A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking Marbella’s Most Famous Mountain
La Concha is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Spain, and for good reason. The views from the top are breath-taking, and the challenge of reaching the summit is sure to leave even the most experienced hiker feeling accomplished.
Fun fact: La Concha is the reason why Marbella has its own microclimate, with the mountain and the sea, giving so many sunny days a year. This is why La Concha is known locally as the queen and protector of Marbella.
But it’s not all about enjoying the views and the sun! Climbing La Concha is not easy, so if you’re planning on tackling it, here’s what you need to know.
About La Concha, Spain
La Concha is a mountain located in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain. It is part of the Sierra Blanca range, which runs along the Mediterranean coast. The mountain is approximately 1,215 metres above sea level (4000 feet) and it takes most hikers between four and six hours to do the round trip to the summit and back. It’s worth it though, with lovely views of Gibraltar, northern Africa and Spain as you climb.
La Concha: Your Route to the Summit
There are two main routes that you can take to reach the top of La Concha, one is from Istan and the other starts at the Refugio de Juanar, which is the most popular and has easy parking.
From the Refugio de Juanar, the trail goes up past Ojen and through pine forest, and you will be treated to delightful views of olive trees as you arrive at The Cruz de Juanar peak. From there you will continue up, passing more pine forest. Eventually you will come to a steep climb known as “El Salto del Lobo” (in English this translates as Wolf’s Jump.) So, as the name suggests caution is advised! Past this section it’s a shorter walk to the summit, and you can gaze down at the impressive views feeling very pleased with yourself indeed.
Finally, at the end of the route, there is a bench at the top of La Concha. Once you reach the top, take a moment to sit there and be proud of yourself – you did it!
What to Pack: Essential Items for Your Hike of La Concha
Before you head out on your hike, be sure to pack plenty of water (1 litre per person is recommended), sunscreen, and light snacks. The best time of year to climb La Concha is the cooler months, autumn, winter and spring. It’s actually important to note that during the summer it is not recommended to hike La Concha by the health services due to the heat. Although it’s important to stay hydrated as even in the off seasons, it’s hot and there can be strong sun. You’ll also want to wear comfortable shoes and light clothing.
Finally, be sure to pack a camera or phone! The views from La Concha are some of the best in all of Spain, and you’ll want to be able to capture them.
What to Wear to Hike La Concha
Comfort is everything here. This is not the time to break out those super figure-flattering but uncomfortable tops in a non-breathable fabric. Nor is it the time to wear a floaty, light dress that could get caught in the shrubbery. In fact, practicality is the order of the day. Choose sensible clothing, and comfortable fabrics that will help you keep cool. Gym leggings or hiking trousers are essential due to the nature along the paths – no one likes to be stung by stinging nettles or scratched by other plants! Footwear is also important. Obviously hiking boots are recommended but make sure you wear them in beforehand, or take plenty of plasters for the climb. The last thing you want is sore feet all the way up (and down!).
How Fit do you Need to be to Climb La Concha?
Now it’s time to be serious, La Concha is not easy – it’s a hike and if you don’t pick a day with good weather, La Concha can be against you. So add this to your La Concha rule books, “pick a day with no clouds or strong wind”.
Back to fitness levels, don’t try and be a hero because La Concha will always win the fight if aren’t prepared. If you are comfortable with walking 10,000 steps at a constant good pace and do not have knee or back issues you can do La Concha.
It’s important to note that there is no health service at any point of the La Concha climb, so ensure you have evaluated your health before the trip and take a guide if you are inexperienced. At Swish we always put safety first, so please feel free to reach out to us at any-time for any safety advice.
Where to Park to Climb La Concha
Luckily just outside the Refugio de Juanar there is free parking, but don’t let the huge number of cars right by the Refugio stop you from following the path to the Juanar gates. Trust us you will want to park as close to La Concha as possible as on the way back you’ll be exhausted and every step counts!
Aim to arrive at the Refugio de Juanar around 9:30am for the best parking spots and also so you complete the hike in daylight to limit injuries.
Is La Concha Suitable Dogs?
There have been dogs that have climbed La Concha but it isn’t recommended, it is steep, with narrow paths and at times you need good grip. Our tip: leave your furry friend at your Swish pet-friendly villa.
Why Everyone Should Climb La Concha at Least Once
We think La Concha is a definite bucket list item. It can be challenging, it can be hot and it is sure to make you ache a little the next day, but those views and the big smile on your face as you reach the top are enough to take that all away!
Hiking La Concha is a must-do for any nature lover visiting southern Spain. With its stunning views and challenging trails, it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget. Just be sure to come prepared by packing plenty of water and sunscreen, wearing comfortable clothes, and bringing a camera along for the ride.
If you think La Concha is too difficult for you, the pine forest area around Refugio de Juanar is stunning and really recommended for a dog walk or a leisurely stroll.
After all, sitting around a luxury pool all day can be just too easy, right?
The Swish Team xx
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