What to do and what to see in Montefrío

Montefrío is a town in Andalusia that is located in the northern part of Loja Region, belonging to the west of the province of Granada. This municipality has one of the most beautiful views in the world, appreciable from the different viewpoints that account, where to get some beautiful views. Because of this, Montefrío it was declared by the National Geographic magazine in 2015, as one of the ten towns with the best views in the world.

With the influence of different cultures throughout its history, Montefrío stands out for its rich heritage formed mainly by its Arab fortress and the Church of the Villa. It is not surprising that in this way it was declared a National Historic Artistic Set in 1982.

History of Montefrío

Although it can not be determined when the settlements began in Montefrío, archaeological remains are known like Las Tontas Cave dating from 4500 B.C. and, later this period, we find the settling of Los Castillejos. In the same settling, the well-known Hiponova was settled, which is disagreed if it was of Phoenician or Roman origin.

We must not forget that the Visigoth culture also left its mark in Montefrío, manifesting itself with the discovery of archaeological remains corresponding to the 6th century.

In the same Hiponova the town was consolidated until the Andalusian era, where Montefrío belonged to the north-western limit of the Kingdom of Granada, protected by its castle, which was a key impregnable fortress to protect against the attacks of Christians settled in the lands of Alcalá la Real and allowing communication with the towns of Íllora and Moclín.

This era would come to the end when the “abencerrajes” (tribe dissatisfied with their king) allied with the Christians to overthrow Muhammed X, king of the Kingdom of Granada, and proclaim his cousin Ismail as king. They installed their court in Montefrío allowing, in the year 1453, to end the reign of Muhammed X.

The conquest by the Christians began in 1483 with the final assault on Montefrío and the rest of the Kingdom of Granada. It was ordained by the Catholic Monarchs and it ended on July 25th, 1486.

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What to see in Montefrío

The heritage of Montefrío is characterized by the passage of different civilizations and cultures throughout history. We propose you some of the best places to see in Montefrío.

Castle of the Villa: Arab fortress constituted in 1352, located in a strategic place for the defense of Montefrío. This construction was designed by the same architect who designed the Alcazaba de la Alhambra from Granada. This castle counted on a tower of Tribute, two great cisterns and three square of arms. It was the residence of prince Ismail for seven years, before proclaiming as king of the Kingdom of Granada.

Church of the Villa: The Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction of the church next to the Castle of the Villa after its conquest of Montefrío, as was usual when they conquested an Arab fortress to symbolize the triumph of Christianity. Its renovation was carried out by Diego de Siloé, who incorporated the Gothic and Mudejar style with decorative Renaissance elements.

National Geografic Viewpoint: This viewpoint, previously known as Las Peñas viewpoint, acquired its current name in appreciation of the prestigious magazine for assessing Montrefrío in 2015 as one of the ten towns with the best views in the world. The viewpoint is an excellent place to enjoy the beauty of this municipality.

Peña de los Gitanos: A place with large karstic formations that is made up of several caves and corridors where you can find the heritage of the historical and prehistoric era of Montefrío.

Caves or shelters: A finding of five caves where the people lived in prehistory the inhabitants of Montefrío. According to the remains found, it is estimated that it was during the Neolithic era.

Megalithic Necropolis: Grave structure in which the burial of the chamber was practiced and which began to be built at the beginning of the Copper Age in Montefrío. This way of burying was replaced by cist burials.

Settling of Los Castillejos: In the highest terrace of the western end of Montefrío we find this settling that was developed from the Neolithic to the Ibero-Roman era, where the structure was modified and adapted because of the transition between the different cultures. The main activities were cattle raising and agriculture.

Visigothic Necropolis: Located on the slope west of the Cerro del Castellón. It was carried out a serie of excavations in Montefrío, in which were found rectangular tombs made with flat stone slabs.

Settling of Castellón: This settling is located on the flat top of the Cerro de Castellón where you can still see remains of houses, streets, cisterns and stretches of wall. It has its origin in the low Roman Empire and it was inhabited until the 10th or 11th century A.D.

Church of La Encarnación: This magnificent 18th century church, designed by the architect Lois de Monteagudo, is located in the flattest area of Montefrío. It was inspired by the Pantheon of Agrippa, its structure has neoclassical aesthetic principles and is characterized by its round shape which makes it unique in Spain.

Convent of San Antonio: Built at the end of the 18th century on the outskirts of Montefrío and dedicated to the religious community of observant Franciscans. Due to its continued use, only the church is conserved.

Gorge of the Mills: Located in the Stream of the Mills at 6 km from Montefrío. Its name is due to the different mills that took advantage of the channel for its operation. Characterized by beautiful waterfalls with a pool at the end of them, where you can enjoy a good swim in summer.

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What to do in Montefrío

In your visit to Montefrio you can enjoy different activities, such as walking routes or visit one of the museums that it have. Among all the activities, we recommend the following:

Museum of Christmas: One of the few that exist in the world, it gathers nearly a thousand pieces related to Christmas, among which we find ornaments, Christmas trees, etc. Some of these pieces are almost a century and a half old.

Museum of Olive: This Ethnological Interpretation Center of Olive hosts old pieces related to the culture of the olive tree in Montefrío, as well as modern systems that have the latest technologies. Located in the La Paz neighborhood, it shares the building with the Museum of Christmas and shows us how important is the olive tree and its olive oil in Montefrío.

Tourist Route in Montefrio: Through the urban network of Montefrío, we can access a guided tour of this wonderful municipality. Accommodated in a tourist train where enjoy and recreate in each place of the route with guides that will solve all class of doubts and consultations about Montefrío.

Route of Washington Irving: This route picks up the steps that followed in 1829 the American writer and diplomat Washington Irving. It is an old trade route that linked the old Christian peninsular south with the Nasrid kingdom. It is framed between Granada and Seville, runs through 22 different municipalities, among those that includes Montefrío, and is considered medium difficulty.

Route of the final assault to Boabdil: It elapse from the fortress of Alcala la Real, crossing the municipalities of Montefrio, Illora, Moclin, Granada and Loja. It symbolizes the route that the Christians followed in their reconquest of the Andalusian territory. It is considered of medium difficulty.

Footpath of Arroyo de los Molinos: It runs between olive groves and pine forests with a stretch of river by the stream that gives it its name. The itinerary of this path along Montefrío offers the opportunity to visit the Peña de los Gitanos. Its difficulty is medium/easy and its route is 13.8 km.

Route of the City Aúlica y the work of Siloé: Touring different municipalities in the provinces of Granada and Malaga such as Montefrío, where you can appreciate buildings erected by the Catholic Monarchs after the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada. Considered of medium difficulty.

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Traditional festivals in Montefrío

Montefrio has different fairs and festivals with many traditions throughout the year, where it is evident the open and welcoming nature of its people, that will make you feel like another villager.

Patron Saint Festivities of Virgen de Los Remedios: One of the most anticipated and characteristic celebrations of Montefrio. They are celebrated the third week of August, last all week and are dedicated to their patron. On the night of August 15, it is a tradition to accompany the patron during her journey.

Procession Cristo de las Rocas: On May 4th, this procession is celebrated to the Christ of the Rocks or Lord of the Poor in Montefrío to ask for water for their crops and to bless the bread and distribute it.

Lojilla of "The Silly" festival: This party, held in the district of Lojilla in Montefrío, comes from the tradition in which "the silly", young people dressed in cowbells and colorful costumes, were asking for money in the street and, if they were denied, they would not stop jumping, shouting and bothering to fulfill their goal; hence the name of this party. The money that was collected, was used to finance the expenses of the San Sebastián fair. Both parties are celebrated in the month of January.

Day of the Cross: Celebrated on May 3th in Montefrío, where adorn crosses with all kinds of ornaments, from flowers and pots to shawls and copper. The Town Hall holds a contest, rewarding the best crosses every year.

Outside these traditional fairs and festivals, we find other fairs in which to enjoy Montefrío, its views and its rich heritage. One is the Summer Fair, held in the month of June and the other the Autumn Fair, in September.

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Gastronomy of Montefrío

Undoubtedly, one of the main gastronomic products of Montefrío is the Montefrío cheese. It is an artisanal product, made with a traditional recipe and that has been the recipient of different awards. Its secret is hidden in the milk extracted from his native goat very common in the area.

Other Montefrío gastronomic products that we can find in this municipality are the “remojón”, the asparagus soup, the potatoes on the swing, the brains at “mojeteo”, the rennet, the dessert with almonds and fruits and the fried flowers.

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