Part nine of beautiful and lesser known places in Spain offers an inn and some mountain ranges that also is a nature park. Everything is easily accessible from Marbella.
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 the Sierra de las Nieves. As the name suggests there is sometimes snow on these mountains. The highest peak is at 1919 meters which is why it sometimes is covered with snow.
Sierra de las Nieves has a large variety of both flora and fauna and became protected as a Natural Park in 1989. A few years later, in 1995, the park was listed in the UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.
In the mountain range there are nine small towns who have each left their mark on the area in a melting pot of different cultures. There are various crafts, truly unique festivals and excellent local, traditional food.
The nine small towns are: El Burgo, Casarabonela, Yunquera, Tolox, Alozaina, Guaro, Monda, Ojén and Istán.
But the greatest attraction is the magnificent scenery with hiking trails in all directions of all levels of difficulty.
Most of it is very easily accessible by car, and in some cases also by bus.
If you are 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 mall “Centro Comercial La Cañada” and driving the A-355 that goes towards Ojen, but instad of taking off to Ojén, you continue in the direction of Monda – Coin. After some kms after you have passed Ojén, take left at a sign that says Refugio de Juanar. You will enter a narrow, winding, but paved road and after 5 km you are there.
Other articles in this series
Spanish Secrets Part 1
Spanish Secrets Part 2
Spanish Secrets Part 3
Spanish Secrets Part 4
Spanish Secrets Part 5
Spanish Secrets Part 6
Spanish Secrets Part 7
Spanish Secrets Part 8
Once there you can either drive up to the inn and park there or you can continue a few hundred meters 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 usually 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 who want something more challenging, there is a path up to Sierra Blancas highest mountain Pico de la Concha (1270 m), which is the peak which is visible from Marbella.
After a few hours of hiking in the woods, you might want something to eat and it can be found at Refugio de Juanar. It is a village hotel so they also have rooms if you want to stay overnight.
It is a place with a long history. It originally belonged to the Marquis de Larios who used it as a hunting lodge. At one time King Alfonso XII stayed here during a hunt and General Charles de Gaulle completed his memoirs here in 1970. Today it is a hotel with 20 double rooms and 4 suites, restaurant and a wine cellar with over 7,000 wines.
If you want to see more of the wild nature, you can just 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 against Llanos, from there you can either drive A-7053 down to A-7 at Fuengirola or continue A-7059 to Malaga (via Cártama).
All images can be enlarged by clicking on them and they are taken in early September. Photos: Erixon Consulting.