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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Malaga | Frigiliana, Maro, Nerja & Rio Chillar

We soaked up as much of the sun as we could in the Malaga beach area before heading back to Canada. Our Airbnb was located in Torrox, which was along the coastline and located close to everywhere we wanted to go. It was a 2 hr. 45 minute drive from Seville.

Futbol Excitement

The first night we arrived, Alex and I were playing cribbage (like an old couple) out on the balcony after the kids were in bed. As we were playing we could hear simultaneous cheers from about 6-7 areas of the quadrant apartments. Then as you looked out you could see about the same number of TVs all tuned in to the futbol game of Real Madrid. After the game was over there were numerous cheers and then mortars started going off - I have to admit I jumped and was caught off-guard a few times! Then there would be a break with more, and then at a couple of different points there were firecrackers! Somehow both kids slept through all the noise! We knew Europeans were crazy about futbol/soccer, but this seemed a bit much for just a normal game. When we googled it, we found out that it was the Championship game of the Champions league and Real Madrid had just won it for the second year in a row. Ahhhh...That’s why all the excitement! Although we weren’t out with the masses, it was pretty cool to see how the town reacted from our balcony.


Our first full day in the area we headed to Frigiliana, which is a quaint little town in the mountains just up from Nerja. The town was originally settled by the Moorish. The town had a very cute feel to it with white washed houses, cobblestone streets/sidewalks, staircases to lead you to different levels and even adorable multi-coloured doors! We enjoyed some coffee and croissants when we first arrived and even watched part of a sport challenge that appeared to be an adventure race throughout the city and its outskirts. We explored the town and stopped for some lunch at a restaurant located at the top of the hill, which had an amazing view of the town and valley below.

After lunch we hiked up to the castle and got a pretty good view of the area, but didn’t quite summit, because we were running out of time and wanted to get down to a beach that afternoon still. However, we made a stop at the playground for Clara prior to departing town. She found another little English boy there who ordered ice cream from her ‘ice cream stand’ and then they moved on to fighting off the monsters as a warrior and a fairy - so I think she had fun playing and communicating with someone her own age again.

Maro - La Caleta de Maro (Beach)

After Frigiliana we headed down to the town of Maro and to one of the beaches we read about called La Caleta de Maro. They said that this beach was less busy than most of the beaches and I agree, but the main reason for that is how you get down there! We parked in a parking lot just at the bottom of the town of Maro and then walked down. The beach was located between two cliffs and almost had an Algarve beach feel to it. However, the walk down was steep in areas, you walked next to some greenhouse fields and then you eventually took the stairs down to the beach. We had taken our stroller with us, but ended up locking it up at the top of the stairs. It was a steep climb up with the stroller on the way back though. The beach was nice and secluded and we had fun playing there. However, the beach was more small gravel bits than sandy. I would probably also characterize the beach as a topless beach, as I would say about 50% there were topless. However, we enjoyed the little excursion there.

Nerja Caves

On our final morning in the Malaga area, we went to see the Nerja caves. The caves were quite amazing and there were a couple of areas that were quite open and spectacular with all the stalagmites and stalactites. They even hold a music festival there once a year where the musicians play inside the caves. The way the tour works is a little different than most. When you arrive you get an audio guide, but they only allow entrance to the cave every 30 minutes. So when you’re ready to go in, there is a guide who takes your group down - then you must stay with your group for the duration of your time while in the caves. The guide just basically takes you from point to point and then the audio guide explains the various areas. But in a group situation like that you often felt like you were holding up the group if you wanted to take e a photo, etc. However, I can understand that they like to control visitors, as they really are trying to preserve the natural cave. Even in areas where there is minimal lighting they showed how bacteria grows in those areas due to the lighting, which can destroy the natural elements of the cave. Therefore, you can’t take flash photos. The total visit lasted about 45-50 minutes.

Rio Chillar - River Hike

After the caves, we headed to the Rio Chillar, which was just a few kilometres away. We had read about this river walk where you walk along and in the river and it takes you to some cool areas within the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park. However, there isn’t parking for the walk, so we parked in this parking lot at the top of the hill and started our trek down to the caves. When we reach the park boundaries, we walked for a bit just on dry rocks and then slowly we started to see little pockets of water. At first we weren’t really sure how this was going to turn out, as the first 1/3 of the walk was pretty bare and not much water.

Then we got to a little damn and there started to be more water in the river - we stopped for lunch and played a game of hide and seek. Then the second 1/3 of the walk was more water and a little more scenic, but the most amazing part was the last 1/3 as you had to walk in the river and you started to go through narrow passageways between the surrounding rocks and then eventually you got to a little lagoon at the top. If you kept going further, we heard there are more lagoons, but with two kiddos we decided to just turn back at that point. We took a lot longer on the hike into the canyon area, as Clara wanted to walk and explore, but on the way back we made it back to the car in a little over an hour.

Clara did pretty amazing - she hiked most of it on the way up with just a few times being carried. The very last portion we had to carry her as there were lots of big rocks on the bottom of the river and it was a bit more unsteady. However, I think she got pretty tired, as on the way back she mostly rode piggy back. She loved the splashing in the water, throwing rocks, and even using her hiking sticks at one point. Although it was categorized as a river, it was very shallow and there weren’t rapids (at this time of year at least - June) so it was very safe for her to explore and play. The only thing we wish we could have changed about the day was our footwear. Alex and I had wore some cheap water shoes, which we soon realized didn’t have any support or padding in them. On the walk back I even sacrificed a pair of socks to see if that would help, but we definitely felt every rock on the bottom of our feet - especially on the way back! I would definitely recommend wear either some Teva type shoes that have good traction or just some tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting wet - you definitely need some good support. Our feet were super sore for the night and day after!

Torrox Boardwalk

On our final night in Spain, we headed to the beach walk to go play at this really cool playground for a bit! It was even cool for parents, as right behind it were several cafes so you could grab a drink or snack and watch your kids play. We definitely had to get some ice cream before we departed Spain, so we hit up the café with the ice cream right behind the playground. The Malaga area was really nice and we really enjoyed our time there!

Headed Back Home

Clara was definitely excited for our trip back home. I could tell she was getting a little homesick around 3 weeks into the trip. She told us she misses her Elsa and Anna dolls back home. However, over the 27 days we’ve been in Spain/Portugal we put approximately 3,200 km on our rental car - so we had some good little travelers with us! We had a blast and feel grateful that we had this big chunk of time to explore Portugal & Spain! Adios!

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