Málaga Province - El Borge

The pretty streets of El Borge, a village in La Axarquia. © Sophie Carefull
The pretty streets of El Borge, a village in La Axarquia.

by Paz Rosado and Chris Smith

The town of El Borge is situated at the foot of the Cerro de Cutar mountain, on the border of the Axarquia and Montes de Malaga comarcas, and is known as the "raisin capital" because the town is one of the largest producers of Muscatel raisins. These products have their own DO (denominacion de origin), like wine. It's no surprise, then, that El Borge is one of the towns of the Ruta de la Pasa (The Raisin Route), and or that in its surroundings you can see many paseros (areas where grapes dried by the sun and converted into delicious raisins).

 Fuente de Cuernos in El Borge.  © Sophie Carefull
Fuente de Cuernos in El Borge.

Whilst walking through El Borge's narrow, steep streets, as well as enjoying the sights of the typical white houses decorated with geraniums, you can admire one of the most interesting religious buildings in the area: the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, built at the start of the 16th century where a mosque once stood. The most striking feature of this church is its original architectural style, mixing both gothic and renaissance influences.

Other sights of the town worth noting include the Barrio del Rinconcillo with its sections of steps to help with the uneven ground; the Arco de la Pasa (The Raisin Arch) located at the entrance to the town; and one of El Borge's most iconic features (though recently constructed), the Fuente del Cuerno (Fountain of Horns).

Also worth visiting is the La Alcua, Ornithological and Botanical Gardens, where you'll find a vast selection of vegetables and different types of birds such as ostriches, ducks, geese, swans and pheasants.

El Borge has some degree of notoriety as the birthplace of one of the most famous bandits in 19th-century Malaga province. Luis Muñoz Garcia, known as the Bizco de El Borge, was born here. Today, his birthplace has been converted into a rural hotel with a small museum dedicated to banditry.

Restaurant and bandit museum in El Borge. © Sophie Carefull
Restaurant and bandit museum in El Borge.

Regarding local products, besides the tasty and famous local Muscat raisins and wine, you can find ajoblanco (chilled almond soup), gazpacho (chilled tomato soup) with lima beans or cucumber, tortillas de bacalao con miel de caña (cod tortillas with honey) and hornazo del día de San Marcos (a bread-like desert with a boiled egg in the middle), amongst other culinary specialities.

The best day to enjoy the Muscatel dishes is on the Dia de la Pasa (Raisin Day) - a popular fiesta, held on the third Sunday of September, which thousands of visitors come to. Other days highlighted in the town's celebration calendar are the Fiestas Patronales en honor de San Gabriel Arcángel (celebrations in honour of the Archangel St Gabriel) that take place at the end of Semana Santa, the Día de San Marcos on 25 April, the Romería de San Isidro on 15 May, and at the end of June the Noche de las Candelas.

The town is located 24km from Velez-Malaga (the capital of the comarca) and about 28km from Malaga City. It only takes around 15 minutes to get to the Torre del Mar and Rincon de la Victoria beaches from El Borge.

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