Málaga Province - Colmenar

Colmenar © Michelle Chaplow
Colmenar © Michelle Chaplow

Colmenar is a lovely village nestled in the northern part of the Málaga  mountains (Montes de Málaga) right on the edge of both the Axarquía and the municipality of Antequera. The area where the village is located has a rather ancient history thanks to the fact that it is on the route that links the Axarquía and the Guadalhorce Valley. However, the village itself could be classified as one of Andalucia’s “younger” pueblos as it wasn’t actually established until after the Christian King’s conquest and it didn’t become an independent township until 1777.

In fact, Colmenar was actually the name of an estate which produced honey (the Spanish “colmena” means beehive”). Even today you can buy honey made in the Colmenar area along with fresh locally milled flour – both white and whole grain - and also lovely raw and brown sugars. It seems the traditions behind the name “Colmenar” are still alive today.

Colmenar is not only a village, but also a municipality – one of seven municipalities in the Axarquía. The actual town is 700 metres above sea level. It is part of the “Olive Oil and Mountain Route” (Ruta del Aceite y los Montes).

Sights to See

The layout of Colmenar village is typical of Andalusian villages – even though it does not date back to the Moorish era when narrow, winding streets were the norm.
According to legend, the Candelaria Hermitage is a 17th century building that was erected by a group of sailors from the Canary Islands who were miraculously saved by a storm off the Málaga Coast. Supposedly the hermitage was meant to be a public display of their gratitude.
The Asunción Church was built in the 16th century and includes the remains of arab-style architecture.
Outside the village, but still within the municipality, there are archeological remains in areas like the Cueva de las Pelusas or the Cortijo de Gonzalo in the Zorrera stream area. Thanks to such sites, it’s clear that the area was inhabited as far back as Neolithic times and also during the Metal Ages.

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Shopping

If you’re looking to buy something typical from Colmenar you have a rather wide variety of artesanal products. The olive oil, honey, natural sugars and fresh milled flour make nice gifts along with other food products – especially bakery items – made in this area. Also the people of Colmenar specialise in weaving products like baskets, mats and carpets from natural fibres like esparta grasses. 

Gastronomy

The most typical dishes served in Colmenar represent traditional Andalusian mountain fare. Try the tasty garbanzo stew, the thick, chilled “porra” soup, “migas” (fried bread crumbs) or one of the famous oven roasted meats. The town is also known for its cured meats and for cooking with local olive oil and home made “mosto” (grape juice).

Festivals

One of the most popular “fiestas” in Colmenar is “Día de la Pipa”. To celebrate, everyone goes out to the countryside to for a picnic featuring local homemade specialities. The annual fair takes place during the second week of August. On February 2 every year, the patron saint, the Virgin of the Candelaria, is honoured with a procession through the streets of Colmenar and out to the hermitage. Holy Week is also observed with processions in Colmenar with the “Virgen de los Dolores” taking centre stage. At Christmas the town is decked out with nativity scenes at various points around town and villagers are especially fond of singing traditional Spanish and Andalusian Christmas carols.

Directions

Colmenar is 35 kilometers from Málaga  and 44 kilometres from Vélez-Málaga.   

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