Málaga Province - Genalguacil

Genalguacil is one white Andalucian mountain village © Michelle Chaplow
Genalguacil is one white Andalucian mountain village that art lovers will not want to miss.

Genalguacil

Genalguacil is one white Andalucian mountain village that art lovers will not want to miss. Prize-winning contemporary works of art are on permanent public display throughout the village as a result of the bi-annual art festival called "Los Encuentros de Arte del Valle del Genal" (1st to 15th August 2018)  to and in the aftermath of the festivals. This is probably the most outstanding feature of this typical small white village. Visitors come from all over to wander the narrow streets and charming plazas in search of artistic treasures. Download a PDF about the village in Spanish.

Still rather isolated, Genalguacil is perched above the Genal River Valley on the northern slopes of Sierra Bermeja, surrounded by greenery next to the Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja Natural Area and one of the only pinsapo pine forests in Spain.

Due to its rather isolated location, few travellers pass through - but those that do make the effort are well rewarded. The village has about 500 inhabitants.

Hotels

La Posada del Recovero, plus a number of apartments to rent and casa rurales. More >

History

Genalguacil is the only village named after the River Genal, that played an important role in agricultural development. More >

Camping Genal

Camping Genal is located right beside the Genal river in a woodland location. Swimming is popular in the river in the summer. More >

Encuentros de Arte

A bi-annual event during the first two weeks in August there is an art festival in Genalguacil called "Los Encuentros de Arte del Valle del Genal. More >

HISTORY

This is the only village that takes its name from the River Genal, whose waters played such an important role in this valley's agricultural development under Moorish rule. The river's name originates from Guadigenal or "Waddi Genna", meaning the river of paradise. In turn, the village name is derived from Genat Al Wasir, which is understood to translate as the orchard of Vizier or Magistrate.  More>

THINGS TO SEE

Village is an Open-Air Museum
Every other year during the first two weeks in August there is an art festival in Genalguacil called "Los Encuentros de Arte del Valle del Genal",  and prize-winning works of art are put on permanent public display throughout the village afterwards. Simply walk around the cobbled streets of the village and enjoy the works of art,which are in the form of sculptures and murals. There are about 35 and each bear the name of the artist and the year of creation.  

The Contemporary Art Museum in Genalguacil Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Fernando Centeno López Genalguacil ©Michelle Chaplow
The Contemporary Art Museum in Genalguacil. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Fernando Centeno López, Genalguacil

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Fernando Centeno López
The Contemporary Art Museum was opened in 2004 and refurbished in 2018 and is named after former mayor Fernando Centeno López who founded the 'Encuentros de Arte' in 1994. The building was originally the old Olive Oil mill. Works of art on permanent display in the museum have been donated by artists who have taken part in the 'Encuentros de Arte'. The Museum has been dual  branded as M.A.C. There are temporary exibitions and a gift shop. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 to 14.00 hrs and 16.00 to 20.00 hrs. Admisions 2€. Address: C/ Lomilla, 9

Church of San Pedro de Verona
The original church that was burnt to the ground in 1570 was probably no more than a simple stone and wooden chapel. After 1570, the chapel would have been expanded with the construction of a single nave. However, as the population grew after 1730, the two side naves would have been added to accommodate growth. The octangle-based tower, whose top is painted a distinctive red colour, would have been added at around the same time. The church was heavily restored after the civil war and again in 1998. Inside the church, the naves are separated with semi-circular arches supported by columns. The roof is covered in a wooden ceiling and a statue of the patron saint of the village sits to one side. The old cemetery is alongside.

Plaza de la Constitución
The views from this open square are magnificent.In the morning on a sunny day the neighbouring villages of Benarraba and Algatocin stand out. In the evening as the sun sets, the square silhouette of Gaucin Castle (Castillo del Aguila) can be seen. Fittingly an excelent reproduction of 'Castillo de Gaucin 1849 by Perez-Villamil (Prado Museum Madrid)' has been painted on an adjacent wall.  This is one place in southern Spain that has a palpable feeling of isolation.

Things to see outside the village

River Genal and Venta San Juan

Where the road crosses the Genal River you can find a popular roadside restaurant called Venta de San Juan. More >

Sierra Bermeja

Only a few places in the world where a 1449m summit is so close to the sea. More >

River Genal

Where the road crosses the Genal River you can find a popular roadside restaurant called Venta de San Juan. More >

Deserted Villages of Jubrique

Jubrique la Vieja,Monarada, Rotillas, Benameda re the names of deserted Moorish villages near Jubrique. More >

Deserted Villages of Genalguacil

Benestepar, Almarchal, Benihexin are the names of deserted Moorish villages near Genalguacil. More >

Sierra Bermeja

Only a few places in the world where a 1449m summit is so close to the sea. More >

Charco Azul

Charco Azul is a natural pool and waterfall in an isolated location on one of the small tributaries to the Rio Genal. More >

Molinos de Cachucha y Chariro
Two old watermills can be found on the rivers below the village: Molino de Chariro (also called Molino Roman) and Molino de Cachucha (also called Molino Blanco) at GPS 36.544097, -5.253421. (PDF in Spanish)

FOOTPATHs

Gran Senda de Malaga
The Gran Senda de Malaga (GR-249) passes through Genalguacil. Stage 27 is Genalguacil to Benalauria and Stage 28 is Genalguacil to Casares.  

For a short walk to explore the surroundings, a track leads out of the village and down towards the Río Genal. From the plaza, take the street running left to the church and at the far end, having observed the view from a mirador (lookout), follow the old track that used to be the road to Casares. To reach the bridge, drop steeply down past a number of farms and after two kilometres you will see a tributary stream called the Río Almarchal. One arch of the old bridge can be seen on the far bank, which the locals suggest is Roman. 

From this point, you can drop down further to the Río Genal, with its hidden waters. Many ruined mills which are worth exploring can be found along this valley, including Molino Blanco. For the more adventurous, the path takes you up to village of Benarraba.

BUS SERVICE

There is only one bus line, run by the Comes company. The bus runs from Jubrique via Genalguacil to Algatocin and Ronda. One bus a day leaves Genalguacil at 7.20am, arriving in Ronda at 9.00am; returning from Ronda at 2.00pm and arriving in Genalguacil at 3.20pm.

Bus to Genalguacil

 

HOTELS

There is only one small hotel called La Posada del Recovero, plus a number of apartments to rent and "Casas Rurales" (country houses). 

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FESTIVALS

Candelaría
Takes place about 2 February.

Patron Saint
On 29 April the festival in honour of the patron saint of the village is held: San Pedro Mártir de Verona. When the saint's image is paraded throughthe village streets the locals in Genalguacil throw rice down from the balconies. 

Holy Week
The highlight of Holy Week in Genalguacil is on Domingo de Resurrección (Easter Sunday) with the celebration called Huerto del Niño, in which the tradition of agricultural labour unites with the resurrection of Christ. This takes the form of a meeting between the images of the Virgen Mary and the Niño Jesús.

First Swim
At the beginning of summer there is also a tradition called the "primer baño de la temporada" (first swim of the season) during which the locals go down to the Genal River to bathe.

Encuentro de Arte Valle del Genal
Inaugurated in 1994 this art fair and competition takes place in the first half of August every other year. The town hall offers lodging and materials to the artists, who in turn donate theirs works of art to the village. The festival takes place during even years (e.g. 2018). More>

Chestnut Festival
The "Tostón de castañas" (literally toasting of the chestnuts) takes place at the beginning of the harvest in November.

Getting there

You can reach Genalguacil from Estepona and the Costal del Sol by taking the MA-8301 road up to Peñas Blancas. At Peñas Blancas take the narrow, windy MA-8304 down to Genalquacil.  It will take an hour to cover the 30 kilometres, plus time for any stops you want to make. The return journey back up the hill involves several hairpin bends where first gear is required. This road was only completely asphalted in 2010 and until then access was from the Ronda side. If arriving at the village from Estepona / Peñas Blancas side take the steep road down on the left to the car park and then explore on foot starting with the main square. 

You can reach Genalguacil from the Serranía de Ronda by taking the A-369 Ronda to Gaucín road. At the village of Algatocín turn off on the MA-8305 down to Venta San Juan crossing the Río Genal and then up to Genalguacil. If arriving at the village from this side you are unlikely to find a parking place. Don't try to drive down Calle Real. Take the high road which traverses the village and at the end of the village take a U-turn down a steep road and into a car park. From there explore the village in foot starting with the main square; Plaza de la Constitución

NEARBY VILLAGES TO DISCOVER

The closest villages to Genalguacil are Estepona, Junrique and Algatocin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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