Motril Mining Excursion

Knowing that the mines of Motril have recently re-opened, I decided to make it a family Sunday fun day and go for a visit.

Taking a drive into Motril and following the N-323 behind the hospital, one can reach the Geo-Mining Museum of Cerro del Toro. The drive up may be a bit confusing and you can easily drive by any markers leading the way without noticing. Our persistence in finding the place took a little under an hour, our faithful GPS failed us this hot Sunday morning. We did stop and ask for directions on our way up and drove right past it. One must be on the look out for a red billboard that is just not angled properly onto the road and is barely visible.

Parking is available when you pull in from the main road leading up to the foothills of the Lújar Sierra.

Once leaving your car in the parking area, you must walk 1km to the mining reception office. It is separated into two segments; first 450m, the next 550m. The crossroads marks hiking trails where we found wild rosemary bushes and sage. The walk down is on a steep hill that is not paved – my mistake this Sunday was wearing open-toed sandals and carrying a heavy bag. The information panels leading down to the mine will catch your attention although they are only in Spanish. They depict the history of mining of El Cerro del Toro, the ecosystem of the Nacla Mountains of Motril and the surrounding areas.

Once at the mine’s entrance, we were handed hard hats; everyone, including children, must wear them as a safety precaution, and down into the mountain we go after waiting for any latecomers to arrive. There is an immediate drop in temperature once passing across the threshold; a much-welcomed relief from the noon sun overhead.

The tour guide was very informative talking us through the history of the mine, its properties and the cycles of ore mining throughout its history, prior to any video presentation that the guide would lead us to.

What was most impressive is the preservation of the mine itself; there are no high-tech installations for educational purposes. The video presentations had a feel of shadow puppets against the stonewalls – non intrusive and almost magical. If I explained more it will be a spoiler for those who plan on visiting.

The tour itself is under 40 minutes but the walk through is fun and interactive. The tour guide illuminates all hidden corners with a powerful flashlight when you can easily walk right past mining galleries that resemble crawl spaces.

As an added bonus, Eduardo, our tour guide, shared folklore of the mine from when he was a kid and the adventures and often mishaps most had after the mine closed in the 1970’s as he walked us to a grated mine shaft that led to the midland gallery, currently flooded and inaccessible.

There are four, free, guided tours, every hour, on the hour as of 10:15. Saturday and Sunday during the month of August.

Although there were pamphlets in English, German and in French, I suggest calling and making arrangements for an interpreter if needed. The tour guides who were on duty only spoke Spanish.
Wheelchair and handicap accessibility is limited because of the unpaved road leading down to the mine, so its best to call ahead and make arrangements.

* Groups of 10 or more can be arranged by calling in advanced.
* Completely kid-friendly; my two year old did not fuss.
* There are picnic areas and a Mirador along N-323 to complete your day.

So, pack a picnic, put on your walking shoes, take a short trip and feel like you are in the centre of the world, if only for a little while, escaping the summer heat and crowded beaches.

For any other additional information including Handicap Accessibility or for booking Group Tours, please contact the Motril Cultural Department on 958 838 450.

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(Events: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia – Photos: Fco Javier Jiménez Martín)