Just six kilometres north of Nerja lies the beautiful whitewashed village of Frigiliana. The village itself has won several awards for its carefully kept originality and its beauty and it only takes a short amount of time meandering through the cobbled streets to see why. We will undoubtedly be spending a lot more time in Frigiliana to document what it has to offer but the reason we’re here today is for the hiking route to the “Cruz de Pinto”, which begins in the heart of the village.
La Cruz de Pinto is a small sanctuary which is situated on the top of the mountains above the Higuerón river. According to legend, the structure was built in 1643 by navigator, Francisco de Pinto. Francisco was en route from the Italian city of Verona to Cádiz, a Spanish city west of Málaga. As he and his crew were passing Nerja, a storm hit and put their voyage in danger. The convoy, led by Pinto, consisted of 3 ships which began to sink. Desperate to save the boats and their crew, Francisco prayed to god for help. He promised to construct a sanctuary atop the highest visible mountain above Nerja in return for their lives. When the storm cleared, Pinto and his men set to work building the now famous Cruz de Pinto.
Our route begins at bar Virtudes and winds down the mountain beside the sugar cane molasses factory of Frigiliana. Once at the bottom of the track, we head south down the Higuerón riverbed towards Nerja. A couple of hundred metres down the riverbed, we turn left and begin to ascend the rocky valley carved by the river over hundreds of years. The path is signalled at set intervals by a small blue mark painted onto the rocks.
When we reach the top of the hillside, we find ourselves standing next to a small ruin. Apparently, this site is where the goat herders used to spend the nights watching out for predators which could threaten their herds. We carry on past this structure and head downhill for a short while.
At this point, we found our path blocked by a series of beehives. Some people have said that it’s possible to proceed past these without being harmed but the bees surrounding the hives were particularly angry. One of them even stung Bobby, my dog, so we bravely decided to retrace our steps and find another route. By this time, the sun was at its hottest and we were beginning to think that we should carry on back to Frigiliana and try again another day. It’s very important if you plan to hike in Nerja that you take plenty of water and sun cream as it can take several hours to return to the town if you reach your destination. Many people underestimate the power of the sun in the Costa del Sol and get caught out.
Finally, please remember the number one rule with hiking in Nerja. NEVER go wandering into the mountains on your own. If you slip and fall and nobody knows where you are, it could be days or even weeks before somebody finds you.