Hiking in Malaga, in Sierra de Mijas: Pico de Mijas

Hiking to Pico de Mijas is one of the most rewarding things that you can do in Sierra de Mijas. Pico de Mijas is a medium to difficult hike, and it’s worth it for the beautiful views from the top. The hike to Pico de Mijas is a day’s trip from Malaga, taking at least 6 hours, plus the time you spend on the top.

Sierra de Mijas Mountain Range

a brown mountain goat looking straight at the camera, on a very rocky mountain terrain, surrounded by fallen trees, medium sized boulders and small bushes  

Pico de Mijas is the highest point of the Sierra de Mijas Mountain Range, sitting at 1,150 meters above the sea level.

Sierra de Mijas is part of the Cordillera Betica, one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain, that stretches between western Andalucia, Murcia, Valencia and the south of Castilla-La Mancha. The Rock of Gibraltar and the Sierra Nevada mountains are part of the Cordillera Betica.

Sierra de Mijas divides Costa del Sol from the Guadalhorce Valley, and it is mainly composed of marble and limestone. There are quite a few hiking trails in Sierra de Mijas, and one of the hardest leads to Pico de Mijas, its peak.

When Hiking to Pico de Mijas you will pass by types of vegetation, from pine wood forests to wild olive trees, many different types of herbs (thyme, rosemary, fennel, lavender, marjoram) and surprisingly, orchids.

Very often, you can meet mountain goats when you hike on the trails of Sierra de Mijas, especially around the rocky areas. Towards the top, where the vegetation rarefies, you can admire golden and booted eagles, kestrels and genets.

What to pack for a day hike to Pico Mijas

a brown rocky path on the right, going through a forest of tall skinny pine trees. On the left there is the oblique side of the mountain, with the view of the sea in the far top corner  

When you are hiking to Pico de Mijas, there are a few things that you should bring with you:

  • A small backpack
  • Good grip shoes, boots or hiking trainers. The terrain is rocky and slippery, you need proper hiking shoes when you are doing this hike  
  • Wear long pants, even if the weather is nice. There are many spiky bushes on the trail
  • At least 2 litres of water. I drank my entire bottle before even reaching the top
  • A hat – there are many parts of this trail that have no shade at all
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks to boost your energy on the way and sandwiches to eat at the top – remember to leave no trace behind and bring the trash back with you off the mountain
  • Trekking poles are very useful and recommended, but not necessary
  • A fully charged mobile phone, in case of emergency. Most of the trail has signal coverage

Hiking Pico de Mijas

A view from the first part of the hike: in the front of the photo the terrain is covered in loose rocks, with a couple of green trees here and there. Below, in the centre of the photo, there is the panorama of the white village of Mijas Pueblo. On the top of the photo there is the blue sea.  

Hiking to Pico de Mijas is not a walk in the park, and you should be relatively fit if you want to attempt it. I struggled myself quite a bit to reach the top. You can pick up a map of the hike at the Touristic Office in Mijas Pueblo.

The trail starts in the upper part of Mijas Pueblo, and steeply climbs up to Eremita del Calvario, the small chapel which is only open during Easter. Here is a nice place to stop and admire the panorama of Mijas Pueblo, and the sea down below. You might already be feeling tired, but this is just the beginning. The trail splits just before Eremita del Calvario, going up quite steep, uneven, and in a zig zag. The path is rocky and dusty, with loose stones. Follow the orange marks and the signs towards “Pico Mijas”. At some point, the trail opens up to a stunning panorama behind you. Make sure that you stop and take in the views.  

After another section through the pine forest, the trail reaches a dusty road. This is a great place to stop and rest, maybe have some snacks and take some photos. The views are getting better and better.

on the right the path climbs up very steeply, and it is covered in brown soil and loose rocks. On both sides of the path there are small green and yellow bushes with spikes. On the left there are tree green pine trees.  

The path then continues up through the forest, but only for another 10 – 15 minutes or so. After that the vegetation becomes smaller and smaller, and there are no more shaded areas until the top. Soon you will reach a junction where you will turn left. You will think there’s not much left, but a sign will tell you that you are another one hour away from the top.

Crossing the ridge, you will find yourself on the other side of the mountain. Don’t worry if you are afraid of heights, there are no sudden drops and the edges are not steep. It’s not the kind of ridge that gives you a vertigo.

The path crossing the ridge with the view of the coast and the sea almost the same blue color as the sky, behind, on the left hand side of the photo. A few scattered pine trees on the right hand side of the photo.  

Another 300 meters or so, and you can see “La Bola”, the meteorological ball from the peak of the mountain. It might seem very high and far away, but it’s not. The zig zag path continues up the side of the mountains and after more or less half an hour, you will reach the top.

Here will be the last bit of effort – the final path to “La Bola” is very steep and slippery, but it’s not very long.

I am standing in the right side of the photo, with my back at the camera, wearing a white tshirt, a black pair of jeans, with my hair in a pony tail, overlooking the scenery below. A cloud is raising from below, and the mountain peaks are peeking through it. Above, the sky is blue without any clouds.  

The views from the top are breathtaking! On a clear day you can see the mountains of Morocco and Gibraltar to the right, and Malaga, La Maroma and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges to the left. You can even spot the airplanes landing or taking off at Malaga Airport. 

Take your time and enjoy the peak, you’ve deserved it after climbing such a steep path!

Map of Pico de Mijas

The list with the trails in Sierra de Mijas mountain range, at the beginning of the hike  

Logistics:

A wooden pole in the middle of the photo with an arrow pointing left on which is written Pico de Mijas together with an orange marking. Behind the pole there are bushy wild olive trees.  

Length: 14,5 kilometres / 9.2 miles

Peak: 1,150 meters high

Elevation: 720 meters

Approximate time: 6 hours return

Difficulty: Moderate – High

Markings: Orange path, very well marked through paint and signs

How to Get to Pico de Mijas

the path through the pine forest, with trees on both sides of it, sharing it from the sun  

The starting point of the Pico de Mijas hike is in Mijas Pueblo, which is very easy accessible by car and by public transport.

By car:

If you are renting a car in Malaga, follow the A7 motorway towards Algeciras. When the motorway splits into A7 and AP7 (toll road), take the latter and exit at the first junction – it’s free. At the roundabout at the end of the slipway, take the very well signed exit towards Mijas Pueblo. Drive on the A368 for another 5 minutes or so and you will arrive at your destination.

By public transport:

If you are relying on public transport, depending on the season, there are two options to reach Mijas Pueblo. The M112 connects Malaga with Mijas Pueblo but it doesn’t run very frequently in winter. Alternatively, take the C1 train to Fuengirola (this train runs every 20 minutes), and from there the local M122 bus towards Mijas Pueblo.

Where to Park When You Climb Pico de Mijas

The public parking in Mijas Pueblo costs 1 euro a day and it is the best place to leave your car when you plan on hiking Pico de Mijas. Some people park on the upper road, where the trail starts, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s not very safe. Better to do a bit more climbing to reach the start of the trail, rather than end up with the car in a ditch.

With 10 levels, there is always space in the public multi storey car park in Mijas Pueblo.

When to Go Hiking in Pico de Mijas

A side of the mountain in the left side of the photo, with the panorama of the village and the coast in the centre and the on the right.  

The best time to hike Pico de Mijas is between October and April, when the temperatures stay in their 20s during the day. Even so, I hiked Pico de Mijas in February and it was scorching hot. Try to start the hike as early as possible. Pico de Mijas is a full day’s hike and you will be on the trail for at least 6 hours, if not even more – especially if you are not very fit.

Keep in mind that there are no water sources on the trail, not even a small river, so bring plenty with you. Also, most of the trail is not shaded, and the higher up you go, the more you will feel the heat of the sun.

Good to Know:

The view from the top towards the other peaks of Sierra de Mijas mountains, with a big white cloud coming in from the left side of the picture.

The touristic office organises weekly guided hikes to Pico de Mijas, every Saturday and Sunday. You can ask for more information to find out the exact time the tours depart by emailing turismo@mijas.es or just pop into the tourist office in Plaza Virgen de la Pena (just above the multi storey car park). 

Where to stay nearby if you want to hike Pico de Mijas

I highly recommend spending a night or two in Mijas Pueblo, as it is such a lovely white village with good restaurants and delicious food. Whilst during the day the village does get quite busy with tourists, during the evening you can have it to yourself.

There are many B&Bs in Mijas Pueblo, but for a one of a kind experience, I would recommend staying at the wonderful Hotel TRH (you can check the reviews on Tripadvisor here or book directly on Booking by clicking here). For more options, you can check the options below.

For a list of good restaurants, check out this article about where to eat in Mijas Pueblo. It’s always nice to rest your legs after the long hike at one of the local restaurants, together with some tapas and a cold pint of beer. 

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