What to do and what to see in Genalguacil

The municipality of Genalguacil is located to the west of the province of Málaga, integrated in Serranía de Ronda region, in the Genal Valley.

With 32 km2, Genalguacil limits to the north with the municipality of Jubrique, to the east with Estepona, to the south with Casares and to the west with Benarrabá.

It stretches from the left bank of River Genal to the summits of Sierra Bermeja, over an abrupt and steep territory, where its highest points are Los Reales Peak with 1,449 meters, El Porrejón with 1,210 meters and Peñas Blancas Refuge with 1,010 meters.

The lands of Genalguacil are bathed by River Almarchal, as well as by Stream La Posada and Stream Almeses, tributaries of River Genal.

Genalguacil is a place of great beauty, relatively close to the sea, but in the heart of Serranía de Ronda, surrounded by a lush mountain landscape, where chestnut trees, cork oaks, gall oaks and firs grow. About 90% of its surface is forest land and it is one of the largest fir forests in Serranía de Ronda.

Genalguacil town is located 400 meters above sea level and is about 45 km from Ronda and 120 km from Málaga. It slopes down the side of a small mountainous formation, with winding and intricate streets, some of them staggered, with low-rise houses and whitewashed facades. It is considered a Town-Museum for the number of works of art that it has scattered throughout its streets.

History of Genalguacil

The presence of man in the municipality of Genalguacil dates back to the Phoenician and Hellenic times, as evidenced by the findings found in the so-called Reales Chicos, as well as the existence of gold and silver mines, now exhausted.

However, the greatest influence on the people is due to Muslim era, both in its physiognomy and in its toponymy. From this time comes the current name of Genalguacil, which was then Genna-Alwacir, which means "Vizier Gardens".

After its conquest by the Catholic Monarchs, the Muslim population continued to reside in Genalguacil, as Mudejars. After the rebellion and expulsion of the Moors in 1570, Genalguacil was repopulated by Christians from other areas. It is believed that the nobleman Alonso de Aguilar died at the hands of the Moorish leader Feri de Benestepar during this rebellion in this area.

In 1586, Genalguacil appeared in the ecclesiastical censuses as ancestral of the Duke of Arcos. The population obtained the town document, but the monarch who granted it and the date are unknown.

Nowadays, Genalguacil is considered a Town-Museum, thanks to the large number of works of art that it has scattered throughout its streets. This is due to the Art Meetings that it organizes every two years, in which the invited artists leave as heritage the works they carry out in it.

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What to see in Genalguacil

The first thing you will have to see upon your arrival in Genalguacil town is the number of pieces of art exhibited in every corner, of all kinds and with great originality. That is why the town is known as Town-Museum.

The origin of all these works of art is in the congregation that every two years, artists from all places celebrate for a week in the first fortnight of August, making different pieces of art that then remain on display in the streets of Genalguacil for the enjoyment of neighbors and visitors, a true open-air museum.

In this way, when strolling through the cobbled streets of Genalguacil, you will find paintings on the walls, sculptures, carved trunks, etc., that integrate with the environment. You will be able to see these artistic manifests in details such as house numbers, street names, some seating benches or even fireplaces, showing an artistic or original touch.

From an older time, but not for that reason being less artistic, also within Genalguacil town you will find the Church of St. Peter of Verona, built in the 17th century, rebuilt in the 18th and had minor reforms in later times. The original church dates from the 16th century, but it was burned down and destroyed during the Moorish rebellion. It is in an academic and classicist baroque style, with some Mudejar-style details, it consists of three naves separated by semi-circular arches and with simple wooden armor in the central nave. Outside, its octagonal tower stands out.

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What to do in Genalguacil

Once you have already taken a walk through the streets of Genalguacil and seen all the works of art that are on display in its streets, you can learn more about the art of the town by visiting Fernando Centeno López Contemporary Art Museum. In this museum the works carried out in the Art Meetings are exhibited that cannot be shown in the streets and, therefore, are interior works. The museum is also a place for temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Moving from the local to the municipal aspect, Genalguacil has natural spaces of enormous ecological value and beauty, with chestnut forests, as well as pine, cork oak and fir, where you can find a climate of peace and chill.

You will be able to appreciate the population centers and their natural surroundings of Gaucín, Benarrabá, Algatocín and Genalguacil, among others, thanks to the successive viewpoints that are found in the Genal Valley. Its white farmhouses surrounded by trees and gray ridges, refuges and hills, as well as bends and valleys, will offer you the possibility of obtaining a good collection of images of a very well-preserved landscape where the traces of ancient traditions appear everywhere.

So that you can explore and delve into the natural environment of Genalguacil, there are a number of hiking routes where you can be part of the most beautiful landscapes of the Genal Valley.

One of these routes is the Genalguacil - Prado de la Escribana Route PR-A 240, linear and 7 km away. The path descends continuously between cork oaks from where you can appreciate the sharp peaks of Sierra Bermeja and, a little further south, Sierra Crestellina. The end of the route, at Prado de la Escribana resting place, will show you one of the most unique places in the Genal Valley, where bathing is possible in summer.

The Genalguacil - Jubrique Route PR-A 241 runs between the Genal Valley and Sierra Bermeja, also with a linear route. It has thick forests of chestnut trees, holm oaks, cork oaks, cherry trees and other fruit trees, as well as a varied riverside vegetation around River Monardilla and River Redondillo.

There is also a route that you can take on a mountain bike, the Genalguacil - Los Reales Route PR-A 242. It is a linear route with an easy and comfortable route, which runs along a paved lane from the Genalguacil exit to Los Reales Recreational Area, where the hardest thing is the climb from Ocenejo to the end.

In addition to these routes, two stages of the Great Path of Málaga pass through Genalguacil, which connect some municipalities with others through routes in natural areas.

  • Stage 27, Benalauría - Genalguacil - It is an 11.6 km stage that runs, from the start in Benalauría town, with continuous cork oak and resin pine forests in the sunny spot, and gall oaks and chestnut trees in the shady areas, which in spring and summer present green tones and in autumn a whole range of ocher and reds. The chestnut trees will be your companions in almost the entire route until reaching Genalguacil, which stands out with its whiteness in the middle of the forest. This is a V-shaped route, initially descending and crossing the tributary streams of River Genal, until the vicinity of it where orchards and gallery forests predominate, and then ascend to Genalguacil with steep slopes, developing the entire itinerary with a forest landscape of great beauty.
  • Stage 28, Genalguacil - Casares - With a length of 20.5 km, it runs, starting from Genalguacil, through the northern foothills of Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja and Sierra Crestellina, surrounded by a varied vegetation in which, due to the high degree of existing humidity, various types of ferns proliferate in all seasons of the year. The itinerary will take you from the lush shady forests in the Genal Valley to the Strait of Gibraltar. It is a route of forests throughout the journey, more or less full of cork oaks, chestnut trees and gall oaks, with streams and rivers that structure it, especially River Almarchal. You will also be able to appreciate numerous orchards and fertile plains, of which stand out in the middle of the route, in Zaharames Mill and in Los Pepes, both enclaves of enormous ethnographic value.

Finally, in the event that you want to practice sports but without leaving town, Genalguacil provides you with a sport centre and a municipal swimming pool. In addition, in mid-August 24-hour of sports with futsal are held.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Genalguacil

You have had the opportunity to know the art that Genalguacil contemplates as a Town-Museum, the natural environment thanks to different hiking routes and it is time that you can learn about the traditions of a town in Serranía de Ronda through different festivities and celebrations throughout the year.

The calendar begins on February 2 with the Candelaria, for later, within the same month, to celebrate the Carnivals, a festival that is also celebrated in other parts of Spain.

In spring, in March or April, depending on the year, Holy Week takes place, which is a national celebration. One of the most unique moments this week in Genalguacil is the meeting between Virgin Mary and Child Jesus, known as the Child Garden and which takes place on Easter. This day the tradition of agricultural work joins the devotion for the resurrection of Christ, in a very emotional act with great popular participation.

On April 29 the St. Peter Martyr of Verona patron saint festivities are celebrated. A procession takes place in which, when the saint passes through the streets of Genalguacil, rice is thrown at him from the balconies while rockets are launched. The festivity concludes with an open-air dance in the town square.

Giving way to summer, the Pilgrimage of St. John takes place, which is celebrated the weekend closest to June 24 in a large space located at the confluence of River Genal and River Almarchal, the so-called Llano de la Escribana. Many people stay camping near the river and the bathing season begins in it. The celebration is made jointly by the towns of Genalguacil and Benarrabá, in which an open-air dance with different activities is organized.

With a biennial sequence and in the first fortnight of August, the Art Meetings of the Genal Valley takes place in Genalguacil for two weeks. During its celebration, the Town Hall offers to artists accommodation, food and materials; in turn, they give to the town the works prepared for their exhibition. These meetings are complemented by a varied agenda of cultural activities, among which you can find musical performances, theatrical performances, parades, conferences, ceramic, film, painting or gastronomy workshops.

The last two celebrations with special relevance in Genalguacil are the Tostón, in November with roasted chestnuts, and the Comparsas in the Christmas months.

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Gastronomy and crafts from Genalguacil

The gastronomy of Genalguacil, like that of the towns of the Genal Valley, is linked to seasonality. Thus, spring offers you stews with wild herbs such as common golden thistle, fennel, bladder campion or wild asparagus. While in autumn, the fried mushrooms.

During the year, typical dishes are mountain pots, chickpea stews, rabbit stews, as well as all dishes and sausages from pork. Also noteworthy are tomato soups, hot gazpacho, garlic and mushroom scrambled eggs, meat salmorejo and cold meats in general.

Homemade sweets and fritters stand out in the Genalguacil pastry.

As typical drinks are moonshine and must from the land.

Regarding crafts, Genalguacil has a Craft Centre, whose objective is to promote the traditional work of local artisans.

In Genalguacil, articles made from cornea and cork, baskets of olive and cane sticks, and natural essences are produced.

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