El Acebuchal: once a ghost village, now a beautiful rural destination

 Tags: Nature getaway

In this post we are going to explore one of the most unique and off the beaten track villages in the whole of the province of Malaga. El Acebuchal is part of the municipality of Cómpeta and just a few kilometres from Frigiliana. During the Franco period, it was used as a refuge by the maquis, who were removed by the Spanish authorities, leaving the tiny village to fall into wrack and ruin. Fifty years later, El Acebuchal (Malaga) was restored by the García Sánchez family, creating a wonderful destination enveloped in the countryside.

El Acebuchal: Malaga’s ghost village

Situated close to Frigiliana, El Acebuchal enjoys a stunning location in the heart of Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama natural park. Founded in the 17th century, the village was on the route connecting Granada and Malaga, serving as a stop-off point for weary travellers. The properties you can see today in El Acebuchal were used as a shelter by the maquis, the anti-Franco guerrilla group. The Guardia Civil then decided to raid the village and expel its inhabitants. The village would stand quiet for a number of decades. The houses, forgotten, fell into ruin with no water or electricity supply. It was at the time dubbed the ghost village and the lost village.

el acebuchal frigiliana


The revival

After 50 years of silence, in 1998, El Acebuchal finally started to awaken from its slumber. Having dreamt of bringing the village back to life for many years, Antonio García (nicknamed El Zumbo) and Virtudes Sánchez gradually started to renovate. There was no water or electricity available until 2003, giving you an idea of the gigantic size of the task. Nowadays, Antonio is manager and chef at El Acebuchal bar-restaurant, which is famed for its excellent food and service. Antonio and his family also manage about ten holiday properties in the village. 

With the passing of the years, other families in Frigiliana who were also connected to El Acebuchal, followed in the footsteps of Antonio and his family, setting out to restore the homes that had been in their families for generations. Others bought those that were available. Together they sympathetically restored the village, respecting the Andalusian tradition. To date there are over thirty renovated properties whose whitewashed facades are adorned with flowers in the windows. Many of these properties are now holiday homes in El Acebuchal, which are rented out to tourists who are looking to escape from the world. The village also has a small chapel dedicated to San Antonio where weddings and baptisms have been held.

el acebuchal malaga


A journey back in time

As you wander the streets of El Acebuchal, you will be whisked on a journey back in time. It is not uncommon to see donkeys and mules walk the streets here. It is also worth noting that the village has no television (only satellite) or phone signal so if you are planning on coming to visit or enjoy a meal, make sure you bring cash as you cannot pay by card. 

Three decades after the first property was renovated, El Acebuchal is bursting with the life and happiness that the postwar years stripped it of. This one-of-a-kind village is an ideal place to come for breakfast or almuerzo (late breakfast or brunch), where you can savour freshly caught game and other delights. The serenity, silence and extraordinary landscapes around El Acebuchal make it an incredible destination for a relaxing getaway.

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