Alfarnate is one of the most spectacular of the Axarquia’s villages. Sitting high above the rest of the region, surrounded by dramatically beautiful scenery and with a long history of banditry, it has a remote and romantic feel that’s hard not to be won over by.
Where is Alfarnate?
Alfarnate is located to the north of the Axarquia, very close to the province of Granada. While it’s believed that Comares is the highest town of the Axarquia, because of its hilltop location and jaw-dropping views, Alfarnate in fact claims that prize. With its streets more than 900m above the sea level it’s officially not only the highest in the region, but in the whole of Malaga province.
A Short History…
Alfarnate was founded by the Moors and called “Al-farnat” – which means flour mill – because the area used to have fields upon fields of wheat. This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the first reference of Alfarnate that we have is from the 10th century, stating it was an area that produced a lot of flour. It was conquered by the Christians in 1487 and during the 18th and 19th centuries it was a very important refuge by the region’s bandoleros (bandits).
What is There to Do?
Divided in two parts and separated by the river Sabar and surrounded by beautiful mountains, the village itself is small and can be easily visited in just an hour. We’d recommend a visit to Santa Ana church, built during the 16th century in the Mudejar architectural style. Most of the churches in the Axarquia display the Mudejar style, particularly in their towers.
Also worth a visit is the Hermitage of the Virgin Monsalud, the patron saint of Alfarnate, which was also built during the 16th century. Don’t miss the town hall (Ayuntamiento) of Alfarnate, it’s the town hall in the oldest building in the province of Malaga, also stretching back to the 16th century.
A visit to the neighbouring village of Alfarnatejo is a must, and is also easily achievable in a day. The nearby hiking is superb. This area is called the ‘Pyrenees of Andalucia’, and is often likened to the north of Spain. It’s surprising, as it’s less than an hour from the Mediterranean coast. This kind of contrast is what makes the Axarquia such an incredible place.
Where to Eat – Restaurants
If you go to Alfarnate you have to eat at the Venta de Alfarnate restaurant. The oldest inn in Andalucia, it’s a building built in the 13th century that nowadays is called the Museo del Bandolero (Bandits’ Museum). Inside it’s decorated as an old inn, with antiques and pictures that makes it an unforgettable experience. We recommend you try the most popular dish “Huevos a lo bestia” with fried breadcrumbs, chorizo, pork fillet, blood sausage and fresh orange. It’s a very big dish – we recommend that you share it!
There are no hotels in Alfarnate, just holiday rental houses. Our two favourites are Cortijo Pulgarin Bajo and Casa Rural La Paharilla. La Paharilla has great views, a location not far from the town centre and a big garden. The house is no frills, has four rooms and is basic but perfectly comfortable. Cortijo Pulgarin Bajo is much more charming, has three houses and a communal swimming pool.
Fiestas & Ferias
Dia de la Cereza (Cherry Day)
They celebrate the harvest of the most popular product in Alfarnate – the cherry – with this fiesta. The fiesta takes place at the end of June, always on a Saturday and starts at 11.00hrs. What should you expect? Gazpacho (with local cherries) and salmorejo are given out for free. There are stands where local products are for sale, as well as live music and bands playing the whole day. It’s a perfect day to visit this lovely village.
Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos (Moors & Christians Fiesta)
This festival is celebrated on the closest Saturday to the 12th September. A lot of locals dressed in 15th-century clothes make a representation of the battle between the Moors and the Christians. There’s also a market with artisan products. The representation takes place in front of the Santa Ana Church around 18.00hrs.
We recommend you visit Alfarnate during its fiestas or during the cherry tree blossom in April – the landscape is simply beautiful. Get the hiking boots on and go exploring and finish with a hearty lunch at Venta de Alfarnate.
Town Hall contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 952 759 055.
About the Author
Cipriano from Oletrips –
“I would love to show you our beautiful area and help you with anything you need during your holidays in our beautiful and historic Axarquia.”
With many years working as a tour guide (in Spanish-English/German/Italian) Cipriano is capable of communicating fluently his passion for Andalucia and the Axarquia. From Velez-Malaga, he is enormously enthusiastic about the heritage of the Axarquia and offers expert insight into the whole area.
What to expect from an Oletrip? These guided tours offer things that aren’t easily available to the general public, for instance: a day goat herding, a local family’s beautiful olive farm with tasting or a deep historical trail through the romantic mountain villages. This access-all-areas approach is Oletrip’s way of allowing visitors to experience the 1000 years of interesting culture the Axarquia has to offer. Oletrips’ noble mission is to promote responsible tourism.
To learn, see and taste more of Alfarnate, join Oletrips on their Olive Oil and Mountain Route Tour.