From the start, 0 km, up to Rincón de la Victoria, you will enjoy the trail by the sea, which goes along the seafronts of Málaga City, such as Palmeral de las Sorpresas or Dock 1 of the Port of Málaga, and then along the beaches in Pedregalejo, El Palo and La Araña.
Kilometre Zero of The Great Málaga Path is found at the main office of the Provincial Council, or Diputación to the south-west of the capital, overlooking Misericordia beach. Following the gentle arc of the coastline of the Bay of Malaga, it passes through Malaga’s coastal neighbourhoods. Initially, it takes a north-easterly course until it reaches the Port, where it passes La Farola lighthouse and continues in an easterly direction, on to Rincón de la Victoria.
Seafront boulevards are used wherever possible during this stage, most notably along the beaches of Huelin, Malagueta, Caleta, Pedregalejo, El Palo and El Dedo. Beyond El Candado, the Peñon del Cuervo coastal walkway is utilised. At times, it is necessary to walk along the roadside of the historic dual-carriageway, the N-340 and even a section and the tunnels of the suburban railway line towards La Axarquía. Near the watchtower of Las Palomas in La Araña, there is a segment of pathway that runs over the rocky outcrop, on which the tower is built.
The city of Malaga lies around the river mouth of the Guadalmedina river and is close to the valley of the Guadalhorce, resulting in relatively flat terrain. However, immediately to the east the rocky headlands formed of schist and limestone rise up, meaning some sections are more recently constructed or make use of abandoned infrastructure such as the infamous motorway to Almería or the aforementioned railway line.
All of the watercourses that the route encounters in the city are spanned by bridges, and in addition to the River Guadalmedina, there are the Arroyos (a flood water river channel) Toquero, in La Caleta; Jaboneros, between Pedregalejos and El Palo; Gálica, close to the port of El Candado and Judíos near the Peñón del Cuervo. El Arroyo de Totalán near the end of the Stage separates the municipalities of Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria.
It’s around these waterways and other similar enclaves where nature timidly makes an appearance. Similarly on the cliff faces with sparsely distributed plant life that is able to survive so close to the sea. Marine birds and shore birds are the principal attraction of the stage, above all at times of day when tourist activity is at a minimum or during the cooler seasons.
At the very beginning GR-249 offers the possibility of exploring practically the entire coastal fringe of the capital. After a long period of being forgotten, Málaga of the 21st century welcomed the new millennium by opening up towards the Mediterranean Sea, the sea which has always lent Málaga its status of an important city. Various projects show this new focus on the port area, sparking many controversies at the same time; the walk subsequently takes you through these new areas. Meanwhile, the Guadalmedina River has been waiting its turn to claim its importance from an environmental and public use point of view, which it fully deserves as one of the great backbones of the city.
The planning model of this part of the western Málaga coast has been modifi ed over many years and in this way Málaga´s identity of a fi shing centre has been preserved, the identity which has given the city a way to exist whilst adapting to a new reality. The walker has a chance to see such iconic places as the port and the lighthouse, the beaches of La Calera, Pedregalejo and El Palo, and the numerous “chiringuitos”, traditional beach bars which are also trying to find their place and a new look at the beginning of this century.
The last part of the itinerary of Stage 1 holds a few surprises of a different nature, from unspoilt wildlife sites harbouring exclusive botanical species to the perfectly preserved medieval beacon towers, through industrial buildings at the foot of the beach or enchanting secluded beach coves.