Just 5km south of Montejaque sits Benaoján, a picture perfect village that is crisscrossed by a pretty stream that flows into the river Guadiaro. Located in the Sierra de Grazalema mountainscape and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the village is overlooked by an imposing limestone rock formation that is part of Sierra del Líbar. There are many underground caves here, including a couple of must visits: La Pileta and El Gato. If you’re on the look-out for a destination where you can enjoy a romantic holiday with some adventure thrown in on the side, you’re going to love Benaoján.
What to see and do in Benaoján
Walking the snaking streets and steep slopes of Benaoján is like taking a journey back into Andalusia’s Arab past. The municipality is defined by the natural scenery it is nestled in. But before you submerge yourself in the caves and explore the landscapes, make sure you visit two sights that tell the story of the civilisations that once lived here: Torre del Moro and Nuestra Señora del Rosario church.
Fuente: Ayuntamiento Benaoján
Built by the Muslims to survey who was passing through the Guadiaro valley, Torre del Moro was a tower that the local population would flee to for shelter in the event of an attack. Today only one of its walls remains. Nuestra Señora del Rosario church, on the other hand, dates to the 15th century. The one nave has a wooden framed roof while the main chapel is square and features a Gothic vault. A semicircular arch leads you inside. The bell tower is composed of two stacked structures: the lower tower is square while the upper is octogonal and home to the bells.
Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking along the river Guadiaro and caving in the Benaoján caves are just some of the activities you can enjoy in the destination, a village where you can unwind and relax in the midst of nature.
Cueva de La Pileta
Located about 6km from the village, just off the road to Montejaque, Cueva de la Pileta is Benaoján’s most important sight. The cave is one of the most interesting prehistoric sites in the Iberian peninsula. It is thought to be a mind boggling 150,000 years old and was lived in for periods over the course of some 20,000 years. The large cave has two floors with galleries, wide sections, lakes and rooms filled with stalactites and stalagmites. It also has a deep vertical cave with animal remains and even a human skeleton in the bottom. To visit La Pileta you must book yourself onto a guided tour. Exploring this cave is an experience unlike no other.
Fuente: Cueva de la Pileta
Cueva del Gato
On the way to Ronda, just next to the railway line, you will find Cueva del Gato, which connects with El Hundidero cave in Montejaque. Just like La Pileta, you can only visit the cave on a guided tour led by expert guides. The cave is of notable archaeological and geological interest as it runs next to the river Guadiaro. The waters of the river Gaduares come up from the ground following an underground section that extends for almost 5km. Can you think of a more impressive spot to take a freshwater dip?
Spending a couple of days enveloped in the beautiful scenery of Benaoján, staying in a quaint country property, breathing in the tranquillity emanating from the streets, sampling the local gastronomy (particularly chacinas, products made from pork meat and all sorts of stews), and visiting the caves and other nearby towns and villages, such as Montejaque and Ronda, is the perfect way to spend quality time with your loved one. Discover many more country destinations you can visit in inland Costa del Sol here.