Spectacular changes in landscape, a lake surrounded by mountains and charming hilltop towns suspended over the Mediterranean.
Amidst the exuberant beauty of the ranges crowning the Axarquía region, the towns of Riogordo, Colmenar, Alfarnate, Alfarnatejo, Periana, Alcaucín and La Viñuela make up a route with a strong personality which offers a unique mountainous landscape with a predominance of the green of olive groves and pasture; towns with easy access from Malaga via the A-5 dual carriageway or, once in the Azarquía Region, via the A-356.
The remains of large millstones and enormous orzas (ceramic storage jars) which have been found are testimony to the ancient tradition of olive oil production in the zone, the main protagonist of the traditional, rich and healthy Mediterranean diet. The verdial and hojiblanca olive varieties are used to make the best oils in the world, prepared in traditional mills to produce an entirely natural product. This oil is characterised by its fruity, very sweet flavour which is very pleasing to the palate.
The Oil and Mountains Route offers multiple ways of enjoying all the culture which has developed around this liquid gold: A visit to the Periana Oil Museum in Mondrón or the former mill of the Cortijo de Pulgarín Bajo in Alfarnatejo, or witnessing the olive harvest which begins in December.
The gastronomy is one of the key features of this route. Together with the olive oil, other possibilities include the cold meats and sausages locally made in Colmenar, the famous peaches and goat’s cheese in Periana, the Roman bread in Alcaucín, the snails and roscos de aceite (olive oil cakes) in Riogordo and the gazpacho (cold tomato soup) of Alfarnatejo.
But gastronomy is not the only attraction of interest on this route: The La Viñuela Reservoir assumes a role which is becoming more and more appreciated in terms of rural and active tourism, being one of the zones with the greatest demand among enthusiasts of direct contact with rural life and nature. Archaeological remains, legends of bandits, popular traditions and a profound peace and tranquility complete the romantic setting offered by this route.
Highlights of the route:
- Practice all kinds of activities in the surroundings of the La Viñuela Reservoir, whether active tourism (canoeing, hiking, cycling, horse riding) and enjoy the good life in its restaurants and rural hotels in unique surroundings, highlights being the hotel La Viñuela and the rural houses of Huétor.
- In Alcaucín, either before or after climbing La Maroma, enjoy the wildlife in the Alcázar Recreational Area
- Visit the Baños de Vilo (Vilo Baths) in Periana, and its renowned festivals dedicated to olive oil and peaches
- Go back in time in the Riogordo Ethnographic Museum and witness the traditional Procession
- Savour the cured meats and other traditionally prepared meat products in Colmenar, in particular during the Festival of Mosto (Must) and Chacinas (Cured Meats) in December