Hiking La Concha Mountain in Marbella

View of Istan and Gibraltar when Hiking La Concha Mountain in Marbella
Image by Piet Theisohn via Flickr

La Concha is the mountain you often see in pictures of Marbella. This mountain in Málaga is part of the Sierra Blanca range along the beautiful Mediterranean coast. It’s about 1,215 meters high (4000 feet).

La Concha means “Shell” in Spanish (even the hikes in Marbella have sophisticated names, I love it!). It’s a big, natural landmark, and if you hike to the top, you get amazing views of the nearby coastal area.

Whether you love nature or just want a break from Marbella’s excitement, La Concha is a great place to spend an afternoon, thanks to its tall and scenic beauty.

key takeaways

  • La Concha is the highest mountain in and around the Marbella area. La Concha is called the queen and protector of Marbella by locals.
  • La Concha is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Spain and, especially, for people traveling to Marbella.
  • It takes 4 to 6 hours to climb La Concha round trip.
  • La Concha mountain is 1,215 meters high above sea level.
Pine Forrest in Ojen
Image by Manuel Hernandez Ritore via Flickr
Hiking La Concha Mountain in Marbella
Image by emiliegarneau via Instagram

Guide to Hiking Marbella’s Most Famous Mountain

Lenght: 13.5 km

Route Type: Loop

Duration: It takes 4 to 6 hours to climb La Concha round trip

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

There are two main ways to reach the top of La Concha: one from Istan and the other from the popular Refugio de Juanar. The Refugio de Juanar trailhead is often chosen because it’s closer to Marbella than Istan, and it has easy parking. If you look at a map, you’ll notice both cities are north of La Concha, so either way, you’ll be hiking south to get to the Pico de la Concha.

As you hike along the scenic trail, you’ll enjoy a nice view of the charming town of Ojén below and pass through a beautiful pine forest.

marked trail to la concha
Image by jacintamayora via Instagram
La Concha Hike near Marbella
Image by jacintamayora via Instagram

Most important points along the way

  • Piedra del Hipopotamo – Rocks shaped like an hippo
  • Panorámica Marbella – Enjoy a fantastic view of the city of Marbella.
  • Salto del Lobo – Tricky pass suitable for experienced hikers.
  • Paso peligroso – The final 500 meters to the Mirador de la Concha are tough, and you’ll need to use chains.

As the name of some of these waypoints suggest, caution is advised! Salto del Lobo (the Leap of the Wolf in English) makes it a shorter walk to the summit and has really impressive views along the way.

What to Pack and to Wear to Hike La Concha

To stay safe and comfortable, wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear (obviously hiking boots are recommended) for the rocky terrain – the usual hiking gear.

What to Pack

  • Wear comfortable breathable clothes.
  • Pack 1 liter of water per person.
  • Apply sunscreen.
  • Bring a camera.
  • Some snacks to keep energy up!
Spanish Ibex, Hiking on the Costa del Sol
Image by Arthur Harrow via Flickr
Gibraltar and Morocco seen when hiking La Concha Mountain
Gibraltar on the right, Morocco on the left. Image by Piet Theisohn via Flickr

Keep your Eyes Open

Here are a few things you might spot while hiking La Concha that make the experience just even more awesome:

  • Olive trees
  • Beautiful views of Gibraltar
  • Scenic views of northern Africa
  • Spanish ibex

How Fit do you Need to be to Hike La Concha?

This is a tough hike, climbing nearly 1 km up. It begins easy but gets harder.

Get ready for some steep uphill and downhill parts, but there are also some flat paths. This trail is tricky because you have to climb over big rocks and work your way around smaller loose ones.

La Concha is definitely not for beginners, but if you’re in good shape with a little hiking experience you’re going to be ok. It’s an amazing adventure!

Tips and FAQ

Tips on Hiking La Concha

  • Always stay on the marked trail to avoid getting lost or hurt.
  • The path can be steep and rocky, so wear comfy hiking shoes and bring lots of water.
  • Consider packing a snack or lunch for the top.
  • If you’re hiking in summer, begin early to avoid the heat.
  • Check the weather forecast and be ready for changes. The trail is rocky and steep in some sections, and it can get slippery when wet. Don’t go hiking La Concha if you think there is going to be wind, rain or a storm.
  • The trail often divides, and some paths are more difficult or risky, so make sure to check the map at each turn. (If you don’t have a physical map, use the one on AllTrails.)
  • There isn’t much phone signal after 2.5 km on the trail.

All Trails Links: Hiking from Refugio de Juanar and from Istan

Pico de La Concha Hiking, Bench at the end of the trail, Gibraltar in the distance
Image by Piet Theisohn via Flickr
Hiking La Concha Mountain in Marbella
Image by Piet Theisohn via Flickr

Best Time of the Year to Hike La Concha

Hiking La Concha in Marbella is thrilling, but it’s crucial to be careful. The trail can be challenging, especially in the hot summer. While it’s a great activity in autumn, winter, and spring, local authorities usually advise against it in the summer due to the intense heat.

Where to Park to Climb La Concha?

Get to the mountain early for the best parking, as it tends to fill up on some days. Plan to start your hike around 9:00 AM. (If you’re going later, plan for ample time to make it back before sunset.)

I pinned for for the parking lot in Ojén near the Refugio and the parking lot in Istan.

Is La Concha Suitable Dogs?

If your dog is strong and used to hiking, it’s fine to bring them along. However, keep in mind, this is a challenging hike for people and may not be suitable for every dog. It’s steep with narrow paths, so make sure you have a good grip.

Read more

Where to Stay · Best Hotels in Marbella · Historic Hotels in Andalusia · Where to Stay on the Costa del Sol
Marbella Travel Guide · Best Tours
Itineraries · 7 Days in Andalusia (Off the beaten path)
Day Trips · Off the Beaten Path Day Trips from Marbella · Best day trips from Málaga · Granada · Nerja Waterfalls