Lisa Lansing

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Río Chillar hike in Nerja, Spain

Searching online for free activities is one of the first things I do when living in a new location. Researching free things to do is as simple as asking Google. I came across several helpful blog posts on the website that suggested free activities in Málaga and the rest of the Costa del Sol.

Special thanks to my husband Kuba for these photos of our hike.


One free activity recommended was walking up the Rio Chillar in Nerja. Immediately, I was interested since this hike would require us to walk through the river’s cool water: a perfect hike for a hot summer day! It was also labelled as family-friendly, meaning it couldn’t be too strenuous of a hike if children can handle it.

Hiking is a free activity that Kuba and I both enjoy, as we get to spend time outside in the fresh air while filming and photographing. Not only is hiking good exercise, but it allows us to explore new areas outside of the city space.

Nerja is another coastal resort town (similar to Torremolinos, but smaller) located east of Málaga. To get to Nerja from Torremolinos, we took a short train ride to Málaga and then a bus to Nerja. I purchased our bus tickets on the Alsa website in advance.

The bus ride to Nerja only took an hour. After being dropped off in the city centre, we popped into a nearby Mercadona for some cherries before heading toward the trail head. In addition to cherries, we had plenty of other food to sustain us during the hike: corn cakes, cookies, crackers, and even little containers of brown rice which I had cooked that morning.

Walking to the trailhead from the city centre only took us 25 minutes. The first part of the hike isn’t so exciting as you’re walking through a dry river bed in the full sun. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before the water forced us to change into our sandals.

The best parts of this hike were splashing through the cool, clear water in the shade and winding through rock formations carved out by the river. The sound of water rushing over the rocks was a welcome change to the bustling city noises we hear every day.

We decided to turn around before reaching the waterfalls and headed back to the city. Walking through the river wasn’t as easy as a normal hike since we had to take care with every step. Wearing my thin Xero Shoes sandals was nice because my feet were immersed in water for most of the hike, yet the soles are quite thin. My feet were sore from negotiating the slippery rocks underfoot.


We were exhausted by the time we returned to the city centre (we walked 12 miles total that day!) and had to wait a few hours for our bus back to Málaga. We relaxed in near the Balcón de Europa and ate the rest of our snacks. We didn’t find much in Nerja that interested us, probably because we were so tired after our hike. We also couldn’t find any public toilets there besides one at the main bus stop. Just be aware of that if you end up visiting Nerja.

Do check out this easy hike! It was relaxing to walk through water in the heat of the day. Most of the hike is shaded as well. Just remember to bring comfortable sandals or light shoes to wear. Flip flops won’t work as the water will sweep them away. Also, I recommend walking it during the week since it wasn’t busy at all. I imagine it would be packed on the weekends, and less enjoyable.

This was an affordable day trip for us since it only cost €26.60 total for transportation to and from Torremolinos. Our roundtrip bus tickets cost €18.40 and our train tickets cost €8.20 overall. For a full day of hiking through a river and a bit of exploring Nerja, I’ll take it!

This was our second hike since we arrived in Torremolinos and it definitely won’t be our last. 🙂

If you’d like to see more of our hike, check out our vlogs from that day:

Have you visited Nerja?

What do you think about hiking through a river?

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