Why choose between beach, mountain or festival when you can do it all? Ojen is a town of Moorish origin located between the sea and the Sierra de las Nieves and less than 10 km from the beaches of Marbella. In addition, Ojen celebrates every year, one of the festivals concerning national independent music, el Ojeando. The beauty of the natural landscapes of its surroundings, its cultural life and proximity to Marbella allow you to combine relaxation with activities of active tourism, night life and practice golf in the Soto Golf Club.
IN OJÉN YOU CANNOT MISS
Water is one of the symbols of Ojen, and strolling through the center of town, you will find the Fountain of Chorros. Of the five pipes of this fountain, water flows over a century ago, particularly since 1905.
To learn more about the production and the tradition of some of its leading products, recommend you to visit the Oil Mill Museum, which exhibits original machinery used for grinding olives and art exhibitions; and the Wine Museum, housed in an old schnapps distillery.
Lovers of history and architecture will enjoy the historical sites, monuments of heritage value and a path of clear Moorish reminiscence that you will find on your way through Ojen. In this sense, the parish church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, built on an ancient mosque in the XVI century preserves the image of San Dionisio Areopagita. From its original construction, its minaret that today functions as the bell tower is still preserved.
Finally, recommend you to visit the Caves of Ojen. These karstic natural monuments have been linked to village life for centuries. Although in the beginning, they were used as places of refuge for animals and people, today, they are part of a garden in which the acts, concerts and events are often held.
Ojén is 65 kilometres from Málaga, making it a 50-minute drive in the car. The best route is to take the A-357, then A-355 getting off the A-7103 exit until you get to town. Another way to get to Ojén is to go on the AP-7 paid motorway towards Marbella and to get off at the exit for Ojén.
There’s no public transport to Ojén from Málaga. Buses are departing from Marbella that take about two hours to get there.
Located between the sea and the Sierra de las Nieves, specifically from Sierra Blanca to Sierra Alpujata, Ojen is famous for its abundant supply of active tourism and nature. In its surroundings you can go hiking, climbing or caving, among other sports.
Near the town, you will find the Botanical Garden of Ojen, an interpretation center of nature where you can discover the native flora. It is situated in the hamlet of El Cerezal and also includes a recreational area with tables and barbecues.
In Sierra Blanca you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the Natural Viewpoint of El Juanar. Surrounded by lush pine forests, the sea and the mountains form a unique portrait of the area. Another high point that will surprise you is the Natural Viewpoint of El Corzo.
From Ojen you can start your route through the Natural Park of the Sierra de las Nieves. This park has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and awarded with EDEN ""European Destinations of Excellence 'award in the category of Tourism and Intangible Heritage. It has more than 20,163 hectares of area and is rich in ecological products of Andalusia, thanks to its 3,000 hectares of pinsapo, a protected species.
Cultural, leisure and entertainment in Ojen is one of the reasons why this town of 3,350 inhabitants multiplies its population in their most important events. If you like flamenco and independent music, in this town you can attend two of the most prominent festivals of the current landscape.
The Flamenco Singing Festival is held every August for over 40 years. It is one of the most traditional meetings of Malaga and its tables have had some of the most important flamenco legends, art declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. A Great decor, quiet and respectful audience, the best flamenco and even a glass pot at dawn for the public, make the Festival one of the most interesting claims of Ojen.
In the field indie, Ojen stands out with its Ojeando festival, held in the first weekend of July and attracts more than 15,000 visitors in each edition. Three stages and two days of concerts, flea market, games and camping areas, to receive the best independent music artists of the current panorama.
More traditional are the Feria de San Dionisio, held in honour of the patron on every October 9. In the central plaza (square), you will find the popular coronation, orchestras and dance, you can taste the local cuisine or participate in popular games.
Finally, it is worth noting a deep-rooted festival of its environment, the Popular Toston, and which stars roasted chestnuts and traditional brandy. This celebration takes place every year on the first Sunday after the festival of All Saints.
In addition to liquor and chestnuts, Ojen offers a variety for foodies: soup "jervía" (a soup made with bread crumbs, tomato, asparagus and other vegetables), gazpacho malagueño (cooked with peppers, cod and orange potatoes ), rice with fennel, fennel bolus (Hinojos, beans, potatoes, collard greens and meat) and a wide range of soups are some of the most typical recipes of this town. But if what you like is sweet, you can not miss the churros in water and salt, donuts, and chestnut soup.
The earliest human settlements in Ojén date back to the Neolithic Period, as attested by the archaeological findings in Cueva de Pecho Redondo. Under the Early Roman Empire, there was a stable population that made a living out of agriculture and husbandry. The first reference to the village can be found in the Chronicle of the Feats of the Emirs of Córdoba, in the battle between Christian leader Umar ibn Hafsun and Abd-ar-Rahman III in front of the walls of the Ojén Castle.
The village was taken over by the Emir in 921, getting the name "Hoxán" (Rough Place). In 1485, it was seized by the Christian troops sent from Castile. Since the Catholic Monarchs allowed no Moors at 1 league from the coast, many residents in Marbella came to live in Ojén.
With time, the conflict between the Muslims and the Christians grew more violent. A year after the Moorish riots broke out in Istán in 1568, Ojén joined in. Before taking to the sierras, the rebels burnt down the church and a few houses, even killing some of their Christian neighbours. King Philip II sent the Duke of Medina Sidonia to put an end to the uprising. The rebels were defeated, all Moors expelled, and the land was given to old Christians to live in it.
Ojén was granted independence from Marbella by King Charles IV in 1807. About a century later, Pedro Fernández endowed the village with the Spout Fountain, while the Marquis of Larios had his Juanar Palace built on hunting ground. The palace opened as a Spanish Parador hotel in 1965; since 1984, it has been run by a local worker cooperative.
In 1840, a man from Ojén, Pedro Morales, opened the first eau-de-vie distillery in town. To make his eau-de-vie, he only used local grapes and aromatic herbs. The stills were heated with juniper wood, and the liquor obtained was excellent. The brandy made in Ojén rose to international fame. It was immortalised by Pablo Picasso, whose Cubist Spanish Still Life, 1912, includes a bottle that reads "OJÉN", and by Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela, who mentions the typical drink in his novel The Hive.
We can characterise Ojén’s cuisine through the use of products coming from the orchards surrounding the town and foods coming from hunts.
The sopa jervia is one of the town’s most traditional dishes. Others include the rice with fennel, the bolo de hinojos (a fennel dish), salmorejo malagueña, chicarrón with rice or noodles, rice with cod or a peculiar take on gazpacho with grapes and almonds.
For dessert lovers, the roquetes, fritters, churros mojaos in saltwater, chestnuts and chestnut stew are the stars.
- Inhabitants (2,501-5,000)
- Inland area