Cuevas de San Marcos is a highly recommended destination for fans of rural tourism and active tourism. It is located between the Sierra del Camorro and the Genil River, and very close to the Iznájar reservoir, the largest in Andalucía. The town is known for its agricultural activity, with a predominance of olive cultivation and the production of oil from the “Hojiblanca” variety. Its name comes from its patron saint, the Evangelist San Marcos, and its well-known Belda cave, with great depth and impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Cuevas de San Marcos is in the northern part of the Antequera region, on the border of the province of Córdoba from the river valley of Genil to the Sierra Malnombre and Camorro de Cuevas Altas. It is also located within the comarca of Nororma.
The history of the town traces its beginnings to 1806. Formerly known as Cuevas Altas, its separation from Antequera led to its establishment as an independent municipality, receiving the new name as it is known today. At the foot of Sierra Camorro, sits this villa, which has all the progress of life that has taken place throughout history. Before it was known as Ciudad de Belda.
A Paleolithic site sits on the summit of this mountain, suggesting the past existence of a castle and its forts, which the Moors destroyed. Belda cave contains at least three lakes and numerous galleries with kilometers of stalactites formed over decades. An ancient burial site was discovered in the first lake, while pottery was found in the other two lakes.
Places to visit
Cuevas de San Marcos is a charming town with a rich history and beautiful natural surroundings. It offers a variety of attractions for tourists, including museums, historical monuments, and natural wonders.
Some of the top tourist attractions in Cuevas de San Marcos are:
The Museo Del Juguete De España Y El Mundo is a unique and interesting museum that showcases a wide collection of toys from Spain and around the world. Visitors have praised the guided tour, which provides a detailed explanation of the history and evolution of toys. The museum’s collection is extensive, and many visitors are impressed by the excellent condition of the century-old toys on display.
Visitors have also appreciated the passion and knowledge of the museum’s staff, particularly Pedro, who is described as a great historian and passionate about his work. The museum is not only interesting and culturally enriching, but also educational and didactic. One of the most notable aspects of the museum is its therapeutic function for Alzheimer’s patients, which visitors have found to be a novel and beneficial therapy.
Overall, the Museo Del Juguete De España Y El Mundo is highly recommended for visitors of all ages, including children, adults, and especially grandparents. The museum offers a nostalgic experience for older visitors, who can reminisce about the toys they played with or dreamed of playing with in their youth. With its affordable admission price and regularly changing exhibits, the museum is definitely worth a visit.
Noria de la Aceña
The Noria De La Aceña is a historic water wheel located in Cuevas de San Marcos. According to documentary references, it was built in the last quarter of the 18th century. Originally made of wood, it was replaced by the current iron structure in the first third of the 20th century. The water wheel served a dual purpose: to power the mill (of which some remains are still preserved) and to facilitate irrigation by raising the water level of the river.
Visitors have described the Noria De La Aceña as a charming and beautiful place, with spectacular views of the surrounding area. The sound of the water wheel and the natural environment make it a unique and enjoyable experience. Recent efforts to clean up the area around the river and water wheel have further enhanced its beauty.
Overall, the Noria De La Aceña is a must-see attraction in Cuevas de San Marcos, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and a chance to appreciate the area’s natural beauty. It is accessible by car or on foot, making it an ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers.
The Belda cave, located in Cuevas de San Marcos, is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. The route to the cave is described as beautiful but challenging, with a steep uphill climb. Visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear, bring water, and avoid the hottest part of the day.
Upon reaching the cave, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding area, including the Iznájar reservoir. Inside the cave, a variety of bats fly around. However, some visitors report difficulty finding the cave due to poor trail markings. Additionally, the staircase leading to the cave is in disrepair and can be dangerous to climb.
Despite these challenges, many visitors have found the Belda cave to be well worth the effort. The natural beauty of the area and the unique experience of exploring the cave make it a memorable destination.
The Municipal Archaeological Museum in Cuevas de San Marcos opened in 1988. Admission is free. The museum takes visitors on a journey through the town’s history with artifacts from local archaeological sites. Highlights include a Bronze Age burial piece and Roman “terra sigillata” fragments. Roman, Nasrid, and early medieval artifacts are also on display.
Cuevas de San Marcos is also home to the Medina Belda archaeological site and the Sierra del Camorro fault, a natural monument since 1999.
Overall, the Municipal Archaeological Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of Cuevas de San Marcos and its surroundings.
- Horse riding: https://goo.gl/maps/qvQaQQBccEeX4qZV9
- Birds observatory near Genil River: https://goo.gl/maps/4bSpFHuXfrkmar3S8
- Viewpoint: https://goo.gl/maps/rKxs5tzpgSpTnbeK7
- Municipal pool: https://goo.gl/maps/ZvHuRcdg9Qice7Bq7
- Church of “San Marcos” (17th century), the shrine “Del Carmen” (18th century)
Cuevas de San Marcos is a town with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant calendar of local festivals and celebrations. These events offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the traditions and customs of the town and to participate in its lively community spirit.
Some of the local festivals that take place in Cuevas de San Marcos include:
- Thursday of Compadres and Comadres: A traditional celebration held on the Thursday before Lent.
- Carnival: A lively celebration with costumes, music, and dancing, usually held in February or March.
- Easter: Holy Week is celebrated with religious processions and traditional events, usually in March or April.
- Pilgrimage and Verbena of San Marcos: A pilgrimage and festival in honor of the town’s patron saint, San Marcos.
- Monographic of the Andalusian Podenco and Maneto: A festival celebrating the Andalusian Podenco and Maneto hunting dogs.
- Corpus Christi: A religious celebration with processions and traditional events, usually held in May or June.
- Feast of the Virgin of Carmen: A celebration in honor of the Virgin of Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, usually held on July 16th.
- August Fair: The August Fair is a lively celebration with music, dancing, and traditional events.
- Fair of the Villa: The Fair of the Villa is another lively celebration with music, dancing, and traditional events.
- The Aurora: A traditional celebration with music and dancing.
- Verbena of the Brotherhood of San Marcos Evangelista: A festival in honor of the Brotherhood of San Marcos Evangelista.
- The Candles: A traditional celebration with bonfires and other events.
These festivals offer a diverse range of activities and experiences, from religious processions and traditional dances to lively street parties and fairs. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply having a good time, there’s something for everyone in Cuevas de San Marcos.
How to get
Cuevas de San Marcos is located in the province of Málaga, in the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. If you’re traveling from Málaga airport, one way to reach Cuevas de San Marcos is by car. The distance between Málaga airport and Cuevas de San Marcos is approximately 94.67 kilometers. The estimated travel time is around 57 minutes.
Here is a suggested route by car from Málaga airport to Cuevas de San Marcos:
- Head northeast on Av. del Comandante García Morato
- Take the ramp to N-348/Av. de Velázquez
- Merge onto N-348
- Take the exit toward E-15/A-7/AP-7/Benalmádena/Algeciras
- Merge onto MA-20
- Take exit 3 to merge onto E-15/A-45 toward Córdoba/Sevilla/Granada
- Keep left at the fork to continue on A-45, follow signs for Córdoba
- Take exit 110 toward A-92M/Granada
- Merge onto A-92M
- Take exit 1 toward A-333/Iznájar/Rute/Cuevas de San Marcos
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A-333
- Turn right onto MA-202
- Continue onto Calle Real