What to do and what to see in Periana

The municipality of Periana is located northeast of the province of Málaga and north of La Axarquía, stretching between Sierra de Alhama and Sierra de Enmedio to the north, the Embalse de la Viñuela (La Viñuela Reservoir) to the south, between the Collado de Zalia (Zalia Hill) to the east and Cerro de Alcolea (Alcolea Hill) to the west.

Walking through the geography of Periana, you will get amazing panoramic views. The most important levels are in Sierra de Alhama, the one that serves as the geographical limit with the province of Granada, where La Torca stands out with 1,500 m, Cerro de Marchamonas (Marchamonas Hill) with 1,275 m and La Umbría with 1,350 m.

With 58.5 km², Periana is one of the largest municipalities in La Axarquía, bordering to the east with the municipality of Alcaucín, to the south with Viñuela and Cútar, to the west with Riogordo and Alfarnatejo, and to the north with Alfarnate, within the Málaga province, and Zafarraya, in the province of Granada.

Three are the main rivers that irrigate the lands of Periana, two are permanent waters and allow the cultivation of fruit and vegetables throughout the beautiful valley of the west of the municipality, from Guaro to the mouth of the Embalse de la Viñuela. One is the Guaro River, which is born north of Periana, in the Guaro district, at the foot of La Torca, forming beautiful waterfalls that collect the waters of El Batán Spring, which starts in Sierra de Enmedio, and the Sabar River, a tributary that runs further west and is born in the municipality of Alfarnatejo. East of Periana and driving the winter waters of Sierra de Alhama, the one that runs is the Seco River.

The main crops of the municipality of Periana are fruit trees, among which the peach stands out, with a very characteristic flavor and great fame inside and outside the province of Málaga, as well as the olive grove, mainly in a native variety, the verdial olive, which gives rise to a high quality olive oil.

The municipal term of Periana is populated by numerous small villages, such as Moya, Vilo, Mondrón, Los Marines and Regalón to the southwest; Baños de Vilo and Guaro to the north, La Muela, Cortijo Blanco, El Aguadero and El Cañuelo to the east.

The Periana town is located 547 m above sea level and is 23 km from Vélez-Málaga and 58 km from Málaga, with one of the highest population censuses in the interior of La Axarquía region.

Periana is one of the towns of La Axarquía that make up the Olive oil and Mountains Route.

History of Periana

Although there are testimonies of prehistoric settlements in its municipal area, as evidenced by the Musterian remains that have been found in Cerro de Alcolea, the Neolithic remains of the Cerro del Fuerte (Fort Hill) and the Abrigo de Marchamonas (Marchamonas Refuge) and the remains of the Bronze Age (2nd century B.C.) in the Cerro de Capellanía (Capellanía Hill) area; the history of Periana as a municipality is recent, in 1761 the small Hermitage of St. Isidore the Laborer became a parish and on this date it began to function as a municipality.

During the Arab domination, there were several farmhouses in Periana, two of them, according to legend, would give the municipality its name, that of "Pereiro" and "Santana".

After the fall of the Kingdom of Granada, cereal production and the vineyard became very important in Periana. However, the phylloxera plague in the 1870s significantly affected the vineyard, causing it to almost disappear. This led to the expansion of the olive grove and gradually replacing the cereal, due to integration in broader markets.

Periana was one of the towns most affected by the 1884 earthquake that affected La Axarquía area, where a large part of the houses collapsed and 58 residents died.

Currently, Periana bases its economy on agriculture, especially on the exploitation of olive oil and peaches, famous in the world and considered one of the best in Spain.

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What to see in Periana

The municipality of Periana, despite its early history as a municipality, includes a series of elements within its cultural heritage that are distributed between the Periana town and its various districts.

One of the most important parts of this Periana heritage is the Church of St. Isidore the Laborer. This was built after the earthquake of 1884, like the neighborhood where it is located. It was built in a neo-mudejar style on a plan with three naves delimited by pointed arches and an enclosure with a false rib vault. On the outside it is exposed brick.

About 3 km from the town, near the road that connects Periana and Riogordo, you can see Baños de Vilo, which start at the foot of Sierra de Enmedio and next to Guaro River bed. They are Arab baths whose sulfhydric, magnesium-calcium and nitrogen waters have multiple healing properties and, especially, against herpetism. There are many people who visit them during the summer, from all over the region and outside it, attracted by the properties of its waters. The Town Hall has built an accommodation set next to these baths.

Right in the center of the Periana town, in the Fuente Square, you will see the St. Isidore Fountain. It is fully restored and consists of a front with four pipes where the water that falls into limestone pools emanates where the pitchers were formerly fitted. These pools drain down into a large stone pylon that served as a trough until a few years ago. In the upper part of the front there is a niche that houses the image of St. Isidore the Laborer inside.

Descending a few meters through the town, you will find the Lavadero de la Cruz (Cross' Laundry) is the old municipal laundry, where, in the past, women used to wash clothes and it was considered a place for female social relations. It has been restored by removing the tall piles that were built in the 1940s and recovering the oldest soil piles.

Finally, in the Mondrón small village, you will be able to appreciate the Church of St. Fernando, which was built in 1945. It consists of a single nave and the bulrush with bell stands out on the outside. It houses the images of St. Ferdinand, St. Joseph and the Virgin of the Immaculate inside.

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What to do in Periana

The natural environment of Periana has beautiful views of La Axarquía region and is, for the most part, surrounded by olive trees. These olive trees are what make you have to make a stop in one of the districts of the municipality before you start to get to know the surroundings of Periana.

As you will have already verified in the history of Periana, since the 1870s olive cultivation has been gaining importance in the municipality to the point that the Mondrón Olive Oil Museum, located in this village, was carried out. 6 km from Periana town, this initiative of the San José Artesano Olive Oil Producer Cooperative was born to preserve the traditional production of olive oil that made the town famous. In this museum you can see the old millstones and various tools. You can enter for free and if you want you can buy extra virgin olive oil in this same place.

When it comes to getting to know the natural environment of Periana, one of the best ways is through one of the hiking routes that the municipality offers you. These routes will take you to the different important places in the municipality, as well as show you different aspects of the history of Periana.

In order to get impressive panoramic views of La Axarquía, you can start by taking the Old Train Track Route, so it is important that you carry a good camera with you.

This route starts from Periana town in a northerly direction, taking the old train track. You will pass through the Cerro del Fuerte and at the foot of the Sierra de Alhama, you can stop at Cortijo Carrión (Carrión Farmhouse) to drink water at its fountain and then continue the course of the old road and observe the wonderful views that are obtained in the rest of the way, from where a large part of La Axarquía region can be seen, among which the view of the valley of the Embalse de la Viñuela stands out. On its waters, on clear days, the mountains of the Macizo de Vélez (Vélez's Massif) and Los Romanes (district of the municipality of Viñuela) are reflected. You can also get magnificent views of Comares town hanging from a hill, as well as Montes de Málaga Natural Park and Colmenar town further west. Further away is the sea where, on its horizon, the moroccan Atlas Mountains can be seen on clear days, while to the east Sierra de Tejeda rises with La Maroma peak.

On the track you can see the bridges, which were the obligatory passage of animals when the train was active. While one kilometer from Cortijo Carrión, you will find the Aguadero Fountain, a spring whose waters come directly from the mountains and next to the imposing walnut tree with a wonderful recreational area under its shade.

Continuing the route, just a kilometer further on, a lane joins to your right. If you go down this lane, you will reach El Cañuelo hamlet, from where you will enjoy impressive views and where you can stop at its bar to have a drink in the shade of an impressive vine. From here, already on a paved lane, you will start a descent to Cortijo Blanco, starting at a small fountain where you can quench your thirst. Following the paved lane in the direction of La Muela and crossing this hamlet, you will reach the starting point in Periana town.

In relation to the Periana olive culture, there are within the municipality the Millennial Olives Routes. These are routes that will allow you to observe authentic natural monuments, olive trees that are between one thousand and two thousand years old.

There are three routes proposed by the San Isidro Olive Oil Producer Cooperative which try to publicize the high quality of the verdial olive oil obtained from these ancient trees. The three routes start from the cooperative's facilities on Carrascal Street, in the urban area of Periana. Having their initial point in the cooperative gives you a good opportunity to acquire the oil that comes from a tree that, possibly, already gave its fruit to romans, visigoths, arabs and christians.

On the first of these routes you will head northeast from Periana until you reach Cortijo Blanco. From here you will go to the Seco River to start the way back to the town. It is a 6.3 km circular route in which, in addition to being able to walk among these ancient olive trees, you will have the opportunity to obtain fantastic views.

The second route starts in a southwesterly direction to Malpelo, from where it goes to the banks of the Guaro River so that you can witness a beautiful gallery vegetation with a great presence of apicultural fauna. To return you will pass through Huertas del Algarrobal (Algarrobal's Orchards), crossing a wonderful wooded mass, where carob trees and olive trees, possibly from the beginning of our era, coexist with orange, lemon, peach and subtropical orchards. When you arrive at the starting point in Periana town, you will have traveled about 5.2 km of a circular route.

Finally, the third route, with a similar physiognomy to the previous one and a circular route of 7.3 km, takes a southeasterly direction to the shore of the Embalse de la Viñuela, passing through Las Mayoralas hamlet and returning to the starting point after making a stop in the swamp recreational area. On this route you will also cross the Huertas del Algarrobal.

Another of the routes that Periana offers you is the Water Route, about 14 km of circular route and low difficulty that will allow you to visit numerous springs in the west of the municipality, all of them tributaries of the Guaro River, the main tributary of the Embalse de la Viñuela. Sequentially, the first is the Huerta de Antonio Díaz Fountain, with crystal clear waters, located 1.5 km from the town, next to the road that connects Periana and Riogordo. The second that you will find on the route is the spring of the Guaro River, which in rainy seasons causes many beautiful waterfalls. Next, you will pass by La Laguna Fountain, the Zapata Spring, El Batán Spring and Baños de Vilo Spring, the latter with sulphurous waters and healing properties. All of them complete an intimate landscape with great vegetation, where the olive grove and the orange, lemon, peach, pomegranate and subtropical gardens such as avocado predominate, accompanied by a profuse riverside vegetation that flanks its route.

In addition to these routes, there are two routes through Periana that are two stages of the Great Path of Málaga. This is an initiative that aims to communicate different municipalities in the province of Málaga through routes through rural areas.

  • Stage 8, Canillas de Aceituno - Periana - It crosses the municipalities of Canillas de Aceituno, Alcaucín, Viñuela and Periana with quite similar lengths. This stage runs alongside the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, descending from the northwestern sunny side of Sierra de Tejeda to the Embalse de la Viñuela by the Alcaucín River, to later ascend to Periana through the Guaro River valley.
  • Stage 9, Periana - Pulgarín Alto (Alfarnatejo) - In this stage you will be able to get wonderful panoramic views of La Axarquía, the Embalse de la Viñuela and La Maroma in Sierra de Tejeda. The four villages you will see on the stage are worth a quiet visit. The small village of Marchamona, with its beautiful viewpoints; Guaro in the rainy seasons with the waterfalls of the spring of the Guaro River, impetuous and thunderous; Cortijo Zapata (Zapata Farmhouse) and Cortijo la Cueva (The Cave Farmhouse), between the mountains and labor, make up a typical picture of integration into the environment. Finally, the arrival in Pulgarín Bajo will receive you among centuries-old olive trees and with views towards the Tajo del Caballo (Horse's Gorge) and the Tajo Bermejo (Bermejo Gorge) to the north, and the Tajo de Doña Ana (Mrs. Ana Gorge) to the northwest.

In the event that you prefer to do sports within the town, Periana has a municipal swimming pool, a football pitch with artificial grass, a municipal gym and a sport court.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Periana

Periana has, like many municipalities, a party calendar that will help you understand their tradition and culture while having fun in a festive atmosphere. These festivals are distributed among the different population centers of the municipality, either in Periana town or in one of its villages.

The first celebration of the year belongs to one of its districts, Los Marines, and it is the St. Joseph Festivity. It takes place on March 19 and there are a series of tastings and a nightly festival.

The first weekend of April takes place the first celebration in Periana town, the Verdial Oil Day. It is a day declared a Provincial Tourist Interest Festivity whose main objective is to make known the olive oil extracted from the Periana verdial olive trees to all visitors who, in large numbers, come from all parts of the province. This is done with tastings of the typical miller breakfast (bread with oil), folkloric acts and indigenous music such as verdiales.

Around the 15th of May the Patron Saint Festivities of St. Isidore, patron saint of Periana, are celebrated. On May 15th, St. Isidore is taken out in a procession through all the Periana streets and offered with wheat that was poured from the different balconies. The devotion to St. Isidore in the town is very great, which makes these days full of joy where local products and beer are tasted, enlivened with different indigenous folk acts, among them the verdiales. These days there is also a Flamenco Festival.

The weekend following the celebration of the Patron Saint Festivities of St. Isidore, is the Pilgrimage of St. Isidore, near the Embalse de la Viñuela. At the tail end of the swamp, on municipal land and in a conditioned recreational area, the pilgrimage takes place for two days with overnight stays in tents and entertainment with indigenous folk performances and nightly festivities.

In the district of Mondrón, the St. Ferdinand Fest is celebrated around May 30. On this festival, free paella and beer tastings are held for all attendees, as well as a nightly fest.

In summer, on July 16, the Virgin of the Carmel Festivities take place in La Muela, with tasting and a night festival.

The last weekend of July two events take place. The Guaro Fair is held in Guaro, which, as in the previous ones, allows you to enjoy tastings and nighttime festivals, while in Periana town is the Peach Day. As a prelude to this celebration, on Saturday night there is a performance by young groups, to enjoy a tasting of sangria and ice shakes on Sunday morning. In the afternoon the proclamation is carried out by invited public figure and the awards ceremony, among which the Fast Outdoor Painting Contest stands out.

The weekend closest to August 15 you can enjoy the Periana Fair. In it parades of the music band, the programming of multiple activities, games, tastings and musical performances are performed.

Finally, at the end of October the last celebration of the municipality takes place, the Regalón Fair. On this festivity you can enjoy tastings and a nightly festival.

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Gastronomy of Periana

Periana's gastronomy is quite rich and varied, however, there are two products that stand out from the rest. These two products, so important in the history of the municipality, are, somehow, reflected in its heraldry.

One of them makes sense after knowing that Periana belongs to the Olive oil and Mountains Route within La Axarquía, indeed it is olive oil. The olive oil you will find in Periana is, among others, verdial olive oil, obtained from the verdial olive tree variety and considered one of the best olive oils in the world, with a special color and aroma. Inside the Periana shield there is an olive tree that shows the value of the olive oil for the municipality. You can buy verdial extra virgin olive oil of excellent quality in any of the two olive cooperatives that are in the municipality, one in Periana and the other in Mondrón.

The other product found in Periana's heraldry is the peach. This is famous throughout the province and is considered one of the best in Spain. You will find it for sale, during the peach season, in any greengrocer or supermarket in Periana.

As typical Periana dishes, you can taste some such as the cachorreña soup, the asparagus soup, the gazpachuelo, the cateta salad, the migas, the asparagus and mushroom morrete, the fried pumpkin, the kid, the chilled garlic and almond soup, the gazpacho and the asparagus patches.

In desserts, the fruits of their gardens stand out, such as the delicious peaches, pears, pomegranates and oranges.

Regarding the Periana pastry, you can try the sponge cake, the oil cake, the Roman cake, the roll, the wine donuts, the orange donuts, the ricotta and the peaches in syrup.

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