The Rio Chillar Walk in Nerja

Walking and Hiking in the Axarquia

Rio Chillar river walk just outside of Nerja offers a fun mix of nature and refreshing water. Here’s a comprehensive guide for those considering this trek.

This walk leads you up the Rio Chillar and has plenty of shade and opportunities to cool off, especially if you walk this path in the summer months. It’s a very picturesque walk with cool water filtering down from the mountains in the distance. Prepare to get your feet wet as much of the walk requires you to wade through shallow pools and slow running currents. It’s not a river proper for most of the year, rather a trickling spring, but make sure you do not attempt this walk if there has been recent rain, or rain forecast.

Rio Chillar in Nerja Waterfall

Here’s a checklist of what you need to know:

Length of the Walk

The complete trek to the end and back is approximately 16 kilometres. It’s not a circular route, so you can just turn back once you’ve walked far enough. If you do fancy doing the full walk 8km there and back you’re rewarded with a series of pools and small waterfalls.


Generally, it takes between 5 to 7 hours to complete, the end point being Vado de Los Patos. This depends on your pace and the number of stops you take.


Rio Chillar in Nerja

Initially you’re walking alongside the river, it’s relatively flat but the terrain is rocky. Further down, past the first waterfall there’s mild water flow, which gradually gets deeper and narrows down into striking rock canyons, known as ‘Los Cahorros’.
The ground underfoot can be rocky and slippery, especially when wet. Some areas may require wading through water that reaches up to the knees or thighs. So although not a difficult walk, you do need to pay attention to your footing.


Footwear wise sturdy, water-resistant shoes or sandals with good grip are essential. Leave your flip-flops at home and any precious trainers. Clothing no matter which season it is light, quick-drying clothes are recommended and a change of clothes left in the car is handy too. A lightweight jacket for the return route during winter months given the chilly waters and a hat for summer is essential.
Pack: A waterproof bag with essentials like snacks, water, sunblock, a hat, and perhaps even a light towel.

Recommended Age

Rio Chillar walk with children

It’s suitable for most ages, from children to seniors. However, children under the age of 6 might find it a bit challenging (take a carrier and mix it up), and older adults should gauge their comfort with walking on uneven and wet terrains.

Best Time to Go

The summer months (May to October) are ideal since the water offers a lovely respite from the Spanish heat. For a more peaceful experience, opt for early mornings to avoid the crowds.

What to Expect

Crowds: Especially during the peak months, it can get quite busy. If you’re looking for solitude, either start early or avoid weekends.
Refreshment: There aren’t any shops or stalls along the route, so ensure you carry enough water and light refreshments.
Cool Temperatures: While Nerja can be sweltering in the summer, the water remains relatively cold, providing a refreshing contrast.
Natural Beauty: With the sounds of flowing water, chirping birds, and the occasional splash as you wade through, it’s a rejuvenating experience. Be respectful, leave no trace.

Flora and Fauna

Children looking at frongs on a river walk in Nerja

Flora: The river is surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation, including oleanders, reeds, and willow trees.
Fauna: While the water is clear and inviting, it’s also home to a variety of aquatic life. You might spot small fish and amphibians. The surrounding region is also known for birds like the kingfisher and various butterflies.

Getting There & Parking

  • From Velez-Malaga head south out of town and towards the coast, taking the A7 in the direction of Nerja/Motril/Almeria.
  • Stay on the A7 for 20KM and come off at exit 292 for the N340a to Nerja.
  • At the roundabout take the 1st exit onto Avenida Alcalde Antonio Villasclaras. You will go straight over at the next two roundabouts.
  • At the 3rd roundabout take the 4th exit onto Av. de Pescia/N340.
  • At the next two roundabouts take the 2nd exit and continue on Avenida de Pescia.
  • At the 3rd roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Calle Julio Romero, continue onto Avenida de la Constitucion, take a left onto Calle Cisne.
  • At the roundabout take the 1st exit onto Calle Mirto, go over the roundabout and take a sharp left soon after.
  • Continue up the track and pass under the motorway, the river should be on your left.
  • Keep driving up the track and there should be an old cement factory.
  • Park wherever you can here, although pay attention to ‘no parking’ signs that might be around.
  • The walk starts just past the cement factory and before the track bends to the left.

If you love the outdoors and a bit of exercise, we have some more tried and tested hiking routes in the Axarquia.

In the meantime, check out our pick of things to do in Nerja.

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