Saturday, 1 December 2012

Benamahoma-Spain | Seductive White Village of Western Andalusia.




Benamahoma is one of the several hidden diamonds of Spain, a seductive white village situated in the magnificent interior of Western Andalusia, a beautiful and picturesque land of the Southern Iberian Peninsula which transmits at first sight something of magic with more than pleasant sensations during a stay offering many chances to admire numerous stunning jewels scattered in every corner of its sunny territory all  deserving to be visited.

With its approximately 600 inhabitants that shining gem part of the municipality of Grazalema is situated at approximately 70, 0 kilometres from the magnificent Jerez de la Frontera in direction of another marvel called Arcos de la Frontera, very close to the attractive El Bosque.

That very inviting territory corresponds to the enchanting Sierra de Grazalema, a magnificent Andalusian mountainous range which enchants everyone for its incomparable landscapes, intact nature and uncontaminated atmosphere.

Part of the province of Cadiz, with capital the city with the same name well known to be one of the most ancient centres of Europe, very famous worldwide for its fabulous Atlantic coastline highlighted by long bright sandy beaches facing at a short distance the northern coast coast of Morocco, that geographic area also boasts those wonders in its interior, places highly suggested to spend holidays all year without hesitations living a unique experience of tourism simply unforgettable.

That vast land of Southern Europe boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, eternally lively, rich of relevant chronological historic stages had as protagonists important ancient civilisations who left an extraordinary cultural patrimony also extremely attractive for its multitude of vivid colours, architecture, traditions, folklore and costumes.

Apart the most famed, celebrated destinations such as Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, the Costa del Sol, that territory offers much more including many stunning small centres less famous but equally splendid and captivating.

Visiting a place like Benamahoma is a great trip to discover the natural beauty and several secrets of the old Hispania Baetica or Betica, that former region which was an iconic settlement of the Roman Empire in 29 BC when it lived its first Imperial golden ages since the times of Augustus and later considerable stronghold of the Moorish Caliphs when the Arab-Berber conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the early 8th century.

There are several scattered pearls you can see and admire all around the city of Jerez de La Frontera crossing lands  absolutely wonderful offering the chance to enjoy a great variety of fascinating routes.

That area is a paradise greatly highlighted by wild, rugged high plateaus with scenic peaks dominating picturesque villages, hamlets totally surrounded by a captivating natural frame in which pine forests, scattered olives groves give a more significant, coloured accent forming a setting which will delight your view in a while.

Benamahoma boasts all those features, a splendid oasis of genuine beauty encircled by a striking scenery with protagonists appealing mountains characterised by high cliffs, gentle hills with scattered forests in proximity of its boundaries, a place where the sun constantly shimmers giving that site a mild climate all year.

An enchanting agglomeration of low white houses with traditional patios embellished by stupendous handmade tiles bordering tiny scenic narrow streets and winding alleys form all together the core of that site, very fascinating attractions next to an environment born to donate dreams.

All around that village nestled atop a high  plateau, that fabulous Sierra is an area packed by marvellous natural treasures unique in their kinds and the main feeling of a visitor once there is the desire to discover eveything day by day.  

For those who love to plan specific itineraries, many are the chances to admire something od simply astonishing as the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos, the route of the white villages visiting apart Benamahoma many others in its immediate vicinity such as Benaocaz, Ubrique, Villaluenga del Rosario, El Bosque and Prado del Rey among others.


You can also continue towards Arcos de la Frontera discovering all around it further marvels ending a spectacular trip in the wonderful Ronda, entering in the county of Malaga and also that is another special highlight starting to know the beauty of another province with an endless fascination able to bewitch every visitor at first sight.

All those places of a unique charm boast a monumental and historic  patrimony very relevant extremely suggested for art lovers and for those who have in photography a favourite hobby or passion immortalising in a multitude of pictures all those fantastic sites.

That Andalusian corner is a Mecca for trekkers, cyclists, mountain bikers but also for tourists who are searching a destination which offers peace, relaxation and in addition an uncontaminated atmosphere with a total absence of pollution, another aspect very relevant loved by many people.
  
That area is also very recommended for visitors who are very interested in gastronomic tours, wine tasting wines, with other magnificent routes simply perfect to try superb delights of a culinary panorama very vast with protagonists delicious cheeses, delectable hams, fine smooth wines with farms and producers always ready to welcome you enjoying there those superb products which will delight you palate.

A more than varied exquisite cuisine greatly highlighted by homemade dishes prepared with fresh, genuine ingredients is another great incentive next to the chance to enjoy cultural appointments linked to the most traditional folklore closely related to historic events which took place in that place remembering in scenic representations historical episodes happened many centuries ago.

The nice and kind locals is another great aspect to take in very high consideration, just like comfortable, welcoming rural accommodations, magnificent havens to spend an unforgettable stay.

The Hospitality Industry notably increased in the last decades offering those captivating structures consisting in houses and apartments fully equipped located in very strategic, appealing positions with the immediate chance to start to visit very significant places.
 
The history of that centre is highly fascinating, the origin of its name is dated the 8th century linked to the conquest of Andalusia by the Moors despite centuries before the Tartessians and much more the Romans established their influences with a colonisation all around the region occupying the entire territory.

The denomination of that centre derives from the Arab Ibn Mohamed meaning Home of Mohamed, the venerated prophet son of Allah, the God of all the Muslims, all that is closely linked to those over seven centuries of rule started in 711 century and ending in the late 15th century with the fall of the sumptuous Granada last stronghold and bastion in the Iberian Peninsula of that civilisation which left indelible, strong marks in the local culture.

It was in 719 when the Arab Governor Abu Abd Al Rahman Musa Ibn Nusayr, a noble descendant of the Umayyad dinasty in that time Wali of Ifriqiya, governor of a large North African land which included in its domains many territories of the Maghreb such as Northern Morocco, part of Algeria, Tunisia, the Libyan Tripolitania decided to send a Berber brave leader called Al Tariff Bin Nasik born the ancient Septa, the current city of Ceuta to conquer Andalusia next other several lands of the old Hispania and Lusitania, the current Portugal.

Due to the proximity crossing the strait of Gibraltar in a short time, well known centres such as Tarifa, Algeciras, Cadiz and Jerez with all their surroundings were the first settlements to fall under Moorish rule and in a very short time also the Sierra de Grazalema with Benamahoma were easily conquered.

It was since those times that the current centre became a relevant Arab-Berber settlement taking the current name living all the stages of that occupation since the times of the emblematic Umayyad Caliphate which had its major, iconic seat in the flourishing city of Cordoba.

Those rulers started to organise the land with a well defined territorial subdivision, the village became later part of the Taifa of Arcos de la Frontera, a sort of Independent Emirate arose after the fall of those governors replaced by new emergent Berber dynasties.

The historic stages continued into the domains of Abun Ibn Muhammad, notorious Emir of Jerez de la Frontera who linked all the territories corresponding to the local Sierra in a sort of large county until the late 11th century.

The village was incorporated since then in the Reign of the influential Almoravid Dynasty who reached fame and prestige especially during the times of a notorious character called Abdallah Ibn Yasin, well known to have been the founder of the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Those years were very prosperous for the former settlement which was inserted in the most relevant routes boasting a very active trade with considerable commercial operations.

Including there was a constant development of productive processes linked to agriculture thanks to a considerable new system of irrigation established by the Moors all around the domains of Al-Andalus, the Muslim Spain.

That rural village situated on a hilly plateau at approximately 500, 0 metres of altitude was governed by a Wali, a figure who was during the long Islamic rule a sort of mayor with influences of more than one inhabited centre.

Those charismatic figures controlled the economy, military operations, cultural activities, including they also had extreme relevance in terms of religious themes planning the methods of teachings of the Quran in the Madrasas, educational Institution created to study the Islamic religion.

Apart that In addition they also organised a traditional feudalistic system in which the former locals who were mainly farmers, craftsmen and shepherds worked for the community in change of humble residences.

Those characters were directly selected by the Caliphs, generally chosen for their talented versatility able to cover different roles, many of them reached those high positions for military merits linked to conquests or determined successful operations.
  
Benamahoma in the mid 12th century entered in the sphere of the powerful, flourishing Reign of Granada in that period governed by Abu´l Qasim Ahyal, a prominent exponent of the emergent  Almohad Dynasty, historically linked to the figure of Abu Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Tumart, founder and spiritual leader of a movement well known for the revolt against the powerful Almoravids approximately in 1120.

The famous period of the Reconquista, the Catholic reconquest of those lands in the late 15th century by the Spanish Christian Kings radically changed the history of the former village

Immediately after that event there was a new design of maps with mutated borders, independent small realities were incorporated under administration of major centres, operations closely related to the end of an era corresponding to the Middle Ages.

The village was absorbed in the domains of Arcos de la Frontera just like other hamlets including the nearest Villaluenga del Rosario.

During the following centuries that Sierra continued to keep its rural image despite there were new developments in terms of communications with the opportunity to increase and expand small trades with routes developed towards Villamartin, Puerto Serrano and Seville, the capital of Andalusia.


Those operations were managed by the Dukes of Arcos who characterised during many years pretty prosperous times in a sort of soft feudalistic organisation giving some privileges to inhabitants who generated for them a good revenue in terms of productive cultivations with a consequent fruitful harvest.

In the 19th century Benamahoma was integrated in the boundaries of Grazalema, the most important local town situated just 12,0 kilometres away, the village with that change became in that period a Pedania, a kind of borough with a determined autonomy linked to activities mainly devoted to agriculture and handicraft.

The current centre is still dedicated to the first activity located in a spectacular position at the foot of El Pinar, a Sierra which takes that name by the presence of several pine forests scattered all around that mountainous territory considered  one of the most scenic of the interior of the province of Cadiz with wild landscapes absolutely fascinating.

The core of the village consists in a captivating group of picturesque of  whitewashed houses erected along a maze of narrow streets, a very appealing image which immediately transport the visitor in a suggestive past evoking that unmistakable Moorish charm which left indelible traces in the local architecture.

 In a while the first feeling is an extreme attraction with a strong desire to explore that small centre metre by metre discovering all the most remote corners lying in its boundaries.

Many structures were elevated on rectangular or irregular square plans highlighted by charming flowered patios decorated with Azulejos Mudejar, those traditional handmade, painted tin-glazed ceramic tileworks, emblematic part of the architectural decorative elements in that land of Southern Spain with its cradle in Seville, elevated as one of the most rooted symbols of the continuation of those Arab-Berber traditions transmitted to the locals in medieval times.

Scenic and charming painted doors and windows, beautiful small stone steps leading to welcoming doorways established beneath fascinating balconies all the environment is so close to the old Moorish heritage architecture left there as an unmistakable imprint with deep links in the aesthetic image of many buildings reminiscent those you can see nowadays in many places of Morocco.

In addition to all that magnificent setting a further great, special feature is undoubtedly the peaceful atmosphere which characterises that very seductive site because you can walk breathing in total relaxation the fascination of that typical Andalusian white village in peace and serenity.

All around its central core you will be astonished by the presence of a a sort of magic aura surrounding every corner of that charming tiny centre, accentuated by that more than appealing frame represented by a stupendous festival of colours with different contrasts generated by diverse tonalities of the mountains and the vegetation, images absolutely seductive and unique in their kinds.

Calle La Venta is an important street crossing the inhabited agglomeration from west to east not far from the stream Rio del Bosque also known as Majaceite, you can also have a pleasant, inspiring walk along two main arteries called Calle Real, the Royal Street and Calle San Antonio, St. Anthony Street consisting in the main arteries, both close the heart of Benamahoma.

They also consists in the main entrances coming from south especially the first corresponding to a sort of belt connecting to the road A372 which runs in the southern side of the village.

An iconic highlight is definitely the Manantial de la Fuente del Nacimiento, the Source of the Birth, a spring water situated in the highest point of the local boundaries forming the course of the river Majaceite, an icon for what it represented since the creation of the first settlement. 

Since ancient times it has always been emblem of life for the local population becoming a more than distinctive source when it started to be used by the Moors for that famous established irrigation system which generated the cultivation of different kinds of products.

Extremely linked to that important, vital resource explaining its history I suggest you to visit the Ecomuseo del Agua, a museum highly interesting introducing the visitor all the chronological stages of the considerable value of the water in that Andalusian land. 
  
That exhibition represents a historic a step by step into the local history starting from the beginning and ending in more contemporary times.

In that museum you can enjoy a complete illustrative explanation introducing you to all the main important operations made in terms of water distribution since the period in which arose the cultivation of the olive next to other vegetables. 

The  Ecomuseo del Agua is also sensitive to narrate the times of the first Arab-Berber channels created on the local soil using determined technique of tests of the surface, works which permitted the water to be delivered to specific territorial sections subdivided in different spaces.

The history of that vital activity continues in the exhibition with an extensive explanation until more recent times when that spring was extremely important to provide energy to mills and the local textile industry developed to increase the local economy with the creation of the first small factories devoted to that activity.

That village also has its historic, artistic patrimony, do not miss to visit the Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua representing the Parish Church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua who is also the Patron of the community.

The beauty of that construction is highlighted by its scenic position dominated by rugged heights with the presence of a small, charming courtyard developed at the entrance of the Ecclesiastic complex reachable by a small red brick step.

Elevated on am irregular square base, it is an austere white structure but with a captivating gable facade on which was inserted a rectangular portal beneath a sloping tiny red canopy while on the main roof you can admire a fine belfry subdivided in two sections surmounted by a sort of small pediment topped by a cross.

The interior has a nave, despite it shows a very simple image is at the same time very attractive with a pleasant hallway leading to the altar established in a splendid, fine apse developed beneath an arcade forming a pleasant niche with a big crucifix flanked by the statue depicting St. Anthony.

The white walls are highlighted by sacred images fixed on them while the light of a chandelier hanging in the centre of the ceiling give that religious temple luminosity to all the spaces completed with artistic details as well marked refined architectural lines in a very balanced layout with a total absence of bizarre compositions.

The previously mentioned river Majaceite is another local attraction for its picturesque, sinuous course flowing in the National Park of the Sierra de Grazalema, it is the main tributary of the Guadalete river, meeting other streams such as Tavizna, Ubrique, Caballo, Astillero, Garganta de Echevarria,  Zorra, Mazorcán, and Benajimas.

During its descend it forms in the municipalities of Algar and San José del Valle, the Embalse de los Hurones, a reservoir established in 1964 and another one called Embalse de Guadalcacín occupying the territories of those two towns but also those of Arcos de la Frontera and Paterna de Rivera.

In addition that waterway is well known for a battle which took place on its shore in 1836, an event linked to the First Carlist War which saw the troops of the Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, son of King Carlos V facing the Liberals army supporting Queen Isabel II of Spain.

In the local boundaries there is a special route along that river of immense beauty highly suggested, pretty easy also for families with children.

It is a special walk bordering that watercourse, very relaxing enduring approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes representing in its kind a fantastic full immersion in the most significant natural environment  of the Sierra de Grazalema along a very captivating path discovering the great charm of that corner of Western Andalusia.

That trail totally enclosed between the Majaceite and beautiful forests is simply spectacular, rich of poplars, elm, ash trees characterised furthermore by a very interesting local fauna, because you can see there otters, different species of birds such as Bonelli's Eagles, Hawks, Peregrin falcons, owls and Griffon Vulture among others.

The river is rich of trout and it offers great natural attractions such as small, picturesque waterfalls, wonderful bends, captivating  small inlets and some stunning gorges.

During that fantastic excursion you will move from sunny open points to hidden corners in the shade of several trees or walking next to high rocky spurs, all those different spaces of the territory so close each other is a stupendous highlight visiting an environment absolutely captivating making your visit more pleasant and enjoyable.

 Benamahoma is strongly linked to its secular history deeply rooted with folklore and historic past forming together a splendid combination all to enjoy with cultural events retracing some relevant historical stages of the village. 

 
One of them is called Moros contra Cristianos, Moors against Christians celebrated every year in the village, a very captivating appointment which is not just pure folklore but something extremely beloved by locals extremely close to their roots remembering the old times corresponding to that famous period in which the Catholic Kings and the Moors fought in that land.

That traditional Festival always has a very intense participation including with many people coming from other Spanish areas, celebrated on 02nd and 05th of August yearly evoking a battle in which the local inhabitants wear medieval costumes corresponding to the 15th century.


The historic representation has as protagonists locals who perform the Spanish Sovereigns with their soldiers focused to obtain the historic reconquest of those lands while others represent the Arab-Berbers rulers ready to defend their domain in that corner of Andalusia.

In that live and contemporary replica related to a historic clash, the Christians wear uniforms and garments of Crusaders and Templar Knights with sables, swords, shields while the Moors are protagonists wearing the traditional Berber Burnus, Ashlan clothes with scimitars and the show consists in a series of duels, body-to-hand battles, fencing, all that with a large audience. 

In those days all the community is also very active to organise different kinds of activities such as the preparation of the setting, catering with a complete gastronomic offer highlighted by typical specialities and at the end are celebrated fireworks. 

All is strongly lived with extreme enthusiasm in a very lively atmosphere highlighted by passion and a pleasant air of Fiesta.

Moros contra Cristianos historically represents a very old festival because according to historic documentations probably the first official edition took place in the early 16th century.

That means it was celebrated less than one century after the fall of the former rulers, for some eminent historians all that is closely linked to special dates as that month of August with those concrete days in which the Sierrra de Grazalema started to be sieged by the troops of the Catholic Monarchs, re-lived since then as an anniversary to remember in a post-medieval reconstruction of those events.

After a secular tradition all that continues as part of something totally rooted inside the community, that special feast is also celebrated in honour of St. Anthony of Padua, Protector of the village who as main Religious figure occupies a relevant position in the event with the presence of his venerated image.
 
That Saint is also remembered in a notorious Romeria consisting in a mass celebrated in the Church of Benamahoma with a Religious procession which takes place in June.

That event is highlighted by the participation of many people walking for about 2,5 kilometres from the village reaching an area called Los Llanos. That is an appointment in which faith, devotion folklore, tourism with a relevant flow of visitors are protagonists in a special atmosphere highlighting the local cultural calendar.

In the immediate proximity of that splendid white village you can enjoy different interesting excursion, I suggest you to visit a site called Espacio Natural del Pinsapar consisting in a protect nature area highlighted by a large presence of typical Spanish firs

That kind of trees is only natural of Andalusia and Morocco, you can not find others in the entire world, many of them are over 25, 0 metres high, that place is a very interesting destination if you love nature, an ideal site to take several pictures discovering something simply spectacular.

To admire completely that fantastic space if you an excellent trekker I recommend a route with a length of approximately 12,0 kilometres starting in the outskirts of Grazalema in direction of the centre of Zahara de la Sierra.  

To enjoy that marvellous itinerary you need an authorisation delivered in the Visitor Centre of the Parque Natural Sierra Grazalema situated in El Bosque, close to the local Plaza de Toros, the bullring, concretely in a boulevard called Avenida de la Diputación. 

All that is managed with a criteria because the access is permitted to a concrete limit of number of visitors a day, pretty busy especially during weekends and special periods of bank holidays so it is recommended to book your pass in time.

In the first section of that spectacular trail you can admire the first scenic peaks of the Sierra de las Cumbres such as the San Cristobal with its 1554, 0 metres and the Pico del Monete with its summit reaching an altitude of 1444, 0 metres. 

The path runs between forests and mounts leading to the Puerto de las Cumbres, a pass highlighted by a magnificent wild headland from which you can have a striking panoramic view overlooking the superb beauty of the Sierra de Grazalema.

Continuing that extraordinary excursion in a specific point along the trail you will be between two Sierras, one of them is the Sierra del Pinar at south while the other further north is called Sierra de Zafalgar with peaks of approximately 1000, 0 metres of altitude.

From there you have to continue until reaching the Puerto del Pinar at 992,0 metres flanked by a stream with same where the Espacio Natural del Pinsapar ends but from that high plateau starts a typical Mediterranean forest at the foot of another group of heights forming the Sierra del Blanquillo.

Its most representative mountain called Cerro del Pilar boasting an altitude of 1294,0 metres is immediately  visible from the last stretch of the trail and prepare also there your camera because in that specific place you will be delighted by a scenic opening forming a sort of small wild basin.

The entire scenery is very captivating with the chance to admire many peaks with different shapes, spectacular wild rocky promontories, stunning panoramic sights overlooking the valley, a great attraction in addition surrounded by splendid sharp spurs forming sort of natural rocky terraces after sections totally covered by forests of different size.
 
El Bosque is another local attraction you can not miss situated at approximately at 5,0 kilometres from Benamahoma.  

That site is very recommended because it is a natural gateway to many routes very interesting with picturesque paths and it is in its kind the main open door to explore the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in all its splendour.

I also suggest you to visit that place if you are a cyclist or a mountain bikers because you will find there the perfect habitat for those kinds of activities, in addition that area is also a site often frequented by hunting and fishing lovers boasting the southernmost trout farm of Europe.

Historically that centre was founded by the Dukes of Arcos de la Frontera and in the course of its history changed its name in different occasions.

 It was called during the times of those local lords Los Baños del Duque, the baths of the Duke, renamed later Marchenilla and afterwards Santa Maria de Guadalupe del Bosque to pay homage to the venerated Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

That last denomination because those former lords commissioned the elevation of the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, a Church dated the 18th century consisting in a small white construction highlighted by a flat roof on which was placed a beautiful belfry.

A further attraction of that municipality of approximately 1,800 inhabitants is the Molino del Duque, an old mill established in the same century of that Sacred site which was for a long time the main local place occupying a large part of the population.

All around the village the visitor can have the opportunity to enjoy some activities such as cycling on road and mountain bike too. 

Many are the challenging routes crossing spectacular natural corners of the local territory, the climb leading to the centre is very challenging and I also suggested the areas around Benaocaz and Ubrique which in several occasions hosted stages of the famous Vuelta España and Vuelta Andalucia inserted in the professional calendar by the UCI, the Union Cycliste Internationale.
 
Linked to the mentioned Romerias but not only you can not miss the delicious, genuine local gastronomy which is another superb highlight playing an important role for the excellent variety of specialities and considerable products offered.

Of excellent quality are the local sheep and goat cheeses well known for their very salty taste often present in snacks, appetisers and in a wide variety of classic and traditional local Tapas.

Do not miss to try the delicious Caldereta de Cordero consisting in a succulent lamb stew in sauce or the Sopa de Graxalema, a kind of minestrone prepared with bread, eggs, salt, pepper, chorizo, all those ingredients once combined together are slowly cooked with an addition of a very genuine meat stock.

Another typical local plate is the classical Sopa de Esparragos, a kind of soup prepared with esparragos trigueros, a special local quality of asparagus fried with bread, garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika adding eggs.

Another dish which worth a mention is the popular Sopa Cocia. That name sopa meaning soup is pretty peculiar because it has an appearance more similar to a sort of tortilla, a very traditional speciality, a simple plate but with a secular tradition prepared with bread, onion, garlic, laurel, salt and olive oil.

There are also some variants regarding that gastronomic icon with the addition to those ingredients of meat or also one totally vegetarian with asparagus, tomatoes and peppers as main base in the process of preparation.

The Caldo de puchero is a sort of pig meat stock prepared with different kinds of vegetables often used in the preparation of many plates or consumed as a simple soup adding bread, pieces of chorizo and pork meat.

Excellent and you can not miss the delectable Cordero al Horno consisting in baked lamb cooked with thyme, pepper, garlic, laurel, salt and manteca de cerdo, a sort of paste derived by pig meat.

The Venado en Salsa is another superb gastronomic highlight which worth to be mentioned, a deer stew prepared with carrots, thyme, leek, celery, garlic, onion, white pepper seasoned with a good quantity of smooth red wine. 

With the same vegetables and spices are also prepared casseroles using other kinds of meats such as rabbit or wild boar.

Excellent in that area many products derived by pork as the famed Morcilla, a dark sausage made by pig blood often present in starters and appetisers but also in stews and soups.

 Very relevant and superb is the local Jamon Serrano, a delicious ham of the Sierra, great on slices in appetisers, snacks, accompanied by cured goat cheese or prawns.


With that excellent product are prepared the Croquetas Caseras de Jamon, homemade fried croquettes filled with that delight which also appears in delectable tapas or in a combination with salads or fried potatoes.

The Morcon is another well renowned product similar in some cases for taste to a chorizo, flavoured with garlic, salt, paprika, excellent on a Tostada, toasted bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and a bit of pepper.

Also fish is present in the local gastronomy; the trout of the river Majaceite and other local streams is cooked in many styles such as baked, grilled, in sauce, worth a mention the Trucha Serrana in which recipe that kind of fish is baked, filled with garlic, onion, parsley and Jamon Serrano, served with salads, vegetables or boiled potatoes.

Regarding the previously mentioned cheeses, they are some simply great.The Queso de Grazalema is one of them very appreciated by a multitude of people while some others equally superb such as El Bosqueño, El Gazul and Pajarete are all produced in that area. 

To complete the endless local gastronomic panorama worth a special mention the excellent production of homemade cakes, some of them are the traditional Tarta de Bellota but very popular are also the Cubiletes and the famous Amarguillos.

The County of Cadiz and in particular Jerez de la Frontera (if you are interested I wrote a post about that city) are very famous for its fine wines and famed sherries, once there you can have the opportunity to taste many selected wines of high quality ready to satisfy the most exigent palates.

The secret of the success of those famous products derives firstly from robust grapes cultivated in vineyards planted at an ideal altitude, that combination thanks also to the very benign climatic conditions with many sunny days a year produces savoury wines, others very smooth, highly palatable ideal to accompany several plates as main courses but also more than excellent with starters and appetisers.

Some of them despite the list is very long are the famous Barbadillo, Barbarosa, Castlillo de San Diego, Barbazul, Garum and Viña del Carmen among many others. 

Very relevant is to plan in that land a special Educational for who is working in the Hospitality Industry or great for specialised Tour Operators who want to enlarge their outgoing products.

There are in that land great wine routes absolutely unforgettable, a magnificent way to know the history and the high prestige of those products of supreme category visiting producers who will explain you everything with chances apart pleasant chats to taste them and much more.

About accommodation if you want to spend some days in that territory there are excellent rural options consisting in very comfortable houses and also apartments providing all the services in Benamahoma, El Bosque and Grazalema. 

Many of those structures are fully equipped with TV, chimney, ample living room, full kitchen,  some structures also provides patio or garden all with facilities of parking.

I added some links can help you to organise your stay with also radial excursions, taking in consideration that the magnificent Costa de la Luz is not far, so a further incentive to spend some pleasant days enjoying the beauty of a coastline simply wonderful with the chance to practise several trendy water sports and well if you need some information more, a pleasure to give you other specific details.

The nearest airport is the Aeropuerto Internacional de Jerez de la Frontera situated at 73, 0 kilometres east from Benamahoma and in approximately one hour driving by A382 and A372 via Arcos de la Frontera you will easily reach that splendid place. 

Another excellent option is Seville San Pablo Airport located at 113,0 kilometres of distance. In a great Fly & Drive you have to take from there the AP4 via Dos Hermanas continuing your trip driving towards Las Cabezas de San Juan and Villamartin following in direction of El Bosque. Choosing that second notable alternative in about one hour and half driving you can reach in a very easy way that destination.

That area of Western Andalusia is very suggested for all people who want to discover something simply unique. That fascinating small centre is a stupendous scenic landmark of the true, magnificent Andalusia.

In a very captivating natural environment that seductive white village is something of extremely spectacular in a beautiful Eden called Sierra de Grazalema, a place you will enjoy and love in a while for its total genuine, unique beauty taking with you its image which will  remain alive in your pleasant memories forever.

Francesco Mari


Recommended Accommodations in Benamahoma

Rurales Sierra de Grazalema
El Paraiso de Benamahona- Rental house
El Batan de Lara .La Bodeguilla -Rental House

Recommended Restaurant in Benamahoma

Meson Restaurante Las Huertas

Useful links