Benarrabá – What to visit? – What to do? – The best hiking trails – Where to stay – Where to eat?
SUMMARY. In this post, we’ll find out why the white village of Benarrabá is a great choice for planning an ecotourism experience in Andalusia.
Welcome at the Serrania de Ronda
Benarrabá is a perfect base for spending a holiday in the Serranía de Ronda, one of the most attractive destinations in Andalusia. Hospitality is excellent, especially since this tiny white village full of character has the charm of places off the beaten track. Ideal for recharging your batteries and dedicating yourself to ecotourism in Andalusia.
Genal Valley, rural land and biodiversity – The “slope culture” imported by the Berbers is best suited to the isolated Mediterranean mountains.
Etymology: “Banuh Rabbah”, the sons of Rabbah. The village was founded in the medieval period of Al Andalus by the Berber tribe of the Benemerimes, who imported and preserved their traditional culture of “villages of the slopes”, typical of the mountains of the Maghreb and dedicated themselves to a subsistence agriculture. The entire Génal valley is imbued with this Moorish atmosphere so attractive to travelers.
In the Middle Ages, Benarrabá was a place of production of natural carmine red dyes made from the scale insects of the Kermes oak. It was a village of insects in a way …
Long after the expulsion of the Moors, land use changed with, among other things, the exploitation of cork oak and the breeding of Iberian pigs.
Legend has it that a tunnel, built in Muslim times, connects the old fortification at the top of Mount Porón to Gaucín Castle.
The Genal Valley is home to fifteen villages all very interesting to explore, to discover the authenticity of the culture of the Génal and their particular charm. We chose Benarrabá as our base, but most often visit Igualeja, Pujerra, Parauta, Cartajima, Júzcar, Faraján, Alpandeire (High Genal), Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría, Algatocín, Gaucín, Jubrique, Genalguacil (Low Genal).
The Ruta de los pueblos blancos, unalterable attraction for travelers, takes the paths of the Serranía de Ronda and ventures into the Valley of the General. It is difficult to find a more attractive landscape: immaculate villages perched on steep slopes and densely covered by forest.
The famous route of the white villages in the Serranía de Ronda – Popular and modest architecture, but damn picturesque, of houses formerly whitewashed.
What to visit? What to see in Benarrabá?
A stay in the Genal valley gives pride of place to relaxation, contemplation and sinterism activities, to the discovery of Mediterranean nature and the rural world.
The forest and the cork oaks – The exploitation of the cork is a pillar of the local economy whose traces are easily observed in the forest and at the entrance of the village (factory).
Here is a brief list of the most interesting places to visit while in Benarrabá.
White village, a maze of winding alleys and very often flowered. A huge patio for the enjoyment of locals and travelers.
Church, Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (XVII – XVIII) in Andalusian rural neoclassical style.
Pretty informative ceramics representing traditional activities.
Rural heritage of yesteryear: fountains, springs, wells, old mills, lime kilns, etc. visible during hikes.
Very marked slopes, an extensive forest massif of cork oaks, faginated oaks and chestnut trees, and a collection of small villages perched on the mountainside.
Since the time of the Andalusian Moors, the valley has radiated a calm and peaceful atmosphere: an omnipresent nature, but not completely wild, which welcomes rural populations limited by the orography.
We feel a form of harmony between nature and men / women.
The Public Forest, Montes de Propios de Gaucín and Benarrabá, private woods and extensive plots of olive and orange trees give life to a large forest mass.
The River, haven of biodiversity, and the very pleasant path of the Genal footbridges, between the Venta de San Juan (Algatocin) and La Escribana.
Los Prados de la Escribana, recreational area on the banks of the Génal, on the track towards Genalguacil, ideal for spending a quiet time with the family.
The Watchtower of Africa, site of fire vigilance, proof if any of the magnitude of its panoramas.
Natural Monument of the Guadiaro Gorges, located in the district, to the west of the village, outside the Génal valley.
Mediterranean vegetation – Rich in plant species and pollinating insects experiences an explosion of life in the spring.
What to do in Benarrabá?
Ecotourism, synonymous with discovering a territory, walking and relaxation … finds its fullness in the human links established by approximation to the land, to local customs and more directly through contact with the inhabitants.
A guide enriches the experience of hiking and observation of nature – Through the interpretation of flora and fauna, the rural heritage and contact with the customs and people of the place.
Hiking is a complete activity that combines physical exercise, immersion in the forest, observation of flora and fauna, contemplation of the landscapes and orientation.
In autumn, the attraction of the golden foliage of the chestnut trees and the landscape of the copper forest.
Harvesting in small quantities mushrooms, aromatic plants, wild cooking plants and wild fruits is exceedingly pleasant.
Rural life workshops with the preparation of olives, contact with domestic animals, etc.
Interpretation of nature
Discovery of the flora and fauna by your guide interpreter of G3-guides.
GFS: Center for the Study and Discovery of Nature, NGO which organizes citizen science activities and to study biodiversity.
Micological conference, organized by the town hall every fall.
Cultural activities in Benarrabá
Flamenco Festival Simón y Luis Nuñez. Also surprising for a small village, there is indeed a tradition of flamenco.
Pleasant local festivities for the traveler.
Base camp to explore Western Andalusia
Nearby tourist towns: Ronda, Estepona, Algeciras, Ubrique, less than an hour by car.
Villages of interest for ecotourism: Gaucín, Genalguacil, Casares, Cortés de la Frontera, etc.
Nearby natural areas: Sierra de Las Nieves National Park, Strait of Gibraltar, Sierra Bermeja, Alcornocales, Grazalema.
Autumn in Andalusia – an excellent season for rural tourism after the first rains, pleasant temperatures, a second spring and the abundance of autumn.
Hiking is probably the most rewarding way to discover the Serranía de Ronda. The experience is all the more pleasant when the variety of excursions and sites allows us to avoid taking the car for several days. Superb landscapes and guaranteed relaxation.
Tracks and paths in the Genal – a dense network for this territory with many villages, which were practically isolated from the communication routes until the XIX.
Here is our selection of circular routes that we suggest to spend a few days in the village of Benarrabá: two short walks (2h) and five slightly more demanding hikes (5h).
Circular route: Llanos del Rey
An easy path with views of the village, which offers two variants for walking between one and three hours.
Circular route: La Porta – El Concoste
Short walk to discover the forest and bucolic picnic area. Variants: return via a steep path or an asphalt track.
Circular route: Benarrabá – Algatocin
The beautiful landscapes of the Serranía de Ronda: mountains, panoramic views, white villages and the rural world. Our favorite excursion.
Circular route: The Genal footbridges
A long walk that goes deep into the forest and pleasantly runs along the Génal river before going back up to the village.
Circular route: Benarrabá – Gaucín
The public forest and the village of Gaucín, its medieval castle (Castillo del Águila), an historical site overlooking the valley, and the steep hill of El Hacho.
Circular route: Benarrabá – Genalguacil
Wooded slopes to hurtle down the cork oaks grove and discover the museum village with its many outdoor sculptures.
Circular route: Los Montes
A very nice excursion on trails that explores the surroundings of the village with a comfortable drop.
Beyond these excursions, we can only point out the countless variations and connections with neighboring villages that allow you to organize endless treks, and to walk from Ronda, Grazalema, Algeciras or Estepona.
Mid-mountain hikes in the Serranía de Ronda – between Gibraltar and Ronda, on the paths taken by peasants, smugglers, bandoleros and the first tourists of the 19th century.
Where to stay in Benarrabá?
The offer is varied and adapted to all styles with a rural hotel, a hostel, rural lodges and a service area for motor homes.
A quiet rural hotel with excellent value for money. www.hbenarraba.com
New establishment at low prices, ideal for groups. https://benarrabahostel.es/
Casa Rural La Yedra (en web Ayto), pretty and attractive to spend a weekend for two.
Service area for motorhomes.
At the entrance of the village. Quiet and lovely views.
Gastronomy and catering
In the village, you will find a restaurant, tapas bars, two cafeterias and, if necessary, grocery stores. Throughout the Serranía de Ronda, Benarrabá and renowned for its cold cuts and its gastronomic week. A typical and exclusive dish is the ‘Salmorejo de carne‘ which in no way resembles the famous cold and thick soup from Cordoba.
Guayacán cafeteria bar (entrance to the village). Excellent meeting point and for breakfast. Cafeteria in the Hostel.
Tapas bars, in front of the town hall, “Barroso”, “Andrés Sánchez”, with traditional cuisine.
Kabila Restaurant (Hotel Banuh Rabbah). With ecological and / or local products. Vegetarian dishes.