Nestled between the Sierra Blanca and Alpujata mountain ranges, lies Ojen, a picturesque town with a population of approximately 2,000 inhabitants. The town boasts a tranquil setting and an abundance of water.The natural park of “La Sierra de las Nieves” contains its municipal district, offering visitors a unique blend of traditional mountain town charm and quality tourist attractions. The town has successfully managed to preserve its traditional character while providing visitors with a memorable experience.
Visitors to Ojen can explore the town’s narrow streets and white-washed buildings, visit local museums and landmarks, and enjoy traditional dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. The town also hosts several local holidays and festivities throughout the year, offering visitors a chance to experience local traditions and customs.
Ojen is a charming town located in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves, just a short drive from Marbella and the Costa del Sol beaches. The town is known for its rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural beauty.
Ojen offers a range of amenities for its residents, including several small shops, two banks, restaurants, a school, health centre, and a sports complex with an outdoor pool. The village provides the perfect balance between peaceful rural living and convenient access to modern conveniences.
It is believed that towards the end of the Roman Empire, there was a settlement in Ojen dedicated to agricultural and cattle-raising exploitation. The Arabs also left important signs of their presence in the winding layout of the streets and the castle, of which only ruins remain. After its reconquest and the expulsion of the Moors in 1609, Ojen became independent from Marbella in 1807.
The origin of Ojen can be attributed to the Arab-Andalusian period, when it was known by the name of Oxen or Hoxán, which can be translated as “abrupt place”. Chronicles tell that outside the walls of its castle – now disappeared – the troops of Abderramán III faced the Muladíes who had been raised by Omar Ben Hafsun against the dominion of the Emirate of Córdoba. After defeating the Muladíes, Caliph Abderramán III ordered the construction of a mosque as proof of the power of Muslims over Christian converts.
Ojen’s past still preserves some remains of Solís Castle and the Mudejar-style Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.
Amongst its most significant places to visit one needs to highlight the Parish Church of “Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación”, built over an ancient mosque of 1505; the fountain of “Los Chorros”, built in 1905; the caves of Ojen; and “El Museo del Vino”, built in 1830 and “El Museo del Molino”.
Situated on a hill overlooking the town, the remains are not in good conditions, although some walls are still standing. The north side has a tower with an internal room at its angle. Archaeological excavations revealed a pentagonal floor plan, following the topography of the terrain. The south and west sides have vertical faces about 40 meters high1.
The castle played an important role in the Moorish rebellion of 1569. Ojen was completely desolate until Fernando de Solís rebuilt the castle.
The Windmill Museum is a free museum located in a restored old mill. It offers an interesting look at how oil was extracted in the past and is rich in tradition. Visitors can see many objects used to produce olive oil in an artisanal way, as well as learn about the famous Ojen brandy.
The museum is small and sits next to the Wine Museum, which is actually just a room with some details about the brandy produced there. The museum has limited opening hours and may not open on weekends.
Despite some inconsistencies with the museum’s online information and actual opening hours, it is a curious and worthwhile place to visit if you are in Ojen. The museum tells the story of olive oil production in the town, as well as its famous aguardiente. Visitors can see an old oil mill and an old anise still.
Overall, the Windmill Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of olive oil production in Ojen and the surrounding area.
- Chorros Fountain: A fountain built in 1905. The fountain’s spouts are fed by the Almadán River and have provided water to the town’s residents for generations. The fountain is a popular meeting place for locals and a great spot to relax and enjoy the town’s peaceful atmosphere. (Map)
- Parish Church of “Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación”: Built over an ancient mosque in 1505. The church features a beautiful Mudejar coffered ceiling decorated with geometric motifs and a bell tower that incorporates the minaret of the former mosque. (Map)
Nature and hiking routes
The Caves of Ojen are a series of shallow caves located in the mountains, offering spectacular views of the town and the sea. One of the caves runs along a path that leads from the entrance of the town to the main square, providing a picturesque route for visitors to explore.
While you can explore the caves in a short amount of time, they offer a unique perspective on the town and its surroundings. For those interested in hiking, there is much to see and explore in the area.
Ojen is a charming town with steep streets, and reaching the upper cave on foot can be a bit of a workout. However, the effort is rewarded with stunning views from the top. The caves are in good conditions and provide a cool and refreshing place to sit and enjoy the scenery.
Viñas Pond is a natural pool frequented by locals, although it is often quiet and peaceful. The pond features a small waterfall and is located in a tranquil spot just below the Ojen cemetery. Visitors can bring their dogs and there is plenty of parking available, with just a short walk down a staircase to reach the pond.
The pond is home to wildlife such as dragonflies and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. However, visitors must remember to take their rubbish with them and keep the area clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. A container for rubbish at the entrance would help keep the area clean.
The pond is a wonderful place to relax and cool off on a hot day. The water is fresh and clean, making it a great spot for a swim in a natural setting.
Access to the pond can be a bit difficult for those with young children or dogs, but it is well worth the effort to reach this beautiful and peaceful spot. Visitors are encouraged to take care of the area and not leave any rubbish behind.
The Ojen Eco-Reserve is a wonderful experience for visitors of all ages. The reserve offers the opportunity to see animals such as deer, mouflon, and wild boar living in their natural habitat. Visitors can even feed and pet some of the animals, making it a great place for families with children.
The guides at the reserve are knowledgeable and friendly, providing interesting information about the flora and fauna of the area. Visitors are encouraged to bring fruit or vegetables to feed the animals, who will even eat from your hand.
The Eco-Reserve is a magical place where people and animals coexist in harmony, based on mutual respect. The staff who accompany and guide visitors throughout the visit make the experience even more unforgettable with their dedication and passion.
The Eco-Reserve is a must-visit for nature lovers and those looking to learn more about the local ecosystem. The reserve offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.
Viewpoints and hiking
The Sierra Blanca viewpoints offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, towns, and sea. In a short one-hour walk, visitors can visit two viewpoints, the Corzo and the Macho Montés. If desired, visitors can also stop at the refuge for refreshments, as there is a restaurant and restrooms available.
One of the best viewpoints to visit is the Macho Montés viewpoint, which offers breathtaking views, especially if you have the patience to watch the sunset. The area is also great for hiking, with well-marked trails and beautiful scenery. However, parking can be problematic on weekends when the area is crowded.
The main trail is easy for all ages, with a wide path and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. The Sierra Blanca viewpoints are a must-visit for nature lovers and those looking to enjoy some fresh air and stunning scenery.
Visitors can also explore the natural beauty of the El Refugio de Juanar Nature Reserve, where they can park their car and set off on a leisurely hike to the viewpoints. It is recommended to bring drinks, as the round trip can take over an hour.
Overall, the Sierra Blanca viewpoints offer a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. The stunning views and natural beauty of the area make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
- Juanar viewpoint: https://goo.gl/maps/AJKfBm8fXc9AFHaG6
- Corzo Viewpoing: https://goo.gl/maps/Py1ZSyAPSqJwZJUL9
- Recommended hiking route: https://goo.gl/maps/iDEEwWJshXHDZ2rX7
- Guardian house: https://goo.gl/maps/9Cn51VYLZvqdkWxK9
- Roman bridge: https://goo.gl/maps/9kskbWABqbLsMBLi9
Ojen is a town with a rich cultural heritage and many local holidays and festivities. Some of the most notable events include “La Romería a Los Llanos de Pula” on May 1st, the flamenco singing festival in July, and the fair in honor of its Patron Saint, San Dionisio Aeropagita, from October 9th to 12th.
Another popular event is the Tostón Popular, which takes place on the first Sunday after All Saints’ Day. This well-established tradition celebrates the end of the chestnut harvest, with the roasting of chestnuts accompanied by good Ojen brandy, bacon, and traditional snacks.
Visitors can enjoy the smell of roasted chestnuts in the air as a symbol of autumn and a prelude to winter. The Toston Popular is a great opportunity to experience local traditions and enjoy delicious food and drink in a festive atmosphere.
Ojeando is a two-day independent music festival in the urban center of Ojen in July. The festival features three stages, at least one of which is free to access, while the others require a pass that typically costs around 25 euros and grants access to all concerts. Bus service is available from Marbella, as accommodation in the town can be difficult to find.
During the festival, food and drink prices at local bars are very affordable, and the cuisine is varied and delicious. Ojeando is a highly recommended festival for music lovers of all ages.
The festival offers a diverse range of musical performances and makes use of various spaces throughout the town to create improvised stages. Visitors can enjoy both free and paid performances, making it an accessible and enjoyable event for all.
Ojen’s gastronomy centers around natural products from the countryside. With these ingredients, people make a great variety of typical dishes, including “la sopa hervida” (boiled soup), “los chicharros con arroz o fideos” (peas with rice or noodles), “el bolo de hinojos” (fennel bolus), and the exquisite almond vegetable soup (gazpacho de almendras).
Ojen’s cuisine uses self-produced natural products such as legumes, vegetables, game, goat cheese, milk, and fruit to create rich and flavorful dishes that showcase the town’s culinary heritage.
In addition to traditional dishes, visitors can also enjoy a wide range of dining options in Ojen, with many restaurants serving local and international cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a casual café or a fine dining experience, Ojen has something to offer for every taste.
Overall, Ojen’s rich gastronomy offers visitors a delicious taste of the town’s culinary heritage and traditions. From hearty soups to refreshing gazpachos, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town.
How to get
One of the best ways to get to Ojen is by car. The town is located in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves, just a short drive from Marbella and the Costa del Sol beaches. By car, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and have the flexibility to explore the surrounding area at your own pace.
If you’re not driving, there are other options available for getting to Ojen. You can take a bus from Marbella to Ojen, with the journey taking around 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can also use a rideshare service or walk from Marbella to Ojen, although this will take longer.
If you decide to rent a car in Malaga, you can do so with us at Malaga car hire. We are a trusted car rental company that offers competitive rates and excellent service.
Here are some directions for getting to Ojen by car:
- From Malaga, take the AP-7 highway towards Marbella.
- Take exit 182 towards Ojen/Marbella.
- Follow the A-355 road towards Ojen.
- Continue on the A-355 until you reach Ojen.
Overall, getting to Ojen is relatively easy and there are several options available for visitors. Whether you choose to drive, take a bus, or use a rideshare service, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and arrive in Ojen ready to explore this charming town.
Finally, we can say that Ojen offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. From its rich cultural heritage to its stunning natural beauty, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town.