Only 8km or so from Granada, Monachil is sweet little mountain village, perfect for a half day deviation from city life. In recent years, this hillside dwelling has become popular due to one particular tourist attraction – the Monachil Gorge Walk and the hanging bridges of Monachil. Better known by the locals as the hanging bridges of Los Cahorros Granada (this is what you’re looking for when asking for directions or following the signs), this rambler’s route is now one of the main talking points for the Granada Hiking scene. If you’re looking specifically for the hanging bridges, it’s worth noting that when you arrive at the start of the trail, there are multiple forks. Look for/ask for the path to the ‘puente’ (bridge).
If you’re staying in Granada, be sure to check out my post about Things to do in Granada.
How to get to Los Cahorros
Getting to Monachil from Granada is relatively easy. By car, you follow the GR-3202 pretty much all the way from the city to Monachil. For those without transport, the 0183 bus runs an hourly service that will take around 30 minutes and costs only a couple of euros.
If you’re coming directly from the Costa Del Sol to Monachil, take the A292 and start to follow the signs for Sierra Nevada just as you start entering Granada.
Once you arrive Monachil you have two options:
1) Park in the village, have a look around and then walk up to hike point (this will add a good 8km more to your round trip).
2) Head straight for Restaurante El Puntarron on the outskirts of the village. Just up from the restaurant is a car park where the main route starts.
The hanging bridges of Monachil
The hanging bridges of Los Cahorros are relatively close to the start of the gorge walk. From the main road you’ll follow a path round past a few local homes and a little wooden shack selling ice-creams. A steep (but short) climb will take you to an inspiring cliff edge that overlooks the start of the gorge and will lead you down to the famous bridges. There are a couple of small bridges to whet your appetite, before you reach the largest (and most impressive).
Los Cahorros Granada
The winding trail alongside the river is hailed as one of the best Granada walks, however, I’m going to be scathingly honest … I found it quite anti-climactic! Perhaps I am spoiled by my Scottish upbringing around rolling hillsides and dramatic cliff edges, but most of this walk follows a shallow, old irrigation channel that has been reworked with concrete. That being said, the waters are popular with tourists for swimming, with several waterholes, rock pools and waterfalls dotted along the narrow canyon. Thinner parts of the path have had climbing rungs installed in the rock to allow trail followers to navigate past jutting rocks, and sometimes you need to hunch down/crawl under the stone to keep moving. Pretty exciting stuff for kids (regardless of the view)!
Restaurante El Puntarron – my favourite of the Monachil Restaurants
There’s nothing better than stumbling across a perfect tavern-like, tiled Spanish restaurant after a good ramble across the countryside. Restaurante El Puntarron is a little establishment that sits on the roadside just before the path that leads down to Los Cahorros. At the main entrance you’re greeted by a long wooden bar serving up little tasty pincho plates and beers on tap. However, the main draw to the restaurant is the beautiful courtyard down the steps at the back. Decorated with a canopy of hanging fauna and grapes, the courtyard catches just the right amount of sun and looks out across the hillside and surrounding mountains.
The staff couldn’t have done enough to accommodate my vegan needs, serving up tasty fresh bowls of gazpacho alongside crusty bread and warm potato croquettes. It’s the perfect place to relax in the shadows of the sun whilst sipping on home made sangria. My mum loved the place so much that she tapped out of the gorge walk pretty early on and went back to sip on wine and read her book.