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These are seven of the best inland locations to visit and cool off in Malaga this summer
Treasures of Malaga

These are seven of the best inland locations to visit and cool off in Malaga this summer

In some of the mountain areas, near major rivers, at the province's reservoirs and just slightly inland from the Costa del Sol's beaches there are many leisure opportunities just waiting to be discovered

Javier Almellones

Wednesday, 26 June 2024, 16:26

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You don't necessarily have to go to the beach or a swimming pool to cool off in Malaga province during the summer. There are destinations that even offer lower temperatures -especially at night-in mountainous areas, near important rivers including the Genal, the Guadiaro or the Turón and there are river beaches and reservoirs where you can rent a pedalo, go kayaking or paddle surfing.

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    Fray Leopoldo route

The streets of Parauta have a curious collection of outdoor chairs.

The itinerary, also known as the Alto Genal, includes a series of villages that offer mountain scenery, with temperatures that tend to be cooler than in other parts of Malaga province - especially at night. In addition to Alpandeire, which is the birthplace of Fray Leopoldo, this route includes other villages such as Parauta, Cartajima Júzcar, Faraján, Pujerra, Igualeja or Atajate.

From almost all of them you can walk along the banks of the Genal river, which unites them culturally and geographically. Except for a few hotels in Cartajima or Júzcar, most of the accommodation is in rural houses. This destination has improved its offer in recent years, Júzcar is now known as the Blue Village, Cartajima has been filled with murals, Parauta has an enchanted forest, while in Pujerra you can find crochet ornaments and original sculptures.

In addition to the trails along the Genal, you can go canyoning in the Sima del Diablo or hiking early in the morning on the Las Eras trail, in the limestone complex of Los Riscos, which is reminiscent of El Torcal in Antequera.

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    Benaoján and Montejaque

Entrance to the Cueva del Gato.

A three-kilometre stretch of road links the two villages which despite being inland, have a small beach. This is the area around Charco Frío, the large pool of crystalline water next to the Cueva del Gato, one of the best-known spots in the Sierra de Grazalema nature reserve.

There are also other possibilities on the banks of the Guadiaro river, especially on the path from Estación de Benaoján to Estación de Jimera. The evenings are usually cool and ideal for enjoying a stroll or a pleasant dinner on the terraces of Benaoján or Montejaque, where you can try the traditional gastronomy of the area, but also other traditional Andalusian dishes.

Other attractions in these two neighbouring villages are the Cueva de la Pileta, home to some of the most important cave paintings in Spain and the Llanos de Líbar, a surprising enclave some 1,000 metres above the sea, which is best visited early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

The traditional 'mollete' soft baps at the Máximo bakery and the pork products of some of the companies in Benaoján, as well as the jams and liqueurs of Al Jaque or the 'tortas de chicharrones' in Montejaque are some of the products that you should try and buy during your stay in the area.

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    Lower Genal

The Genal offers spectacular stretches in this area.

Genalguacil, Benarrabá, Jubrique, Algatocín and Gaucín make up a group of villages in the Serranía de Ronda that enjoy the beauty of the Genal, one of the most important rivers in Malaga province.

Just outside the villages there are several pools and river beaches that are especially popular during the summer weekends. Charco Redondo and Estrecho, near Puente de San Juan (on the border between Jubrique and Algatocín) or Prado de la Escribana (between Genalguacil and Benarrabá) are some of the most popular riverside enclaves.

The Charco Azul and other pools of the Estercal stream, between Genalguacil and Jubrique are also well worth a visit, as are El Águila castle (Gaucín), the narrow streets of Jubrique, the surroundings of the church of El Rosario (Algatocín) or the old quarter of Benarrabá and Genalguacil with its surprising collection of contemporary art, which can be seen during the first fortnight in August.

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    Conde del Guadalhorce reservoir and its surroundings

Paddle surf board for groups with Indian Sport, at El Chorro.

El Chorro reservoir in the municipality of Ardales, is not as full as it might be due to the ongoing drought in Malaga province, but is still an authentic river beach. There, you can rent a pedalo and go kayaking and paddle surfing.

There are active tourism companies, such as Indian Sport, which have been established there for decades. Their experience, the option of staying at the Parque Ardales campsite and the proximity of the Caminito del Rey make the area around the Conde del Guadalhorce reservoir a good option for those who want to spend the summer in an inland area.

Other places worth visiting in the area include Las Aguilillas necropolis, Ardales cave or Bobastro's spectacular viewpoints such as the Tres Embalses.

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    The High Turon

El Dique dam, on the river Turón.

Before flowing into the Conde del Guadalhorce, the River Turón rises in El Burgo and flows to Ardales. The Presa del Dique provides a veritable natural swimming pool for the inhabitants of El Burgo and other neighbouring towns. However, it is worth checking before you go whether bathing is permitted at the moment.

There are also spectacular spots such as the Forest Ranger's Viewpoint, an ideal place to get a view of the village and the first part of the Turón valley. The village itself is also an ideal place for an early morning or late afternoon stroll. Discovering the remains of the castle embedded in the walls of some of the houses or enjoying the panoramic views next to the La Encarnación church are other reasons to visit.

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    Malaga's Genil riverbank

Rafting can be practised on the Genil, as it passes through Cuevas Bajas.

Even in the current drought it is still possible to enjoy rafting on the white waters of the main tributary of the Guadalquivir. It is at this time of year when water is released from the nearby Iznájar reservoir to irrigate orchards downstream and also to supply what the Romans called the River Betis.

This means that rafting can be carried out here and the sport is the main tourist attraction in Cuevas Bajas. There is a saying that the Genil carries the water and the Guadalquivir, the fame. As well as rafting, in Cuevas Bajas you can enjoy riverside walks along the Genil and good value tapas in its bars and restaurants.

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    Second line of the beach of the western Costa del Sol

Charca de la Mina river beach. Ayuntamiento de Manilva

Not far from the Costa del Sol coast are the slightly more inland towns of Benalmádena Pueblo, Mijas Pueblo, Ojén, Istán, Benahavís, Casares and Manilva, all of which have beautiful historic centres and each one has its own attraction. For example the famous donkey taxis or tuk-tuk (electric vehicles) of Mijas Pueblo; the butterfly farm and the Buddhist Stupa in Benalmádena; the Angosturas del Guadalmina and the Montemayor castle in Benahavís; the river beach of La Mina and the muscatel vineyards in Manilva; the Cuevas Altas y Bajas in Ojén; the old town and the surroundings of the castle in Casares; or the Charco del Canalón in Istán.

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