Things you cannot miss from Grazalema and Ronda
Sierra de Grazalema is a beautiful natural park located in the north-east of Cádiz and towards the north-west of Malaga, facing the ocean, like a huge wall splashed with small white villages, fighting against the squalls coming from the Atlantic and turning it into the most rainy place in the Iberian Peninsula, which in time is the cause of its Mediterranean vegetation and climate.
Do not miss what to do and see in Grazalema and its neighbouring town Ronda, known for having some of the most stunning scenery.
You will love the experience, and that’s why we want to recommend 30 things you must take into account when visiting this destination.
- Fun facts about Sierra de Grazalema
- Activities in the Sierra de Grazalema
- Enjoy the environment
- Sports you can practice
- Visit nearby enclaves
Fun facts about Sierra de Grazalema
- In Sierra de Grazalema, there is the Natural Park with the same name, one of the first natural parks in Spain that was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977.
- Sierra de Grazalema is an area of great biodiversity, with a variety of endemic plant and animal species. It is an important place for the conservation of species such as the Iberian lynx, the golden eagle, or the griffon vulture.
- Sierra de Grazalema is a place of great archaeological importance, with numerous prehistoric vestiges such as cave paintings and remains of human settlements.
- The pinsapo is an evergreen tree that only grows in the mountains of southern Spain and northern Morocco. Sierra de Grazalema is one of the few places where this tree species can be found, and it is considered a living fossil.
- Sierra de Grazalema is a popular destination for active tourism, with numerous options for hiking, climbing, spelunking, and other adventure sports.
- In the mountains, you can find the spectacular Tajo de Ronda, an impressive canyon that stretches for several kilometers.
- It is the rainiest place in Spain, with an average annual precipitation of 2,200 liters per square meter. Sierra de Grazalema is the rainiest place in Spain. This high precipitation has led to the formation of spectacular gorges, canyons, and waterfalls.
- In Sierra de Grazalema, you can find numerous white villages that are famous for their beauty and traditional architecture.
- This region is also famous for its gastronomy, which highlights dishes such as venison stew, rabbit with garlic, or payoyo cheese.
Activities in the Sierra de Grazalema
Bungee Jumping … this desire that is on many people’s What to do list. It is the attraction of falling into space and fly like a bird that leads to all kinds of people to want to jump off a bridge, and what better way to do it than from the Bridge of Nava in Grazalema, where the landscape surrounds you with that feeling, wanting to become a bird…
It is something to do once in life,an indescribable experience, incomparable to any other type of sport, which will free you from stress with a brief but brutal adrenaline rush.
Hiking along the Majaceite River
Undoubtedly one of the most widespread activities in Grazalema is hiking. The Natural Park has many itineraries that show the natural and cultural diversity of this protected area. The Majaceite River trail, one of the most practised of Grazalema, certainly stands out. Easy to travel with beautiful landscapes make this activity ideal to share with the family.
The route runs parallel to the Majaceite River and connects the town of Benamahoma (Grazalema) with El Bosque. This river has a splendid gallery forest, a vegetable tunnel of great beauty and freshness. The poplars, willows, oleanders, sarsaparilla, rose bushes, brambles, clematis and honeysuckle, among others, grow so tightly together make river banks impregnable, providing a safe shelter to the abundant wildlife that lives there, the otter being one of the most common species.
Cintillo Viewpoint and Aguas Nuevas
At the foot of Manga de Villaluenga, among oaks and olive trees, we find this viewpoint, a silent witness to centuries of history. From it, it is possible to see the remains of the Roman road that once joined Carteia (the first Latin colony far from Rome) with Acinipo (Ronda la Vieja). The recreational area of Cintillo and Aguas Nuevas is also currently preserved, where the locals from Benaocaz celebrate their pilgrimages. We fully recommended visiting this landscape in the Sierra de Grazalema, during these evenings, when the sounds, colours and silhouettes take on a major role.
A route through Pinsapar
Pinsapar is a 10 km trail that starts at a place known as Las Canteras or Los Areneros due to the quarries located there, a couple of kilometres away from Grazalema on the road up to Puerto de las Palomas. When gaining altitude, the path reaches Puerto de las Cumbres, a natural path to the northern slope of the mountain that shares the same name, from where the view is superb, letting you see the mountains of Ronda behind us and a great extension of the reserve area in front . You can also see the Tower, the tallest peak in the province of Cádiz, and some Spanish firs announcing the proximity of the forest. Later, the firs will grant protagonist to the gall-oaks, now descending along a track in search for the small town of Benamahoma.
Enjoying wine tourism
Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, special climate and its geologic diversity fill the wines of this small region with uniqueness, Príncipe de Hohenlohe and Marqués de Griñón when not wrong when choosing Ronda for their wine projects, as did winemakers like Juan Manuel Vetas, Frederic Schatz or Matin Kieninger.
This land has something magical, something that opens the doors of its fields to a diverse group of grape varieties. It is funny how such a small area of our country diverse grape types such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah , Tempranillo or Garnacha, among others, can be cultivated.
Visit El Torreón
El Torreón, at 5.4 feet high, is the highest peak of the Del Pinar Sierra. The route to the top is rather complicated, so you should take care and be well prepared, but the rewards are great, since you can enjoy unparalleled views of Los Alcornocales, the Grazalema Sierra and the Cádiz coast. Unmissable!
Salto del Cabrero
The Salto del Cabrero route is one of the best routes open during summer on the Cádiz Sierra. This path does not require much physical effort, but you do need to be prepared to walk a few miles within an unrivalled landscape.
This is one of the most representative enclaves of the Grazalema Sierra, whose name refers to a range of high vertical walls 262 feet high separated by some 164 feet.
Visit the Roman road
From Benaocaz to Ubrique, along a very well preserved Roman road. This is one of the traditional outings from the natural park. Arriving at Ubrique, the road enters an area with some vineyards.
Enjoy the environment
Visit the village of Grazalema
Located in the heart of Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos (White Village Path) and inside Grazalema Natural Park, this small village in the province of Cádiz is curiously the most rainy settlement in the southern half of the peninsula and the only village where it snows, one of the main destinations for rural tourism in the province of Cádiz.
There are several churches and chapels, but the most eye-catching site is the town centre. If we walk through the village, we see the typical structure of an Arab village with its whitewashed houses, narrow streets, gabled roofs and many flowers decorating the balconies, everything making Grazalema one of the most beautiful villages of Andalusia and a model for traditional Andalusian architecture. We strongly recommend walking through the streets while observing its many viewpoints (Mirador de los Asomaderos, Mirador El Tajo, Los Peñascos y Villa Turística) where we can see the greatest asset of the town: its natural environment.
Enjoy the local cuisine
The bars and restaurants in Grazalema offer typical local dishes. We recommend you try Grazalema soup, which is made with the broth from the stew, peppermint leaves, bread, eggs and sausage. Also asparagus soup, roast lamb, the golden thistles or venison. The tasty sausages and cured meat, as well as cheese payoyos make perfect appetizers. Some local wine to have with the meal and Grazalema sweet desserts as pudding, such as amarguillos or cubiletes.
Visiting Zahara de la Sierra
Although many mountainous villages of Cadiz competing for their beauty, Zahara impresses in a special way. The villa, looking like a white pineapple, clings to the slopes of a hill at the foot of a dizzying pit crowned by the arrogant castle tower, drawing a picture that seems sprung from the imagination of a romantic painter. The irresistible power of the Sierra de Cádiz, its landscapes, its people and its history is perceived here as anywhere else.
Visiting the Acinipo site
The archaeological site of Acinipo is located 21 kilometres away from Ronda, on a plateau with an average altitude of 980 meters above sea level, where you can enjoy sprawling vistas of the region.
Only theatre built in the first century BC on a slope of the land remains from the ancient Roman city, preserved in the Greek way, hence the cavea is carved into the rock. Most of the stands, the orchestra pit and the front of the stage, made in granite masonry without mortar are in acceptable condition. Remains of baths, two houses and the official temple, the basilica and the portico are among the areas that have been found.
Admiring the views of the Puerto de Los Acebuches
Located at the foot of the road between Jimena de la Frontera and Grazalema, we find this viewpoint located in a privileged place. Here we can contemplate the vultures majestically flying over the area, since one of the largest colonies of this bird is located nearby. Opposite the viewpoint, excavated by the stream of Pinar,we can observe the impressive Garganta Verde canyon, whose walls serve as nest for vultures and stand covered with dense vegetation, the colour of which gives its name to the natural structure.
Visit the Grazalema Textile Arts and Crafts Factory
The famous Grazalema blankets have a great deal of history, since they have been made since the 18th century. One of the main reasons for the high quality of these items is the abundance of grass, which produces a high quality fibre from sheep.
If you visit the factory you can also enjoy its textile museum, where you will see ancient machinery and you can get a rough idea as to how the textile was worked with in centuries gone by.
The opening hours to see the Grazalema blanket factory are:
Monday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sports you can practice
One of the best mountain bike trails you can do through Grazalema Natural Park is the one precisely going through Grazalema, Llanos del Republicano and Villaluenga del Rosario. It is perfect for any type of cyclist. Best of all are the amazing views we have of the highest and most important mountains in the park, such as Sierra del Endrinal, the Cumbre del Reloj and Sierra del Pinar to the right, together with San Cristóbal Mountain.
Fuerte Grazalema also offers an electric bike rental service, with Cannondale bicycles, in partnership with Limitless Cycling. Arrange one for yourself by booking during your stay, or just rent it straight away on whichever day you want to enjoy it. Climb the steepest of hills, regardless of your age or fitness.
Grazalema’s climbing area has about a hundred climbing routes and itineraries around twenty traditional climbing itineraries in Peñón Grande de Grazalema and Aguja del Puerto de las Palomas. We will find different areas when climbing, each sector has trails with of different difficulty, most of them medium-high (Cave or Corral), although there is also a sector with tracks for beginners with a low-medium grade as it is the case of “Placas del Cortijo”. The best time for climbing is from spring to fall.
Sierra de Grazalema hides a whole underground world you can delve into through speleology with a total of 6 different caves. Although La Cueva del Gato, near Ronda, is actually the southern mouth of the caving system called Hundidero-Gato system,this system is generally known as a whole by this cave’s name, the most popular. This is one of the most important systems of Andalusia and Spain, with permanent water, potholes, lakes, siphons. To practise this activity, you’ll have to swim, jump into pools, abseil and walk. It’s like a descent into covered canyons.
A route for kayaking
In Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park you can choose between the swamps of Zahara de la Sierra-El Gastor or the swamp Los Hurones in Ubrique to enjoy a day of kayaking. A canoe trip is perfect to spend a great day in Grazalema Natural Park and enjoy the magnificent views the swamp of Zahara de la Sierra-El Gastor has to offer, with Sierra del Pinar on us or the landscape full of cork trees surrounding the los Hurones swamp in Ubrique, with the possibility of seeing a deer on its shores.
Andalusia is a community rich in canyons and ravines, and Grazalema particularly offers a unique setting for related activities. For this reason we suggest urban canyoning, not anywhere but in the monumental Ronda. Tajo de Ronda has a very upright ravine, with abseils of over 30 meters, including sections with water and pools of crystal clear water. You access the area through the Arab Baths, where we will get all the equipment and take the beginning of the ravine. The access is very convenient and in summer, we will have the shade as a companion for most of the route. Great activity to take spectacular pictures.
Battles, aim, strategy, teamwork, leadership …. this is what the natural scenery of El Bosque offer you at the gates of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. There are a lot of different dynamics that are developed in an area specially equipped for it, ensuring a truly fun activity. Who will get to “take the hill”?
A route on horseback
If you’re tired visiting places in vehicles that do not let you enjoy nature properly, this is the perfect activity for you. Horse trails are both relaxing and fun activities. Enjoy the views, the fresh air, the sound of nature and Grazalema Natural Park. With a duration of between one and three hours, standard routes are recommended for groups with beginners. There are also other routes for more experienced riders.
Paragliding and hang gliding in Grazalema
Feel the breeze, enjoy magnificent views and feel the freedom of a bird. Grazalema has all that you need to enjoy free flight and to learn paragliding or hang gliding. It is a passion, a way to mingle with nature, to have the privilege of seeing the world from the perspective of birds and sometimes accompanied by them. The feeling will be unforgettable and you won’t be able to resist the feeling of doing it again.
Take a 4×4 or motorbike route
Enjoy the best views in the Grazalema sierra as you travel along in a 4×4 or on a motorbike. Here you can find the route that best suits your tastes and knowledge. The only thing you will have to do is download the route tracks, upload them to your mobile or GPS and enjoy the amazing panoramic views that Grazalema has to offer.
Visit nearby enclaves
DO THE CAMINITO DEL REY
The Caminito del rey is a walkway that was built in the Los Gaitanes Gorge in 1901 and is 1.8 miles long and just over 3 feet wide. It was restored between 2014 and 2015. It is a lovely path, where you can enjoy some wonderful views of the Sierra and the river from a considerable height. You can buy tickets directly at the ticket office or on its website. 53 miles from Hotel Fuerte Grazalema
TAKE AN EXCURSION TO SEE SETENIL DE LAS BODEGAS
One of the places you cannot miss is this curious town in Cádiz province, very near the Sierra de Grazalema. It forms part of the network of Cádiz white villages, but its main feature are its houses set into the rock. 21.5 miles from Hotel Fuerte Grazalema (40 mins more or less).
Have a peek into Tajo de Ronda
Round, “the dream city”, an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists and an irresistible magnet for travellers. Its mere name unleashes sensations that leave a lasting impression on anyone experiencing the pleasure of visiting the town. The fascination of the magnificent capital of the Mountains is no accident. Apart from being a natural crossroad between the coast and inland, Ronda has a majestic settlement on the edge of a vertical pit, a delightful town with history and traditions not usually seen. These characteristics has placed it in the rankings of cities to be visited once in life -national and international magazines like Lonely Planet or Condé Nast Traveler have suggested it as a must-.
Watch the sunset over Tajo de Ronda
Watching the sunset over Tajo is definitely something to see and do in Ronda. The defile the city is located on and the gorge carved by Guadalquivir river define this place with aphrodisiac landscapes, which is able to intoxicate even the swifts and pigeons flying overhead. Sunset in this paradise of Malaga turn its rocks bathed by the lights of the sky into a true canvas, impossible to image, even in dreams.
VISIT THE SMURF VILLAGE: JÚZCAR
One of the most curious places in Serranía de Ronda is this village called “smurf village” for its blue houses. This is due to the fact that in 2011, The Smurfs film had its premiere here and all the houses were painted blue. The plan was to return them to their original colour, but it was decided to keep them like that because the village had become a tourist attraction. 31 miles from Hotel Fuerte Grazalema.
VISIT RONDA’S ARAB BATHS
In Ronda we can find Arab baths dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries and they are some of the best preserved in peninsular Spain; something different to discover in Serranía de Ronda. Entry costs €4.50.
TAKE A STROLL THROUGH THE CUENCA GARDENS IN RONDA
These original gardens have some wonderful views of the Tajo de Ronda. It is well worth visiting them to enjoy a pleasant stroll.
WHERE TO STAY
Another option to finish the day in Ronda is to stay at hotel Fuerte Grazalema and admire the beautiful sunsets facing Grazalema Natural Park from your pool and jacuzzi. This hotel, one of the most recommended places in the area for its quality, tradition and service, has become a place to stay in at least once in your lifetime. It also has a small farm, spacious rooms, a restaurant with a unique view and a cuisine based on local products. Pets are also allowed.