and with people still arriving, it may be a bit of a nightmare to get out. 

We usually park further down the road (in the direction you came from)  with our car facing the direction of the return route (so I turn my car before I start my hike) this way it is easier to get out. 

The hotel itself is not often open, in fact we have not seen it open once in all the times we went hiking, so don’t expect to be served anything there. You realy need to bring food and drinks yourself. 

This is a great hike to do when you are just starting off and have no experience with hiking. The hike has some elevation but not a lot, but still the views are spectacular! 

This hike is very popular and it was very busy when we went on this Sunday. We did this hike again on a Saturday when it was a lots better (less people).

Remember Refugio de Juanar gets really busy in the weekend especially Sundays, with 1000’s of kids running around, you want to avoid that so go on Saturday instead or if you can even during the week!

The parking can be a bit of a nightmare on the weekends as well so make sure you go early and park your car facing the route back so you don’t have to turn your car when you come back from your hike. 

This hike goes from the hotel “Refugio de Juanar” up to the first viewing point “Mirador del Corzo” and back down, then you keep following the trail up toward the “Mirador Macho Montes”.

Both are excellent viewing points. The last one you can go even higher and go to where the metal goat “Macho Montes”  is all the way at the top. Take pictures there. The view is breathtaking.

It is a shame every family with their kids and all the dogs had the same idea when we went and that spoiled it a bit, but like I said, when we went a second time, (not a bank holiday and on Saturday) it was a lot better.

The hike is lovely and only takes around 2 hours. That is why it is a great one to do when it’s your first time, you get to know the area a bit and can enjoy the stunning views . 

Monda Loop - Roman Road & Calvary and Threshing floor monument

You can start this hike from the apartment so you don’t have to drive anywhere, and it’s a great hike to do when you want to explore the town too! 

The trail took us around 3 hours to do but we did stop to look at some historic sights on the way, so if you press on and just kept walking without taking in the sights you can probably do it in 2 hours!

Starting from the olive groves right opposite your apartment in Monda, passing the exit of Monda Castle, we went through the town to first see the Calvary and Threshing floor monument, continuing up to have a walk through the olive grove on the other side of the monument after which we made our way back down towards the old Roman road. 

The Roman Road (Calzada Romana) in spite of being built in Roman times, almost two thousand years ago, is still in pretty good condition. The oldest parts feature the larges slabs. It has been repaired in Medieval and in modern times. From medieval times conserves a great section where the cobbles were laid using the typical medieval opus spicatum (fishbone) pattern. Near the Alcazarín Stream,the road descends in steps; an unusual development on Roman roads. A wooden bridge used to span the Alcazarín stream.

We pass the Roman road and continue up on the road cross the river and onto the asphalted track to continue up to the highest point of the trail where we had a break to enjoy the view and a sandwich.

Making your way back down, back through the village towards our starting point.

On Sunday in the town you will find a Churros Van which is a delicious treat after a long hike and you can get tapas as the restaurants in the town too or continue your trail into the town center and up to the castle if you feel like it! 

Refugio de Juanar - Sendero de la Viborilla

The starting point for this hike is a Refugio de Juanar – a 15 minute drive from the apartment. 

Click here for the map location of the starting point

TIP: When parking at Refugio de Juanar, especially in the weekend, make sure you park away from the hotel – you may already see cars parked on the side of the road when you arrive. It get’s super busy with cars parked on both sides of the road, meaning that when you return from your hike the 2 way street is now a 1 way street and with people still arriving, it may be a bit of a nightmare to get out. 

We usually park further down the road (in the direction you came from)  with our car facing the direction of the return route (so I turn my car before I start my hike) this way it is easier to get out. 

The hotel itself is not often open, in fact we have not seen it open once in all the times we went hiking, so don’t expect to be served anything there. You realy need to bring food and drinks yourself. 

It was very cloudy when we did this trail, otherwise the views would be amazing!

Starting from the hotel, the trail is easy to begin with, about 45 minutes in the road goes up rapidly, you will have to climb a little bit nothing too dangerous or steep, it’ll just take a bit of effort.

Keep following the path, you can’t go astray.

The paths are so pretty and when you het higher it’ll get more sandy too which is great if you bring a dog.

A great trail for people that have moderate experience hiking.
Don’t bring your 80 year old granny!
Do bring your stick and good hiking shoes 🙂

Monda to Cerro Gordo Via Firebreak

You can start this hike from the apartment though in this occasion we drove to the petrol station and started the hike from there. 

If you wish to start this hike from the apartment, you should add at least 1.5 hour to the hiking time as you will need to walk from the apartment into the town and up to the petrol station on the highway. 

This trail is not a “recognised” trail, as in, no flags to follow. It is a little steep and challenging at times, you basically follow the Cerro Gordo trail (red flags) up to the forest, then you go “off track” around half way up the fire break to just follow the fire break all the way up.

You can recognise the exit by a metal red plate that’s placed at the exit.

Also, on my trail, I missed the exit, so you see I had to go back and find the exit.

If you follow the below Wokiloc link you will see where you have to take exits etc easily so you don’t make the same mistake we made! 

Once the fire break finishes, you continue up but move a little to the right of the mountain (it’s easier to continue up that way) this last bit especially is very steep and involves some rock climbing.
Don’t do this trail when it rains!

Once you get to the top, the views are magnificent. Have a break, eat a sandwich and make your way down slowly and carefully.

I would not recommend this trail if you have bad fitness or problems with feet / back. It really is pretty tough, though straightforward going up, it is a 600M+ climb in a very short space of time. Do bring good shoes and bring your hiking sticks too, that will be very helpful!

We both have a bit of vertigo, so getting to the top took a couple of years of our lives for sure, but the reward once you get to the top is amazing. 

Monda to Guaro Loop

You can start this hike from the apartment but be aware you will be walking some of the trail on the main road, so be careful with cars, they drive like maniacs sometimes! 

Also, if you’re bringing dogs, at a certain point along the trail there was a house with 6 dogs that got out and started following us, they didn’t do anything, just lots of barking, but keep your dog on the leash at least until the asphalted road is finished. 

This hike was a long one! It starts at the apartment when you take the trail down into the olive fields opposite of the apartment  we went through the field up towards the local swimming pool. 

Take the road up towards the Gun Club. This part is a little tough and pretty steep, take your time!
Once at the top, you keep following the route, it is pretty much asphalted all the way to the top.
Once at the top, you will get to the Gun Club (which is closed) and that is where the road ends and you go more off-road.

Mind you are going through the outskirts of the town so there are houses with dogs. Just before the Gun Club there was a house where one of the dogs escaped, that was a little stressful. But we all survived unscathed!

Now you start the descent through an absolutely beautiful landscape. There’s a house here and there, but generally just beautiful nature to look at.

The road ends in the village of Guaro. You can visit some local bars in this town or just walk through the town if you wish (we didn’t, but by all means – discover!) 

To go back you take the main road towards the right (direction of Monda) and make your way back to Monda (keep safe, you’re walking on the main road to Monda and some people drive like lunatics!)

This hike is pretty easy, apart from the first bit where you have to take the road up on the first mountain, but as explained, just take it slow, pause once in a while to take in the views. You’ll be at the top in no time!

Refugio de Juanar - Sendero del Pozuelo

The starting point for this hike is a Refugio de Juanar – a 15 minute drive from the apartment. 

Click here for the map location of the starting point

TIP: When parking at Refugio de Juanar, especially in the weekend, make sure you park away from the hotel – you may already see cars parked on the side of the road when you arrive. It get’s super busy with cars parked on both sides of the road, meaning that when you return from your hike the 2 way street is now a 1 way street and with people still arriving, it may be a bit of a nightmare to get out. 

We usually park further down the road (in the direction you came from)  with our car facing the direction of the return route (so I turn my car before I start my hike) this way it is easier to get out. 

The hotel itself is not often open, in fact we have not seen it open once in all the times we went hiking, so don’t expect to be served anything there. You realy need to bring food and drinks yourself. 

This hike was very pretty, so much to see, and the route was pretty quiet. Probably because it does go up high for a bit, so you need to be in good shape! (don’t worry, we’re moderate hikers and we had no problems, you can do it!)

It starts from the hotel, just by the parking, you take the road up by the sign of the route. You almost immediately go up, and keep going up for a good 45 minutes.
The view gets better and better each time you turn around to look back.

Finally we got to the top, here there’s a little road that goes down to continue the route (we deviated a bit to see where the other road took us, it didn’t really go anywhere so we went back to continue the main hike).

You follow the “ruta del pozuela” path first down and then very steeply up again, keep going and you will get to another peak with amazing views.

If you keep going you finally start your descent and you will then encounter the Pozuela (the water fountain) it’s an old one and not much to see, but still, it’s there.

The road back goes through the forrest it is so pretty and enchanting almost!

Eventually, you go down the side of the mountain,(you can see the road you drove in on towards the hotel) which will really test your leg muscles!

At some point the route tells you to go left through the river to the main road and keep walking there, we decided to just keep following the path (even though there was a red cross not to continue the route there) we continued anyway and this way also came back to the hotel.

I guess if it has rained a few days before it is not a good idea to deviate there as you have to cross 2 rivers and they may be full by then. They weren’t on our hike so we could do the little detour 🙂

Castillo de Monda to Quarry (Cañada La Rocha-Monda)

You can start this hike from the apartment also, just make your way to Monda Castle from the apartment and then continue following the trail as shown in the app. 

If you do this, you should add at least 1 additional hour to your hike.

This hike was lovely in the greenery – do bring your hiking shoes as the road is pretty broken and slippery because of loose stones at times. Bring your hiking sticks too!

We started this trail going from Monda Castle, down through the village towards the bridge that leads to the main motorway to Marbella or Coin.

You have to go under the bridge and then turn left on the side of the motorway. Follow that road until you can’t go any further, then you go off the road. (there’s a large sign to tell you about the hike you’re about to do)

Once you get off the road, you feel like you are walking into a river, don’t worry, keep going, you will enter the forrest at the end of the river.

You keep following the river, this is your trail it will soon go up pretty steep.

At some point all of the sudden you will exit the forrest and realise you have landed on the firebreak.

You can go up to the right or down to the left. Go up first, all the way to the top, for amazing views.

Unfortunately the people from the quarry have put gates up so you can’t go onto the path there, but it is a lovely area to sit and take a breath.

Then go down and also explore the other side, it has lovely views too, before you go back down. (you can see the apartment from here!)

You need hiking boots for this one, and sticks as the stones and loose stones make it very hard to get grip when using normal shoes.

But it’s easy enough, and the award is the absolutely stunning views!

Castillo de Monda to Cueva Santa

You can start this hike from the apartment also, just make your way to Monda Castle from the apartment and then continue following the trail as shown in the app. 

If you do this, you should add at least 1 additional hour to your hike.

The MOTHER of all hikes in this area. If you’re up for it (5 hours!) you should definitely do this one.

This was a great hike, it took us a total of 5 hours (including 45 minutes at the cave).

You start the hike at the Castle, then you go down, through the village and down to the outskirts of the village.

The first 30 minutes or so are on a flat road (going up steep to start, then flat) passing local homes.

Then all of the sudden you’re off-track and you simply follow the yellow signs. You can’t miss them!

Once you are about 300 meters from the cave there’s a sign on the side of the road to let you know you need to turn left into the bush it seems, but you will find a small path leading you to the caves there.

Finally you will arrive at Cueva Santa, which in addition to being a small wonder of nature, has been an important space in human history due to its possible occupation by prehistoric men, but also for having been the place chosen by the goat-herders to take refuge with their herd for hundreds of years, as well as the hiding place of some fugitives in speleothematic times past.

Bring a gift for the gods – people have left all sorts, and don’t forget to leave a note in the “guest book” when you’re there! It is not recommended to take anything from the cave as it will give bad luck for years to come, but if you leave a gift (a bracelet, coin, hair clip or a special photo etc) you will be blessed with many good fortunes (legend has it) and you don’t want to miss out on that right? 

Word of the wise: bring LOTS of water – this trail is pretty long so make sure you’re prepared. It is also not recommended to take this hike in the summer months as it does get pretty hot up there!