Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera is a historic village located about 35 kilometers inland from San Roque on the road and railway to Ronda. Surrounded by the Los Alcornocales Natural Park and at around 200 meters above sea level, Jimena is a surprising contrast to the coastal affluence of the nearby golf and polo belt in the exclusive area of Sotogrande below. Many British people have chosen to settle there.
This gem of a village has a fairly checkered historical past, having been inhabited at various times by the Iberians, Phoenicians and Carthaginians as well as by the Romans, who made good use of the rich metal deposits found there. Around the year 750, it was of great commercial importance to the Moors, who also used it as a strategic military point. Over the centuries Jimena was conquered and re-conquered on many occasions and twice fell into the hands of the Christians, but by in 1879, during the reign of Alfonso XII, Jimena was so highly considered that it was given the title of Cuidad (Town). With a present population of just over 9,000 inhabitants (some 1,000 of whom are foreign residents - many British), its narrow cobbled streets and white washed Andalusian houses, it certainly retains its village ambience and is a delight to visit. More >
The cobbled streets of the village are steep and narrow, and while it is possible to drive up to the highest point and visit the castle (once the Moors vantage point, built on Roman ruins), better still is an unhurried 15-minute walk up through the little streets, taking in the village atmosphere. Then the view is even more worthwhile! Take care in the colder winter months, when rain can make the steep streets slippery. Once in the castle enclosure, you have clear views down the valley and over the bay to Gibraltar and Algeciras. More >
Things to See and Do
The iconic hilltop castle occupying the highest point overlooking Jimena is the village’s main attraction. Start your visit at Plaza de la Constitución, where you can stop to eat and admire the bell tower of Santa María la Coronada church, all that remains of the building (originally built in the 17th century as San Sebastian). Casa de la Memoria de la Sauceda is a small museum about the Spanish Civil War, specifically focussed on the Campo de Gibraltar (the area of Cadiz province closest to Gibraltar). Walking south through the village, you will find remains of the Royal Artillery Factory of Carlos III next to the river Hozgarganta, along which is also a lovely, serene route which leads you back round to the north end of the village. More >
GASTRONOMYAs well as a visit to the castle, you can't leave Jimena without trying some of the local gastronomic delights. Many of the dishes use the natural ingredients found in the surrounding forest, or from locally grown produce. Try local restaurants for; "Revuelto de esparragos" - asparagus in scrambled egg, and "Chantarella", a type of wild mushroom. For something sweet, the 'Piconate' is a specialty in Jimena and is of Arabic origins. It is an artisan product of the surrounding Los Alcornocales Natural Park, whose recipe has been handed down through the ages. Ingredients include olive oil, honey, almonds, cinnamon and orange peel. The stunning countryside, historic interest and natural beauty are just topped off with this delicious natural cuisine.
Annual celebrations in Jimena de la Frontera are:
. Carnival in February
. Agricultural Fair in the second week in May
. Annual Village Fair in the second week of August
. Devotion to the Reina de los Angeles in the first week of September
. Annual Music Festival (second week in July), featuring Classic, Jazz, Flamenco, Celtic and Ethnic music