Montes de Malaga Natural park in Andalucia

Montes de Málaga

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Malaga
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 4,996 hectares

Points of interest

The Montes de Málaga natural park is just 5km from the city of Málaga. It consists of rolling hills and mountains with a high point of 1031m. The highest road pass is Puerto de León at 960m.

There are many streams that cut through the park and fall into the Guadalmedina river to the west. The slopes are planted with pines and offer beautiful views of the Mediterranean countryside and coast.

The natural trees and scrub were removed to allow for cultivation as early as the 16thC. At this time olive trees and vines were planted but this caused a major problem in more recent past for the city of Málaga. Clearing the ground over the centuries had allowed water erosion, which silted up the river course and created flash flooding of the city below. This problem was eased around 1930 by the mass planting of Aleppo pines.

Many country restaurants or “Ventas” can be found through the park making it an extremely busy retreat from the city at weekends and bank holidays. (Read about ventas in the Ronda area here)

Flora

In the northern area of the park natural vegetation of Carob (Ceratonia siliqua), Wild olives (Olea europaea subsp. oleaster), Holm (Quercus ilex), Cork (Quercus suber) and Gall oaks (Quercus faginea) occur. Otherwise Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis) are planted to secure the land. Other pines found here are Stone pine (Pinus pinea) and Monterey pine from California.

Lower shrubs include Lentisc (Pistacia lentisc), Strawberry tree (arbutus unedo), Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), Prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), Oleander (Nerium oleander), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Dwarf fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), Rockrose (Cistus ladanifer), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and Thyme (thymus vulgaris).

Fauna

The Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) comes top of the list for animals in the park. There are very few areas of suitable habitat left in Iberia for this unusual lizard. Other reptiles are spine-footed lizards, ocellated lizards, salamanders and geckos.

Mammals include Wild boar, Fox, Badger, Polecat, Genet, Weasel, Stone martin, Wild cat, Squirrel, Hedgehog and Rabbit.

Birdlife includes Short-toed and Booted eagles, Goshawk, Buzzard, Eagle, Barn and Tawny owl. Some of the smaller birds are Cuckoo, Thrush, Redwing, Green woodpecker, Jay, Woodpigeon, Red legged partridge, and sometimes Ring Ouzels in winter. The Firecrest is often seen as are all Tits. Nightingales living by the waterways can be heard in summer.


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Also in the area

  • In the Piedras de Cabrera area there are cave paintings in small scattered caverns.
  • Malaga city has historic buildings such as the Cathedral and ruins like the Roman amphitheatre and Arab fortress with city walls.
  • In Casabermeja the only Moorish remains are walls and the Zambra Tower.
  • Megalithic burial chambers have been found in the hills of Lagar de Villanueva and Chapera, as well as near the Cortijo del Hospital.
  • Histórico La Concepción Botanical Gardens. A 23-hectare botanical garden dating to 1855, with tropical & subtropical flora from 5 continents. Website (in Spanish)

Towns in the Montes de Malaga Area: Casabermeja, Colmenar, Málaga

Information/Visitors Centers

Ethnological museum “Lagar de Torrijos” On the road from Málaga to Colmenar (C-345) Km 544 (One kilometre past La Fuente de la Reina and about 20 kilometres from Malaga.)

The Lagar de Torrijos Ecomuseum stands in the midst of the dense pine groves so typical of the Montes de Malaga, at the beginning of one of the most attractive trails in the Nature Park.

The Montes de Malaga area was very famous in the past for its superb sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines. Even today the area conserves a number of the traditional wine pressing houses called lagares, although they are somewhat few and far between. Lagares are buildings in which most of the space is dedicated to wine production. One outstanding example is the Lagar de Torrijos, which dates back to 1843 and represents a prototypical Montes de Malaga wine pressing house. The building, which has been conserved virtually just as it was built, today houses an Ecomuseum which no visitor to the Nature Park can afford to miss.

The display inside provides a full explanation of the time honoured traditional techniques employed to produce the superb wines which have given the area such renown. Visitors can also browse through rooms containing bread ovens, an oil mill and even the living quarters.


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