GAUCÍN: Spain’s hidden gem

GAUCÍN: Spain’s hidden gem

THE south of Spain has long been a favourite destination among North Americans looking for a sunny clime, but while Málaga, Marbella and Ronda all get their fair share of acclaim, the tiny town of Gaucín goes mostly unnoticed—which is a big part of its charm.

Part of Spain’s “pueblos blancos” (white villages), this Andalusian village perched atop a mountain is just a 30-minute drive from the country’s legendary Costa Del Sol. Yet, though Gaucín gets all of the sun and warmth of Spain’s famed coastline, the town of 2,000 gets none of the crowds. Its under-the-radar status grants those few visitors lucky enough to find it the chance to spend several peaceful days in a whitewashed, medieval-era town filled with atmospheric, narrow roads, friendly bars and authentic Spanish restaurants waiting to be discovered. Here’s just a few ways to spend your time in Gaucín, Spain’s undiscovered gem.

Strolling the streets

With its steep, hilly streets, sharp turns and tiny streets, Gaucín is a town best explored by foot. You’ll find an endless array of photos for your Instagram feed just by getting lost in the curvy corridors of this mountain village.

You’ll also want to visit the aptly named Castillo del Aguila (Castle of the Eagle). The castle, now mostly in ruins, is said to date back to the Romans. Though it’s a steep climb, you’ll be rewarded with the best 360-degree views in the region. There’s no dedicated website, but anyone in the city can point you in the right direction.

The cemetery

Possibly one of the most picturesque and quaint, albeit small, cemeteries in Spain, this serene spot should not be missed. Flooded with flowers (both live and artificial) that wonderfully set off the whitewashed walls of the tombs, it’s a soothing place to take a stroll and ponder the beautiful ways people pay homage to those they loved.

Despite its small population, the village has a surprising number of bars and restaurants where visitors are always sure to find a warm welcome. At the centre of Gaucín you’ll find Bar Paco Pepe; this popular gathering place shares space with a lovely fountain and is where travellers and locals mix to snack on some simply prepared but delicious dishes and sip on Spanish wine. For a higher-end feast Platero & Co, is an excellent choice (try to grab a coveted seat on the terrace). The small dining room, which hosts only a handful of tables, offers a rustic feel that mirrors perfectly its un-fussy but elevated fare. The restaurant was awarded a “bib gourmand” by the Michelin Guide for its quality and reasonable prices. For innovative and tasty tapas look no further than Azulete, which pairs exquisitely fresh food with some of Spain’s finest wines.
Stay

There are numerous nice places to stay in Gaucín. For those travelling with a family or in a group, a great option is El Molino Del Carmen. Spanish and Moroccan decor are skillfully combined in this former olive-oil-mill-turned-private-residence. The property hosts seven individual apartments (some with private terraces) and a large pool that can be rented out individually or as one unit to host a group of friends travelling together. Hotel La Fructuosa lies at the centre of the village and features uniquely decorated well-appointed, cosy rooms and friendly service.

Source: Sandra MacGregor, Forbes 

Karl Smallman (Secret Serrania)

About Karl Smallman (Secret Serrania)

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