An easy walk with gorgeous views close to Málaga city

If you spend some days in Málaga city and want to explore the surroundings adding a bit of nature to your holidays, hiking to El Santo in Pizarra is the excursion you are looking for!

Since Pizarra is very close to Málaga (30 minutes by car or 49 minutes by train) you won’t lose much time arriving. Furthermore, this is not a very demanding route, so it is recommended for people of all ages. That way, you will add some sport activity and nature contact to your holidays. Besides, as we offer a free photo report, you will have excellent regard for your holidays in Spain.

How to get to Pizarra

From Málaga, you can go by car, by train, or even better… we can take you there!

By car: Take the motorway A-357 direction Campillos and after 24 kilometres turn right to Camino de Villalón, and then go to the start point of the route:

By train: At the train station, take line C2 to Álora, and get off at Pizarra. The walk until the start point:

Track and details of the route to El Santo in Pizarra

You can download the track of the hike to El Santo if you want to do it on your own. In case you prefer our guided hiking tour, including transport, breakfast and lunch, click down to book.

Length: 8,33 km (5,18 miles)

Type of route: circular

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ascent: 370 m

Descent: 370 m

Time in motion: 1 h 45 min

Total time: 4 h

Description of the hike to El Santo in Pizarra

Once parked in the viewpoint (“mirador”), you can go to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Fuensanta (Holy Source in Spanish), patron of the village. You will always find someone praying. This chapel was built in the XVI century over an ancient Mozarabic church. Its neo-Gothic façade dates from the first decade of the 20th century.

Back to the viewpoint, we start the ascent to the Sierra de Gibralmora behind a water cistern. As we ascend, the landscape becomes more and more impressive. On your left-hand side, you will find always the town of Álora, with its castle, upon a hill. On your right-hand side the town of Pizarra and other villages in the Guadalhorce Valley such as Cártama, Alhaurin el Grande or Coin.

  • Carob tree with Álora in the background
  • Information poster in Hermitage of Our Lady of the Fuensanta
  • Hermitage of the Virgin of the Fuensanta, patron of Pizarra
  • Entrance of the hermitage
  • Hermitage's door
  • Hill with cave on the left and the town of Álora

Amazing views of the hinterland

When you reach the highest point of the route, you can observe from there the dam of “El Chorro”, and other natural points of interest such as Sierra de Huma or Valle de Abdalajís. As an interesting fact, one of the most famous hiking routes in Andalusia, “El Caminito del Rey” is located close to that reservoir.

The remaining metres to the “Saint” go along a pleasant path over flat fields of carob, almond and olive trees. Over there you will see on your left-hand side a geodesical vertex, from where you will able to see a gorgeous view of Málaga city, highlighted by its new and controversial “Twin Towers”. By the Saint, you will find a picnic area, with wooden tables and barbecues, and a mountain shelter.

  • Geodesic vertex of Sierra de Gibralmora
  • The town of Álora with its castle on the hill
  • The statue of Jesus chairs the valley of River Guadalhorce
  • Sierra Prieta and Sierra de Alcaparaín covered by clouds
  • The peak of Sierra Prieta peeping behind the clouds
  • Path going to "El Santo"
  • Impressive image of "El Santo"

The “Saint” welcomes all visitors

The statue of Jesus, who opens his arms to the town and its valley was built in 1916, ordered by the count of Puerto Hermoso, Fernando Soto Aguilar. In the Spanish civil war, it was destroyed and replaced by a cross. But finally, in 1995 the sculptor Miguel Fuente del Olmo created this new 2,5 metres high bronze statue.

From this magnificent viewpoint, you can see the Valley of the River Guadalhorce, the most important river in the province of Málaga. In the panels located there, you can see the names of the mountains and villages. The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus could remind you of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, but the Brazilian statue didn’t begin to be built until 1926, ten years later than this.

  • The original statue dated from 1916
  • Jesus's back
  • Jesus's statue welcomes all visitors
  • The statue lies on a rock
  • Pizarra from El Santo
  • Amazing views from the statue

Pinewood and caves

After crossing the recreational area, the path becomes rougher, narrow and stony. It also becomes shadier and shadier, as it crosses a pine forest. most of the pines are not very old, since they replaced others burnt in a wildfire as you could deduct from the burnt trunks all over those fields.

As we descend, the landscape becomes different from the ascent way, full of trees and rocks. Over there we can visit the Obscure Cave and have a rest seeing the views from there. It is a wonderful natural shelter on rainy days, although water filters and you can feel a slightly pleasant sizzle.

This is not the only cave in the hike to El Santo de Pizarra: after some metres descending the path goes across another cave, called “Raja Ancha”, through a mysterious stair sculpted in the rocks.

Finishing the hike to El Santo: arriving at Pizarra

After the cave, the path crosses a picnic area and then goes into town. There we will have lunch in one of its restaurants and taste the local gastronomy and tapas. From the village to the starting point of the route we can sightsee the main point of interest in Pizarra:

  • Palace of the Counts of Puerto Hermoso, in neo-Mudejar style, built at the beginning of the 20th century on the foundations and parts of the ancestral home built by Diego Romero (15th – 16th century) founder of the «Lugar de la Pizarra» and his successors. In 1922 it hosted the Conference of Pizarra, where the government of the time met to discuss the issue of the war with Morocco. Today it is the private residence of the Counts of Puerto Hermoso.
  • The church of Saint Peter, built at the end of the 15th century by Diego Romero, founder of the «Lugar de la Pizarra», is a construction with a single Mudejar nave and artistic coffered ceiling. The tower is located at the head of the Epistle side, has a square floor plan and has three sections. The first two are made of masonry and the third of brick. It was sacked in 1931, although ornaments have been preserved. Today, almost everything inside was acquired after 1939, thanks to the help of the Counts of Puerto Hermoso and the town in general.
  • The Convent of the “Hermanas de la Cruz”, founded by Don Pedro de Soto Domecq, 5th Count of Puerto Hermoso, has been remodelled several times according to the different uses it has had. Around 1920, an order of Dominican sisters dedicated to teaching settled there and remained in the village until 1931. During the civil war, it was used as a local prison, and later it was used as a tenement house. In 1955, the Sisters of the Cross congregation moved into the house. The chapel contains several images from the Baroque schools of the 17th and 18th centuries.
One of the hikers seeing the landscape
Hiker watching the landscape from El Santo in Pizarra

So if you are wondering what to do in Málaga, add to your visit a bit of culture, local gastronomy and a lot of fun with the hike to El Santo in Pizarra… don’t hesitate to contact us to make your holidays a real adventure experience!