The Bosque de Cobre, “gold” in the Serranía de Ronda
The province of Málaga has a natural landscape well worth exploring, which can be enjoyed at any time of year. One of its attractions is the remarkable Bosque de Cobre, located in the Serranía de Ronda, which presents any visitor to the area with an impressive image of the province’s interior. The forest’s original name refers to the colour the landscape takes on with the arrival of autumn, as the leaves fall from the chestnut trees, and clothe the mountains with brown, yellow, orange and ochre hues.
Most of the Bosque de Cobre lies in the Valle del Genal, one of the three main areas of the Serranía de Ronda. One of its chief characteristics is its mountainous nature, with rugged mountain ranges and many steep slopes that become gentler as they approach the neighbouring territories: Llanos de Antequera, Campo de Gibraltar, and the Costa del Sol. We recommend you visit this fairytale setting in the province of Málaga.
- The natural landscape
- When to visit the Bosque de Cobre
- Hiking routes
- Things to see nearby
- Where to stay in Málaga province
The natural landscape
The small municipalities with the good fortune to have part of the Bosque de Cobre within their boundaries are Alpandeire, Benadalid, Benalauría, Cartajima, Faraján, Genalguacil, Igualeja, Jubrique, Júzcar, Parauta, Pujerra, and Yunquera. Together, they comprise the Copper Trail (or Ruta del Cobre de Málaga) and have a great culture associated with the chestnut. They are the gateway to beautiful scenery, a delicious gastronomy, and a calendar full of very special events.
We do need to remember that the Bosque de Cobre is not a public place: it is owned by a large number of private estates, mostly chestnut-growing concerns, which provide a living for many families in the area. Nevertheless, there is an extensive network of local paths that will enable visitors to enjoy this idyllic landscape. This is true of stages 4, 5 and 6 of the Gran Senda de Ronda [Great Ronda Trail] (GR 141), which runs alongside the river Genal and the Bosque de Cobre. But there are lots more paths, including some suitable for families.
When to visit the Bosque de Cobre
It is always a good time to visit Málaga’s Bosque de Cobre. Every month of the year offers a beautiful scene in this natural space. However, if we want to understand why this chestnut wood has its name, it is a good idea to plan a trip here during the autumn, when the leaves are changing colour, and the whole scene takes on the yellow, golden and ochre hues that so impress visitors.
November sees the end of the chestnut harvest, which gives way to the traditional ‘tostones’ — the roasting of the chestnuts with aniseed, spirits and other local liquors. These celebrations draw lots of people from around the Serranía de Ronda, and in their kitchens and restaurants traditional dishes containing chestnuts are prepared. We need to remember that the chestnut groves have significant ecological and financial value for the Serranía de Ronda, as many occupations and crafts are based on them.
If you enjoy nature and breathing fresh air, you should take a walk inside the Bosque de Cobre, and experience the peace and beauty of this unique landscape. You can walk any of the many paths that cross it
There are all kinds of trails, ranging from highly demanding ones to those that can easily be walked with children. All are signposted and validated, and they add up to hundreds of kilometres in length. All they are waiting for its visitors. The easiest paths are the one that runs from Yunquera to Los Sauces (SL-A 141), the Los Saucillos path (SL-A-164), the Charco de la Cal in Igualeja (SL-A 173), and the Caleras path, also in Igualeja ((SL-A174).
Things to see nearby
If you arrange a trip to explore the amazing Bosque de Cobre, it’s a good idea to keep some time available to visit a few of the Valle del Genal’s little white towns. They are a truly beautiful sight in a tranquil setting, where you can enjoy excellent gastronomy, and they are perfect for hiking.
For example, Genalguacil is such a pretty town that one could almost describe it as an outdoor art gallery — its streets are adorned with sculptures, paintings and works of art donated by the artists who participate in the cultural events that take place every year and which are legendary in the town. This is a town with a rich history, but barely 500 inhabitants. Very near Genalguacil, you will find the Mirador del Pinsapo and the Mirador de los Poyetes viewing points, from which you can gaze at idyllic views of the Valle del Genal. And in the same area, in Sierra Bermeja, there is a lovely forest of Spanish fir trees, which has been designated a Natural Park.
Where to stay in Málaga province
The best option if you want to visit the coastal towns is the Barceló Málaga hotel. This is a four-star hotel with an ultra-modern design and offering outstanding quality — and with direct access to the AVE railway station. It has 221 modern guest rooms, and in its reception area there is an enormous steel slide that connects the first floor with the lobby, and which is great fun. In the hotel’s gastrobar, La Santa María, guests can sample the finest Malaga cuisine along with international dishes as part of the ‘tapas viajeras’ [travellers’ tapas] offer, which enables you to tour the world through tapas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Bosque de Cobre?
The forest lies inland in the province of Málaga, between the Serranía de Ronda and the Sierra de las Nieves. It is in the Valle del Genal, and the area is scattered with traditional little white towns.
Why is it called the Bosque de Cobre [Copper Wood]?
Because in autumn, the scenery is transformed, and becomes tinted with shades of yellow, ochre, brown and orange — all coppery tones. Many people describe it as a ‘coppery’ scene.
When is the best time to to visit the Bosque de Cobre?
It is worth visiting the Bosque de Cobre at any time of year. However, it is in autumn that the forest’s name becomes most meaningful, as the countryside changes colour and takes on the ‘coppery’ hue.