Get ready to discover what to do in Grazalema in just one day!
The white town of Grazalema lies between the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga, and it is part of the spectacular Route of White Villages in Cadiz. If you spot Grazalema either by chance while travelling from Malaga to Cadiz or because you were actually planning to get here, these are a few things you’d like to know about this gorgeous white town.
Throughout your visit, make sure to taste the cuisine of Grazalema, whose stars are home-made honey and meat-filled stew. Give them a chance during your one-day trip to Grazalema, as to know a town also implies knowing its cuisine.
Where is Grazalema?
Grazalema is a 2000-inhabitant white town lying in the north-eastern area of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, 821 metres above sea level. It is composed of three areas: Grazalema itself, the small village of Benamahoma and the Ribera de Gaidovar valley, where the river Gaidovar meanders through the mountains of Sierra de Cadiz.
Its location, at the foot of the highest point of Cadiz province, the Sierra del Pinar, and the amazing micro climate it is provided with have made it known as the rainiest town in Spain. Considered that Spain’s average annual precipitation was mm 682 in 2016 (AEMET), it is no wonder that Grazalema’s 1926-mm have made it gain this particular prize.
As a curiosity, Grazalema’s heaviest precipitation happened in 1963, when the staggering quantity of mm 4343 filled the streets of the town.
How to get to Grazalema
As it is right between the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga, Grazalema makes for an excellent starting point to visit both of them and to be reached from these two cities.
If you want to reach the town by car:
- From Malaga, there is 134 km-route. Take the A-357 and then the A-367 towards Ronda. Take the A-374 and then follow the A-372. This will lead you to Grazalema.
- From Cadiz, the 113 km that separate the city from Grazalema. Take the AP-4 and exit at A-382 (exit n. 80). After 27 km, take the exit 27 towards Arcos de la Frontera, and you will reach A-372. Follow the highway until you reach Grazalema.
The bus company that provides daily trips from Malaga to Grazalema, and the other way round, is Los Amarillos. The trip usually costs €13, and it lasts 3 hours and a half.
The closest train station is that of Ronda. You can reach it by train and then take the bus to get to Grazalema, 33 km far.
History of Grazalema
Grazalema’s origins date back to the Roman times and the Arab from 715 AD when the town was known as Raisa Iami Suli (“city of Banu al-Salimi” as its inhabitants were known). The name later converted into Ben-salama (“Zulema’s son”).
The now-named town of Zagrazalema got conquered by the Christian troops in 1485, together with seven other villages in the surroundings (Archite, Castillo de Aznalmara, Castillo de Cardela, Ubrique, Benaocaz, Villaluenga del Rosario). The area became known as “Las Siete Villas” (The Seven Towns).
Fast forward 200 years, Grazalema’s fame was at its peak. The production of blankets and wool-made clothes made the town incredibly famous. This was enabled by the water mills located in the Ribera de Gaidovar valley, which helped speed up the process. Moreover, the fields all around were the perfect place for sheep to graze.
Despite the changes provoked by the industrial revolution, Grazalema still lives on the textile industry, as well as tourism, enhanced by the recent declaration of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park as Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO.
Points of interest to be seen and what to do in Grazalema in one day
During your day trip to Grazalema, there are some things you shouldn’t miss out on, to let people know that you truly visited this pretty town in Cadiz province.
Visit the blanket-production factory
As mentioned before, the textile industry is fundamental for Grazalema. You can’t leave the town without visiting the Mantas de Grazalema factory and Museo de Artesanía Textil (Textile Handicraft Museum).
These are located in the northern area of Grazalema, on the Carretera de Ronda, and the 15-minute free visit will allow you to the ancient tools used to make the wool garments in the 19th century.
Opening hours of the Museum
- Monday to Thursday: 8 am – 2 pm, and 3 pm – 6.30 pm
- Friday: 8 am – 2 pm
- Saturday, Sunday and Bank holidays: closed
Take a tour around Grazalema city centre
The historic centre of Grazalema has been declared Conjunto Histórico (Historical Group). The main square is Plaza de España, where the gorgeous 18th-century Iglesia de la Aurora and a medieval fountain are located. Other churches worth mentioning that lie in the streets of Grazalema are the ancient Carmelitan Monastery of the Iglesia de San José, the 18th-century Iglesia de San Juan, built on a mosque, and the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, which houses artistically-interesting sculptures.
Iglesia de la Aurora, Grazalema
The 2nd-century Roman ruins of Lacilbula and the small village of Benamahoma are worth a visit, too. And if you have 40 minutes left, make sure to visit El Calvario hermitage, where a huge statue of Jesus is kept (Corazón de Jesús).
You can also stop by the viewpoints of the town, where you will have a panoramic view of the valley below, the most famous of which is the Mirador de Grazalema located near Plaza Asomadero.
Festivities in Grazalema
Grazalema’s first celebration takes place on the last Sunday of May, during the Romería de San Isidro. This includes a procession from the town down to the Ribera de Gaidovar valley.
The Carmens take place during the third week of July, as it happens throughout Andalucia. On Monday, the “Lunes de Toro de Cuerda” makes all people fill the streets and run behind a bull with a long rope tied to its horns.
However, the most felt celebrations take place during the Fiestas Mayores, considered as Grazalema’s fair. Just like all the bigger August Fair in Malaga, Grazalema gets filled with people celebrating at the rhythm of street music and children enjoying the carousels.
Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Nature lovers will be happy to know that the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park surrounds the town of Grazalema and that it provides many hiking routes. You can also enjoy the nature of the park on horseback, by climbing up the rocks, or by doing canoeing along the rivers of Spain’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Some must-do hiking routes are those including the park’s highest peak El Torrejón, the Pinsapar and the Garganta Del Verde (the “Green Throat”). This will lead you through a Spanish fir forest, characterised by impressive gorges and breathtaking gullies.
Courtesy of Grazalema Town Hall. Photo by Francisco Moreno
And if hiking is your thing, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the GR7, Spain’s second most famous hiking route, leaving from Tarifa and reaching Andorra. The Gran Recorrido 7 also includes towns of Cadiz and Malaga province, among which Grazalema stands out.
Tourist office of Grazalema
3, Plaza Asomaderas
October to May:
– Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm, and 3 pm – 5.30 pm
– Monday: closed
June to September:
– Tuesday to Sunday: 9 am – 3 pm
– Monday: closed
Telephone number: +34 956 132 052
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Places to stay in Grazalema
Some villas in the surroundings of Grazalema offer everything this town is renowned for: quietness, closeness to nature and green, wide spaces. Therefore, if you feel like spending more than a day in Grazalema, you should consider staying at one of the villas located on the outskirts of the town. You will feel regenerated and ready to continue with the White Villages route 😉
Grazalema can easily be discovered in one day. And in case you long for more white towns, Malaga and Cadiz province welcome hundreds of them!
If you’ve already been to Grazalema, or you wish to go in the future, tell us in the comments below!