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Cortijo Las Monjas

Crta. Riogordo-Alfarnatejo




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El Cortijo

The Cortijo is situated in Málaga Province, in the highest part of the Axarquia, surrounded by rugged steep hills like the Sierra de Enmedio and los altos de Doña Ana y Gomer, and the Sabar river gorge.   These give us the possibility of exploring this natural beautiful countryside on foot or by mountain bike.

This area is where the coastal area and mountains meet, with easy access from the Mediterranean motorway, the A7, from Vélez-Málaga and by the A-45 or N331 from Antequera, via Casabermeja.

Sheltered by the backdrop of its mountains, the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea and the countless hours of sunshine, our region has a Mediterranean climate, the best definition of which is to say that there are no extremes between summer and winter.

In the surrounding area we find places of great beauty and splendour that invite us to enjoy a natural countryside that captivates the senses and in which we can find springs with curative properties, used since ancient times, like those of Baños de Vilo; beautiful architectural structures which keep the taste of times gone by; large tracts of cultivated almond and olive groves, shaded by mountains, thick with oak, thyme, dwarf oaks and Mediterranean woods, where hares, rabbits, foxes, partridges and wild boar live together: a spectacle of colour where a coppery green is mixed with the white of the houses and cortijos.

The Axarquía, Costa del Sol

The area of the Axarquía is situated in the most easterly part of Málaga Province.  In its villages the visitor can find mountain ranges, mountains, hillsides, steep cliffs and long beaches.  One can enjoy the local cuisine and a magnificent cultural and artistic heritage.
To get to know the Axarquía, we suggest five scenic routes, which wander through different villages in this area:

Mudéjar Route: Arenas – Archez – Salares - Sedella  -
Canillas de Aceituno

(The word Mudéjar is a Medieval Spanish corruption of an Arabic word meaning “domesticated”, in reference to the Muslims who submitted to the rule of the Christian kings)
The Arabic roots of the Axarquía are evident in these authentic villages in the Mudéjar route, dotted with minarets, arches and other details which give this route its charm.
Local Festivals: Andalusian Arab Festival in Salares in September
Festival of the Mule in Arenas in October

Route of the Sun and Avocado: Rincón de la Victoria – Macharaviaya – Vélez-Málaga – Benomocarra, Iznate - Bernamargosa.

The theme of this route is the sub-tropical fruits (mangos, papayas, custard apples and especially avocados) which, together with the magnificent sun, can be enjoyed along the coast.  The crop diversity is due to the exceptional micro-climate created by the mountain ranges of the Parque Natural de las Sierras Tejeda, Alhama and Almijara.
Local Festivals: Country Fair in Benamargosa in April.
Living Nativity in Almayate in December.

Route of the Sun and Wine: Algarrobo – Sayalonga – Competa – Canillas de Albaida – Torrox – Nerja - Frigiliana

Along with a beautiful coastline of sandy beaches, dotted with cliffs and coves, are hillsides loaded with vineyards, white cortijos and farmhouses, where sweet wine is made, famous since Roman times.  Another speciality along this route is the Loquat, or Medlar fruit, Sayalonga dedicating a festival to this precious fruit – ‘Loquat Day’ is in May.  In Nerja, the ‘Palaeolithic Cathedral’ caves warrant a special mention and near them ‘Los Acatilados de Maro’, (the cliffs of Maro).  A delicious ‘Miel de Caña’ (sugar-cane honey) is produced in Frigiliana.
Local Festivals: Night of Wine in Competa in August.
Three Cultures Festival in Frigiliana in August
Festival of the ‘Migas’ in Torrox in December.  (Migas are breadcrumbs, fried in oil, mixed with chopped sausages and other dried meats.)

Route of Oil and Mountains: Riogordo – Colmenar – Alfarnate – Alfarnatejo – Periana – Alcaucin – La Viñuela

Between the exuberant beauty of the mountain ranges which crown the Axarquia, this route has its own strong personality which offers a unique landscape of mountains dominated by the green of the olive trees and grasses.  Olives of the variety ‘verdial y hojiblanca’ give birth to one of the best oils in the world, full of flavour, made in traditional mills, where oil is produced by a completely natural method.  Every year, in April, Periana celebrates ‘El dia de Aceite Verdial’ (Verdial Oil Day).
Cuisine is one of the strengths of this route.  Along with olive oil, you can taste the sausages, cold cuts and goats’ cheese of Colmenar, the peaches of Periana, ‘pan romano’ from Alcaucin, the snails and ‘roscos’ of Riogordo, the gazpacho (cold soup) of Alfarnatejo and the cherries of Alfarnate. 
At Lake Viñuela you can enjoy many tourist activities.
During Holy Week you can enjoy ‘El Paso de Riogordo’, a representation of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of
Jesus Christ, an event declared as of National Touristic Interest.
Local Events: Dia de Caracol (Snail Day) in May in Riogordo
Gazpacho Festival in Alfarnatejo on the first Saturday in August.
Fiesta del Agua (Water Festival) in Alcaucin in August
Fiesta del Mosto y la Chacina (Festival of wine must and dried meats) in Colmenar in December.

Route of the Raisin: Totalan – Comares – Cutar – El Borge – Almachar – Moclinejo

This route has legends of bandits, splendid views and small, charming villages which, since the time of the Arabs, produce raisins which are considered the best in the world.  It is worth mentioning the marked development of this product and the festivals to fête it, like the Fiesta de Ajoblanco (cold garlic and almond soup) in Almachar in September, Fiesta de los viñeros (Festival of the vineyards) in Moclinejo or the Fiesta de la pasa de El Borge in September.
In this area the most famous sweet wine ‘moscatel’ is made.  You can taste it in the wine cellars of Almachar and Moclinejo.
In folklore there is a reference to the ‘verdiales’ (type of olives) of Comares.
Local Events: In Cutar, Monfi Festival is celebrated in October, where Andalusian culture takes centre stage, inviting those taking part to wear the clothing of that era and in Totalan the Festival of the ‘Chanfaina’, a typical dish of this village, takes place in November.

Other Places of Interest

From Cortijo las Monjas:-

4 km – the old spa Baños de Vilo, known for its source of sulphurous waters which are very good for the skin
6 km – Alfarnatejo - XVIII Century church of Santo Cristo de Cabrilla, Fuente del Conejo (Rabbit Fountain),
Paraje El Torcal
8 km – Periana - Oil Museum in the Mondron Cooperative, Old Municipal Laundry, The Fountain, The Church of San Isidro Labrador, El Alambique (old liquor still)
8 km – Riogordo - as well as looking at its network of streets and 18th and 19th century buildings of Arabic origin, there are curious vaulted niches above the lintels of the doors, some of them dating from the 16th century.  Also from the 16th century is La Iglesia de Ntra Sra de Gracia (Church of Our Lady of Grace).  The most highly recommended visit is to the Museo de Artes Populares (Folk Art Museum), the entrance to which is free for visitors and which recreates traditional elements of life and work of the people of the village in times gone by.  Built on an old oil mill, on entering we find a patio with an entrance to the oil mill, wine cellars with large 16th century earthenware jars, oil mills and a flour mill.  On the first floor there is a chapel, with scenes depicting ‘El Paso de Riogordo’ (the Riogordo Passion Play), a bedroom and kitchen from the 19th century, showing basics from daily life, like an old sewing machine, various radio appliances and all types of utensils.
9 km – Alfarnate – here you can visit La Venta de Alfarnate, considered the oldest country inn in Andalusia, now converted into a restaurant where you can sample typical dishes from the area.  Furthermore there is a small museum divided up into rooms, with portraits of outlaws, blunderbusses and other traditional items.  It is believed that the village grew up around this inn because it was a stopping off point for travellers going from the coast inland and where they needed a change of horses.  Numbered among its clientele are King Alfonso XIII and the outlaws Jose Maria El Tempranilla and Luis Candelas, who, according to legend, stole some royal mail, was later detained and imprisoned in the same inn.  You can also visit La Ermita de Monsalud the (16th century Chapel of Monsalud), which is found in the upper part of the village.  The most important architectural work of the village is La Iglesia de Santa Ana (St Ana’s Church) with its Mudejar tower.
20 km – the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama.
31 km – Vélez-Málaga – of note here are the Ermita de Ntra Sra de los Remedios (the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies), Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Encarnacion (Church of St Mary of the Incarnation), el Teatro de Carmen (Carmen’s Theatre), la Torre del Homenaje (the Tower of Homage), el Palacio de los Marqueses de Beniel (the Palace of the Marquises of Beniel) and the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (the Church of St John the Baptist), designated of ‘Cultural Interest’.
36 km – Torre del Mar beach
40 km – Málaga – in the provincial capital, obligatory visits include: La Alcazaba (Moorish fortress), the Picasso museum, the Cathedral, the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (the Museum of Arts and Traditional Customs) and the Jardin Botanico-Historico, La Concepcion (La Concepcion Botanic and Historic Gardens).
45 km – Alhama de Granada – Balñeario (spa), Los Tajos (cliffs), Los Molinos (windmills), Las Mazmorras (dungeons), Puente Romano (Roman bridge)
47 km – Torcal de Antequera - situated near Antequera, in Málaga Province, famous for its whimsical limestone rock formations.
50 km – Nerja – coastal village, where you can visit the beach and also the cliffs of Maro and Cerro Gordo, el Balcon de Europa and the Nerja caves

66 km – La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra – a lagoon situated near Antequera, in Fuente de Piedra.  It is a natural area which houses the largest colony of pink flamingos in the Iberian Peninsula and the second most important in Europe.
90 km – Granada La Alhambra (Moorish Palace), Generalife (Moorish Gardens), El Barrio de Albaicin, (the old Muslim quarter), the Museo Parque de las Ciencas (the Science Park Museum), the Cathedral.
133 km – Ronda - one of the oldest cities of Spain, it has a rich, traditional culture.
153 km – Cordoba – worthy of note here are La Mezquita (the Mosque) and the archaeological site of Medina Azahara, the Roman Temple and the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (Palace of the Christian Kings)
169 km – Jaen – don’t miss the Cazorla Nature Reserve, Segura and Las Villas, Santa Catalina Castle and the Cathedral of La Magdalena.
200 km – Seville – capital of Andalusia, with an important artistic and monumental heritage, highlighting as examples La Plaza de Toros, Museo de la Real Maestranza, la Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) el Parque Maria Luisa, the Cathedral, the Giralda (at one time a minaret, now part of the cathedral) and el Alcazar (a royal palace, originally a Moorish fortress)
248 km – Almeria – of note in this area are el Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata – Nijar, (the Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve),
el Desierto de Tabernas and la Alcazaba (Arabic fortress)
280 km – Cadiz
300 km – Huelva – in this area we must not leave without visiting the Parque Natural de Doñana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO,  el Parque Minero de Rio Tinto (the Rio Tinto Mining Park) and its beaches, white sands framed by green pines.