Málaga Province - Cartajima

Chestnut forests surround the white village of Cartajima
Chestnut forests surround the white village of Cartajima


Located halfway between the Ronda-San Pedro road and village of Juzcar, Cartajima is a small, quiet hamlet. It is one of the highest communities in the province of Malaga, at 846m above sea level. Like other villages in the Alto Genal of the Serrania de Ronda, Cartajima is famous for its chestnut trees , which are harvested in October and November. In the 19th century cannon factories brought wealth, and the town was known as “Little Cadiz”.



Cartajima has a spectacular setting: a backdrop of mountainous limestone dominates the village from behind. The contrast between the white limestone massif (the Sierra de Oreganal) above the village, and the low-lying chestnut, oak and cork-oak woods below, is sharp and dramatic.


Records of the community’s long history were lost when the archives and church were torched during the early days of the Civil War in 1936. The village has Roman origins (some coins were found when Las Penuelas was built), as well as tombs from the Phoenician period at Cortijo del Raton. A further Roman site at Cañada de Harife may have had some baths, fed by natural hot springs, possibly located at Pilar de la Higuera. More>

The village can be reached by its own very small side-road from the San Pedro to Ronda road. Just before the junction it is worth stopping and contemplating the landscape: the modern lane does not follow the old medieval track, and below the road by Pilar de la Higuera, the old mule track can be seen. This spot is the site of a spring where livestock were watered when going to market. A Roman hot water spring is also supposed to be located in this area. The water flows out of the limestone mass and is channelled into 18th-century water channels and pools.


Nuestra Señora del Rosario
 Our Lady of the Rosary  occupies the highest point in the village and still dominates the village. The16th-century building is very simple with a rectangular nave and a tower to the right. A flight of stairs leads up to a Baroque doorway. The interior was restored in 1941 after it was burned during the Civil War. The ceiling is of plain unpainted wood, with perforated tie beams in the artesanado tradition. A large painting by Miguel Martín, the celebrated Ronda painter-photographer, dedicated to the village in honour of his birth in the pueblo in 1947, adorns the wall. Two statues from the 17th and 18th century, one dedicated to Jesus and the other to Our Lady of the Rosary, are set in a central niche.

Fountain of the Fishes
This spring located in Camino de Arroyo Blanco on the outskirts of the village is of Moorish origin. On the left is the trough for animals to drink, which has a lower front wall than the main main source. The main spring is higher up. The building has elements typical of Arab architecture, like battlements assuming the restoration has been correctly carried out.

The village itself has steep, narrow streets, offering spectacular views over the surrounding chestnut, oak and cork-oak forests.

Outside the village

Los Riscos
Heading south towards Juzcar, El Risco karstic formations are situated on the boundary with Juzcar in the limestone landscape. Part of the Sierra del Oreganal the limestone outcrops has been carved by the elements – wind and rain - into extraordinary natural sculptures, whilst not as impressive as El Torcal, they are still worth a visit. One rock fomation is called El Aguilar de los Riscos  (the eagle of los Riscos) as it looks like a bird of pray watching over the horizon. This limestone mountain is also the home to Cueva de Diego and Carrión. Many a treasure hunter in the search of hidden Moorish booty has probably visited both caves. On maps they are situated to the east of the village, well inside the limestone mountain. There is a visitors or interpretationi centre on the edge of the village with display that explain Los Riscos in detail.    

Molino Real
From the border with Juzcar, the Río Genal valley is the sight of Molino Real, whose name implies royal patronage – it was one of many sites of the cannon factory, which gave the town its name “Little Cadiz!. Two other nearby mills are the only evidence today of the once-flourishing iron ore industry.


Semana Santa
There are special celebrations on Easter Saturday and Sunday, called “Las Cortesias”.

Summer Fair
Cartajima a lively feria in mid-August, when local specialities such as rabbit and a unique local mushroom soup are made and served.

Virgen del Rosario
There is also the procession of the Virgen del Rosario in October. The real treat comes after the chestnut crop in October/November, particularly the dishes produced by the local population from the early fruits of their castaños or chestnut trees.



Cartajima is 108km from Malaga, just off the A-397; take the MA-7306 before arriving at Ronda when drivng up from San Pedro de Alcantara and Costa del Sol.


"Walking the Mountains of Ronda and Grazalema" by Guy Hunter Watts

Cicerone The dramatically situated town of Ronda can make a great base for a walking holiday in the mountains of Andalucía, as can any one of the picturesque 'pueblos blancos' (white villages) that nestle among the surrounding hills. This guidebook presents 32 mainly circular walks in the Ronda region, covering the town and its environs, the Natural Parks of La Sierra de Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves (both UNESCO biosphere reserves), and the Genal and Guadiaro Valleys.

Clear route description is illustrated with mapping, and the route summary table and 'at a glance' information boxes make it easy to choose the right walk. There is the option to buy a printed book, an eBook, or both as one deal.
Buy a copy online of Walking the Mountains of Ronda and Grazalema

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