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Spanish secrects, part 9

Part nine of beautiful and less known places in Spain offer some mountain ranges which is also a nature park and an inn. Everything is easily accessible from Marbella.


Ojén seen from Mirador del Corzo.

Sierra Blanca is located between the coast and the Sierra de las Nieves. The Sierra Blanca mountains are visible behind Marbella and a few kilometers further out begins Sierra de las Nieves, and as the name suggests, it can snow in the mountains. The highest peak is at 1919 meters which is why it sometimes snows this far south.

Sierra de las Nieves has a large variety of both flora and fauna, and received protection as a Natural Park in 1989. A few years later, specifically in 1995 the park was listed in the UNESCO list as a biosphere reserve.

In the mountain range, there are nine small towns who have each made their mark on the area in a melting pot of different cultures. Here are various crafts, truly unique festivals and excellent local and traditional food.


Mountain with small winding roads.

The nine small towns are: El Burgo, Casarabonela, Yunquera, Tolox, Alozaina, Guaro, Monda, Ojén and Istán.

But the greatest asset is the magnificent scenery with hiking paths in all directions and in all degrees of difficulty.

Most of it is very easily accessible by car, and in some cases also by bus.


Some tips

For those looking for a simple way to discover the area, I can recommend one of my favorites: Refugio de Juanar is located in Sierra Blanca, just above Ojén. The easiest way to get there is from Marbella. Take off from the A-7 at the shopping center “Centro Comercial La Cañada” and along A-355 that goes towards Ojén, but then do not take off to Ojén, but continue in the direction of Monda – Coin. Some km after you have passed Ojén take left at a sign that says Refugio de Juanar. It is a narrow, winding, but paved road and after 5 kms you are there.


The road from the inn to the gate.

Once you are there you may drive up to the inn and park there, or you can continue a few hundred meters to where the public road ends at a closed gate and a parking lot. We usually park under the trees right outside the entrance to the inn. Then we tend to continue along the road and past the gate.

A little further up there are signs pointing out the various trails in different directions. One tip is to go up to the Mirador del Corzo. It is not far from the parking lot and there you have a nice view of Ojén.


For those wanting something more challenging, there is are also a trail up to Sierra Blancas highest mountain Pico de la Concha (1270 m), it is the peak which is clearly visible from Marbella.


There are lots of blackberries.

After a few hours of hiking in the woods, it may be nice with something to eat, and it can be found at Refugio de Juanar. It is a village inn, thus they also have rooms if you want to stay overnight.

It is a place with a long history. Originally it belonged to the Marquis de Larios who had the lodge. At one time King Alfonso XII stayed there during a hunt and General Charles de Gaulle completed his memoirs here in 1970. Today the inn has 20 double rooms and 4 suites, a restaurant and a wine cellar with over 7000 bottles of wine.


Autumn Crocus blooming in the chestnut forest.

If you want to see more of wild nature after the visit to the Refugio de Juanar, you can drive down to A-355, turn left and continue towards the Sierra de las Nieves.

You can also take the trip as a tour by continuing towards Coín, from there you can either take  A-7053 down to A-7 by Fuengirola or continue A-7059 to Málaga (via Cártama).

All images are clickable (opens in new window), and they are taken in early September, photos Erixon Consulting.



You might hungry and thirsty after a few hours of hiking, but that’s easy to fix.

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