El Chorro – A natural Paradise in Málaga

The Guadalhorce, Conde de Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs are located about 60 kilometres northwest of Malaga, one of the most beautiful natural sites in Andalusia. Popularly, these reservoirs are known as the “Reservoirs of El Chorro”.

In the area you can enjoy a wide variety of activities as it is an ideal place to enjoy nature, whether it be with your camera, hiking, cycling, caving, climbing, swimming or fishing.

Less than an hour’s drive from Malaga hides this inland paradise, with turquoise waters and an impressive gorge.

The three reservoirs that were built last century to supply Malaga’s drinking water have become a natural paradise in the province where you can also see large birds of prey such as golden eagles and griffon vultures soaring through the skies.

The oldest of the three reservoirs, the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir offers a lot of history and places of interest such as the Casa del Ingeniero, a viewpoint or the “Sillón del Rey”, a set of two benches, an armchair and a table made of stone, where King Alfonso XIII signed the completion of the works of the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir.

Hiking in the El Chorro area

Caminito del Rey

The Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes is a canyon carved out by the Guadalhorce River, located between the reservoirs and El Chorro. This canyon, which is more than three kilometres long, reaches a depth of more than 100 metres at some points.

The Caminito del Rey is a pedestrian walkway built into the walls of the Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes for the maintenance of this channel. Its width is just 1 m and it hangs up to 100 m high over the river, on almost vertical walls. The impressive work was inaugurated in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII, hence its name (The Kings Pathway).
caminito del rey, el chorro
Today, since its restoration in 2015, it has advanced from being one of the most dangerous paths in the world to being the most visited natural attraction in Malaga.

In our article Caminito del Rey you will find all the information you need to prepare your visit to this spectacular natural enclave.

Escalera Arabe (Arabian Staircase)

Escalera Árabe, El Chorro
Stone stairs located in a natural setting with beautiful views. It is part of a 4 km circular route of low difficulty and suitable for everyone.

The stairs are steep and with high steps, but in some sections there is a steel cable to help you.

You can park in El Chorro and walk about 3 km. If you have time, you can climb to the top of the peak of Huma, which is relatively close. From there you can see some of the griffon vultures that inhabit the natural park.

Caving near El Chorro – Ardales Cave

Cueva de Ardales
Photo Malagahoy

A must for adventure and prehistory lovers, with a guided tour.

In our article dedicated to the most spectacular caves in Malaga there is also the Ardales Cave, where you can find more information and ticket sales.

Viewpoints near El Chorro

The area has privileged views that you will love, and even more so from one of its spectacular viewpoints.

Mirador Sierra de Aguas

Mirador Sierra de Aguas, el chorro
Photo Fernando Perales Teurlais

Spectacular viewpoint with 365-degree views of the whole province. It is a hill with good access by car, as the roads are asphalted. When you get to the top the views are breath-taking.

Wind turbines have been installed there, so you have to take into account that it is a very windy area.

Mirador de Tres Embalses

Mirador de Tres Embalses, El chorro
Photo Ana Maria Torreblanca

The viewpoint of “los tres embalses” is located on the top of a hill overlooking the whole area and with a beautiful view over the three reservoirs. Before reaching the viewpoint, you have to climb a flight of steps.

You reach it from the roadside car park up some stairs into a pine forest (about 100-200 metres). There is a panoramic sign explaining each of the most important points of the views.

Mirador Tajo Encantada

Mirador Tajo Encantada, El Chorro
Photo Pedro Manuel Lazaro Arriaran

Viewpoint with beautiful views. It is relatively easy to reach and the road is well paved. There is an area to leave the car.

Historical sites around El Chorro

Turón Fortress, Ardales

Castillo de Turón, Ardales
Credit Depositphotos

To the southwest of Ardales lie the remains of this ancient Moorish fortress on a hill. From Ardales you can walk or drive, the last stretch is a steeper climb that must be done on foot.

A particularly beautiful time to visit is in February, when the almond trees are in blossom.

Bobastro Ruins

Ruinas Bobastro
Photo Jose Derick Cuesta Gonzalez

Impressive ruins of a Mozarabic fortress on top of a hill and a rock-hewn cave church.

  • Timetables: Guided tours are available from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information about the opening hours and guided tours, please call 952 458046 / 609207239 or write to turismo@ardales.es (open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm).
  • Summer opening hours: 15 June to 15 September, Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.
  • Prices: 3 € adults and 2 € children between 6 and 12 years old, under 6 years old free.
  • How to get there

Aguilillas Necropolis

Necrópolis de las Aguilillas
Photo Krzysztof Sanecki

Very well-preserved necropolis of a prehistoric civilisation. It has a circular route of about 2 km, is well signposted, of low difficulty and with interesting panels explaining the site.

Access is free of charge. There is a car park at the entrance (access is via a 3.5 km. unpaved track), but it is better to leave your car in the first car park, next to the road to the dam, and walk through the pine forest.

Climbing in El Chorro – Gaitanes Gorge

Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, el chorro
The area around the reservoirs and the gorge is also very popular with climbers and considered to be one of the best in southern Europe.

There are both climbing sectors within the Caminito del Rey, as well as a good amount in the surrounding area.

Some of the sectors are ideal for climbing during the winter months, while others provide good shade for climbing even in summer.

Vía Ferrata El Chorro

Vía Ferrata El Chorro
Photo Cristóbal Mateo Soto

This via ferrata is a very complete and relatively long via. It has a monkey bridge, Tibetan bridge and zip line and has very good views.

It is essential to bring equipment. Not recommended during the summer season.

El Chorro climbing sectors

Sector Rocabella, escalada el chorro
Sector Rocabella Photo Ronny Martin

Sector Rocabella: A very enjoyable beginner climbing sector with spectacular views of El Chorro and the Guadalhorce Valley.

Great climbing routes for the summer, with lots of easy routes for beginners and children to enjoy.

Other more advanced sectors are Frontales Medias, Sector Serena or Coral East.

More activities in El Chorro

Horseback riding

Enjoy a guided tour on horseback through this beautiful environment, for example, with Horse Riding El Chorro.

Natural pools in El Chorro

Charco de la Olla

Charco de la Olla, Ardales
Photo Irene Ardales

Near Ardales and halfway to the castle of Turón is hidden this natural pool where you can take a refreshing dip on hot summer days.

Accommodation & hotels in El Chorro

In this section we have included links to Google Maps where you can find accommodation to suit your preferences.

There are several small hotels in the area, as well as Bed & Breakfasts, cottages, flats and a campsite. As you zoom in on the maps, more accommodation will appear.

Rural houses

If there is something that stands out in the area of El Chorro, it is the enormous offer in rural houses as you can see in this map.


Hotel restaurante La Garganta, El Chorro
Hotel restaurante La Garganta Photo Ostrovok

Some of the best known and best rated hotels are Hotel La Posada del Conde next to the Guadalhorce reservoir and very close to the northern access to the Caminito del Rey. Hotel La Garganta located next to the El Chorro train station and the Tajo de la Encantada dam and the southern access to the Caminito del Rey. Or The Olive Branch on the outskirts with excellent views.

The above and more you can discover here.

Guadalhorce Reservoir Campsite

Camping Ardales, embalse de Guadalhorce
Camping Ardales at the Guadalhorce reservoir

For more active nature lovers there is a campsite next to the Guadalhorce reservoir.

They offer both camping pitches and apartments, as well as areas for caravans, motorhomes and camper vans.

By the way, did you know that you can rent camper vans at the airport with us?

Canoes are available for hire and along the reservoirs there are several trails, some with spectacular views.

How to get to El Chorro and the Guadalhorce Reservoir

Alquiler de coches Málaga, como llegar a El chorro
A MalagaCar at El Chorro

As you can see, renting a car in Malaga is a great way to make the most of your holiday!

The natural area has two “entrance gates”.

One is Ardales, which leads directly to the Guadalhorce reservoir and the northern entrance to the Caminito del Rey.

The other is El Chorro where the southern exit of the Caminito del Rey is located a short distance away.

By car it is easily reached from most of the coastal towns in about an hour.

Unbeatable rates for car hire

  • Large fleet of brand new cars.
  • Pay on arrival.
  • What you see is what you pay.
  • No hard sell at desk.
  • VIP delivery service for free.
  • No fuel rip-off, we do not charge refueling service fee.

You can also get there by train to the El Chorro Train Station.

Estación de Trenes El Chorro
El Chorro Train Station

Trains to El Chorro depart daily from Maria Zambrano train station in Malaga.

The M-347 bus runs every 30 minutes from El Chorro to the visitor centre and the Caminito del Rey.

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