The famous route of the white villages of Andalusia is comprised of a number of localities located near the regions of the ‘Sierra de Cádiz’ and the ‘Serranía de Ronda’. The eminent mountainous feel of these villages is easily reflected in their customs and traditions. This embellishes the landscape in the same way that the sets of whitewashed facades, the reddish roofs of their houses, and the narrow and steep layout of their streets do. The ‘arquillos’ and passageways that decorate the the corners of this urban plot are another example of the treasures on this route of the white villages of Malaga.
The route of the white villages of Malaga is, without a doubt, one of the most famous routes of Andalusian popular architecture. It is also a journey through a land with history that has witnessed numerous episodes and conflicts that have left their mark in the form of castles and other archaeological remains.
Although the white towns of Andalusia include localities of the provinces like Cádiz and Málaga, we will focus on the white villages of Malaga, which, by starting in the center of Ronda, are located in the lands of Malaga.
Ronda is one of the places with the greatest tourism presence in Malaga. It is a beautiful location marked by the presence of the striking cliffs of the Guadalevín River. It has attractions of high stature like its famous bridge, its Arab baths or its bullring. It is considered one of the oldest and most monumental in Spain.
Known for its monuments, its history and its culture, Ronda stands out as the undisputed center of the white villages of Malaga. It is an essential and worthwhile destination in which to invest a visit that spans several days.
Located by the Natural Park of the ‘Sierra de Grazalema,’ Benaoján is a small town that is appreciated by all kinds of people who love rural tourism and adventure sports. In the surrounding area we find interesting places like the ‘Cuevos del Gato’ (Caves of the Cat) and ‘La Pileta.’ Inside the latter there is a series of cave paintings that demonstrate an early human presence there. They create an important artistic ensemble of Paleolithic style.
Of Muslim origin, Montejaque is a village also located by the ‘Sierra de Grazalema,’ and the name of the town means “Lost Mountain“. It is a place of notable historical richness where it is possible to visit monuments as big as the ‘Church of Santiago the Mayor.’ In the surrounding area is the Hacho, a mountain that, with its 1,075 meters of altitude, gives shelter to the locality and towers above the rest of the landscape.
Jimera de Líbar is another town of Muslim origin that became home to an important fortress of which there is currently no vestige. Nevertheless, its name in Arabic language was ‘Inz Almaraz,’ which means, “Castle of the Woman”. The surroundings of the place, where the presence of the peak of Martín Gil stands out, is a popular location for practicing all kinds of nature sports.
This village in Malaga on our route through the white villages has one of the smallest populations of the province. Relative peace and tranquility in the streets here is pretty much guaranteed.
Atajate is currently famous for the production of must, the last vestige of an important wine industry that lived in splendor for centuries. Later, the industry declined due to a strong phylloxera plague that affected the region in the late nineteenth century.
The next stop on the route of the white villages of Malaga is Benadalid. It has several patrimonial attractions such as its Moorish castle. This monument has a square floor and cylindrical towers, and it’s possible it is of Roman origin. It currently functions as a local cemetery.
Other places in Benadalid that deserve a visit are the Church of San Isidoro and the Cross of the Humilladero. Its construction is linked to two Portuguese brothers who settled here. They are possibly responsible for the generalization of the surname Fernandez in the village.
Algatocín is a place of remarkable beauty whose staggered profile adapts perfectly to the type of the terrain. It gives rise to an irregular and scenically attractive urban plot that sits there. Among the points of interest, we have the ‘Church of Our Lady of the Rosary’ and viewpoint of the ‘Genil.’ It offers excellent views of a mountainous landscape with lush vegetation dominated by oak trees, chestnut trees and other indigenous species.
Located in the center of a rich and varied natural environment, Gaucín is a small locality of Moorish layout that had its particular historical relevance during the years of the ‘Reconquista.’ The castle was considered an important strategic point for the capture and the the death of Guzmán “The Good,” Lord of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Currently, the Águila Castle is the main patrimonial attraction. Its located at the top of a mountain with an altitude of 688 meters, and it is also one of the most popular destinations for excursions here.
The route of the white villages of Malaga ends in Casares, a place declared an artistic historical monument. Casares has important heritage exhibitions such as the Church of the Incarnation, its Moorish castle and the hermitage of San Sebastián. Others include the remains of the hermitage of the ‘Vera’ or the Baths of the Hedionda, where sulphurous waters were used as a source of health in Roman times.
Casares is also the birthplace of the politician and writer Blas Infante, known as the “father of the Andalusian homeland” and whose birthplace still remains standing. Because of the disposition of the houses and the streets in Cuesta, Casares has earned the nickname of the “Hanging Village”.
The route of the white villages of Malaga constitutes, in short, one of the best opportunities to get to know the mountains and the popular culture of a rich province with a surprising interior.
Although today we are focusing on the lands of the ‘Serranía de Ronda,’ remember that the white villages are a very widespread reality throughout Andalusian geography. In Malaga, without having to go any further, you can admire other examples of beautiful towns such as Mijas; or Cómpeta, Comares and Frigiliana, in the region of the Axarquía.