Cartajima is a village located in the heart of the Ronda mountains, surrounded by chestnut, holm oak and cork oak forests. Its urban centre, situated like a watchtower on a hill at more than 800 metres above sea level, consists of low houses on both sides of narrow, winding streets. It has a wide range of rural accommodation options.
If you are looking for a peaceful and scenic destination in the Costa del Sol, Cartajima is a great choice. This agricultural village is famous for growing delicious chestnuts in its forest, which you can taste in its traditional dishes like la olla, las sopas refritas, the rabbit stews and the cold vegetable soup. You can also enjoy the local wine, el mosto, and the chestnut dessert, la cocina de castañas.
Cartajima is one of the highest villages in Spain, and its remote location offers a panoramic view of mountain ranges, forests, valleys, and its white inland village. You can breathe the fresh air and admire the beauty of nature in this area, which is part of the Sierra de las Nieves Biosphere Reserve. You can also explore the hiking trails that connect Cartajima with other villages in the Genal Valley, such as Juzcar, Alpandeire and Parauta.
Cartajima has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient times. There are archaeological findings that prove the Hellenic presence in the area, such as coins and tombs. There are also remains of Roman baths and necropolis in the Cortijo del Ratón, as well as traces of Roman roads that connected Ronda with Cádiz.
During the Middle Ages, Cartajima was part of the Moorish kingdom of Granada, and it had a castle that defended the territory. After the Christian reconquest, it became part of the lordship of Ronda, and later of the Marquisate of Villasierra.
In the 19th century, Cartajima experienced a great economic boost due to the cultivation of vine crops and the exploitation of the iron deposits, around which a cannon factory was built. Cartajima came to be known as “Little Cádiz”.
Cartajima also excelled during the War of Independence for its resistance against the Napoleonic troops, led by the guerrilla Andrés García, who rebelled against the Governor of Ronda.
What to see
Cartajima has several monuments and attractions that are worth visiting. Some of them are:
- The Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario: This is the most important monument in the village. It was built in the 16th century in a Gothic-Renaissance style, and it has a single nave with a barrel vault and side chapels. The main altarpiece is from the 18th century and it has an image of the patron saint of the village. (Map)
- Los Riscos de Juzcar and Cartajima: These are impressive karst formations of limestone that rise between Juzcar and Cartajima. They have different shapes and sizes, some resembling animals or human figures. You can hike through them or climb them if you are adventurous. (Map)
- The Murals: These are colourful paintings that decorate some of the facades of the houses in the village. They were created by local artists and they represent different themes such as nature, culture, history and legends.
- The Sierra de las Nieves Biosphere Reserve: This is a natural park that covers part of the territory of Cartajima. It has a rich biodiversity and a variety of landscapes, such as forests, mountains, rivers and caves. You can enjoy hiking, cycling, birdwatching and other outdoor activities in this area.
- Fuente de los Peces: The Fuente de los Peces is a historic fountain of Moorish origin that preserves the peculiar charm of that era. It is located on the Camino de Arroyo Blanco, about a hundred metres away from the urban centre. On the left side, there is a watering trough, protected by a buttress. The main fountain, very tall, has three elements typical of Arabic architecture, like battlements. You can see the traces of the holes where the pitchers were placed that the people used in the past to collect water for domestic tasks. (Map)
What to do
Cartajima is a perfect destination for those who love nature and tranquility. You can enjoy its rural atmosphere and its gastronomy, based on chestnuts, wine and local products.
Cartajima also has some festivities and traditions that you can join. Some of them are:
- Feast of La Virgen del Rosario: This is the main celebration in the village, which takes place in mid-August. It includes religious ceremonies, music, dancing and fireworks.
- Chestnut Festival: This is an event that celebrates the chestnut harvest in October or November. It includes chestnut roasting, wine tasting and cultural workshops.
- Centre of Interpretation of Los Riscos: This is a place where you can learn more about the geology, flora and fauna of Los Riscos de Juzcar and Cartajima. It has an exhibition hall, a viewpoint and a guided tour. (Map)
Hiking and nature
Cartajima is located in the Genal Valley, an area of great ecological and scenic value, where you can enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling or wine tasting. One of the most popular trails is the PR-A 222 Parauta-Cartajima, which goes through beautiful landscapes dedicated to chestnut cultivation. From Cartajima you can also admire the views of the Cancha de Almola, a stunning karst formation that exceeds a hundred metres in height.
How to get there
Cartajima is located about 111 km from Malaga and 646 km from Madrid by road. You can reach it by car or by bus from Ronda, which is about 20 km away. The nearest airport is Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is about 120 km away.
If you travel by car from Málaga, you can follow these steps:
- Take the A-7 motorway towards Marbella/Algeciras.
- Take exit 172 towards Ronda/San Pedro de Alcántara.
- Follow the A-397 road towards Ronda for about 45 km.
- Turn right onto the MA-7300 road towards Cartajima/Júzcar.
- Follow the MA-7300 road for about 15 km until you reach Cartajima.
If you travel by bus from Ronda, you can take a bus which stops at Cartajima. The journey takes about 40 minutes but we do not have information about bus companies providing this service. Another option is taking a transfer from Malaga.