Gaucín is a village located in the province of Malaga, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in the south of Spain. This beautiful village is located in the foothills of the Sierra del Hacho, in the heart of the Serranía de Ronda, which makes it a privileged place to enjoy nature and tranquillity.
This white village is a magical and special place, full of charm and personality. It also has a wide range of accommodation, from rural houses to boutique hotels, which guarantee a comfortable and welcoming stay. If you are looking for a different destination in the south of Spain, read on!
History of Gaucín
Over the centuries, Gaucín has witnessed numerous historical events and has left a cultural and heritage legacy that can be seen in its streets and monuments.
The first inhabitants of the region were the Romans, who founded a colony nearby. However, the history of the village as we know it today begins in the Muslim period, when the village of “Sair Guazan” was built, which would give its name to the present Gaucín.
They built a mighty fortress (Castillo del Águila) on a nearby crag, hence the name given to it, which translated would be something similar to “strong rock”. After the Reconquest, the village was repopulated by Christians and became an important stronghold during the wars with the Nasrid kingdoms of Granada.
What to see and do in Gaucín
Gaucín is a village that invites you to wander through its narrow cobbled streets and enjoy its typical Andalusian architecture. One of the most outstanding monuments is the Castillo del Águila, an impressive 10th century Moorish fortress perched atop a hill with spectacular views of the village and the mountains.
This impregnable bastion was the object of numerous assaults, considered one of the most difficult fortresses to besiege throughout the Middle Ages. The well-known Christian knight Guzmán El Bueno fell before its walls, trying to conquer the imposing rock.
Another of Gaucín’s highlights is the church of San Juan Bautista, built in the 16th century on the site of a former mosque. The church houses an interesting collection of sacred art and is known for its beautiful frescoes and paintings.
Next to the Castillo del Águila you will also find the Ermita del Santo Niño (Chapel of the Holy Child). This is where the religious carving was kept which, according to legend, was given to the town by Saint John of God as a gift, provoked by an apparition, and which was destroyed during the Napoleonic invasions.
Gaucín is an ideal place for nature lovers and hikers, as it is located at the crossroads between numerous nature reserves, such as the Alcornocales Nature Reserve and the Sierra Bermeja Nature Reserve.
These natural parks are home to species such as the Iberian imperial eagle, roe deer, Egyptian vultures, griffon vultures and the payoya goat, among others. In terms of flora, the cork oak groves of the Natural Park of the same name are a natural space with the magic of a forest as old as this one.
In addition, in the surroundings of Gaucín you will also find the Sierra Crestellina, right next to Casares, an area that is home to a multitude of native animal species, such as the mountain goat, owls, wild boar and foxes.
If you are looking for extreme activities, the Río Verde Canyon is the ideal setting for canyoning. Not enough? Try paragliding or hang gliding, offered by various agencies in the area. Too much action for you? You can always go river fishing in the Genal river.
Closer to the village you can find shorter, more accessible hiking trails, such as the route up to the Asalto del Cura viewpoint. You can also visit the Cañón de las Buitreras Natural Monument, right on the border with Cádiz.
Other popular hiking routes are the one that goes from the village to the nearby village of Benarrabá, through which the Gran Senda de Málaga passes, or the Mirador de África and the Mirador del Genal, which offer spectacular views of the whole region and you can even see the African continent on clear days.
Popular festivals and gastronomy
In Gaucín, as in all Andalusian villages, parties and celebrations are a fundamental part of the local culture and tradition. One of the most important fiestas is the Feria de la Virgen de las Nieves, which is held in August and attracts numerous visitors from all over the region, offering dance competitions, music concerts, children’s attractions and a wide variety of traditional food and drink.
A very characteristic festivity is the Toma de Gaucín, which recreates the occupation of the town and its castle by Napoleonic troops. On the other hand, if you visit on the day of San Juan you can accompany the pilgrimage to the Asalto del Cura, mentioned above, in a great festive atmosphere.
As for gastronomy, Gaucín is known for its traditional dishes, such as orange gazpacho, in summer, and migas or chivo al ajillo, in winter. You may ask yourself, am I not going to be able to try anything sweet? Gaucín has for you the “roscos de azúcar” and, above all, the “suspiros“, a sweet that dates back to the Romans. It is made like meringues, with egg, sugar and lemon zest.
However, the product of the village and the whole region between Marbella and Ronda that you cannot leave without trying is the payoya goat’s cheese (or “payoyo cheese”) produced with the milk of this native goat.
How to get to Gaucín
Gaucín is a village located about 45 kilometres from the city of Ronda and about 130 kilometres from the city of Málaga. Below are the different options for getting to the village:
How to get there by train
The best alternative for getting there by public transport is by train. From Malaga train station you can take a train to Antequera, from where there are normally 3 daily routes to Gaucín.
The total journey time is approximately 4 hours, and the cost is around 25 euros, which does not make it the cheapest or the most comfortable option. There are also bus routes, but these are very limited and involve transfers.
How to get there by car
The quickest and most comfortable way to get to Gaucín is by car. From Malaga, you can take the A-7 road towards Algeciras, and just outside Manilva, take exit 142 towards Gaucín on the A-377 road. The route is spectacular, as it crosses the nearby sierras and offers breathtaking views of the landscape.
Another option is to hire a car with all inclusive from Malaga airport and drive the route at your own pace. Car hire is a popular option for tourists visiting the area, as it allows for greater flexibility when planning to travel around the various mountain villages in the area.
Map of Gaucín
Below is a map of Gaucín where you can locate the main points of tourist interest in and around the village. On the map you can see the most outstanding monuments and places in the village, as well as some of the most popular hiking routes in the area.
Best time of year to visit: from February to June.
Not to be missed: Visit as much of the natural environment surrounding Gaucín as possible.
Places to eat nearby: In the village itself there are several options for eating, but if you are going on a hiking route we recommend a detour and a stop at the traditional roadside restaurants Ventorro Las Corchas and Venta Solera.
For more information about the town you can consult the website of the Gaucín Town Hall: https://www.gaucin.es/