What to do and what to see in Almáchar

The municipality of Almáchar is located southwest of the region of La Axarquía and southeast of the province of Málaga, 35 km from Málaga city and 16 km from the Rincón de la Victoria beaches.

With an extension of 14.4 km2, Almáchar is on a hill that is bordered by two rivers, El Borge River and Almáchar River, bordering the municipalities of Benamargosa and Cútar to the north, El Borge to the west, Moclinejo and Macharaviaya to the south, and Iznate and Vélez-Málaga to the east.

The inhabitants of Almáchar enjoy a climate with a very mild temperature both in winter and summer and are mainly engaged in agriculture, especially the cultivation of subtropicals, such as avocados and mangoes, and vineyards, for the production of wine and raisins of great quality and world renown. You will also be able to see orchards and cereal fields, olive trees and almond trees.

A sector that is becoming increasingly important in Almáchar is rural tourism, influenced by its pleasant temperature throughout the year and its proximity to the sea.

History of Almáchar

The origin of Almáchar is from the Arab period and this is reflected in the urban layout of its streets and in its name, since Almáchar derives from the Arabic Al Maysar, which means "land of meadows".

Along with Cútar, El Borge and Moclinejo, Almáchar was under the protection of Comares. Even after the conquest of the territory by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487, Almáchar continued to depend on that town. During the first years of Christian rule in the territory, a transfer of land to different Christians took place, causing suspicion in the Moorish population that led them to abandon Almáchar in search of other lands.

Since the mid-16th century, Almáchar's raisins, along with those of its neighbor, El Borge, have enjoyed great world fame. At the end of the 16th century Almáchar separated from Comares.

In 1755, an earthquake forced the residents of Almáchar to abandon their homes and take refuge in the countryside, in different farmhouses.

The excellent quality of the cloths made on Almáchar looms made the town very well known at the end of the 19th century, with more than a hundred workshops dedicated to making these fabrics.

One of the saddest periods in Almáchar's history was during the Spanish Civil War years, when families and friends split up facing each other, as a result of different political beliefs.

Currently, Almáchar is a municipality with a great reputation for its raisin production, basing its economy on this crop and that of subtropicals. Little by little, rural tourism is gaining importance.

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What to see in Almáchar

Walking through Almáchar town you will see samples of the cultural heritage spread throughout its streets, especially visiting the old town. Corridors, stairways and vestibules follow each other through the winding alleys, delimited by white facades decorated with flowers.

Goat Street represents the best example of urban planning with Arab reminiscences, while Mártires Street, which borders the Church of Saint Matthew, is one of its most picturesque places in Almáchar.

The already mentioned Church of Saint Matthew, built in the 16th century, mixes late Gothic and Renaissance styles, although its tower is Mudejar in style. In two rococo dressing rooms you can see the images of Our Lady of Sorrows and the Christ of the Heart of Jesus, and next to the central altarpiece of the main altar, the venerated Christ of the Green Band.

On the other hand, without leaving Almáchar town you can visit the Gardens of El Forfe from where you can get beautiful views. A place where you can see a large part of the Almáchar River environment.

There are other places that you may find interesting in Almáchar, such as the María Zambrano Cultural Park, where cultural events take place thanks to the tent and the stage it has, or the Rainbow Park, ideal for children to play.

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What to do in Almáchar

In Almáchar you can carry out different activities, but the vast majority and the most typical and recommended are related to culture, nature and sport.

One of the places you should visit is related to one of Almáchar's typical products, the raisin. It is the Raisin Museum, located in Holy Christ Square. This museum will help you learn about the process of making the raisin. In addition, the enclosure has information panels and a collection of old utensils and tools.

Regarding the natural environment of Almáchar, it extends from the hill of the same name (334 meters) to the Vallejo Peak (609 meters). In its landscape, the labor houses stand out, with the traditional paseros where the grapes are became the raisin, the orchards that extend along the banks of El Borge River and Almáchar River, as well as the terraces with vegetables and fruit trees of different types.

To better know the natural environment that the municipality of Almáchar contemplates, you can take a hiking route known as Almáchar - Cerro Patarra Route SL-A 65. It is a circular route of medium-high difficulty, 6.7 km from tour and an estimated time of two and a half hours. The route begins in the lower part of Almáchar town, in the emblematic El Forfe Fountain, next to Almáchar River. From here a rising path begins that will show you the agricultural wealth of the municipality until you reach Cerro Patarra (Patarra Hill), and then begin the descent towards the town. At the top you can appreciate beautiful views of the region of La Axarquía, the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, as well as its union with the Central Limestone Arch of the Vega de Antequera (Antequera Depression). During the tour you will be able to appreciate different species of vegetation such as hearts of palm, gorse, oak or carob, and perhaps you are lucky enough to be able to see some of the fauna species such as greenfinch, blackbird, sparrow, common chameleon, long-tailed lizard, hedgehog, fox or vole.

In addition to the hiking route, Almáchar town offers you a wide range of sports facilities and activities in which a large number of people practice sports, from the youngest to the oldest.

Among the different facilities you can find a covered pavilion where a multitude of activities are carried out such as aerobics, multisport, basketball, badminton, physical activity for the elderly and physical fitness for adults, all of them offered by the city council. There is also a children's climbing wall, table tennis and it has a sauna, a weight room, where for a very small cost you can use the fitness room.

For outdoor sports, you will find a football pitch, which is used by several teams, and a paddle tennis court.

Finally, during the months of July and August the city council carries out its swimming campaign in the municipal swimming pool, where students of all ages participate.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Almáchar

Almáchar, like many municipalities in La Axarquía, has different festivities throughout the year. Many of these are original from the same municipality, so they constitute a value that you will not be able to find elsewhere and an opportunity to get to know the culture and customs of Almáchar better.

One of the most typical celebrations is the Function in honor of Holy Christ of the Green Band, who has enormous devotion in Almáchar. It takes place on the first weekend of May and after the religious procession of the "protector of the town", the festivals arrive that flood the Almáchar streets with music, dance and fun. Its origins date back to 1754, when, according to local legend, the divine intervention of the Christ prevented the destruction of the town by a series of earthquakes. The Christ was named protector of Almáchar.

The same month, on May 15, the Pilgrimage of Saint Isidore takes place. In it, the residents and visitors of Almáchar meet in the countryside, in an enclosure enabled for it, and, after a picnic, they do tape races on horseback with the music of the verdiales pandas.

In summer, specifically the last weekend of July, the Patron Saint Festival of Our Lady of Amparo is celebrated. In these the people of the town and the surrounding areas, go out on the streets day and night to participate and enjoy the full range of musical works, dance and sports activities.

One of Almáchar's most representative celebrations is the Ajoblanco Festival, the most important Tourist Festival in the town. You can enjoy it on the first Saturday of September, tasting the ajoblanco (chilled garlic and almond soup), as well as other culinary delights in the area. This celebration is officially designated as a Tourist Interest Festival in Andalusia, being a pioneer among the towns of the province of Málaga and emerging as a claim initiative by some residents of Almáchar due to the lack of communication suffered by the town, isolated from the capital. To do this, they requested the construction of an 8 km stretch of road to Moclinejo town, reducing the distance to Málaga city by almost half. This celebration includes tastings, exhibitions, performances around the rural world and performances by pandas of verdiales and flamenco groups.

Other very popular Almáchar festivities are Carnival, Cultural Week in the middle of the year and the Pastoral Competition in December.

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Gastronomy of Almáchar

The gastronomy of Almáchar is represented by the typical one of the region of La Axarquía. However, there is a product that stands out from the rest in this locality, raisin. The raisin variety produced in Almáchar is mainly the Muscat raisin, which has a designation of origin. This is not surprising, since Almáchar is included the group of towns that make up the Raisin Route within La Axarquía.

We must not forget another of the products obtained from the grape, wine. The most representative variety of wine from Almáchar, as in the raisin, is Muscat wine, which you can taste and buy during your visit.

There are other products, also the fruit of agricultural production, which have gradually gained strength and importance in Almáchar. These are those obtained from subtropical trees, such as avocado and mango.

As typical dishes that you can taste in Almáchar, you will find the famous ajoblanco, gazpacho, gypsy fritillo, roasted pepper salad, yellow soups, maimones and cod with orange. All this accompanied by a good local wine.

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