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Spanish firs and a herd of ibex. Javier Almellones
Sierra de las Nieves: the pinsapo forests that know how to live forever
TREASURES OF MALAGA

Sierra de las Nieves: the pinsapo forests that know how to live forever

The area boasts numerous hiking trails and footpaths, some of the most stunning being in the highest part of the park, where the Spanish firs are able to withstand the sweltering heat of summer and also the cold of winter

Javier Almellones

Malaga

Wednesday, 1 November 2023, 09:06

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The pinsapo, or Spanish fir, is a tree that has been able to withstand extremely cold temperatures, but also harsh droughts. It is an exceptional type of fir due to its resistance over time and its exclusivity, as it can mainly only be found in what is now the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, as well as in the area of Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja (near Estepona) and the Sierra de Grazalema.

The Abies pinsapo - the scientific name of this species - is today, on its own merits, the botanical jewel of the only national park in the province of Malaga. Even before it became a national park, however, these mountains have long been protected both as a natural park and a biosphere reserve due to the long-standing presence of this unique tree.

The area contains almost twenty pine groves, ranging from the densest to the most isolated and scattered. The most outstanding are those that can be seen in the areas of Yunquera, El Burgo, Tolox, Ronda and Parauta.

The Sierra de las Nieves boasts numerous hiking trails and footpaths, some of the most stunning being in the highest part of the park, where the Spanish firs have taken refuge for millennia, able to withstand the sweltering heat of many days in July and August, but also the cold that can be felt at these heights in the coldest weeks of winter.

A good place to admire these trees is the pinsapar near Yunquera, as it has two main access areas: the Puerto de Saucillo or the Luis Ceballos viewpoint. These two enclaves can be reached by a forest track, although, at a fork in the road, you have to choose between one or the other.

In both cases, the contact with the Spanish fir is direct. There are different options in the area: the Cueva del Agua route, Puerto Bellina, Peñón de Enamorados or Tajo de la Caína, among others. You will be able to see exceptional Spanish firs such as the Candelabro, so-called because of the shape of its trunk and its lower branches.

The Sierra de las Nieves is also shared by towns and villages in the Serranía, such as Ronda itself or Parauta. They also have pinsapos, such as the Escalereta, which, despite having entered its biological decline, is now protected as a natural monument of Andalucía. Among the area's pinsapares, the most outstanding in Ronda are those of the ravines of El Cuerno, Las Ánimas, Hoyo de la Caridad and La Breña. There are two main options for accessing these forests: the Quejigales recreational area and La Nava.

No less important are the Spanish fir forests accessible from Tolox, next to Cerro Corona, or from El Burgo, on the routes that start from Los Sauces.

WHAT TO VISIT

Pinsapo forests: In Yunquera, El Burgo, Ronda, Tolox and Parauta.

Trees: The Escalereta, Falsa Escalereta or Candelabro, among others.

Stopping points: Mirador de Luis Ceballos, Tajo de la Caína, Cueva del Agua, Puerto del Saucillo and Los Sauces.

Routes: Puerto Bellina, Cueva del Agua, Tajo de la Caína, El Burgo-Yunquera (stage of the Gran Senda de Málaga).

WHERE TO EAT

Bodega del Porfín: Traditional tavern in Yunquera.

Venta El Yoni: Specialised in meats in El Burgo.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Cerro de Hijar: Next to Cerro Corona, near the Pinsapar in Tolox.

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