The Local Villages
...to visit on a horse back tour.
Atajate is part of the White Pueblo Route and is home to under 200 people, known as Atajateños. It’s known for both its beauty and natural surroundings as it is located between the Genal River Valley, the Guadiaro River, the Peñasblancas Peak and the Cerro del Cuervo (Crow’s Hill) and includes a gorgeous nature area called the “Torcal of Atajate” which is a labryinth of rock formations covered with Mediterranean flora.
The San José (Saint Joseph) Church is one of the town’s most outstanding architectural features. It was built in the 19tth century and is a fine example of barroque style. Like so many mountain villages in this area, the main artesan products are made of natural fibers gathered locally. You might be amazed at the number of things that can be woven from esparta grass, for example.
Jimera de Libar sights centre around the town hall and religious buildings. With the village divided into two separate parts, you have the town hall and the Our Lady of the Rosary Church in one area. The other part of town is actually two kilometres away. It’s called the “Barriada de la Estación” (The Train Station Neighbourhood) and includes the Hermitage for the town’s patron saint, the “Virgen de la Salud” (Virgen of Health).
Outside of the town limits there are also many things to see – possibly more than you’ll find inside the village itself. There is a an archeological site about 4 kilometres from Jimera de Líbar called Finca El Tesoro (Treasure Estate). This is believed to be a Phoenician necropolis. There are also many paths for trekkers outside the town. You can follow one of these to the Pico Martín Gil (Martin Gil Peak) which is the high point of the Sierra de Líbar at around 1,400 meters above sea level. Another interesting sight to see outside of town is the La Flor Mill (Molino La Flor). This old mill rests on the remains of a Roman bridge in amazing natural surroundings. There are also numerous paths running along the river along the old Roman road that linked the Campo de Gibraltar area with the ancient Roman city of Acinipio.
Benalauria is surrounded by forests of chestnut, pine and walnut trees along with a wide array of Mediterranean mountain plants. For being such a small village, there are a good number of things to see and visit in Benalauría. Head for the main square to see the town hall, which is a beautiful example of local 18th century architecture. You might also visit the Santo Domingo Church built in the 15th and 16th centuries. The town also has an Ethnography Museum on Alta Street. It is housed in an 18th century olive oil factory.
Outside of the town of Benalauría there is an archaeological site dating back to the first century after Christ. This is a Roman cemetery called the “Columbario Romano del Cortijo del Moro”.
Benadalid is divided in two parts. On one side you will find the typical Arab-style Andalusian town with narrow, winding streets. On the other side – basically around the main square, is a more modern layout. That is where you’ll find the San Isidro Church which was built in the 16th century and restored in the 18th century.
The most outstanding monument in Benadalid, however, is the Moorish castle that is situated on the edge of the town’s centre. The municipal cemetery is located inside. While in Benadalid you might also like to visit the Alambique Museum which is an old distillery now housing local arts and crafts and a display of local customs. The artisans of Benadalid continue the local tradition of working with cork.
Algatocin has less than 1,000 inhabitants and a negative growth rate, if you can believe that.
One of the attractions of Agatocín is the Virgin del Rosario 16th century church and there is also a hermitage, known as El Calvario. The latter is especially worth visiting as it is a lookout point providing panoramic views of the Ronda mountains, other white pueblos and the Genal Valley below.
Benarraba loosely translated means the Son of Rabbah, whose family must have been prominent in the village’s early days. Certainly a large castle stood in the area and can be found nearby at Monte Poron, where a legend seems to cloud its history. Modern guide books inform us that the pueblo is laid out as a typical Moorish settlement. However, with only 35 people surviving after the conquest, this statement is not totally correct. In fact, much of what we see today is 17th and 18th century based around two plazas.
Genalgaucil is one white Andalusian mountain village that art lovers will not want to miss. Every year during the first two weeks in August there is an art festival in Genalguacil called “Los Encuentros de Arte del Valle del Genal” and prize winning works of art are put on permanent public display throughout the town afterwards. This is probably the most outstanding feature of this typical Andalusian village. Visitors come from all over to wander the narrow streets and charming plazas in search of artistic treasures.
Casares is a large but beautiful town. Most of the white villages are beautiful but there is something very special about the sight of Casares that causes the visitor to park the horse and simply stare or take a photo. There are many bars and restaurants to prepare you for the walk around Casares' hilly streets. Don't expect rural venta prices.
Gaucin is a spectacularly beautiful mountain village commanding sweeping views to Gibraltar and North Africa. The village is a gateway to the Serranía de Ronda where, depending on the time of year, you can enjoy an impressionist palette of colour: brilliant brush strokes of red poppies, yellow mimosa, purple wild orchids, tempered by the cool green of olive groves and occasional splash of pale pink almond blossom. Indeed, Gaucin is famous for its international artists' community.
The town has a population of less than 2,000, and its narrow medieval streets and tall, narrow houses are sprawled picturesquely over two hills and the adjoining land between them. Perched high above the deep River Genal valley, Gaucin is overlooked by the imposing the Sierra del Hacho mountain. The village is 626m above sea level.
Cortes de la Frontera. Dominating the landscape around the town are extensive woods of cork trees (alcornocales) that stretch from the Guadiaro river westwards, to where the municipal boundary meets Cadiz province, and beyond. Cork has contributed greatly to the local economy since the late 17th century. Cortes used to be one of the richest pueblos blancos because of cork production and evidence of this wealth can still be seen today in the grand 18th-century mansions lining the main street.
Many buildings in Cortes date from the 18th-century, the most prominent of these being the elegant sandstone building of the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), with a neo-classical façade, which was constructed in 1784. Several other buildings are from the same period, such as the town's church, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the Casa de los Valdenebros(1763) and the Casa Parroquial (built in 1700). The curious Casa de Piedra (Stone House) is a rock that was carved out in Moorish times.
PLAZA DE TOROS: The bullring was built in 1894 and restored in 1921. With a 1,000-strong capacity, the bullring is one of the largest in the Serranía de Ronda. Its size is a reflection of Cortes's strong tradition of cattle rearing (the town's annual feria features a cattle fair), as are its various and well-established bullfighting fiestas.
Alpandere is derived from a Morisco corruption of "El Pandero", which was changed by Christian converts from El into the Arabic Al. As in so many of these small white villages, this was once again a settlement of Moorish origin. However, though the Romans seem to have neglected the area, dolmens (Stone Age burial chambers), can be found in the north of the municipal district. The Jesuit twin towered Church of San Antonio de Padua is the most striking landmark when approaching Alpandeire. Known locally as the "Cathedral of the Serrania" due to its size.