Nestled deep in the heart of “La Sierra de Nieves” (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) is El Burgo. This charming town is a haven for nature enthusiasts and those seeking peace and tranquility. With a population of just around 2000, the town boasts breathtaking natural landscapes and stunning views from its perch atop a hill over 500 meters high.
The Celts originally settled the town because of its strategic location. Some people believe that the town’s name may have come from the Greek word “purgos,” meaning “tower,” but its origins remain a mystery.
History of El Burgo
It is believed that the town was originally a Celtic settlement and was later occupied by various civilizations. The Carthaginians built a watchtower, known as the Tower of Hannibal, in the area. During the reign of Emperor Trajan, the town was granted imperial privilege due to its strategic location along the Roman road that connected Acinipo to Malaga.
The Moors left the most significant mark on El Burgo. Along with Ardales, Turón, Casarabonela, and others, it was part of the kingdom of Omar Ben Hafsun. Its fortress, now known as Atalaya de la Cornicabra, was one of the main defensive strongholds in the area. After Ben Hafsun’s death, El Burgo became part of the Caliphate of Cordoba and was under the administrative and military control of the cora of Rayya (Malaga). During the Taifa period, it was a fiefdom of Ronda for fifty years before passing to Malaga and finally to Granada.
In 1485, after Ronda fell to the Catholic Monarchs, El Burgo sent messengers to plead for their protection. The king granted them safety on the condition that they surrender their fortress and all towers and fortifications. In modern times, El Burgo is known for its natural beauty and tranquility and is located within Sierra de las Nieves National Park (declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO)
El Burgo has a fascinating connection to the history of Andalusian banditry. The town was the birthplace of Juan Mingolla Gallardo, better known as “Pasos Largos,” the last of the romantic bandits that roamed Andalusia. He was killed in a shootout with the Civil Guard in the Serranía de Ronda in 1934. Banditry was a common occurrence in Andalusia during the 19th century, and many bandits became folk heroes, celebrated for their bravery and defiance of authority.
Places to visit in El Burgo
The most visited monuments are the Church of La Encarnación, built in the Sixteenth Century; the Church of San Agustín; the Arabic castle; and the three bridges over the River Turón.
- Astrolab: an observatory for stargazing. (https://goo.gl/maps/Qi3kyM5Hqz5nJazz9)
- La Sierra De Las Nieves: a beautiful natural park. (https://goo.gl/maps/Q1sTEQCiTYM1odnv5)
- Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol: a beautiful church with stunning architecture. (https://goo.gl/maps/oXtei2hcdE29vkX46)
- Museo del Bandolero: a museum dedicated to the history of Andalusian banditry. (https://goo.gl/maps/puDJwgbeyxDxMmvB9)
- Iglesia de la Encarnación: a beautiful church located within the old fortified medieval enclosure. (https://goo.gl/maps/577dj6YgN3ddVUL18)
- Ermita de San Agustín: a Gothic-Mudejar style temple. (https://goo.gl/maps/7ZNgfG1yHEtF6UtC9)
- Three bridges over the Turon River: popular tourist attractions with clean and fresh waters. (https://goo.gl/maps/bwCq9SkXp3qdoqHLA)
Events and activities
The two most noteworthy festive dates are: “la Romería de la Virgen de las Nieves”, on the first Sunday in August, the fair of San Agustín, also in August, and the Carnaval towards the end of February.
The Romería de la Virgen de las Nieves is a popular and religious event that takes place on the first Sunday of August in El Burgo. This town in the Sierra de las Nieves, which begins the month of August with this famous pilgrimage, also prepares to celebrate its San Agustín Fair at the end of the month.
The pilgrimage starts at the Church of San Agustín, where the Virgin of Las Nieves is located. The Virgin is then accompanied by the townspeople to the recreational area of La Fuensanta. The journey can be made on foot, horseback, or by cart.
This event could be of interest to an English tourist as it provides an opportunity to experience a traditional Andalusian celebration and learn more about the local culture and customs.
The Feria de San Agustín is a popular celebration in El Burgo in honor of its patron saint. It takes place around the last weekend of August and lasts four days with various activities.
The big day of the fair is on August 28th, San Agustín. At eight in the morning, the band of bugles and drums is in charge of waking up the neighbors with the Diana Floreada. Once again, after a solemn mass in the Church of the Incarnation, the patron saint is processed under a grandiose rocket launch.
El Burgo has a rich culinary tradition that is based on local ingredients and traditional recipes. Some typical dishes from El Burgo include “la olla,” a hearty stew made with chickpeas and pork products, and “la sopa de siete ramales,” a filling soup that is perfect for the winter months. Another popular dish is gazpacho, a cold soup made with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, oil, salt, vinegar, and water .
Sopa de los 7 Ramales
The Sopa de los 7 Ramales is a traditional soup from the town of El Burgo in Málaga, Spain. It is celebrated on February 28th as a tourist attraction. The name of the soup comes from its seven ingredients: bread, onion, garlic, pepper, tomato, asparagus and egg, to which mint is also added. This dish was originally a meal for peasants and was one of those meals called “for the poor”. It is a dish of the Mediterranean diet based on the products that the land gives and that laborers with few resources prepared after a day’s work and was perfect for fighting the cold
Getting to El Burgo from Malaga
Traveling by car from the airport to El Burgo is more convenient and direct. It takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes, while public transportation can take 3 hours or more.
- From the airport, take the Cercanías train (line C1) towards Málaga Centro Alameda. Get off at the Málaga María Zambrano station.
- From there, take the bus towards Ronda. Get off at Ronda.
- From Ronda, take the bus towards El Burgo. Get off at El Burgo.
- From the airport, take the MA-20 towards Málaga.
- Take exit 7 to merge onto A-357 towards Cártama.
- Continue on A-357 for about 30 km.
- Take exit 62 towards A-354/Campillos/Ardales/El Burgo.
- Continue on A-354 for about 10 km.
- Turn right onto MA-5401.
- Continue on MA-5401 for about 15 km until you reach El Burgo.
Renting a car at the airport can be a good idea if you want to have more flexibility and control over your travel plans. Malagacar.co.uk is the option for Malaga car hire. We offer a wide range of vehicles and competitive prices.
Please note that these directions are subject to change due to road conditions and traffic. It’s always a good idea to check for updated information before starting your journey.