In Arabic layout and with steep and winding streets in the town centre, Benaojan is a municipality in the Serrania de Ronda located between the limestone massif of the Sierra de Líbar and the river Guadiaro.
Benaojan is an ideal destination for active tourism. Hiking, climbing or speleology in caves like the Cueva del Gato or the Cueva de la Pileta, are just a few examples of the diverse activities that can be enjoyed in this town.
THINGS NOT TO MISS IN BENAOJAN
The most important monument in Benaojan, also located underground, is the Cueva de la Pileta cave, just 4 km from the town centre. The cave contains archeological remains from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and was declared a National Monument in 1924. In addition to the most important cave paintings of Andalusia, you will discover stunning stalactites and stalagmites in its rooms.
Another cave you can visit in Benaojan is the popular Cueva del Gato, also declared a National Monument. Located near the railway station, this cave is of significant scientific interest because of its complex underground river system.
Back in the village, the Nuestra Señora del Rosario church retains its original construction from the seventeenth century with a Gothic vault in the sanctuary. Finally, we recommend visiting the Torre del Moro, a tower erected by Muslims to monitor the busy passage of the Guadiaro valley, and to provide shelter in case of attack. Currently, only a few traces of it remain.
Benaoján is about 135 kilometres from Málaga. If you take a car, it’s best to go on the Mediterranean Motorway (A-7) to San Pedro de Alcántara. Then take the A-397 to Ronda, and from there, take the MA-555 until you get the Benaoján.
Benaojan is located between the limestone massif of the Sierra de Líbar and the river Guadiaro in the region of Serrania de Ronda. It is part of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park stretches over 50,000 hectares and offers unique landscapes with valleys, canyons and caves.
Benaojan will delight not only cavers, but all nature lovers, including canoeing and hiking aficionados. On routes around the Sierra de Líbar, you will find holm oaks, Portuguese oaks and animals like griffon vultures, eagles and the Spanish ibex.
Benaojan is also part of the25th stage of the Great Malaga Path, which ends at Jimera of Líbar. This route will be quite comfortable, as there are no major differences in altitude between the two municipalities. The path runs parallel to the train tracks between Bobadilla and Algeciras, and along the Guadiaro River.
In December, Benaojan hosts the Feria de la Chacina. This gastronomic gathering around pork products was declared a Singular Provincial Tourist Festival in 2009.
During Semana Santa, Benaoján celebrates one of its most unique festivals, fiesta del Niño del Huerto (the festival of the Child in the Garden). On Easter Sunday, the locals build a garden out of pine in the village fountain, where they later lead the Resurrected Christ and the Virgin Mary in procession.
In the province of Malaga, pilgrimages or romerías are one of the most widespread celebrations, and Benaoján has its own. In May the festival of Saint Mark is held in the Dehesa (pasturelands). Undoubtedly, one of the most popular celebrations of this municipality is the Verbena del Tren at the end of July, which celebrates the arrival of the railway in Benaojan more than 30 years ago. This festival takes place over an entire weekend, and ends with the "water party".
Finally, in October it is the turn of the Fair in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. Four stewards elected by the residents are responsible for organising the festivities.
Benaojan is internationally recognised for the quality of its cured meats and pork products. You can try them the whole year round, but we recommend visiting the Feria de la Chacina if you have time. In addition to taste different kinds of sausages or black pudding, you will discover the secrets of their traditional production.
Some of the products and dishes that we recommend trying on your visit to Benaojan are: cooked soups (a soup reduced until there is no more liquid and it has a tortilla texture), hot gazpacho (a thick soup of tomatoes and other vegetables), rabbit with garlic, sausages cooked in wine or pork loin in lard. And fdon"t forget the exquisite pastries, with products like rosquitos (similar to doughnuts), quince jelly, borrachuelos (an apple pastry) and torta de chicharrones (a surprising mix of pastry and pork products)
The archaeological evidence in the Cave of La Pileta attests to the presence of man in Benaoján about 20,000 years ago. Later on, the area was settled by the Romans and the Visigoths. However, the first historical records – and the name of the village – come from the days of the Arabs. Some historians derive the name from the phrase meaning "Sons of Oján" while others think it means "Baker"s House".
The village"s layout and the Tower of El Moro (opposite the train station) are the only visible traces of the Muslim control of this part of the territory. There was an Arab fortress or castle, but it was seized by the troops of the Catholic Monarchs in 1485, who destroyed it after realising that it was impossible to set up a garrison there.
After the Reconquista, local residents converted to Christianity. In the sixteenth century, however, they joined the Moorish rebels in Serranía de Ronda, who were crushed and expelled. Benaoján"s history in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is similar to the events in many other villages in the area. In the nineteenth century, it was home to many a bandit, while after the Spanish Civil War it gave shelter to the Maquis.
Benaoján stands out for the quality of its cured meats and other pork products. You can try them at any time, but we recommend coming for the Feria de la Chacina, or Cured Meat Fair, where along with sampling different sausage and blood sausage varieties, you can discover the secrets to its fabrication.
The roasted soups, hot gazpacho, garlic rabbit or pork loin in lard are some of the most traditional recipes. We also can’t forget about the borrachuelos, quince paste and the small doughnuts that are part of the sweeter side of the classic cookbook.
- Inland area
- Inhabitants (1,001-2,500)