Off the tourist trail and far from the crowds, the Alto Genal Valley, in southern Spain near the touristy town of Ronda, is a secret. Not even Condé Nast has discovered it!
The Alto Genal Valley is a walker´s paradise as the seven pueblos blancos are interconnected with lovely, quiet trails, created for the local farmers and not specifically for walkers. In fact most of our guests never encounter another person when walking between the villages.
Whilst there are seven little white mountain villages perched on the hillsides, it is interesting to note that, before the Inquisition, there were as many as 21. Some people claim that some were Jewish, some Arab and some Christian whilst other people say that all the religions existing in mutual acceptance and in peace.
Birthplace of Fray Leopoldo (1864-1956), a Capuchin monk famous for his miracles.
Home to El Barbara, notorious bandit killed in a shootout in 1851.
The Catedral de la Serrania was built to house three times the population that has ever lived in the village.
At 846 metres, Cartajima is the highest village in Malaga province.
More people processed by the Inquisition than in any other village for shaving and washing.
There´s a Moorish treasure left by the retreating Arabs and yet to be found. They also say there is a Roman necropolis. There isn´t. It was an early confusion with Cartama that has been repeated in every subsequent guidebook.
Hemingway called it “a white swan on a pool of hope”. Nobody quite knows what he meant so if you have any ideas do let us know!
In Arabic, the name means “pleasant place”
There is a restaurant in the village with fantastic views from the terrace. Worth visiting!
Birthplace of the Rio Genal , the river that gives its name to the valley.
After the reconquest, the land was parcelled off equally so each family had enough. This stab at egalitarianism did not last long.
The only village with a Latin rather than Arabic name.
It´s said that a grandparent of Antonio Banderas was from here. I invited the famous star to come and have coffee with the Cartajima Asociacion de Mujeres but he didn´t come.
Famous for the 18th century tin plate factory.
The only white village that is blue!
They have the tiniest Virgen, the size of a doll.
Look out for a large and rare pinsapo pine in the village.
18th century doors abound
Also look for a Moorish arch connecting two buildings.
King Wamba, a Visigoth, lived here before ascending the throne.
The most remote of the villages but once on the main route from coast to Ronda. They say that the people of Pujerra would come to Cartajima to market whilst the Cartajima folk went to Ronda, hence they were more sophisticated. There is still an aura of more ancient times in Pujerra.
Rare 2nd century bracaris, tiles with Christian symbols were found here. I went searching for them when I first heard about them but sadly they had already been nicked by some reprobate.