What to do and what to see in Benahavís

The municipality of Benahavís is located in the southwest of the province of Málaga, it is part of the region of the Costa del Sol Occidental. With 146 km2, it borders to the east with Istán, to the south with Marbella and Estepona, to the west with Júzcar and Pujerra and to the north with Parauta.

Located to the south of Serranía de Ronda, Benahavís is the most mountainous municipality on the Costa del Sol Occidental. Rich in water resources due to the rivers that cross its territory, as River Guadalmina, River Guadaiza and River Guadalmansa. From its mountains you can see more than 100 kilometers from the coast and North Africa.

The extensive municipal term of Benahavís offers a vegetation typical of the mountains, with a great variety of endemisms, forming a beautiful landscape where cork oak and pine predominate, and in the fresh depressions and shady areas different species of gall oaks, with an undergrowth where mastic, wild olive, hawthorn, juniper, olivilla and asparagus predominate. In addition, it presents a great variety of animal species structured in the different biotopes. It is a paradise for nature lovers.

In Benahavís, there are important mining deposits of marble, graphite, talc, mica and iron.

In addition, the municipality has a dozen golf courses, an equestrian club and a wonderful environment and natural resources for adventure sports.

The town of Benahavís is a mountain town located in the foothills of Sierra Blanca, 7 km from the coast. It is called the “dining room of Costa del Sol” for its multitude of restaurants and bars.

During your visit, you will be able to conclude that Benahavís combines the tradition of the white villages in the interior of the province of Málaga, influenced by its Arab past, with the modernity of first-class tourist infrastructure.

History of Benahavís

Benahavís has its origin during the Arab occupation, in the vicinity of the Montemayor Castle, which was built in the 10th century. The town was formed in the vicinity of the fortifications that were built to protect the left flank of the castle. The name of Benahavís also comes from this time, from the union of the Arabic word Ben, which means son in original meaning, and Avis or Havis, which was the name of an Arab who reigned in Montemayor Castle, whose son decided to build the defenses to protect the castle. It is also said that his name may come from Ben Habix, which means children of the Abyssinian, because a qadi of that nationality had been established in its surroundings.

The castle was the nerve center of important battles for its possession at the time of the Kingdoms of Taifas, in the 11th century during Caliphate of Córdoba. In 1273, with the Nasrid kingdom, Mohamed, king of Granada, saw his throne in danger and asked the Benimerines for help. These, under the command of Abu Yusuf Jacub, occupied Marbella, Montemayor Castle and Málaga in 1274, discovering the immense strategic value of the castle, since from it you can see more than 100 kilometers of the Spanish coast and part of the African one.

After conquering Ronda, Catholic Monarchs decided to take Marbella, since its cove could be used as a naval station. On June 11, 1485, Marbella fell and the capitulations were signed in the place called Cruz de Humilladero, where Ferdinand II obtained from Mohammad Abuneza's hands, the keys of Marbella, as well as Benahavís, Daidín, Montemayor Castle, fortress of Cortes, Oxen, Arboto, Almáchar, Tramores and Calalvi fort in Sierra Bermeja. After this, the king entrusted the custody of this area to Pedro de Villandrado, count of Ribadeo.

In the year 1572, Benahavís became independent from Marbella, granting Philip II the "Carta Puebla", and during the French invasion the Montemayor Castle and Benahavís returned to gain considerable prominence.

Currently, Benahavís is a typical town from Andalusia, which preserves the monuments and the layout of the streets of its Arab past. Its current economy is based on tourism, thanks to its proximity to Marbella, its rich gastronomy and its golf courses. This, has brought to the municipality a large real estate investment, which has generated an important source of wealth.

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What to see in Benahavís

In Benahavís, one of the monuments that stands out, not only for its importance within the cultural heritage, but for its relevance in the history of the municipality, is the Montemayor Castle, built in the 10th century. Part of its walls are preserved from it and the Queen Tower. It had a high strategic value due to its dominance over its environment, as a result of its location.

Throughout the municipality of Benahavís several watchtowers are located, built during the Nasrid kingdom, which formed a defensive barrier. They were Leoneras Tower, Alcuzcuz Tower, Tramores Tower and Daidín Tower. Leoneras Tower is one of the first fortifications that gave access to River Guadalmina basin and, currently, it is in a good state of conservation.

From the 16th century, you will find the Benahavís Palace, which currently houses the Town Hall. It has a clear Nasrid inspiration and it is a building with dark stone walls, a beautiful porticoed courtyard and a tower.

From Christian times, Benahavís shows you the Church of Virgin of Rosary, built in the 18th century, although it was reformed several times afterwards. Today it is a simple modern-style building with a single nave.

In 2001 the Hermitage of Our Lady of Rosary was built on the outskirts of the town of Benahavís. In this hermitage has been held for years the Pilgrimage of the Virgin of Rosary.

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What to do in Benahavís

Benahavís is a municipality dedicated mainly to tourism, its location, its surroundings and its attractions make it an ideal place for you to visit and enjoy the activities it offers, either thanks to its natural environment or its infrastructures related to entertainment.

The municipality is home to a dozen golf courses of 9, 18 and 27 holes, and the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol are found in Benahavís. In addition, it also has an equestrian club, one of the best and most complete in Europe.

To practice another sport within the population center, Benahavís has a municipal sport center with different facilities such as soccer field, sport court or paddle tennis courts.

The environment of Benahavís makes it an ideal place for hiking, hunting, fishing and enjoying all the leisure, sports and recreational activities that offers you surrounded by nature and with an exceptional landscape environment.

Outside the town there are various places of interest for its landscape, vegetation and fauna, such as the Narrows of River Guadalmina, one of the most beautiful natural environments in Benahavís. There is a hiking route, the Narrows of Guadalmina Route, which runs through the waters of the River Guadalmina that fits into the terrain forming a canyon. Being a water route, we recommend that you do it in the hot months. On both banks you can see high peaks, while the road follows the left bank, on the right and below a viaduct known as "the Narrows" appears due to the narrow terrain.

In this place you can find the Charco de las Mozas, a hole in the bed of the River Guadalmina, whose waters form dangerous whirlpools. It is declared a Natural Monument by the Regional Government of Andalusia.

Parallel to the River Guadalmina runs the Acequia of Guadalmina Trail, with 4.6 km and with low difficulty. It begins at Three Pergolas Viewpoint and its route is next to the irrigation ditch with which the Arabs used part of the river's water for their orchards and farmhouses.

Another route through the natural environment of Benahavís is the Benahavís - Montemayor Trail (PR-A 165). A linear route that goes from the town of Benahavís to the Montemayor peak, 579 meters high and where the remains of Montemayor Castle are. It is very simple to do, with 3.2 km of distance and an approximate duration of an hour and a half. It can be done both on foot and by bicycle.

On the Romeral Hillside you will find the Guadalmina Diversion Dam - Juan Miná Small Valley Route, which takes you on a journey into the past of Benahavís. Furnaces for the production of lime, flour mills and livestock areas were located on the hill through which the route passes, which the municipality lived on before the arrival of tourism.

A route that will make you see the importance of water in Benahavís is the Taking of Water - La Mora Small Valley Route, since it will take you to a well-known place “the Taking of Water”, from where the water that supplies the town's pools, gardens and orchards.

Other places of interest for you to visit in the surroundings of Benahavís are La Zagaleta Reserve, Cave of Puerto Capuchino, Reservoir of the Milk, Las Máquinas, Duque Hill, Daidín and Guadalmansa valley.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Benahavís

Benahavís has three celebrations which give the town a particular charm. You can keep the dates in mind when planning your visit to the municipality and thus enjoy another attraction with which to complete your experience.

The first you will find is national, Holy Week. Held between March and April, depending on the year, and in which the most emblematic days are Good Friday and Easter. In the first case, the Holy Christ of True Cross, carried by men, and the Virgin of Sorrows, carried by women, come out in procession. On Easter, the neighbors take out in procession the Virgin of Rosary, carried by men, and the four butlers carrying El Niño.

In August, already in summer, the Benahavís Fair takes place, which is held for five days in honor of the Virgin of Rosary, patron saint of Benahavís. It begins at night with the institutional ribbon cutting, the lighting of the fairgrounds, a parade and the proclamation made by a popular character and, later, the queens and ladies are crowned. The following days continue with activities of different types, such as dances; as well as the offer of typical dishes and tapas in its large number of bars and restaurants.

Finally, on October 7, the Pilgrimage of the Virgin of Rosary is celebrated in the Hermitage of Our Lady of Rosary. The celebration begins with a mass and, later, food and drinks are offered in the authorized tents, enlivening the event with dances and music.

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Gastronomy of Benahavís

Benahavís has a very wide and high quality gastronomic offer, with a large number of restaurants and bars. Extending up the mountain but close to the coast, you can find varieties of traditional meat cuisine, such as rabbit, suckling pig, veal or deer, along with fish dishes, such as fish and seafood zarzuela, sole and other seafood dishes, as well as a complete offer of international cuisine. Its culinary offer is complemented by the variety of tapas in the bars that you will find in Benahavís.

Such is the offer and the rich gastronomy that Benahavís has a cuisine school, the Mediterranean Diet Hispano-Arab School.

Among the typical dishes that you can taste in Benahavís, water chorizo, suckling pig, lamb, rabbit and partridge stew, paella, oxtail, adobo sirloin steak and fish and seafood zarzuela stand out.

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