Zahara de la Sierra is a beautiful municipality of the Sierra de Cádiz, located in the center of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, at the foot of the Sierra del Jaral, between the Guadalete River and the Bocaleones River, and on the shore of the reservoir of Zahara-El Gastor. It is part of the White Villages Route.
The village of Zahara de la Sierra stretches along the slope of a small mountain, culminated by a castle with its Tower of Tribute and next to the great reservoir of Zahara-El Gastor. Its wonderful natural and historic-artistic attractions have made it worthy of being declared a Historic Set. Its streets are a latticework maze, with its beautiful whitewashed houses, flowery balconies and spectacular viewpoints to the mountains. From the square, a cobbled ramp climbs up to the top of the castle, an extraordinary panoramic balcony overlooking the whole village, adapted to the terrain and a long perspective on the waters of the marsh, the Guadalete Valley and the mountains that they rise up facing Algodonales.
The municipality of Zahara de la Sierra is composed of four population centers: Zahara, Arroyo Molinos, Bocaleones and Las Casas.
The municipality of Zahara de la Sierra was founded during the Muslim era. From this time, in addition to the typical Andalusian urban fabric, the Castle of Zahara de la Sierra from the 18th century and its restored Tower of Tribute, as well as the remains of the Medieval Villa with sections of walls, are preserved.
Zahara de la Sierra was conquered by the Christians in their process of conquest of the Kingdom of Granada.
At the moment it is one of the most significant municipalities of the White Villages Route.
There are different places to stand out among the heritage of Zahara de la Sierra, although the most significant are the following:
Church of Santa María de la Mesa: Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, in the Baroque style of the 18th century, it constitutes an outstanding example of Andalusian religious architecture.
Hermitage of San Juan de Letrán: From the 19th century. Of a single ship, its main cover is a wide arc of half point crowned by three cattails, that shelter the fused bells. It is dedicated to the dedication of Nuestra Señora del Socorro, patron saint of Zahara de la Sierra.
Clock Tower: Attached to the chapel, we contemplate this tower that formed the bell tower.
Interpretation Center of the Medieval Villa: Exhibition space that offers a few brushstrokes on the history of Zahara de la Sierra, which focuses on the theme Ritual Space, is located in the building of the old Main Church that was a mosque in the Muslim era.
As a natural attraction we have to mention two important ones:
Viewpoint of Zahara de la Sierra: From this viewpoint you can see the Sierra de Líjar, the reservoir Zahara-El Gastor, the municipality of Olvera with its Arab castle, the Tagus Algarín where we find the municipality of El Gastor at its feet. You can also see how the humid landscape surrounding the surroundings of Zahara de la Sierra progressively becomes a drier environment that characterizes the municipalities of Algodonales, Setenil de las Bodegas, Olvera and Alcalá del Valle, Cádiz.
La Playita: A peculiar swimming area surrounded by fruit trees in the Arroyomolinos Recreational Area, on the banks of the reservoir of Zahara-El Gastor and about 5 km from the town of Zahara de la Sierra.
A good plan, without a doubt, is to walk through each of the narrow streets of the village of Zahara de la Sierra, see all its beautiful buildings and end up witnessing a sunset. We assure you that seeing how little by little all the street lights go on, creates an ideal and very romantic environment that will eclipse you.
You can finish or start the day of tourism on its artificial beach. Beyond a good bath, if you decide to take advantage of this lake in the afternoon, you will be able to enjoy the transparent water of the mountain range, an incredible sunset and end up watching as the moon and the reflection of the trees begin to simulate on the water in pink tones.
The sites of its municipal area make up a perfect area for hiking, horse riding, caving and canyoning.
We propose the following group of activities related to rural tourism:
Arroyomolinos recreational area: Located in the foothills of the Sierra de Monte Prieto, where, taking advantage of the river bed, a lake has been created for the bath. It has lifeguards, restaurant-bar, snack bar and public tables scattered around the shade.
Route of the Green Throat: The route runs along a canyon that closes more and more, to the amazing Hermitage of Throat, a gigantic natural cave where geological phenomena have modeled in the limestone an overwhelming area of stalactites and stalagmites of changing tonalities.
El Pinsapar signposted trail: One of the most attractive routes is the one that leads from Zahara de la Sierra to the port of Las Cumbres and El Pinsapar, crossing the unique landscape of the pinsapos forest, the rare arboreal species that can only be found in the mountain ranges of these contours.
Ascent to the Torreón: It is the highest peak of the province of Cádiz and has a rocky character. It has a distance of 7.5 km, an average difficulty and is between 4 and 5 hours long. For environmental reasons, this route is closed from 1st of June to 31th of October.
Salto del Cabrero Route: This route does not involve a great physical effort, but if you want to walk a few kilometers in a unique environment. Its difficulty is therefore low, it is a linear route, it has a distance of 7.1 km and lasts approximately one hour.
One of the ways to get to know the Sierra de Grazalema is through canyoning, which usually lasts about one morning, which will make you enjoy different spectacular landscapes. And also, it will allow you to get to know the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park from another perspective.
In Zahara de la Sierra you can enjoy some of the festivities that are held to make the visit more interesting.
Corpus Christi: Celebrated for more than 500 years and declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest. The neighbors of Zahara de la Sierra prepare decorated flowers, sedges and palms. It begins with the mass in the Church of Santa María de la Mesa.
Historical Recreation of the Taking of the Village of Zahara: The definitive Christian conquest is commemorated in 1483, it is celebrated the third weekend of October.
Also important festivals are the Carnival of Zahara de la Sierra and the Feast of Saints Patrons San Simón and San Judas Tadeo (onomastics of the patrons of the town coinciding with the anniversary of the Castilian taking).
The cuisine is based on the production offered by these lands, with an excellent extra virgin olive oil of the variety manzanilla, which seasoned the best tables and dishes of home cooking such as porridge, tortillas and stews of asparagus, tagarninas, chard with chickpeas, tostá soup, besides cold meats and sweets like quince meat. In confectionery they emphasize the sighs (meringues) and the gañotes (fried canutos of mass of almond and cinnamon).
There are still some local artisan traditions dedicated to basket weaving, cane, esparto, and baskets of olive branches, along with works in ceramics and leather goods.