There’s a place of peace but for the chirruping of crickets and birdsong, with scattered monuments and remains from hundreds of years of history and panoramic views across the glistening Mediterranean over to North Africa… it’s called Casares.
The municipality stretches from its 2kms of beaches across stunning countryside to the crest of the Sierra Crestellina mountain range; to which the picturesque, white pueblo of Casares clings, earning its tag ‘the hanging village’.
Pitched between Ronda and Gibraltar, it is a short and relaxing ride inland for about 15kms, leaving the main coastal highway between Estepona and Sabinillas. Rounding a bend, the fortress topped village makes its spectacular appearance, demanding to be admired and much photographed.
Since 1978, it has held the status of a Historic and Artistic site, and both the village, with its steep, narrow cobbled streets, and the surrounding area have archaeological and cultural treasures for those who seek them out.
The location was deemed important to Iberians, Phoenicians and Romans, as at 425metres above sea level Casares provides a great vantage point from which to monitor activity across the Gibraltar Strait.
Some 4km from the centre are the remains of Lacipo, a Roman city, and between beach and village also, the sulphur and iron rich baths of Hedionda; reputedly used by no less than Roman Emperor Julius Caesar to treat a skin complaint. Nearby is a 16th century bridge crossing the Abarrá River.
Casares has religious sites to visit including Chapel Vera Cruz and cemetery, the 16th century convent of Santa Catalina and the Church of Encarnacíon, a listed asset built on the site of a mosque that has become a cultural centre. There is also a small Museum of Ethno History giving a window on the past through exhibits of everyday tools, typical Andalucian dowry items, archaeological finds and even cinema equipment from the early 20th century.
Another museum has been created in the house of an important notary, Blas Infante, who was born in the village and became known as ‘the father of the Andalucian homeland’ having fought for the region’s self-governing statute.
The afore mentioned church, Encarnacíon, falls within the 23,000 square metre walled enclosure, one of the most significant in the province, that encompasses the remains of a 13th century Arab castle. Having explored the village, there are a number of signed walks just outside for those who wish to make the most of the gorgeous views and rich geography of the area.
As to be expected in a traditional Spanish village, there is a central ‘Plaza’ and a few bars and cafes in which to enjoy a refreshment and tapas or two, perhaps while waiting to appreciate a splendid sunset viewing before returning to the hustle and bustle of the coast.
Casares is about an hour’s drive from CLC Club La Costa World taking the A-7 in the direction of Estepona and leaving at exit 153 to head inland.