The municipality of El Bosque is located northeast of the province of Cádiz, in the Sierra de Cádiz, at the bottom of the Sierra de Grazalema, on the banks of the Majaceite River. Its municipal term is within the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the Los Alcornocales Natural Park. The Majaceite River crosses the town from northeast to southeast, ending at the Hurones reservoir.
El Bosque is part of the White Villages Route. The municipality has one of the highest rainfall rates in the peninsula.
The town of El Bosque is one of those charming places, with white streets dotted with fountains and flowers that rural tourism lovers.
Nowadays, El Bosque lives off tourism, the manufacture of sausages, cheeses and industries of great tradition such as leather goods and the manufacture of handmade furniture.
El Bosque owes its origin to the end of the War of Granada, where Rodrigo Ponce de León y Núñez receives as a reward for ending the Nazari Kingdom "the seven villas", which correspond to Archite, Castillo de Aznalmara, Castillo de Cardela, Benaocaz, Ubrique, Grazalema and Villaluenga del Rosario. On the other hand, he was also given the Marchenilla Palace, where the town of El Bosque is now, as a place of hunting residence.
The servants of the Marchenilla Palace began to build the surroundings of the palace and built a church, known as the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which made it attractive to build houses for new settlers from outside. This led to the formation of the population nucleus known as Guadalupe.
His recognition as Villa was in 1815, after demonstrating a great resistance in the Independence War, where his church, among other constructions, ended up burning.
Currently, El Bosque is located between Prado del Rey, Benamahoma and Ubrique, has a rich area of tourism development, which began in the late 70s and 80s. These years were characterized by significant investments for this population, that made it a tourist place of great demand. A significant fact about the tourist boom of El Bosque is the high number of second homes.
If you decide to do cultural tourism, El Bosque has different attractions to visit.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe: It dates from the eighteenth century, although it was rebuilt in the nineteenth century due to the Independence War. It has three naves between which the central stands out with respect to the other two. This nave is covered with a barrel vault and reinforced by fajones, while for the other two naves the roof is lintelled. The ships are separated by semicircular forcing arches supported by rectangular pillars. Inside it we find the size of San Antonio de Padua, patron saint of the town, made in the 19th century and a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Ducal Palace: A true example of the defensive architecture of the time. Currently it is in private hands, so it can not be visited inside.
Rodezno Fountain: It is a hydraulic mill that symbolizes traditional village activity, related to the milling of wheat and corn.
Alley of the Fragua: With an architecture of the XVI and XVII century, it has a great plastic beauty with its pieces, stairs, chimney, block and corrals.
Bullring: Built by the City Council during the 60s. It passed into private hands and in 1999 it was recovered for municipal patrimony.
Other places of interest within El Bosque are the Hortales House and the El Bosque Fish Farm.
El Bosque is not only one of the most interesting destinations in the region because of its urban attractions, but also because of the environment in which it is located. Surrounded by natural spaces of great scenic value that have earned him the Provincial Embellishment Award. Lush forests, sprinkled with springs of medicinal waters that make up the perfect environment for the practice of active tourism activities.
In the area you will find different hiking trails that surround the town and that have the Majaceite River as the main reference:
Majaceite River signposted trail: One of the most common trails in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Join the towns of Benamahoma and El Bosque. In its route you can enjoy a landscape covered with poplars, ash and elm trees, or spot some species of birds such as the oriole, the common blackbird, the gray wagtail, the warblers, the robin, the nightingale and the kingfisher.
Path of the Fishermen: It runs from the El Bosque Botanical Garden to the old Light Factory. In its route you can see the vegetation that accompanies the Majaceite River, such as willows, elms, black poplars and ash trees. You can also see a variety of fish in the Majaceite River, since it is the southernmost trout river in Europe, which indicates that it contains fish that need cold and highly oxygenated water.
Path of the Pedriza: This path ends at the Majaceite River that runs through a meadow known as the Pedriza. As in the previous ones you can see a typical vegetation of the area such as willows and poplars, as well as some bee-eaters, blackbirds and swifts. The route crosses through cattle trails such as the Cordel de Zahara, the Colada de Horcajo or the Cañada Real from Seville to Gibraltar.
These routes can be done on foot, on horseback or by bike. At the beginning of these trails is the Botanical Garden, where the main ecosystems of the Sierra de Grazalema and the ruins of the Castle of Tavizna are represented. A must for nature lovers.
But in addition to hiking, El Bosque offers a perfect environment for other activities such as air sports. The area has optimal conditions for fans of paragliding or hang-gliding, and a renowned championship is held every year.
Due to its condition of entrance to the Los Alcornocales Natural Park, a Visitor Center of this protected area is installed in El Bosque, where information on itineraries and places of interest is offered and where authorization to access certain places has to be requested.
It is also interesting to stop by one of its museums:
Museum of El Bosque cheese: It gives the opportunity to know the manufacture of cheese, see a real reproduction of payoya goat and merino grazalemeña sheep, appreciate the utensils that were used in the past to make cheese, taste some of the cheeses they make and buy El Bosque cheeses known as "El Bosqueño" and other products of the Sierra de Grazalema.
Molino de Abajo: It was built in the eighteenth century and is still preserved in perfect condition. Nowadays it is known as the Molino de Abajo Ethnological Museum where you can visit the interior to see how it works, appreciating the whole bread making process, from the grinding of the wheat to its cooking.
Among the celebrations that take place in El Bosque is included:
Saint Antonio Fair: The week of June 13 is celebrated in honor of its patron, where spring is dismissed.
Fair of the Pig: This fair is held with the aim of enhancing the gastronomic tourism of El Bosque and recognize the value of the traditional food industry of the region.
Tapa Fair: It is considered one of the most important events in the Sierra de Grazalema where you can find the different delicatessen of the bars and restaurants of El Bosque.
Historical Recreation Village of El Bosque: Celebrated in autumn, it gathers thousands of people to recreate and celebrate the expulsion of French troops in the 19th century, during the Independence War.
Other typical festivities of El Bosque are Holy Week and the Carnival.
El Bosque, also has the celebration of different sporting events throughout the year.
Trail Running Villa of El Bosque: 20 km trail that leaves from the City Hall Square and has the finish line in the Bullring. Both federated and non-federated athletes can participate.
CXM Sierra de Albarracín: A race that runs mostly along the trails of Monte Albarracín. Its route is of 24 kilometers, with 1300 meters of unevenness and a maximum time of 6 hours for its completion.
El Bosque, with the Majaceite River as the protagonist, constituting the southernmost trout reserve in Europe, makes it an ideal place for fishing for its famous trout, of great quality, the main element in its gastronomy.
In its surroundings there are springs of sulphurous waters and dense forests, where you can practice hunting and fishing. In addition, in its cuisine include wild asparagus, tagarninas, cold meats and sausages, goat cheese and sheep cheese, both cured and semi-cured.