Benalauría is a small village in the Ronda Mountains (Serranía de Ronda) in the Genal River Valley. The populations hovers around 500 and the natives are known not as “benalaurianos” – as one might expect – but as “jabatos”.
Like the whole string of white villages in the Ronda Mountains, Benalauria enjoys rich natural surroundings with easy access to a wide array of outdoor sports and rural tourism opportunities. It is surrounded by forests of chestnut, pine and walnut trees along with a wide array of Mediterranean mountain plants.
Sights to See
For being such a small village, there are a good number of things to see and visit in Benalauría. Head for the main square to see the town hall, which is a beautiful example of local 18th century architecture. You might also visit the Santo Domingo Church built in the15th and 16th centuries. The town also has an Ethnography Museum on Alta Street. It is housed in an 18th century olive oil factory.
Outside of the town of Benalauría there is an archeological site dating back to the first century after Christ. This is a Roman cementary called the “Columbario Romano del Cortijo del Moro”.
The most typical items “Made in Benalauría” are fashioned out of cork. This is part of the local artisan tradition and there is a move to keep the industry alive. Therefore, every December the town participates in the Genal River Valley Artisans’ Fair – just one more event for the Andalucian traveller’s diary.
If you’re planning to sample the gastronomy in Benalauría, expect traditional mountain fare with hearty stews made with herbs and garbanzos, even hot gazpacho (a variation of the traditional Spanish gazpacho and all the typical products that come from the annual pig slaughter: sausages, cured ham and other delicacies. If you feel a magnetic attraction to bakeries, try the fresh baked buns called “buñuelos” – another speciality in Benalauría!
Festivals and Fairs
The most popular festival in Benalauría takes place on the first Sunday in August and it is the big Moors and Christians festival. Also in August there is a fair in honour of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. Other important celebrations include Holy Week with a very special procession on Holy Friday. This town also holds a Chestnut festival on the 1st of November. In Spanish it’s called the “Tostón de Castañas”.
To reach Benalauría take the MA-535. To reach this road from San Pedro de Alcántara (heading towards Ronda) take the A-369. To reach the road to Benalauría from Manilva, take the A-377. The town is just over 140 kilometres from Málaga City.