Montefrío lets you discover its history, cuisine and impressive landscapes. Fall in love with its charm thanks to Ruralidays.
Montefrío is a 4,000-inhabitant town in the province of Granada; in its area, it concentrates an impressive architectonic richness, besides rejoicing in a mild climate with ideal temperatures and moderate rainfalls. As if this weren’t enough, the famous magazine National Geographic included Montefrío among the top 10 towns with the best views in the world. Keep reading and discover everything you need to know to prepare your getaway to this quaint town.
How to get to Montefrío
Montefrío is located in the province of Granada, in the northern part of Loja region, 50 km from Granada. You can reach it via the A-92 highway from Seville or Malaga, by taking the Huétor-Tajar exit. There, take the GR-4402 Granada road. You can also reach Montefrio via the N-432 way, which is also called carretera Granada-Badajoz, until reaching Puerto Lope and then take the diversion on the left.
If you’d rather travel by bus, you can get to Montefrio from Granada thanks to the ALSA company, which provides three daily 1.5-hour trips. The price of the tickets varies from €4.82 to €6.32 (depending on the hour of departure).
History of Montefrío
3,000-b.C Neolithic settlements were found where is Montefrío nowadays, when locals live on shepherding. Afterwards, during the Bronze age, agriculture became extremely important, too. The impressive megalithic necropolis between La Camarilla and El Rodeo areas are among the archaeological discoveries that date back to that time.
During Roman times, the Hiponova complex was built in the area. It was located at the crossroads of the region’s commercial routes, and it was also mentioned by Pliny the Elder. The settling grew stronger at the end of the 8th century, and it developed during the Visigoth and Al-Andalus times. The Mons Frigidus of the Romans became the Montefrío for the Moors when its influence reached its peak. In 1352, the castle-fortress and its walls were built, to set Montefrio as one important defensive point in the fights that characterised the route towards Granada. 1486 saw the conquest of the town, followed by the abandonment by the Muslim population. In 1507, the Catholic Monarchs had the Castle of La Villa built.
What to do and what to see in Montefrío
In this town, you can visit several interesting places, enjoy the marvellous landscape, stroll along the narrow streets and become enchanted with the surrounding beauty. What impresses most of Montefrio is the number of appealing hideouts that you will find in this town.
Tip: make the most of the touristic train to discover the most amazing spots in Montefrío. This train will take you close to the monuments, in the company of a guide who will offer explanations. The service is available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and festive days, from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm. Check out all the info here.
The Castle and the Church of La Villa
In the town’s highest part, the Moors built the fortress that served as a defensive bastion for Granada’s Nasrid Kingdom. Rests of the walls, some towers and tanks can still be seen nowadays.
On its rests, the Catholic Monarchs ordered a temple to be built. The construction ended in 1507 and was then enlarged in the 16th century, thus featuring Gothic, Renaissance and Mudejar characteristics. The temple, which is now known as Iglesia de La Villa (Church of La Villa), has a rectangular-shaped plant, sculptures of angels, a vast vault and three chapels.
There, the Centro de Interpretación de la Última Frontera de Al-Andalus “El Centinela”, is located (Visitor Centre of the Last Border of Al-Andalus). It is provided with videos, mockups, and interactive games. It opens from Monday to Sunday (11 am – 2 pm); on Saturdays, it also opens in the afternoon, from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. In summer, it opens and closes half an hour before.
Church of La Encarnación
This church is one of Montefrío’s must-sees. It was built in the 18th century, and it is said to be a copy of the Agrippa-Adriano Pantheon in Rome. Its round-shaped vault, which is 30 metres wide and 15 metres high, is the reason why this church is also known as the “rounded church”. It’s a monumental place, which is also the destination of pilgrimages and provided with a fabulous acoustic. his temple doesn’t feature much decoration, which, on the contrary, characterises the majority of the churches. However, in the wall that demarcates the nave, there are niches, chapels, altars and sculptures. The façade has a big, triangular pediment, and its vane is lintelled.
Montefrío features two museums that are located close to each other in La Paz district.
One is the Museo de la Navidad (Christmas museum), which is provided with a collection of Christmas ornaments from the period between 1890 and 1960, and glass decoration, such as Nativity scenes and lights. The museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday (10 am – 2 pm).
In the same building, there is the Museo del Olivo (Museum of the Olive Tree). Here, you can come into contact with everything related to the cultivation of olives, the history of the fabrication of olive oil and how it has been used through the centuries. There are old pieces that, together with the most modern info technologies, add special interest to this museum.
These raised places offer spectacular corners where you can contemplate different perspective of the town and its surroundings.
Mirador National Geographic
It’s one of the most visited viewpoints in town, and it’s located 15-minute walk from the city centre. As you reach it, you will be able to enjoy the streets that present the town’s characteristic architecture, with its whitewashed houses and the ochre-tile roof.
From here, the panorama is awe-inspiring, especially at sunset. The prestigious magazine National Geographic mentioned this viewpoint as one of the ten towns with the best views in the world. This has put Montefrío into the international travellers’ eye.
Mirador de la Plaza del Convento de San Antonio
It’s located on the opposite side of the Church of La Villa, and it offers spectacular views of the town and the surrounding olive yards. You can take advantage of its location and visit the temple and the convent’s cloisters for a peaceful and relaxing visit.
Mirador de las Peñas
The Mirador de las Peñas is located near a fountain at the end of a narrow path, on the side of a mountain between fig trees and vine arbours. Keep in mind that the road that leads to it is very steep and it’s not accessible by car. The views are, however, worth the access.
The Peñas de Los Gitanos
The so-called “Peñas de Los Gitanos” is located 5 km from Montefrio and it’s the combination of several buildings belonging to different times. Its archaeological and historical value makes this settlement one of the most completed in whole Andalucia.
Here, you can find five caves that were used as shelters by the Neolithic inhabitants, as the discovery of the skeletons and stone tools demonstrate. Besides, several megalithic necropoleis date back to the Bronze Age; these are characterised by huge stones that were used to build rooms and the hallways of the funerary monuments. Among them, the Visigoth necropolis stands out, whose funerary structures are constituted by an infinity of rectangular stones.
In the highest and most western part of this rocky area, there also is the Poblado de los Castillejos, whose discovery of streets and rests of houses prove that it was inhabited by Prehistorians, Iberians and Romans.
Festivals and Events in Montefrío
Montefrío welcomes several festivals that delight locals and visitors all year round.
Festividad de San Sebastián
When: January 20th (or the following Saturday)
The festivity of Saint Sebastian is also known as the Fiesta de los Tontos de Lojilla (Festivity of Lojilla’s Fools). This celebration was recovered in 2010, after several years of missing this celebration. It’s advertised by couples dressed in shawls, hats with flowers and ribbons, who ask for the willingness of “buying peace”. At the same time, they play small bells to warn that the festivity is approaching. There is a procession, a big open-air dance and sports matches. The celebration starts with a mass honouring the Patron Saint and ends with a free lunch, where grilled meats, chips and chocolate are offered.
Día de San Marcos
When: April 25thl
Saint Marcos is a rooted festivity, and it’s characterised by the lack of carts, pilgrims or procession; on the contrary, the town remains deserted because people head to the countryside to eat with friends and family and enjoy nature.
Feria de Junio
When: the third weekend of June
The fairground and the streets of Montefrio see the celebration of the June Fair. Its origins date back to the old cattle fairs, like the majority of the Andalusian fairs. The program of the festival varies, and it’s thought for all kinds of public. There are orchestras, and popular participation is high.
When: July 25th
This celebration takes place in the district of Lojilla. It’s a party that celebrates the culinary delicacies of Montefrío, such as the Plato del Choto.
Festivities honouring the Patron Saint Virgin of Los Remedios
When: August 15th
The festivity of Montefrío’s Patron Saint, the Virgen de los Remedios, is the most awaited in the town. The procession takes place on August 15th, the event lasts one week, and it’s celebrated in the fairground. At night, you can assist to the open-air dance, or head to the viewpoint to enjoy the fireworks.
Feria de Septiembre
When: the third weekend of September
The September Fair is the last one of the three summer festivities. It has the same characteristics of the June Fair, although both of them have their own features and programs. This one, too, is celebrated in the fairground and in the town’s streets.
Cuisine of Montefrío
The activity of the area is based on the cereals cultivations and olive yards, and it features high-quality cheese and meat. One of the most emblematic delicacies is the remojón de San Marcos, characterised by a marked Moorish feature. This dish is prepared with tuna fish, oranges, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, olives and pepper, together with olive oil, salt and vinegar.
The relleno de carnaval is another famous dish of Montefrío. It’s cold meat made with cured ham and fresh ham, pork meat, fat, saffron and parsley. Among the specialities of Montefrio, you will also find the sesos al mojeteo (made with pork brains, eggs, olive oil and salt), chicken in almond sauce and the chocolate croquettes.
Tourist Office in Montefrío
The tourist office of Montefrío is located in the town centre.
Address: 1, Plaza de España, in the old Casa de Oficios
Opening hour: from Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 2 pm
Telephone number: (+34) 958 336 004
Your holiday home in Montefrío
Montefrío offers some of the best holiday homes in the province of Granada. At Ruralidays, you will find the holiday rental that is ideal for enjoying this lovely area. Now that you’ve read this post and discovered everything you can visit in Montefrío, look for your accommodation among the holiday homes in Montefrío: choose the one that suits you best.