Outdoor Activities in Benahavis
More than just a pretty mountain village and gastronomic centre, Benahavis also has the perfect setting in which to explore a wide range of outdoor activities.
The village of Benahavis is situated 6.5 kilometres from the main Costa del Sol coastal road in a beautiful green valley surrounded by mountains. In reality, this is just one of a series of lush valleys that fall within the extensive municipal boundaries of Benahavis. Together they produce a natural wonderland midway between the mountains of the Serranía de Ronda and the beaches of the Costa del Sol. It is here that you will find mountain streams cascading through verdant landscapes, pine and cork oak forests, waterfalls, gorges and natural pools – in other words, a paradise for those who love the outdoors.
Hiking in Benahavis
One of the most accessible and popular activities in and around Benahavis is hiking. Locals and foreign residents alike often follow jogging and walking routes within the village valley that run along the Guadalmina River, through pretty parks and leafy residential areas, but leave the village behind and you can be in a country setting within less than a kilometre. To do this you have a choice of gorgeous valleys to walk through, or can go the surrounding hills. Here are some excellent walking and hiking routes for those who don’t know the area inside out.
Benahavis gorge route
To get to Benahavis you have to pass through a scenic gorge that also features an attractive walkway constructed just a few years ago. It follows the panoramic gorge cut into the rock by the Guadalmina River, which winds its way through rocky terrain some ten metres below. Up along the cliffs you will see caves where colonies of bats live. Look further up and you might spot goats, or even eagles and vultures hovering against the blue sky. The four kilometre walk is easy and regenerating, and takes you to the beginning of the next route.
Benahavis bridge route
There is a car park at the pretty little bridge that marks the starting point of this 5.5 kilometre route, which takes you across the base of the river gorge and along its eastern range as it gently descends towards the coast at the Los Capanes Golf Club. It is one of the most popular routes in the area among visitors to Benahavis and local residents, taking you into the shaded folds of hills covered in pine, olive trees and cork oak. Expertly laid out, it is of easy to moderate level of difficulty and just the thing to get to know the surroundings better.
Benahavis dam route
Not everyone knows it but there is a second gorge on the northeast side of Benahavis that leads into a large neighbouring valley. Here there is neither a road nor a constructed pathway, but it is still a moderately easy and thoroughly enjoyable walk alongside a mountain stream. At the top of it is a small, rather level dam in a valley inhabited only by a few expansive farms and country properties. Even bigger than the neighbouring village valley, this one is a paradise of open greenery surrounded by towering mountain peaks. The area is also ideal for mountain biking, horse riding and mountaineering.
Montemayor castle route
The latter is also an option when you aim for perhaps the toughest walk of them all – ascending the mountain up to the Montemayor castle ruins that overlook the village and offer spectacular views of the entire coastal and inland region. Fortunately you can also follow a trail – either on foot or by mountain bike – up to the thousand year old remnants of a Moorish fortress. Along the way you will encounter fantastic scenery, seasonal flowers and perhaps even some small wildlife.
Swimming, canyoning and safari trips in Benahavis
These are just some of the routes you can follow in the Benahavis area, while the main gorge is also hugely popular among people who come to swim in its natural pool or canyon along the route down to the little beach at the entrance to the gorge. The latter is also called a ‘river walk’ and sees people suitably kitted out with helmets and wetsuits swim, scramble and dive through the river and its course of rocky outcrops and dark caves.
If this seems too much like hard work, you can always take a 4×4 safari into the hill country surrounding Benahavis as you learn more about its history, nature and encounter ancient goat herders’ huts. The jeeps stop at panoramic hilltops for a sundowner picnic complete with blankets, champagne and snacks – quite the way to survey the Benahavis surroundings and watch in awe as the sun sets behind Gibraltar.
By Adam Neale | Mini Guides | April 21st, 2020