Located on the border between Málaga and Cádiz, Cortes de la Frontera is a charming town in the Serranía de Ronda, with panoramic views of the Guadiaro River. This municipality is famous for having Spain’s largest cork oak forest.
Surrounded by stunning mountainous landscapes and a natural environment of great beauty, this picturesque inland town offers visitors a perfect blend of history, culture, and nature.
To discover everything Cortes de la Frontera has to offer, travelers can hire a sports car in Malaga to move around without relying on public transportation.
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History of Cortes de la Frontera
Cortes de la Frontera has a rich history marked by the crossing and succession of various civilizations. Its origins date back to the time of the Phoenicians around the 12th century B.C., but it later saw Greeks, Romans, and Arabs pass through its lands, leading to what it is today.
The Romans had a significant influence on this town, with present-day remnants of their civilization such as the settlement of Saepona and the ruins of Cortes el Viejo.
During the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, the town was an important fortress on the border between the Christian kingdoms and the territories under Muslim rule.
In the 15th century, Cortes de la Frontera was conquered by Christian troops during the Reconquista and became a strategic town in the defense of the border between the Kingdom of Granada and the Crown of Castile. This privileged geographical position gave Cortes de la Frontera a prominent role in contemporary history.
What to See and Do in Cortes de la Frontera
Cortes de la Frontera has several points of interest that are worth visiting as they reflect its history and traditions. One of the aspects that best defines its inhabitants is the bullfighting culture, represented in its bullring, but there are also other noteworthy elements and structures in this town.
What to See in Cortes de la Frontera
The Cortes de la Frontera Bullring is the second-largest in the Serranía de Ronda. Inaugurated in 1894, it is known for its cattle activity and its deep-rooted bullfighting tradition. With a diameter of 30 meters, it is a highly emblematic place in this town.
Valdenebros House and Chapel
This house, also known as the “house of the little teats,” is now a private residence. It belonged to a military figure who acquired a noble title for his merits in war. The façade stands out for its heraldic shield and crest. In the past, an underground passage connected this house to the church.
The Stone House is one of the most unique and historically valuable monuments in Cortes. Its origins date back to the Paleochristian period, and it is believed to have been used as a covert place of worship for Christians living under Islamic rule.
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
Constructed in the late 18th century, the parish church of Our Lady of the Rosary is an important landmark in Cortes de la Frontera. Its architecture and design are worth admiring and reflect the religious history of the town.
The Town Hall is a building constructed in 1784 by order of King Carlos III. It stands out for its façade featuring ten arches and is made of sandstone materials. It serves as the administrative center of the town and reflects a part of its history and local government.
Four Spouts Fountain
The old fountain of Cortes de la Frontera is located at the beginning of Calle Real. It is notable for its ornate front wall with Baroque motifs and a belfry with an image of the Virgin of the Rosary. The four bronze spouts protrude from the decorative tiles representing the town’s coat of arms.
Nature and Hiking
Cortes de la Frontera is a perfect destination for nature lovers and hikers, situated between two prominent natural parks: the Los Alcornocales Natural Park and the Sierra de Grazalema. The surroundings offer numerous routes and trails to discover the beauty of its natural environment.
River Guadiaro Bridges Route
This beautiful circular route is suitable for all ages, easy, and flat, along the banks of the river. It starts at Bar La Parra, following the first part of the route along Cañada Real Tesoro, between the Guadiaro River and the train line, passing by rural houses and fruit orchards.
After a slight ascent, you can enjoy wonderful views of the river’s orchards. Next, you cross the Puente de las Pepas and continue along a trail by the river.
Shortly after, you’ll join the Great Route of the Serranía de Ronda, with views of Cortes and the surrounding mountains. Upon reaching the road, you’ll cross the river again to return to the starting point.
- Estimated Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Kilometers: 5.99 km
- Elevation Gain: 50 m
- Approximate Location: Cañada Real Tesoro
- Difficulty: Easy
Castaño Santo Trail
This linear trail leads to the charming Laguna de la Greera, named after a land landslide that formed its basin. Starting the route in Cortes de la Frontera towards Ubrique, near the Garganta de Pulga stream, you’ll ascend along a forest track amidst oaks, cork oaks, and shrubs.
After approximately 1.1 km, the trail veers to the right and passes beautiful sandstone rock formations. You’ll cross a stream that feeds the lagoon and encounter typical subtropical forest vegetation.
- Estimated Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
- Kilometers: 4.5 km
- Elevation Gain: 166 m
- Approximate Location: Los Alcornocales Natural Park
- Difficulty: Moderate
Cabrero’s Leap Trail
The Cabrero’s Leap Trail, also known as the Camino del Puerto de Don Fernando, follows the ancient communication route between Benaocaz and Grazalema. It begins in Benaocaz, at the northern boundary of the town.
The limestone landscape of these mountains features chasms, caves, and the Salto del Cabrero gorge, with vertical walls over 80 meters high. Its name comes from a legend in which a goat herder managed to jump from one peak to another in the gorge.
From the heights, you can appreciate the Sierra de la Silla and the Los Alcornocales Natural Park. Various birds, including birds of prey, nest in the crevices of the walls.
- Estimated Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Kilometers: 8.81 km
- Elevation Gain: 348 m
- Approximate Location: Puerto de Don Fernando
- Difficulty: Moderate to high
Popular Festivals and Gastronomy
Cortes de la Frontera is also known for its popular festivals, which reflect the tradition and folklore of the region. Another characteristic feature of the border town is its cuisine, with typical dishes to suit all tastes.
Popular Festivals in Cortes de la Frontera
The festivals in Cortes de la Frontera take place throughout the year. Between February and April, the Carnival and Holy Week celebrations, which are highly popular in Andalusia, occur.
However, the arrival of summer marks the time when the town’s main festivities take place. In June and July, some of the most well-known pilgrimages in the municipality occur, specifically those of the Virgin of the Rosary and the Horse Pilgrimage.
Furthermore, in August, one of the most important celebrations takes place: the Fair and Patron Saint Festivities in honor of San Sebastián. During these days, the town is filled with color with parades, music, dances, and activities for all ages.
Among the programs offered to visitors and locals each year, you should not miss the traditional release of young bulls in the streets of the town, better known as the “Toro del Aguardiente” (Aguardiente Bull).
Typical Dishes of Cortes de la Frontera
Regarding gastronomy, Cortes de la Frontera offers a wide variety of typical dishes that you shouldn’t miss. Local specialties include cortijera soup, serrano gazpacho, and garlic goat.
Furthermore, the area is famous for its products derived from Iberian pork, such as ham and sausages, which are produced in a traditional and artisanal manner. In terms of pastries, highlights include roscones (ring-shaped cakes), quince compote, and chicharrones cake.
How to Get to Cortes de la Frontera
As it is an inland town, public transport connections are limited, so the easiest way to visit Cortes de la Frontera is by using your own vehicle. However, there are some connections that will allow you to reach it from the capital or other nearby municipalities.
How to Get There by Public Transport
To reach Cortes de la Frontera from Malaga capital, you can find train connections, although the routes are limited. There are also some bus connections, although they are not direct.
You can also take a train or bus from Ronda, making it a good option for a trip where you can visit several tourist destinations in the interior of Malaga.
How to Get There by Car
If you choose to arrive by car, Cortes de la Frontera is well-connected by road. From Malaga, you should take the A-357 motorway towards Ronda and then continue on the A-367 until you reach Cortes de la Frontera.
The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, depending on traffic and road conditions.
Cortes de la Frontera Map
The following map shows the main tourist points of interest in Cortes de la Frontera mentioned in this post so that you can plan your visit to this town comfortably and without missing any details.