Sierra de las Nieves
Each of the thirteen villages in the Sierra de las Nieves has its own distinct character.
Until fairly recently, all the villages were almost totally self contained - they had their own animals and grew their own fruit and vegetables. Even now, the language and accents are slightly different; each village has its own fiesta days, patron saint and traditions.
Wherever you stay you will receive a warm welcome and enjoy a truly Andalusian holiday.
A brief description
Alozaina is a town of 2200 inhabitants between Coín and Ronda. It is in the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves before the rise towards Casarabonela and Yunquera.
About halfway to Yunquera is the hamlet of Jorox, which is under the jurisdiction of Alozaina. The river valley roughly separates the Sierra de las Nieves from the region of Guadalhorce and is one of the most attractive natural landscapes in the National Park.
Benahavis is a town famed for its restaurants. It is situated high above San Pedro de Alcantara and about twenty minutes from the coast. On Sunday mornings there is a spacious flea market in a partially cleared eucalyptus grove on the approach to the village. Due to its popularity, parking can be difficult in the village and close to the market - so be prepared for a walk!
Centred around the Plaza de Casarabonela, the historic part of the town is a maze of steep winding streets with many steps to help you climb.
Overlooking the Guadalhorce valley there are the ruins of the Arab Qasr Bunayra castle, dating back to the nineth century.
El Burgo is on the western edge of the Sierra de las Nieves as it transforms into the Serrania de Ronda. Close by are the ruins of the Virgin las Nieves convent, a waterfall and the Mill of Fuensanta.
At 354 metres, Guaro is one of lowest villages in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. The first settlement in the area dates from Arabic times. It was located at the place known as Old Guaro, at the foott of a tower that once was part of the line of fortifications of the Guadalhorce valley.
Istan is at the southern edge of the Sierra de las Nieves, rising up 303 meters during the twenty kilometre journey from the coast at Marbella. In a village of only 1400 inhabitants - and because to its proximity to fashionable Maebella and Puerto Banus - it is home to over twenty five different nationalities taking advantage of the lower property prices compared to the coast. Nearby is the famous Castaño Santo, a chestnut tree tree over 800 years old with a perimeter of over 13 meters.
Monda is situated about thirty minutes from the coast in Marbella. It has a small central square called the Plaza de la Ermita, the Monument to the Miner and some interesting bars. Interesting places to visit include the Fuente Lavadero de la Juala and the Casa Museo Marigola. Overlooking the town is the hotel Castillo de Monda.
Ojén is at the entry to the Sierra de las Nieves from the Costa del Sol. Interesting places to visit include the Museum of the Mill, a restored traditional olive oil mill and Las Cuevas, an enclave that demonstrates everyday life in the past. Be prepared for some steep climbs from the parking areas.
At 799 metres, Parauta is in the Serrania de Ronda part of the national park and is 105 km from Malaga. It is a very small village of Arab origins with only 230 inhabitants. Interestingly, it has the Valdecilla Oak, one of the oldest oak trees in the world in the centre of the village; it is more than 3 meters in diameter and 20 meters high.
Ronda is a wonderful historic town about 100 km from Malaga. There is much to see in Ronda, including the amazing El Taco gorge, Palacio Mondragón, the Arabian baths and the birthplace of Spanish bullfighting.
A small village of approximately 500 inhabitants, Serrato is in the foothills of the Serranía de Ronda at an elevation of 500 metres. The origins of Serrato go back to the Neolithic period, the small farming communities benefitting from the fertile soil and abundance of water. Points of interest include the Roman villa of Serrato and the Arab ruins of the Castle of Ortegicar.
Although the village itself is relatively low at 315 metres, the Sierra de Tolox has El Torrecilla, the highest peak in the Sierra de las Nieves. There is an ancient mountain oak forest, one of the deepest caves in the world and the highest waterfall in the province of Malaga.
Yunquera is the most elevated town in the province of Malaga. It is fifty or so kilometres from Malaga airport or the coast and well worth the trip. An attractive white-washed town with a cobbled main street, it has a central square, two interesting museums, an art gallery specialising in photos and art of the Sierra de las Nieves, an ancient viewing tower and some of the most spectacular views across the Sierra de las Nieves.
Every year there are over 3,000 fiestas in Andalusia and many of the best and most colourful are celebrated in the Sierra de las Nieves.
Each town and village has its own patron saint and yearly procession with a feria. Add to that the many fairs, pilgrimages, carnivals, mock battles between Moors and Christians, food festivals and religious processions, you will be assured that, whenever you visit the Sierra de la Nieves National Park, there will always be plenty to see and do.
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