Sierra de las Nieves´
town of restaurants
NEAR THE RESORT BEACHES
On the southern face of La Serrania de Ronda mountain range, Benahavís is one of the most mountainous villages on the western Costa del Sol.
In the foothills of the Sierra Blanca and Serrania de Ronda, high above Marbella and Estepona, Benahavís an interesting artistic and tourist centre.
From the mountains more than 100 kilometers from the Spanish coast and much of North Africa can be seen.
It is a very international town of some 8000 inhabitants representing over twenty five nationalities.
The gastronomic tradition of Benahavís has been growing since the 70s, for both traditional cuisine - from pork products and hunting - to a variety of international cuisine.
A typical dish of Benahavis is seasoned pork tenderloin; others include lamb, venison, rabbit, partridge and suckling pig.
Benahavís also has a School of Hospitality, the Hispano-Arab School of Mediterranean diet.
Montemayor Castle, built in the tenth century, has part of its walls in good condition. In the fortified complex is in the Torre de la Reina iretaining vestiges of what were chambers and a well. There are also several watchtowers, built during the Nazari kingdom of Granada as a defensive barrier. These include the well-preserved Lion's Den, Daidín, Campanillas, Tramores and Esteril - all from medieval times. Montemayor and Daidín were populated at the time.
Outside the village there is a wide variety of flora and fauna and other points of interest, such as El Coto de la Zagaleta, la Cueva del Puerto Capuchino, el Charco de las Mozas, el Embalse de la Leche, las Máquinas y el Valle del Guadalmansa.
At the end of the 11th century, Benahavís was founded by Arabs. The village was intimately involved with Andalusia's Arabic past, and particularly with Marbella, the municipal district to which it belonged until it was granted the so-called "Carta Puebla" by Philip II in 1572.
Montemayor Castle, built prior to the founding of Benahavís, played an important role in disputes between successive Arab rulers in Andalusia, because of its strategic position. It was disputed for many years by the various military factions of the time. Its prominent location overlooking the coast, with up to a hundred kilometres of seaboard visible in clear weather, and even the African coast, was extremely useful at a time when piracy and invasion were commonplace. The town takes its name from Havis, an 11th-century Moorish prince who reigned in Montemayor Castle. The name Benahavís is derived from the Arabic "Bin al Havis", meaning "son of Havis".
The castle's strategic location drew the attention of the Catholic Monarchs, who were intent on conquering the last Moorish kingdoms in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Isabel and Ferdinand's forces had already laid siege to the Nazarite kingdom of Granada, but they decided first to occupy the nearby province of Málaga. Soon after, on the 11th of June, 1485, Benahavís, together with the localities of Daidin, Montemayor Castle, Cortes Fortress, Ojen, Arboto, Almáchar, Tramores and Calalui Fort (the Castle of Light), in the Sierra Bermeja, all within the district of Marbella, were handed over to King Ferdinand the Catholic, by Mohammed Abuneza after the signing of the capitulation.
The Catholic Monarchs entrusted their custody to Don Pedro Villandrado, Count of Ribadeo, the first Christian mayor of Benahavís. From that moment on, a dispute arose between Benahavís and Marbella which lasted three and a half centuries, until Benahavís achieved the status of an independent community.
PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK