Alhaurin el Grande

Travel Guide Europe Spain Andalusia Alhaurin el Grande

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Introduction

Alhaurín el Grande is a town in Malaga province with about 25,000 inhabitants of which almost 5% are foreigners. The town is not overly touristic like the Costa del Sol. So if you would rather get to know Malaga province than lie on the beach, basing yourself in Alhaurin el Grande is not a bad choice. Nearby are similar sized towns of Coín and Cártama. The distance from Malaga city is 29 kilometres and from Marbella 18 kilometres. It is a 20 minutes’ drive to the coast at Fuengirola by a winding mountain road.
Alhaurin el Grande lies at 325 metres above sea level at the foot of the mountain range Sierra de Mijas which separates it from the coast. The fields around the town were irrigated since ancient times by two rivers and their tributaries running off the range, viz. the Rio Fahala and the Arroyo Blas Gonzales.
A main thoroughfare of the town is named after the self-made hispanist Gerald Brenan (1894-1987). He lived his later years from 1968 in Alhaurin el Grande. His book "The Spanish Labyrinth" is essential reading for those who would better understand the history of Spain leading up to the civil war.

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History

Archaeological discoveries in the Huertas Altas and near the Casa Forestal prove that the hillside south-east of Alhaurin el Grande town was already inhabited in the neolithic age. The Phoenicians who founded Malaga in the 12th and 11th century B.C. undoubtedly developed agriculture, mining and trade in the Alhaurín area. (The Minos Llanos de la Plata – silver mines east of town - were operative until the 1960ies.) Subsequently the Greeks introduced the cultivation of olives and vines.
More archaeological evidence has been found from the Roman period. They established settlements in the fertile valley of Dehesa Baja as well as on the northern slope of the Sierra de Mijas. Three Roman columns unearthed north of town are on display in front of the town hall.

  • It was the Moors who gave the town its name Alhaurín, meaning “Garden of Allah”. They also built a fort on a hilltop Torres de Fahala which was destroyed during the Peninsular War (1808-1814), when the French occupied the town. A piece of remaining masonry can be visited.

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Sights and Activities

In town

Cobertizo Gate - The Arco del Cobertizo is one of the oldest monuments of Alhaurin el Grande town, though is does not look old because it was renovated in 1997. Dating from the XIIth century it is supposed to have given access to the walled muslim city. Or the other way round, it gave the citizens access to the zoco or market place, where agricultural products and livestock were traded. Location: Calle Altillo. The gate is somewhat hidden behind the church Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion, which is located at the Plaza Baja.

  • Lucena Fountain - The Fuente Lucena is thought to have been in use since the Roman era. At that time it surely did not have twelve spouts (symbolizing the twelve apostles?) and a cross as centrepiece. The present appearance of the fountain dates from the beginning of the 20th century. It is also referred to as the Fountain of the Twelve Spouts (Fuente de los Doce Caños). Location: At the spot where Calle Nueva (New Street) becomes Carretera Coín (Coin Road).
  • Roman Columns - At the square in front of the town hall there are three Roman columns, which were discovered close by at the Fuente del Sol.
  • Bread Museum “El Colmenero” - The Museo del Pan “El Colmenero” belongs to a bread and pastry business since 1900. Address: Calle Cruz 9, in centre of town. Website in Spanish
  • Antonio Gala´s Museum House “La Baltasara¨ - Antonio Gala is a Spanish poet and writer. In 2015 he received the annual poetry prize of the municipality of Alhuarin el Grande. Born in 1930, he lives in Cordoba. But he also had a summer residence in Alhaurin el Grande, a mansion dating back to the 18th century. He gave the estate the name La Baltasara, after an actress from the Spanish Golden Age. It is now owned by the municipality of Alhaurin el Grande, and since July 2021 tickets for a visit can be purchased online. Address: Partida Fahala 8 D (Cuesta de los Valientes S/N), at the western border of town. The website is in Spanish.
  • Olive Oil Museum - Those interested in the olive oil industry can visit Aceites Molisur (since 2003). They have both the most modern machinery for pressing the oil from the olives as well as an animal-powered mill from 1910 still in operation. A 1,5 hour guided tour through the museum and the factory, including an oil-tasting session, costs € 12. Address: Carretera Coín-Churriana (A-404) km 5 (facing La Rosa Industrial Park).
  • Agriculture Museum - Alhaurin en Grande has had a Food Market (Mercado de Abastos) since 1787. At its present location it has become one of the most important wholesale agricultural products markets in Malaga province and the only one in the Guadalhorce region. The Museo de la Agricultura is located on the upper floor of the market, over the bar. There are displayed over 200 agricultural implements dating from 1870 to 1960, like plows, jars and esparto grass work. Location: At the crossing of the A-404 and the MA-3304.

Out of town

Castillo de Fahala ruins

Castillo de Fahala ruins

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  • Fahala Castle Ruins - Little remains of the fortress that the Nazari dynasty built on a hill west of Alhaurin el Grande. It was thoroughly destroyed by French bombardments in 1812. Of the buildings that covered most of the 200 m wide hill, only one small piece of wall remains standing until today, and has recently been reinforced to prevent it from toppling over. But when one has found one’s way up the hill, one can appreciate the site chosen by the Moors; they could see the Christian enemy approach from all directions. The fort also servd to store grain that could be milled at the Moorish Watermill. Directions: In Calle Monseñor Romero find the sign to the Molino Morisco and follow the Carretera de los Valientes; at a fork turn left towards the mill. Past the mill proceed on the road encircling the hill behind it. On the other side of the hill find a grassgrown track leading to its top and the remains of the castle.
  • Moorish Watermill - This watermill dating from at least the XVth century is referred to as Molino Morisco de los Corchos, because in its later years (1905-1941) it was used to mill cork, which served as insulation material for the export of grapes. However, for most of its history the mill ground wheat and other cereals. It is located at the confluence of Fahala River and Sanguino Brook, at the foot of the hill where one can visit the remains of Fahala Castle. It is still owned by descendants of the last miller, and the access gate is usually closed. But with some effort one can find one’s way into the precincts following the aqueduct that still feeds water to the mill.
Torre Vigia de Urique

Torre Vigia de Urique

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  • Watch Tower of Urique - The Torre Vigia de Urique dates from the 14th or 15th century. It is one of just two similar remaining towers in Malaga province built by the last emirate. The 13 metres high tower allowed early warning of the approach of enemies and served as refuge for the rural population during an attack. For access to the interior of the tower one needs permission from the town government. Directions: From the A-387 heading south take the turnoff to Finca la Mota, arriving there go left. At 1.3 kilometres from the finca, at a bench with lettering “Camino La Torre 2000” turn right. After 500 metres you reach the tower.
  • Castillo de la Mota - It has visitors approaching Alhaurin el Grande from the south wondering what it is. Don’t believe Google maps saying “historic castle”. The ugly, half-finished tower is of recent construction. It was conceived as a land-mark for an urbanisation project that was abandoned because of the 2008 financial crisis. From the top one has a fabulous view of the surrounding area. But beware! You enter the building at your own risk. Stairs are broken, railings are missing, roof beams may fall down. And it can only be reached by rough trails ascending the hill. Location: near the roundabout where A-7053 from Fuengirola connects with A-387 from Mijas Pueblo. Park your car at the Circuito La Mota.
  • Old Fahala River Railway Bridge - From 1913 until 1965 the Compañía de los Ferrocarriles Suburbanos de Málaga operated a line between Malaga and Coin, via Alhaurin el Grande. When leaving town along the main road to Coin, on the left one can discern the bridge where the railway crossed Fahala river. A by-road fords the river under the bridge. For safety reasons access to the bridge is not allowed.
Fuente de Acebuche

Fuente de Acebuche

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  • Acebuche Fountain - The Fuente del Acebuche is a spring on the northern slope of the Sierra the Mijas. It gives water most of the the year, though just a trickle at the end of the dry season. In bygone times it was for the use of cattle, nowadays for wildlife. One can reach it by an easy walk of half an hour through mainly pine forest. The fountain is also the starting point for the trail Sendero Fuente del Acebuche. Directions: At Hotel el Mirador on the A-404 take the Camino Forestal south to the border of the pine forest (36-38-39 N, 04-39-36 W). Here in summer you have to park your car; in winter you are allowed to drive on for another kilometre, choosing left at a T-crossing, then right at a fork.

Hiking

  • The Acebuche Fountain Trail - The Sendero Fuente de Acebuche is a circular trail with starting point at the Acebuche Fountain. It can be walked in two hours. Behind the fountain take the almost level footpath to the west. After half an hour you reach a lookout point at a sharp curve. The trail then leads south, and climbs by way of several hairpin curves up to a cliff that has to be circumvented. At one place a chain has been attached to the rock by which one has to pull oneself up. At the south side of the cliff the trail clings to the steep rock face; someone with fear of heights better not attempt it. But once beyond this part the going is easy again, climbing steadily to the Puerto de la Encina (Oak Pass). At the pass one has a view towards Malaga Bay. A steep and rocky path leads straight down from the pass back to the Acebuche fountain. Directions: see The Acebuche Fountain.
The globe on the Mijas Peak

The globe on the Mijas Peak

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  • The Hike to the Globe - If you find the Acebucha Fountain Trail not challenging enough, you can extend it to reach the summit of the Sierra de Mijas which has a height of 1150 metres above sea level. A steep, rocky trail of 1.7 kilometres leads from the Puerto de la Encina to the globo, a cloud radar tower of the State Meteorological Agency, AEMET. There is not much cover of vegetation, better avoid the climb during the hottest months, July and August!
  • The Jarapalo Arboretum route - The Jarapalo Arboretum is a botanic garden established on the site of a former nursery for reforestation of the Sierra de Mijas. It can be reached from the A-404 near the Lauro Golf Course by a one-hour hike. The route passes by a deserted silver mine Minas Llanos de la Plata. The former casa forestal (forestry house) has been restored and turned into a visitors’ centre where one can learn more about the flora of the Sierra de Mijas. An additional short walk leads to the Jarapalo lookout, with a view south over Mijas Pueblo and the Mediterranean.

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Events and Festivals

Fiesta de San Antón

Fiesta de San Antón

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  • Fiesta de San Antón - The day of San Antón (Saint Anthony) is celebrated all over Spain. He is the patron saint of domestic animals, not to be confused with Saint Anthony of Padua, who is patron saint of finding lost things and people. In Alhaurín el Grande the festivities start at noon with a mass in the Ermita de San Antón. After mass the priest blesses children’s pets. Then the statue of San Antón is brought out of the chapel, and carried around the neighbourhood on the shoulders of a dozen strong men. Last but not least there is a free paella lunch for all participants and bystanders. When: 17 January. Where: Barrio de San Antón (borough of Saint Anthony), in the upper regions of town.
  • Días de la Cruz - The Franciscan Brotherhood of the Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz was founded early in the 16th century. They celebrate the Days of the Cross with processions and musical parades. The houses of its members are adorned with green cloth. When: 1, 2 and 3 May. Where: centre of town.
Lace making

Lace making

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  • Fiesta de la Cachorreña - San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Farmer) is the patron saint of farmers in Spain. He acquired fame for his piety and aid to the poor though he was only a farm labourer himself. He died on May 15, 1130, and was canonized in 1622. Around the date of his demise festivals are celebrated in his honour all over Spain. In Alhaurín el Grande the festival is called Cachorreña Festival, after the free bowl of bread-and-codfish soup the town government offers to all participants. The festival starts at 10am with a mass in honour of San Isidro, after which there is a street market featuring traditional products and crafts. Women from all over Andalusia show off their art of lace making. Then there is music and dance, and long before lunch time of 2pm people start queuing for the bowl of cachorreña. When: On a Sunday closest to May 15th. Where: Near the Ermita de San Isidro on the Carretera de Coín.
  • Feria de Mayo - In the last week of May Alhuarin el Grande celebrates its five-day May Festival. Large tents, carousels and the like are set up in he fair ground (Parque Ferial), an awning of long lengths of cloth is hung over several streets and squares in the old town. Get your free copy of the program of activities at the public library. These include a parade of giants, election of the king and queen of the year, flamenco dancing as well as free-style street dancing, horse dressage show, and children's activities. Most merry-making takes place in the evening, but Thursday is the day of the Feria de Día. From 1pm there is a free lunch in the Municipal Tent (Casita Municipal). Eating, drinking, street dancing in the old town lasts well into the small hours of the night. When: The last week of May, Wednesday through Sunday.
Romeria de Cristo de las Agonias

Romeria de Cristo de las Agonias

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  • Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Gracia - – Our Lady of Grace is the patron saint of Alhaurin el Grande. Each year, three days prior to August 15, her image is carried around town, which is adorned for the purpose. Young men who have come of age that year carry the statue.
  • Romería de Cristo de las Agonías - Litterally a romeria is a pilgrimage to Rome. But in Alhaurin el Grande it is a contest for the most beautifully decorated carriage. The winner has the privilege to carry the icon of Cristo de las Agonias from its Chapel to the picnic area Circuito de la Mota, where all contestants pass a merry day. When: A Sunday in September. Where: starting at the Plaza Baja, ending at the Circuito de la Mota.

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Getting There

By Plane

Malaga International airport is at 30 car minutes from Alhaurin el Grande. At the airport one can:
- hire a car for the duration of one’s stay;
- take a taxi to Alhaurin el Grande for about € 40;
- ride local bus line A from Arrivals until the stop Villa Rosa and there connect with regional bus lines M123 or M230 to Alhaurin el Grande.

By Train

From Maria Zambrano railway station of Malaga city, buses to Alhaurin el Grande leave at Malaga bus station located at a four minutes’ walk (300 m).

By Bus

Apart from Malaga city, Alhaurin el Grande has direct, though not very frequent, bus connections to several towns in the region. Inquire at the bus station.

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Getting Around

By Car

Alhaurín el Grande provides 12 free parkings that you can find on Google maps.

By Taxi

The taxi stand is located at Calle Gerald Brenan 33, facing the municipal library in the town centre. Call one up by phone 952 49 10 10.

By Bus

Alhaurin El Grande is served by an on-demand bus service, Avanza line M-159, which makes a round trip in town and connects with Valle del Guadalhorce Hospital via Villafranco del Guadalhorce. Working days only from 8am to 1:30pm. For reservation call 607 015 649.

By foot

The town centre of Alhaurin el Grande is walkable. A round walk for the main historic sites could take an hour.

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Sleep

You can choose from more than 100 accommodations scattered throughout the town and the surrounding countryside.

  • La Gaditana. Backpackers choice in centre of town.
  • Hotel El Mirador. Andalusian style hotel on the road to Málaga. Close to hiking trails in the Sierra De Mijas.
  • Finca La Mota. Hotel-restaurant in the fertile valley near the Tower of Urique.
  • B & B Casa Don Carlos. Bed and breakfast in Las Lomas, the hills between Alhaurín el Grande and Coín.
  • Finca La Deseada. Comfortable and well-equipped home for a family or a group of up to 10 in Las Lomas, the hills between Alhaurín el Grande and Coín.

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This is version 46. Last edited at 16:40 on Dec 4, 22 by theo1006. 1 article links to this page.

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