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The small town of 1,300 inhabitants is located in the administrative district of La Axarquía, about forty kilometres from the capital of Málaga.

The town centre showcases the Muslim past. Three distinct areas make up the town. The first is ‘El Barrio Alto’ or ‘Alto del Lugar’. Craftsmen, blacksmiths, and potters used to live here. The second area is the town centre. The well-off residents and the town hall are here. You can also find the Almohad church-mosque from the twelfth century. The last area is ‘El Barrio Bajo’ or ‘Cantarranas’. This is where the less affluent townsfolk lived.

History of Arenas

Arenas is a Spanish municipality located in the administrative district of La Axarquía, about forty kilometres from the capital of Málaga. It originated during Al-Ándalus, in the period of the Kingdom of Granada. Initially, it was a small rural community until the 16th century when the area was repopulated with Christians brought from the north, mainly from Jaén.

Moving forward to the medieval times, the current town of Arenas was founded. During the reign of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, Arenas was a hamlet of the district or ta’a of Bentomiz, a fortress that is currently within the municipal term of Arenas. This district was known for the richness of agricultural products such as silk and raisin grapes.

From any part of the town, you can observe the peak of Bentomiz, where the remains of an old fortification are found. It is highly recommended to climb to its summit, either on foot or on mule-back, and observe, weather permitting, splendid views of the African continent.

The fortress of Bentomiz, built on the hill of the same name and close to the town, has decisively intervened in the historical events of Arenas. There is no possible reference to this locality without alluding to the Castle of Bentomiz first.

In addition to the historical evocation and the importance that this castle had in its time, the visit to this place is also rewarded by spectacular panoramas over a good part of the Axarquia.

Tourist Attractions in Arenas

Arenas, a charming town located in the heart of Andalucía, offers a wealth of attractions that captivate the hearts of its visitors. One of the most striking features of the town is the peak of Bentomiz. This towering landmark, home to the remains of an ancient fortification, dominates the town’s skyline. From any part of the town, one can observe this majestic peak, a silent testament to the town’s rich history.

Castle of Bentomiz

Standing majestically in the landscape, the Castle of Bentomiz is a significant landmark in the city of Arenas. As one of the largest castles in the entire province of Málaga, it holds a commanding presence that is hard to ignore.

Steeped in history, the castle serves as a testament to the rich past of Arenas. It bears the marks of time and narrates the tales of the city’s evolution. Each stone, each wall, and each corner of the castle has a story to tell, making it a living museum of Arenas’ history.

But the Castle of Bentomiz is not just about history. It’s also about the breathtaking beauty of nature. From its peak, you are presented with a panoramic view of the African continent. This stunning vista is a sight to behold, offering a unique perspective that is both humbling and awe-inspiring.

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Fuente del Amor

Located in Daimalos, a small hamlet of Arenas, the Fuente del Amor is one of the most notable spots in the municipality. It’s a perfect place to enjoy the tranquillity and natural beauty of the area.

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Church of Santa Catalina Mártir

The Church of Santa Catalina Mártir is more than just a place of worship. It’s a symbol of the town’s rich religious heritage and a testament to the architectural prowess of the past. Designed in the Mudejar style, the church is a beautiful blend of Christian and Islamic architectural elements, a characteristic feature of the Mudejar style.

As you approach the church, the first thing that strikes you is its intricate design. Every detail, from the ornate entrance to the beautifully crafted windows, speaks volumes about the craftsmanship that went into its construction. The church’s architecture is not just about aesthetics, though. It’s also about functionality, with every element serving a specific purpose.

Inside, the church continues to impress with its beautifully decorated interior. The altar, the pulpit, the pews – each piece contributes to the overall beauty of the space, creating an atmosphere of reverence and tranquillity.

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Sierra de Bentomiz

The Sierra de Bentomiz is a haven for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. This stunning mountain range offers a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, making it a must-visit destination in Arenas.

As you venture into the Sierra de Bentomiz, you are greeted by a landscape that is as diverse as it is beautiful. From lush green valleys to rugged mountain peaks, the Sierra de Bentomiz has it all. The area is home to a variety of flora and fauna, adding to its natural charm.

But the Sierra de Bentomiz is not just about sightseeing. It’s also about adventure. With numerous hiking trails that wind through the mountains, it offers plenty of opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, there’s a trail that’s just right for you.

As you hike through the Sierra de Bentomiz, you’ll have the chance to connect with nature in a way that’s not possible elsewhere. The tranquillity of the mountains, the fresh air, and the stunning views all combine to create an experience that is both refreshing and invigorating.

So, if you’re looking for a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with nature, the Sierra de Bentomiz is the place to be. Its stunning landscapes and outdoor adventure opportunities make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and Arab Minaret of Daimalos

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Arab Minaret of Daimalos are two historical monuments that bear witness to the rich history of Arenas. These structures, each with its own unique architectural style and historical significance, add to the old-world charm of the town.

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, with its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere, serves as a place of worship and a gathering spot for the local community. It stands as a testament to the town’s religious heritage and the important role religion has played in shaping its culture and traditions.

Just a short distance away, the Arab Minaret of Daimalos towers over the surrounding buildings. This ancient structure, which dates back to the Arab rule, offers a glimpse into the town’s past. Despite the passage of time, the minaret has retained its original design, making it a valuable piece of the town’s architectural heritage.

Visiting these monuments offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the history of Arenas firsthand. As you explore these sites, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and respect for the people who built them and the generations who have preserved them.

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Gastronomy of Arenas

The culinary tradition of Arenas is a delightful exploration of the region’s rich heritage and the natural bounty of its landscapes. The specialities of its cuisine are a testament to this.

The fried goat with almond sauce, or ‘chivo frito con salsa de almendras’, is a dish that stands out for its unique combination of flavours. The tender goat meat is fried to perfection and served with a rich almond sauce, providing a satisfying contrast of textures.

Another local favourite is the ‘migas con aceitunas y arrenques’, a dish made of fried breadcrumbs mixed with olives and herring. This simple yet flavourful dish is a staple in the local cuisine and is often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or lunch.

People often enjoy these dishes with a glass of the region’s fine wine, which beautifully complements the robust flavours of the food. The fertile lands of Arenas produce high-quality wine that is well-known in the region.

For those who prefer more substantial fare, the ‘potaje de cavaores’ is a must-try. People often enjoy this comforting and filling stew, made with chickpeas and yellow rice, during the colder months. Another stew, popular for its combination of chickpeas, cod, and broad beans, typically graces the table during Holy Week.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional dishes or looking to try something new, the gastronomy of Arenas offers something for everyone. So, the next time you’re in town, make sure to indulge in these culinary delights!

Festivities in Arenas

Arenas, a town rich in culture and tradition, hosts several important festivities throughout the year. These events, steeped in history and local customs, offer a unique insight into the town’s vibrant community spirit.


Typically held in February, the “Carnaval” is a lively and colourful event that marks the beginning of the Lenten season. This festival is a time of celebration and merriment, with locals and visitors alike taking to the streets in elaborate costumes. The air is filled with music and laughter, making it a truly memorable experience.

Festivities in Honour of Santa Catalina and San Sebastian

On the 10th and 12th of August, the town pays tribute to Santa Catalina and San Sebastian. These festivities are a blend of religious devotion and community celebration. The streets come alive with processions, music, and dance, offering a glimpse into the town’s deep-rooted religious traditions.


Celebrated on the 7th and 8th of September, the “Candelaria” is a significant event in the town’s calendar. This festival, marked by the lighting of candles, is a time of reflection and renewal. It’s a serene and beautiful event that illuminates the town in a warm, soft glow.

These festivities, each with its own unique charm and significance, add to the cultural tapestry of Arenas. They offer locals and visitors alike a chance to come together and celebrate the town’s rich heritage and vibrant community spirit.

How to get

The fastest route due to current traffic conditions is via A-7, taking approximately 50 minutes and covering a distance of 59.9 km.

Starting from Málaga – Costa del Sol Airport (AGP). Head northwest for about 16 seconds (140 m).

Continue on highway Autovía de Circunvalación de Malaga and A-7 towards Cam. de Torrox in Velez-Malaga. Take exit 951 from A-7. This part of the journey should take around 31 minutes and covers a distance of 48.1 km.

Finally, take MA-4111 towards Arroyo Bajo in Arenas. This will lead you directly to your destination.

By Bus

From Málaga – Costa del Sol Airport (AGP), you can take a bus to the bus station in Malaga. From there, you can catch another bus that will take you to Velez-Málaga. Buses from Velez-Malaga to Arenas run regularly and the journey takes approximately 18 minutes.

Please note that schedules and routes may vary, so it’s recommended to check the bus timetables before your journey.