Nestled in the mountains 7 km from the coast, Benahavis is a charming white village with a typical Arabic layout, located between Marbella, Estepona, and Ronda on the Costa del Sol. It’s known for its gastronomic offerings and luxury housing estates, golf courses, and other tourist facilities. Founded by the Arabs in the shadow of a 10th-century fortress, Benahavis is today a perfect combination of tradition and modernity. The municipal district offers a wide variety of leisure and entertainment options, including six golf courses.
For nature lovers, there are beautiful natural spots rich in fauna and vegetation that are perfect for hill-walking and touring cyclists. One of these spots, called “Las Angosturas,” has recently been declared a Monument of Natural Interest. If you want to know more details about this charming village, keep reading!
Benahavis has a rich history that dates back to the end of the 11th century when it was founded by Arabs. Its name appears to be derived from the Berber tribe of Banu Habis, who settled in the area. The village was intimately involved with Andalusia’s Arabic past, particularly with Marbella, the municipal district to which it belonged until it was granted independence by King Philip II in 1572.
Montemayor Castle, built near the village during the Moslem occupation, was an important military enclave due to its strategic value. From the spot on which the fortress once stood, now home only to ruins, over one hundred kilometers of coastline are visible and the relief of North Africa can be seen.
Today, Benahavis is a popular tourist destination that still retains a few features of its origins as a white Arabic village. Monuments of interest include Montemayor Castle and a former 16th-century palace. The village is also home to natural spots of great interest, such as El Cerro del Duque, Daidin, Las Maquinas, El Charco de las Mozas and La Leche reservoir.
Benahavis is a charming village with a rich history and plenty of attractions for tourists. From its origins as a white Arabic village to its current status as a popular tourist destination, there are many interesting places to visit and monuments to see. The above- mentioned Castle of Montemayor is one the place´s most significant monuments. Furthermore, there exists other towers which were built as defensive barriers, amongst which stand out the one of “La Reina”, the one of “La Leonera” and the “Tower of Daidín”.
Montemayor Castle stands at an altitude of 579 meters, guarding the secrets of its past. Located in Benahavis, it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The castle played an important role in defending the coast against pirate attacks and Christian kings until it surrendered in 1485.
The trail leading up to the castle is well-prepared but can be challenging. It’s important to wear shoes with good grip. The views from the castle are breathtaking, offering a panoramic view of the Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, and even Africa on a clear day.
If you leave your car in Benahavis, you’ll walk along an asphalt road with a 20% incline. When you reach an urbanisation where the road ends, continue along the cement path to the right of the barrier. The incline increases until it becomes a dirt path.
This path ends at a farm entrance. To the left, you’ll see the trail that continues under an old cork oak tree. From there, you’ll be on the final stretch of trail that narrows as it ascends to Montemayor Castle.
The total time for this ascent is around 35 minutes. Once at the top, you can rest and enjoy the stunning views before descending back down the same trail, which takes around 30 minutes.
La Romera Tower is a historical site located at the foot of Montemayor in the municipality of Benahavis. Today, the tower is somewhat hidden among fig trees and other vegetation, along with the ruins of several houses from the early 20th century.
The tower is attached to a steep rocky wall and its thick walls are made of masonry and ashlar. The interior is divided into two rooms with barrel vaults. The vaults still bear the imprint of the reed matting that was used as a formwork for their construction.
Today, La Romera Tower is in poor condition and surrounded by invasive vegetation that is progressively damaging its walls with its roots and accelerating the process of ruin. The site can be dated between the 12th and 14th centuries based on the ceramics found on the surface. Near the tower, there is still a water source that must have served to supply the inhabitants of the area.
La Romera Tower is a beautiful site but be warned that it can be difficult to reach, especially from Benahavis. While it may not be the most impressive tower, getting there is half the fun and challenge. It’s very close to the coast (just a few minutes’ drive from Estepona), but there’s no direct access. A walk through rocky and spiky bushes makes it a small adventure.
Leonera Tower Park
Leonera Tower is a wonderful park located away from the residential area of Benahavis. The park features a pond, a small waterfall, cemented stands for events, a large green area, and a children’s playground. The park is clean and well-maintained.
It’s beautiful, with seats and tables for picnics, and plenty of space to spend pleasant hours outdoors. The park has a small waterfall and an artificial lake, making it an ideal place to relax.
The children’s playground is suitable for young children and is very safe. The restrooms are immaculate and wheelchair-accessible. Dogs are allowed on leashes.
Leonera Tower is a very nice park that is well worth visiting if you’re in Benahavis. It has paths for walking, a fenced enclosure with animals, benches to sit and enjoy the sun and tranquility for a while. Highly recommended.
The Benahavis Flea Market is an open-air market that takes place every Sunday in the small town of Benahavis, in the province of Malaga, Spain. The market stretches along a stretch of road and offers a wide range of products ranging from clothing and crafts to fresh produce and plants.
The atmosphere at the Benahavis Flea Market is relaxed and friendly, with local vendors offering good quality products at reasonable prices. Visitors can stroll through the stalls, enjoy panoramic views of the Sierra de las Nieves, and stop for a snack and drink.
One of the main attractions of the market is the fresh produce, with a wide variety of local fruits and vegetables for sale. There are also artisan cheeses, honey, olives, and other delicious products to try. In addition, vendors offer a wide selection of handmade items, jewelry, clothing, and decorative objects, all made by local artisans.
In summary, the Benahavis Flea Market is a lovely place to spend a relaxed Sunday and enjoy the local atmosphere. It is the ideal place to buy local products, appreciate craftsmanship, and take a break to taste some of the region’s fresh produce. It is definitely a must-see for those visiting Malaga.
From the impressive views of Montemayor Castle to the refreshing waters of Charco de las Mozas natural pool, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore in the surroundings of Benahavis. The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including rabbits, ducks, and geese.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of routes to choose from. Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views and the chance to cool off in crystal-clear waters.
Las Angosturas Canyon is an entertaining and family-friendly route with sections where you have to swim. The route is short but has some difficulty, making it quite entertaining and highly recommended. There are all kinds of sections, including walking on rocks, through the river, and swimming through the canyon. The scenery is spectacular and the landscape is impressive.
It’s essential to wear good shoes, preferably boots to avoid sprains, and to know how to swim. There are sections where you can’t touch the bottom or hold onto anything. It’s also recommended to ask for permission from the Benahavis Town Hall before starting the route.
- The presence of water can vary, so we recommend you to check recent visitor reviews at the location link.
- It’s best not to bring belongings or, if you do, bring them in a backpack that can be submerged without getting wet inside.
- There’s also the possibility of doing it with a company that provides all the necessary equipment.
Location and reviews: https://goo.gl/maps/Z4g26s4r4UQsu7oP8
Guadalmina Reservoir is a small but well-prepared and signposted reservoir that offers a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. The route around the reservoir is short but enjoyable, with even dispensers for dog waste bags along the way.
This route is easy and ideal for families, with many different species of dragonflies to observe. There are also ducks, geese, rabbits, and other wildlife to see. It’s a very pleasant walk.
Guadalmina Reservoir is a very peaceful and cool place to walk or simply contemplate in the summer. It’s a beautiful place to disconnect for a while, with easy access and parking. You can take the trail that goes along the top of the river and then return along the river itself. It’s very pretty.
Charco de las Mozas
Charco de las Mozas is a fun place to visit, where you can do the descent of the Guadalmina River. There are several pools where you can swim and points along the descent where you have to swim. At the end, there’s a dam and you have to go down a natural slide.
The pool is a large pot hole with very clean water and a couple of jumps into the water. The depth of the pool is about 3 or 4 meters. From this point, the Guadalmina River route begins, which runs downstream with caves, canyons, and jumps until you reach a pebble beach. The route is very easy but we recommend you to bring sneakers or water shoes. The complete route takes about 2 hours.
- Wear appropriate footwear and keep in mind that the rocks can be slippery.
- Charco de las Mozas is located 15 km from Puerto Banus.
- The location of this pool is easy to find on the access road to Benahavis, the A-7175, at km 6.2.
- Due to its proximity to the large urban area of the Costa del Sol, this pool is one of the most visited in the province of Malaga.
In addition to national holidays, Benahavis has its own unique local festivals that are celebrated in a special way. Here is a list of some popular local festivals in Benahavis:
- Fair and Fiestas in honor of the patron saint of the town: This festival takes place between August 11th and 15th, with the last day being a holiday in honor of the Virgen del Rosario.
- Romería de San José: This pilgrimage takes place on March 19th, the day of San José.
- Romería in honor of the Virgen del Rosario: This pilgrimage takes place on October 7th in the area of the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
- Semana Santa (Holy Week): Solemn processions take place only on Friday and Sunday. On Good Friday, two processions take place: El Santísimo Cristo de la Veracruz, carried only by men, and the Virgen de los Dolores, carried by women.
- Gastronomic Day (June): On June, there is a day when restaurants in the area offer the best of their menu at the entrance to the town.
Local Holidays. Main fair from 11th to 15th August and Virgin of the Rosary 6th and 7th October.
Distance From Malaga Airport. 72km
Town Hall: 952-855-025
Local Police Station: 952-855-544
The village has several urbanisations within and around the centre such as la Fuente de Benahavís, Las Lomas de Benahavís and La Pacheca where property is expensive. New construction is currently intense at the foot of the village and along the river valley. Several developments on the Ronda road lie within the village’s administrative district.
How to get
To get to Benahavis from Malaga airport by bus, you can take a bus from the airport to Marbella, and then take another bus or a taxi from Marbella to Benahavis. There is no direct bus connection from Malaga airport to Benahavis.
If you prefer to drive, here are the directions by car from Malaga airport to Benahavis:
- Head southwest on Av. del Comandante García Morato
- Take the ramp onto Av. de Velázquez/N-340
- Use the right lane to take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmádena/Algeciras
- Merge onto AP-7
- Keep left at the fork to stay on AP-7
- Take exit 181A to merge onto A-7 toward San Pedro de Alcántara/Estepona/Algeciras
- Take exit 172 toward Benahavís
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Ctra de Ronda/A-397
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Av. de Andalucía/MA-547
- Continue to follow MA-547
The most convenient way to explore the Costa del Sol is by having your own vehicle, so you may want to consider Malaga car hire.