On Good Friday we set off to discover one of the most popular walking trails to the Cross of Juanar (Cruz de Juanar).
The summit is 1190 metres above sea level and it is alongside the equally spectacular mountain of La Concha, both behind the city of behind Marbella.
The walk itself is just over 13kms (up and down) and took us just over five hours in total with a stop for a picnic lunch on the way!
The walk/climb to the top of the Cruz de Juanar It is not quite so difficult as the climb/trek of La Concha but has very similar views and is described as moderate/medium level walk.
From the top in all directions, you can see:
To the north: the Sierra de Las Nieves with Mount Torrecilla dominates the horizon, also you can see Garapalo hill, Castillejos, the Fulaneja, the Sierra de las Nieves with the Torrecilla dominating the horizon…
To the south: the Mediterranean Sea, the coasts of Africa, and at night, the lights of Ceuta and its lighthouse. Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola…
To the west: La Concha and the Rock of Gibraltar…
And finally, to the east: the Tajo Negro, the Mijas mountain range and its firewall, the Maroma, in the background the Veleta and the Mulhacén de Sierra Nevada…
The legend is that the iron cross was put high up on the summit by sailors back in the 18th century. They had almost been shipwrecked off the coast of Marbella and they vowed that if they were to be saved, they would climb the first mountain they arrived at and place a cross to thank the Lord that they had been rescued.
The Cruz de Juanar even to this day is still a holy place – Every 3rd May the pilgrimage to the cross is made and a special mass is celebrated.
Why not try it?
If you wish to do this walk/climb yourself I can highly recommend it, it is well signposted and like us you will no doubt meet groups of walkers and families enjoying the hike and views too.
You could follow these directions.
- Take the mountain road that connects Marbella with Coin and travel approximately 11kms to a hotel named “Refugio de Juanar”.
- You will see the Hotel Refugio de Juanar on the right.
- Park up in the car park just before the gate with the sign adverting the hotel. You cannot travel by car any further up from here.
- At the crossroads follow the sign that takes you in the direction of PR-A-168, “La Concha 2h. 10m.”
- At the next crossroads in the olive grove: continue along the lane on the left.
- Walk through a lovely pine forest: again, taking the lane on the left (in the direction of La Concha).
- Once you reach the end of this lane take the path upwards.
- When the path levels out and you start to see the Mediterranean Sea, again take the path to the left.
- You will reach Summit of the Cruz de Juanar (1,190/1,195 meters above sea level).
I would certainly recommend sturdy footwear, a hat and taking refreshments. It is quite steep towards the top so not recommend for the very young children or to take buggies or strollers. Also, I would set off as early as possible to avoid the midday heat.
It was certainly well worth the effort; the rewards were unrivalled views over Marbella and the Costs de Sol coastline plus the mountains that make this region so popular with those who love the hills and countryside. The journey magnificent too through olive groves and fresh smelling pine woods.