While the sprawling white town of Cártama undoubtedly impresses the visitor now, with its ruined hilltop fortress, how much more impressive it must have been in its Roman heyday, with a formidable castle protecting both the town and the river valley - Cartama stands at the head of the Rio Guadalhorce. A spectacular restored iron bridge spanning the river, known as the Puente Verde or Puente de Hierro (Green or Iron Bridge), connects the main town with Estacion de Cartama. The town is a short drive from the Costa del Sol.
The municipality of Cartama, which extends over 105km2, is made up of 11 districts, namely: Cartama Pueblo, Estacion de Cartama, Doña Ana, El Sexmo, Sierra de Gibralgalia, Loma de Cuenca, Nueva Aljaima, Estación de Aljaima, Cortijo Paco Perez, Las Tres Leguas, Los Mondeños, and El Pilarejo. The whole area is nestled in, and overlooked by, two mountains: Espartales and Llana, which are know collectively as the Sierra de Cartama.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios - the town's patron saint - is still a focus of reverent pilgrimage for devout locals, and is perched high above Cártama's twisting streets. The shrine is well worth the visit and can be reached by climbing the vertiginous zig-zag path from the main square near the Pilar Alto Fountain. If it is a hot day, take some water along for the climb. Read more>
Other things to see in Cartama are:
Fuente de Pilar Alto is dated 1872.
Iglesia Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol bears the date 1502.
Castillo (Castle) - a further climb from the shrine leads up to the 10th century Moorish castle
Estacion de Cartama which was originally a railway station built in 1865.
Cruz de Humilladero is named after the forged iron cross attached to the top of a 2nd Century AD marble column
Ermita de Casapalma, dating from around the same time as the San Pedro Chruch
Museo de Ntra Sra de los Remedios was inaugurated in 2007.
Capilla de Sierra Gibralgalia is a lesser-known sanctuary on Sierra Gibralgalia.
Puente de Hierro is an iron-girder truss bridge over the River Guadalhorce, built between 1927 and 1931.
Read more about things to see in Cartama>
Cártama holds an unusual place in Spanish literature. In 1565, Antonio de Villegas published the Historia de Abindarráez y la hermosa Jarifa - a romantic morisco (Islamic) tale concerning the mayor of Cártama's daughter and a Moorish nobleman from Granada. In time the story was retold by writers as renowned as Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Chateaubriand, thereby guaranteeing its literary immortality.
- Carnival - during February.
- Virgin de los Remedios - Virgin taken from the sanctuary above the town to the Iglesia Parroquia de San Pedro on 22 April and is paraded around the town on 23 April. The feria is followed by a cattle fair.
- San Isidro - Patron Saint of Estacion de Cartama, 15 May
- Verdiales - First Sunday in May at Ermita de las Cruces
- Return of the Virgin to the Ermita - early June
- San Juan - night of 24 June
- Dia de los Canastitos - St Anne's day baskets of food taken to the banks of the Rio Grande - 26 July
- Feria de Ganado (Cattle Fair) - 24 September
- El Sexmo Fiestas - four days in the second week of September.
From Malaga take the A-357 Cartama is located after 20km just off the end of this dual carriageway road. From Malaga Airport follow the ring road for 6km to the A-357.
Cartama is included in the Consorcio de Transporte Metropolitano del Area de Malaga.
The following routes pass through Cartama:
- M-131 Malaga - Cartama
- M-134 Malaga - El Sexmo
- M-136 Cartama - Alhaurin de la Torre - Plaza Mayor
- M-137 Gibralgalia - Pizarra
- M-144 Gibralgalia - El Sexmo
- M-231 Malaga - Pizarra - Alora
- M-232 Coin - Malaga y Cartama
- M-134 Malaga - Pizarra
There is a railway station in Estacion de Cartama, 3km from the town on the other side of the river Guadalhorce. Hourly trains run from Malaga to Alhora. (36.73394, -4.60849)