Famous for its vegetables and abundant water, this pueblo blanco in the Parque Natural de Grazalema has a long history. In fact, you can see a Roman calzada (road) 3km outside the village, which used to join the town with neighbouring Ubrique, Villaluenga del Rosario and Grazalema itself. It is at 1950 metres, and is high enough for snow to fall. Further evidence of Benoacaz’s past is in the 8th-century Barrio Nazari, in the upper part of the town, where you can still see ruined houses and flights of steps dating from Moorish times (the name comes from the Arabic Ocaz family, Ben meaning “son of”). Learn about the history of man’s relationship with nature since prehistoric times (there are Neolithic caves nearby) in the town’s museum, Ecomuseo Histórico de Benaocaz. It also has a theatre.
Important buildings to look out for include Ermitas San Blas and Del Calvario, and the parish church of San Pedro, as well as the Town Hall.
The ruined Castillo de Tavizna is outside the town, on the Ubrique-El Bosque road, near the Tavizna river; you can still see its large courtyard.
This area is perfect for hiking, with one famous trail being to the poetically-named Salto del Cabrero (Goatherd’s Leap), a pass with 80-metre sheer walls; look out for eagles and vultures. If you enjoy climbing, Monte Taillo offers spectacular views of the Sierra de Cadiz.
Local specialities include charcuterie, ajo caliente (garlic soup), scrambled eggs with wild asparagus and pastries.
The town’s feria is held from 12-15 August, called the Suelta del Toro del Cuerda, which dates from the 15th century. Its romeria takes place on the first Sunday in June, for patron saint San Esteban, while on 3 February its co-patron San Blas is celebrated.
How to get there
Benaocaz is 100km north-east of Cadiz. To get to the village, take the AP4 towards Jerez, the the Arcos road (A-382), then the A-374 to Ubrique, after which you will arrive at Benoacaz.