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Town history
  • Ardales is a municipality of the District of Guadalteba, in the province of Málaga, located on the north of the Sierra de las Nieves.

    From Ardales, you can enjoy a view which you will never forget: Caminito del Rey and Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. Besides, the village has an interesting monumental and historic heritage.



    The Museo de la Historia y las Tradiciones (Museum of History and Traditions) and the Centro de Interpretación de la Prehistoria de Ardales (Interpretation Center of the Pre-history of Ardales) are the best summary to get to know about the intense historical, cultural and ethnographical legacy that the successive civilizations have left in this privileged settlement.

    We can see the Andalusian past of Ardales in the ruins of Bobastro. A relic of the IX century formed by a defensive construction and a temple which is carved out of rock. This era is also the Castillo de la Peña (Rock Castle), a set of two walled areas capped with nine towers. Both are the footprints of the fightings which freed Omar Ben Hafsun against Emirate of Córdoba, until the conquering of Ardales.

    The Castillo de Turón, at 3 kilometres following the flow of the river of the same name, was constructed by Muhammad V in the XIV century to defend the Castilian incursions. Also on the Turón river, in a beautiful landscape, we can cross the Puente Romano de la Molina.

    In another place, the Cerro de las Aguilillas, there is a prehistoric necropolis. But it is the Cueva de Doña Trinidad Grund (Cave of Madam Tinidad Grund) which is the most interesting pre-historic site of Ardales. A natural cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and with the rock engravings of the gallery of Calvario. It is worth visiting it.

    In the urban centre of Ardales, there is Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, originally from the XV century, and the Convento de los Capuchinos, founded between the centuries XVII and XVIII, with its interesting Baroque church and its belfry with battlements. Nearby you can visit the chapel de la Encarnación (Chapel of the Incarnation).


  • There’s no public transportation to Ardales from Málaga, so you’ll need a car. Take the A-357 towards Cártama, and it will take you directly to Ardales just after the 50kilómetros mark.


    The star visit offered by the Ardales is the amazing Caminito del Rey, a spectacular journey through a walkway which is attached to the walls of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. It is found at a considerable height above the Turón river and constitutes, undoubtedly, one of the unique experiences of the world.

    We cannot only live with strong emotions in this enclave practicing trekking. The whole area is perfect for active tourism. Cycling, Canyoning or even bungee jumping are some of the activities offered by this magnificent place and water sports in reservoirs of Conde de Guadalhorce, of Guadalteba and Guadalhorce. This set of reservoirs can be seen from an exceptional viewpoint: the chair of the King in El Chorro, a stone seat from which King Alfonso XIII saw the progress of the construction of the dam.


    Ardales celebrate the festivities in the month of May in honour of its patron: San Isidro. The Fair of the Virgin of Villaverde, patron of the municipality, takes place in May. These dates are the most important of the festival calendar of Ardales.

    In November we can get to know about Fiesta de la Matanza (Slaughter Festival). Here we can enjoy great pork sausages apart from tripe dishes and stews.

    Easter is also one of the special events of the year, with the blessing of the branches of Domingo of Ramos, and processions of Thursday and Friday.

    Other important events of this town are its dog show in February and flamenco festival in September.


    The goat stews (or lamb) are very traditional in Ardales. So are the local variety soups and gazpacho (both preparations based on tomato and very refreshing for summer). And for colder days, we can enjoy migas (dish of braised chunks of bread with garlic, accompanied by sausages, peppers, sardines, among other ingredients).

    The ardaleña pastries feature delicacies like almond cookies, wine donuts and dumplings with angel hair.

  • Town history

    Ardales has been inhabited by man since prehistoric times. Abundant evidence found in the area attests to the presence of human beings since the Stone Age. The main archaeological site for this period is the Cave of La Calinoria or Doña Trinidad Grund. This natural cave, open to authorised visitors only, contains interesting monochrome paintings of animals that are at least 20,000 years old.

    In his chronicles, Pliny mentions settlements by the Bastuli and the Celtiberians near the Turón castle, in the population centre of Turóbriga. The Romans built the castle of La Peña and a small hamlet developed around it. However, it was with the Arabs that Ardales grew into a real village (716 AD), which came to be known as "Ard-Allah", meaning "the garden of Allah".

    In the ninth century, Bobastro was chosen by Umar ibn Hafsun as the capital of his small Christian kingdom rising in arms against the Emirate of Córdoba. The castles of Ardales, Turón, Teba and Álora were a strong defensive line for the rebels, about 4km from the village"s location nowadays. Locals joined the Al-Andalus leader, but eventually they succumbed to the power of the Emirate army.

    A few centuries later, the Moors tried to fight off the conquering Christian troops, who finally succeeded in 1389 with a ruse by Juan Ramírez de Guzmán. This clever knight from Castile was appointed lord of the village. The castle played host to the signing of the history-making Pact of Ardales by the military governor of Andalusia on behalf of King John II of Castile and Yusuf ibn Al Mawi, Prince of Granada.

    In 1564, the Dutch painter and engraver Joris Hoefnagel visited Ardales. He was one of Albrecht Dürer"s disciples. The village appeared in one of his engravings, included by King Philip II in Book V of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum. The engraving shows the village"s actual layout five hundred years ago.

  • When you go to any local restaurant, be sure to try the “guisos” and the “cabrito” (kid or lamb) stew, local-style “porra” and the gazpacho. On a colder day, you’ll find “migas” (breadcrumbs) with olive oil and garlic.

    The pastries in Arlades include delicacies like almond biscuits, wine doughnuts and “las empanadillas con cabello de ángel.”

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  • Inhabitants (2,501-5,000)
  • Inland area

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