Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Time, there and back: 3.5 hours from Nerja, 2.5 from cement factory
Equipment: Much of this walk involves wading through the river, so wear short shorts, shoes that grip well, and a towel might come in handy
If you are starting the walk on foot in Nerja, you need to access the track that runs along the bank of the Rio Chillar. There are several ways to do this but the two easiest are as follows: walk to the end of Calle de Joaquín Herrera, which is behind the bus station on Calle de Pescia, and follow the path down to the river. Alternatively, walk along Calle del Puente Viejo (off the roundabout near the Super Sol on Calle de Antonio Ferrandis) which leads directly to the riverside road.
If you have a car, there are two new (opened in 2012 and 2013) car parks specially for the river walk; one is at the cement factory near to the barrier at the start of the river walk, where there is official parking for 63 cars (costs €1). If that is full, the second (free) official car park is just above the site of the Sunday market on Calle del Mirto – however it is then a long hot walk to the start of the river, so not suitable for those with small children. Many people park on the side of the road, despite the no parking restrictions – but beware you can get a fine of between €100 and €600 for parking here.
It is also possible to cycle up the Rio Chillar, all the way from the sea at El Playazo past the cement factory and on to the electricity station, although you will need a mountain bike to get that far.
If you are a non-driver you will have a pleasant if uninspiring walk to the cement factory, but don’t give up. Always staying on the right hand side of the river you will pass smallholdings, builders yards, avocado groves, cortijos and caves, some of which are occupied. In amongst the scruffiness nature still flourishes, with birds, insects, wild flowers and grasses to be spotted along the river.
Once you reach the cement factory car park, and the scar in the Cliffside, the walk becomes much more interesting and wild. The river valley narrows and the vegetation increases. High caves are home to many bird species, shady pools house amphibians, and the forests of the Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama National Park rise up the steep slopes.
It is not possible to lose your way! Follow the river, dodging the river if you like, but getting wet cannot be avoided indefinitely. The amount of water flowing will vary dependent on the time of year and recent rainfall, but eventually you will reach the point where riverbanks disappear and you are forced to wade. The river passes through narrow canyons, where the depth and the speed of the water increases.
The canyon in the photographs on this page shows the approach to the first set of rapids, or cahorras on the river. These rapids are easily negotiated, and just beyond there is a quiet pool, which makes a good spot for a picnic, and the end of this easy walk.
From here onwards the amount of wading required increases, and it is at least an hour to reach the furthest point along the river which can be accessed. However it is well worth the effort if you are up to it, as there are two more rapids, each bigger and more impressive than the last, and at the furthest point there is a waterfall and plunge pool.
However far you go along the river the return journey is simple. Retrace your wet steps!
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WALK AFTER, DURING OR WHEN THERE IS A FORECAST FOR HEAVY RAIN
Click on the printer icon to print out a print friendly version of this page.