You want to hike in Andalusia and are looking for an extraordinary experience? Then the Rio Chillar is just the right thing for you. We love to hike … that’s why we had a hike planned for our Andalusia road trip. The river hike at Rio Chillar turned out to be one of the most amazing hikes either of us have ever done.
You walk the whole time on through the Rio Chillar, a river that flows into the sea near Nerja. The Rio Chillar in Andalusia is most of the time only about ankle deep. It goes through a fabulous blooming natural scenery, past waterfalls and partly even through narrow gorges, which are less than 2 meters wide at the narrowest point and certainly 30-50 meters high.
Every now and then there is a deep place where you can dive completely into the water and cool down. This is also urgently necessary with the temperatures, which prevail in the high summer in Andalusia. But although we were there in high summer and the temperatures in Andalusia climbed well above the 30 ° mark, it was always quite pleasant in the Rio Chillar during the hike. Due to the surrounding mountains and, of course, the omnipresent water, we didn’t even really break a sweat – despite hiking for hours.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
River Hike Nerja – Where to park at Rio Chillar?
The “official” parking lot for the hike is here (Google Maps link). Then you have to walk a bit along the road and follow the signs to Rio Chillar. You walk downhill for about 20min, under a highway bridge and then you pass a dirt road (Google Maps Link) where parking is not officially allowed, but also not officially forbidden.
There is an unofficial parking lot, which will save you 2 km of unnecessary walking
There we have seen certainly 30 parked cars. You park there on the dusty roadside and bumper to bumper, but for that you also save about 20 minutes running time along the rather unsightly country road. Of course there is also the risk that you have to drive back if there is no more space. But if you are there early enough (before 9 am), then you should have no problem. The best starting point to go to Rio Chillar is the town of Nerja. If you want to stay overnight here we have the following recommendations for you.
Hotel Recommendation in Nerja
Quiet and outside
In Nerja we can recommend the cozy Bed & Breakfast La Casa del Burro*. In the midst of mango trees, with a view of the sea and close to the nature reserve Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama, you can just relax and enjoy the pool.
Central, cheap and beautiful
If you want to have it a bit more central and also cheaper we can recommend the Hostal Boutique Plaza Cantarero* directly in Nerja. The rooms are newly renovated and lovingly furnished. The highlight, however, is the roof terrace from which you have a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
The River Hike at Rio Chillar
- Length: 16 km
- Duration: about 6h
- Difficulty: easy to medium
- Shadow: little
- Possibility to get off in between: no
- Circular route: no (but can be done as a circular route. See Wikiloc)
The Start of the Hike
From this unofficial parking lot you walk through a kind of dried up riverbed over gravel and that for about 30 minutes. The rocks piling up on the right and left are very impressive, but you are already longing for the actual start of the river hike and thus also for the cooling water. This part of the hike is therefore overall rather unspectacular, but is unfortunately unavoidable.
It gets Wet
Arrived at the river you can still use a path parallel to the river, but if you want you can also walk directly through the river. The plants around you become denser and the surroundings form a narrow gorge. After about 90 minutes you reach the first big highlight of the tour. It goes through a narrow gorge made of marble stone.
By the way, the Spanish call this natural spectacle “Los Cahorros”. Directly after that follows the first big pool. Here you can enjoy a wonderful first cooling and also make a super first break. This would also be a good end point for your hike, if you are traveling with small children, for example.
If you want to see more natural pools and the beautiful waterfall, you have to hike another 1.5 hours on this trail. This means that the hike will take a total of 6 hours. We unfortunately started hiking too late and didn’t want to be back at the car that late, which is why we turned around about an hour before the waterfall. If you have the time and start hiking early enough, you should definitely keep walking.
Normally you turn around and walk back the same way. But you also have the possibility to make the hike at Rio Chillar a round trip. Which route you have to walk then and more information about the route you can see under the following link: Rio Chillar Hike at Wikiloc
What to wear during the hike?
Swimwear is definitely recommended and you should wear it right away so that you can jump right into the refreshing water when the opportunity arises. And a waterproof case for your cell phone I would also highly recommend. Of course you should have enough to drink and to eat with you. There are no climbs and despite 30 degrees in the sun you do not notice the heat so much, because you are standing in the water all the time, but still we have inserted some breaks in between in really gorgeous scenery and recovered.
For this there are also some places with shadow on the trail from time to time. If you run out of water on the way, you can certainly drink the water of the Rio Chillar. For me, at least, it looked extremely clear and clean.
What kind of Shoes do you need for the River Hike in Rio Chillar?
The vast majority of people wore regular athletic shoes on the hike. We wore hiking sandals and found this super comfortable and we could walk very well in them. Many put on old sneakers, which provide a good grip in the water and in case of doubt end up in the garbage can after the hike, if they do not survive the rigors.
We have even seen some in flop flops. I imagine that would be very uncomfortable though. There were no really slippery spots, but you should have some surefootedness to get safely through the river. But we can also recommend good swimming shoes.
In our Andalusia video you get a first impression of how the hike through the Rio Chillar looks like!
Andalusia Hiking – Did you hike the Rio Chillar trail? How did you like this Andalusia Hike? Feel free to leave us a comment!