Why Visit Grazalema? Holiday Accommodation PLUS Walking, climbing, birding, botany ...
Grazalama is officially one of the 'Pueblos mas bonitos de Espana', the most beautiful villages in Spain and it is a gem at any time of year! It is old, romantic and blessed with incomparable natural beauty - but it is also a lively village with lots to see and do, both within the pueblo and in the surrounding countryside.
There is a range of things happening in Grazalema all year round, including art events, cycling challenges and much more - click local events for details of what will be happening during your visit.
The Sierra de Grazalema was declared a Reserva de la Biosfera by Unesco in 1977 and in 1984 it was named as the most important natural park in Andalucia. The calcite rocks of the mountain range have been eroded by time, water and wind to form spectacular cliffs, caves, and ravines. There is a fantastic network of footpaths, climbing and cycling routes in the area and we can offer an accurate map to help you plan your route. Routes to explore include climbing El Torreon, visiting La Garganta Verde, or going as far as the Pinsapar via the Llano de Ravel. Details of how to gain the permission needed for these expeditions is given below.
There are many footpaths you can walk without getting special permission to do so. You do need proper footwear and sensible clothing.
The Sierra de Grazalema is home to the biggest cave system in Andalucia and among the many places to visit are the Cueva del Gato or Hundidero-Gato and the Cueva de la Pileta where Paleolithic paintings and Neolithic remains were discovered in 1905.
Returning above ground, birding is rewarding in this area, with colonies of griffon vultures (gyps fulvus) and you may also see Bonelli's and Golden Eagles, the Red-Billed Chough, Peregrine Falcon and Goshawk as well as many other species like the Black Wheatear and Rock Bunting. The area is rich in butterfly and orchid life and is home to the unique Pinsapo trees as well, so naturalists will find plenty to interest and delight them. Visit Birding Tarifa for more information on visits and ecotourism in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
Finally, Grazalema has the highest peak in Cadiz Province, El Torreon, which is 1,654 metres high. You walk up through the pinsapo woods, and there are two routes up. You do need to request permission to do several of the hiking routes in Grazalema and this is where you get it.
You ask for 'los Permisos de Entrada' and this is the phone number to call.
Tel: 956 70 97 33 (Centro de visitantes P.N Sierra de Grazalema. (El Bosque) - Visitors' Centre, Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, El Bosque
You can also call the Oficina Municipal Grazalema. 956 13 20 52 or email [email protected]
From 15 June to 15 October access to El Torreon, the Pinsapar (pine woods), the Garganta Verde and the Llano de Ravel can be restricted due to the risk of forest fires. This may mean that you can't do these routes, or can only do part of them.
Art, music, poetry - creativity in the Sierra de Grazalema
One of our neighbours is the Neilson Gallery, which holds regular annual exhibitions and also has an Artist in Residence programme. Well worth a visit when they are open!
Grazalema has its own band, and a choir. Visit Banda de Musica to find out what they are performing during your visit. Also look out for posters in the village announcing performances as they are often held in the local churches.
The village has its own radio station, and Radio Grazalema is its Facebook page, with lots of information about what is going on or about to happen. Recently they have had details of a poetry competition, and an exhibition in the old laundry (lavadero) of photos, oral histories etc called Caminos del Agua.
There is a website giving details of local events and it is regularly updated.
Churches of Grazalema
Grazalema is home to beautiful church buildings and the brotherhoods or hermandades associated with them. There are regular religious processions and services, and the village has a choir which is well worth going to hear!
The Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Aurora is the big church in the main square of Grazalema, and you will find it a few minutes' walk down the road. The exterior is stunning, and you can sit and enjoy a drink in one of the bars in the square whilst you admire it. It was built in the 18th century and has a simple but beautiful classical facade described as renaissance with features of the transition to baroque. It suffered damage during the Civil War but was restored years later. Sadly, you can't go inside the church and it is said to be in a poor state of repair.
Just around the corner you will find the Iglesia de la Encarnacion, built on the site of a previous Islamic building, the church is in the baroque style with three naves and various chapels. It was designed by Pedro Diaz Palacios, an architect who also worked on Malaga Cathedral, the St Francis convent in El Puerto de Santa Maria and a number of local churches in Setenil, Benaocaz, Olvera and Villaluengua del Rosario. The interior is important, and there are works of art such as the image of San Atanasio dating from the start of the seventeenth century.
The White Villages of Andalucia - Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos
Grazalema is on the famous route which unites 19 white villages, known as the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos. The village is a good centre from which to explore these enchanting communities with their unique customs, local events and delicious food and wine. Hire a car or cycle the route and enjoy the journey!
Grazalema has its very own cycle shop, where you can hire a bike. They also do bike maintenance. Find them just down the road in Calle Mateos Gago - they're friendly and helpful!
Shopping for Fun!
Grazalema has some excellent shops selling local textiles, cheese, wine and arts and crafts.
A visit to the Textile Factory and Museum is well worthwhile as the wealth of Grazalema in the 18th century was founded on the wool trade. The owners also have a little shop just off the main square, with a selection of lovely blankets, shawls, scarves and accessories as well as some clothes made from their unique wool fabrics. Grazalema has a unique breed of Grazalema Merino Sheep which can withstand the extremes of cold and heat and they produce the fine quality wool used by the textile factory to produce handwoven cloth once more.
The Grazalema Grazalema Merino Sheep are also milked to produce the famous Payoyo cheese, delicious with fresh village bread and a glass of Cadiz wine! (Try Barbazul or Gibalbin - and ask the local shopkeepers and restauranteurs as there are some fantastic small local wine producers!)
Another local product which is delicious and which also has terrific health benefits, is local Grazalema honey. You will find local honey in many of the small shops and supermarkets in the village.
The owners of Grazalema's branch of Eroski make their own jam from local fruit! They have a display behind the cheese counter for you to choose from, and it is very nicely packaged to make a nice gift or souvenir. Ask them about their local liqueurs as well.
Shopping for Self-Catering in the Holiday Accommodation
One of the joys of a self-catering holiday in Andalucia is shopping - you find out lots about the village you are staying in, the shopkeepers are friendly and have time to help you, and it is a great opportunity to try local produce and Cadiz wines!
Grazalema is well served as a proper small community with lots of families living and working locally. There is a local bus service and you can get to Ubrique and Malaga as well as Ronda on this service. You will find banks and a local post office in the village, and there are cash machines as well as a counter service. Grazalema has its own schools too, and a centre for senior citizens as well as doctors, vets and pharmacists. There are all the facilities you will be likely to need right on the doorstep!
There are several lovely private shops selling cheese, wines, ham, sausages and organic fruit and vegetables - all fresh, all delicious. There are local bakeries which make delicious fresh bread and a very tempting patisserie in the main square. You will find a butcher (Casa Mercedes) a couple of doors away from Casa Valdespino and the village has a fishmongers as well! However, if you are staying for a week you will need some more basic items. The village also has supermarkets such as Eroski and Dia as well as several small locally owned shops which stock basic things like coffee, milk, breakfast cereals etc. Eroski even provide a delivery service if you ask in-store, so you don't have to carry heavy bags in a hilly village!