The month of December is ideal for hiking and we want to share an easy hiking trail to the Monk's Chapel. It's a linear route with a 2 km length (one way) and an estimated time of 1 hour and 30 minutes (one way). The route follows the bank of a stream and we recommend going in a season where the stream carries water.
From Aparthotel Puerto Azul we can easily reach the beginning of the route by taking bus line 2 to the Colegio Xarblanca stop. From the stop we go up La Chumbera Street next to the school in the direction of the mountain. Behind the school parking lot, we go down a dead-end street to the Arroyo de Guadalpín.
To start you have to cross the Guadalpín stream (also called Calaña) and turn right until you find a wall that apparently cuts the path. You can climb or you can go around the right side and after a few meters the trail that is very marked appears again.
In this first section we will find two paths, one that goes up the slope and another that goes parallel to the stream, the two join a little further on. If you choose to go down to the stream you can visit some pools where you can take a bath if the temperature allows it.
The path climbs gradually and you have to cross the stream several times. In these places where you have to cross it, you have to be careful not to get lost because it is easy to get confused.
On the last climb before reaching the ruins of the Monk's Chapel, you can see on the left a carrasco pine with an impressive bearing. Finishing the small climb, you will reach the landing where the remains of the Hermitage are located.
Once here you can go further into the Sierra Blanca, although our route returns from here along the same path to the starting point.
The Monk's Trail was a sacred route that started from the Church of the Incarnation (in the current old town of Marbella), and ended at the hermitage of the Monks.
The hermitage was built by Franciscan monks in the 16th century. The Franciscan monks were defenders of evangelical poverty and lived in secluded and lonely places. The humble hermitage was considered miraculous, as were the nearby water sources. The inhabitants of Marbella used to go to this chapel in penance or by promise, it was inhabited by one or two hermits and came to have several names: Our Lady of Sorrows or Our Lady of Soledad de la Sierra; These names concluded in one, that of the Virgin of Sorrows, which is the oldest image venerated by the people of Marbella. (1)