Álora is a municipality located in the heart of the province of Málaga, 35 km inland. It is a city of ancient Mediterranean civilization with prehistoric, Neolithic, Roman and Arabian remains.
The traditional white village offers a fantastic gastronomy, many local events, historical and natural heritage and is dominated by the Arab castle. Álora is peacefully nestled in the Valle del Guadalhorce, also called the valley of the sun, surrounded by mountains and hills. It offers spectacular landscapes such as the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, the Sierra de Huma or the Sierra de Aguas. Thanks to the Guadalhorce river that flows through the territory, the fertile fields are very suitable for growing citrus fruits. Olive trees are cultivates on higher areas, where, among other varieties, the Aloreña olives are grown. This table olive has a protected origin name (D.O.P.) and is only grown in and around Álora. On the upper peaks where there is little water we find almond trees.
The territory covers 169.62 km² and has about 13,000 inhabitants. It is divided into several barriadas, including el nucleo urbano, El Chorro, El Puente, Barriada La Estación. The 3 hills are immediately noticeable: Calvario, Falda de Hecho (559m) and the Cerro de las Torres, on which the castle stands. The castle was built by the Moors during the Middle Ages and offers beautiful views over the valley.
The city centre is lively and has several restaurants, bars, terraces, shops, supermarkets and ice cream parlors.
Be sure to stroll through the authentic narrow, winding steep alleys with white facades decorated with flowers and plants. Some streets only consist of stairs from where you get a view on the lower streets. The village originated from the castle, so there you will find the oldest part of Álora.
Álora train station is at the terminus of the C2 regional train line of the Cercanías de Málaga and has direct connection to the centre of Málaga. The airport and the Costa del Sol are also very easily accessible by train from here.
The most famous asset is undoubtedly the breath taking walk on the Caminito del Rey, a wooden footpath built against rock walls at a height of 100m in the middle of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (ravine). It is an exceptional experience to walk the path through the beautiful nature with gigantic cliffs and breath taking landscapes above the meandering Guadalhorce river. It was built between 1901 and 1905 and made it possible to transport people and equipment between the 2 power stations that lay on either side of the El Chorro gorge. After years of disrepair the path was closed due to danger and after some fatal accidents. In 2015 the path was completely restored and opened to the public. The trail was named after King Alfonso XIII who descended part of the trail at the inauguration of the Guadalhorce-Guadalteba reservoirs in 1921. This is one of Andalusia’s top attractions!
Beautiful walks can be made through Áloras spectacular nature and though the many Arroyo’s (dry riverbeds). Various walking and cycling routes have been mapped out on the territory of Álora (see page ACTIVITIES – HIKING AND CYCLING).
El Chorro is one of the world best destination for rock climbing (see page ACTIVITIES – ROCK CLIMBING IN EL CHORRO).
Culture enthusiasts can visit the second largest church in the province here, the municipal museum, the castle and the various monuments of Álora.
The traditional dish is the “Sopa Perota”, this bread soup even has its own feast day (early October) where thousands of servings are given away. The ‘granizado de avellana’, is a hazelnut slush that can’t be found in another location.
Other holidays include the parades during the Semana Santa (week before Easter), the annual feria (late July, early August), the romería de la Virgen de Flores (September), various verbenas (verbena de la Estacíon at the end of April), fiesta Al-loárabe (end of June).
Álora’s history dates back to prehistoric times in Hoyo del Conde, just over a kilometre from the city. The ecological environment (hunting, water, natural protection) ensured that peoples came to settle here. Among others the Phoenicians saw the great commercial potential of the area. A culture emerged that called the place “Iluro”. The foundations of the castle are from that time, which the Romans would later strengthen. The presence of Rome has left important traces, from the landmark that marked the Roman road on which the inscription ‘Municipium Iluritanum’ stands (79 BC) to various remains that prove that Álora was populated by Romans.
During the Visigoth period, the core of the fortress was built, which the Arabs would later renovate and expand. The Arabs soon reached Álora after entering the peninsula. Important from this period is the uprising of Omar Ben Hafsun, and that due to the proximity of his stronghold Bobastro had a lot of influence in this region.
During the Middle Ages, the Christian kings unsuccessfully tried to take the city of Álora, which resisted all attacks. In one of these, the Governor of Andalusia Don Diego de Rivera died at the foot of the castle’s walls in 1434. This tragic news was spread with the famous ballad of Álora: Romance de Álora La Bien Cercada, which is reproduced in its entirety on a plaque from the castle. The square fell to the troops of the Catholic monarchs in 1484.
The 16th and 17th centuries gave Álora remarkable prosperity, favored by the presence of many illustrious people who lived here or came to visit it.
During the secularization of the 19th century, the riches of the church in Álora disappeared.
Around Álora you will find 2 different landscapes: on one side the Guadalhorce valley, ruled by the Guadalhorce river and on the other side the mountains of the Betisch System. The valley is characterized by the cultivation of citrus fruits in the zones close to the river, olive trees of the olive variety aloreña, the only table olive with ‘Denomincaión de Origen’ (appellation of origin) in the middle zones and almond trees in the highest zones. , which gives the visitor a spectacular natural landscape.
Natural Park “Desfiladero de los Gaitanes” – Caminito del Rey
This is a zone of incredible beauty. It is located in El Chorro, 12km from the city center. It is a ravine of more than 100m high, the “Sierra de Huma”, cut in half by the Guadalhorce river. The Caminito del Rey runs against the wall of the gorge. Around the gorge is the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Park, about 2,000 hectares in size. A fantastic landscape formed by spectacular rock formations of various geological origins and ages. The ravine splits the landscape into 2 parts, with walls of more than 300m. The highest point is at the top of the Huma, at 1119m. This zone is the meeting point for rock climbing enthusiasts. The main attraction is the world famous Caminito del Rey, which offers the possibility to traverse the heart of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes via the path attached to the rocks at a height of 100m. Discover hidden landscapes and dizzying sensations previously only available to experienced climbers.
Fauna and Flora
The natural vegetation includes aleppo pines, juniper, green oak and wild olive trees. Wild herbs such as rosemary, thyme, citrus and other Mediterranean shrubs grow on the substrate. Around the river creepers and blackberries. We also find willows, poplars and eucalyptus and more.
Several protected bird species live here: griffon vultures, golden eagles, Bonelli’s eagles, falcons, buzzards … There is also a large population of wild mountain goats.
SIGHTS AND MONUMENTS
– The Castle of Álora (9th to 15th century):
Built on the hill of Cerro de la Torres. From the outside (Mirador) and from inside the castle you can enjoy an impressive view of the fertile Guadalhorce Valley and the city of Álora.
The castle consists of three walled rooms. Due to its strategic importance as a control point for the Guadalhorce Valley and its natural access to Malaga from the interior, this castle made Álora a primary target in the advance south of the Christian kingdoms during the Middle Ages. The numerous failed attempts at conquest suggest that Álora had a solid defence system well adapted to its situation. The importance of this system is reflected in the historical references as well as in the remains of the surviving fortress. In the course of time the castle was used for various purposes, it was used as a cemetery in the 19th century
The outline of the castle is clearly defined by the remains of towers and walls that are still preserved. They were once watchtowers that monitored the movement of people and goods inland and through the Bobastro lands. The site contains important architectural elements: the Torre del Homenaje, the Horseshoe Arch and the Torre de la Vela. The church of Cerro de las Torres, the Gothic chapel, the chapel of Jesús Nazareno de las Torres and the Hermita Nazareno were built within the walls of the castle during the 15th century. Only the Gothic main chapel of the parish church of Santa María de la Encarnación remains. The church was built on the remains of the old mosque and was destroyed in an earthquake in 1680. Inside the chapel are the statues of saints venerated during Semana Santa.
– Plaza Baja de la Despedía:
Located at the lowest point of the centre. Various processions take place on this square during Semana Santa. During the famous ‘Despedia’ on Good Friday, the throne with the Señor de las Torres (image of Jesus) and the Virgen de los Dolores (image of the Virgin Mary) come together and the bearers of the thrones bow to the grief of Mary at the death of her son. This spectacle is declared as tourist interest by the Provincial Deputation of Málaga. The “Mirador de Cervantes” is also located on this square.
– Parish Church Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (1600 – 1699):
Second largest place of worship, after Málaga City Cathedral, of the diocese of Málaga. Built from stones from the Monte Hacho and imported with wood from Bruges (Belgium). During the 18th century decorated with paintings of the apostles and evangelists.
– Municipal Museum of Álora:
This beautiful building from the 16th century is the former chapel of a former hospital. During the tour you can enjoy different exhibitions, starting with prehistory through protohistory, ancient Rome and the Middle Ages to modern times and today. Admire the archaeological and historical heritage and a fine collection of old coins and notes.
– Bachiller oil mill (16th century):
Archaeological remains of an old oil mill and reservoir.
– Veracruz Church (16th century):
Built to commemorate the victory against the Moorish revolt. The construction was funded by the sale of 12 insurgents.
– The Faenera:
Sculpted by Marino Amaya. A tribute to the women who worked in citrus fruit cultivation.
– Flores Sanctuary (16th – 18th century):
2km from the city centre, this architectural complex is originally a secluded chapel (ermita) to which a Franciscan monastery was added and later with a baroque extension with a limed room where the Patroness of Álora, Virgen de Flores (1502) is venerated.
– Cruz del Humilladero:
Near the Flores shrine, symbolizes the place where the keys of the last Muslim ruler were given over to the Catholic king
– Ermita de Santa Brígida (16th century):
Chapel in Barriada Estación where there is an interesting painted wall fresco and where the co-patroness Virgen de la Cabeza is revered.
– Ermita del Calvario:
Built on the same site of an 18th century chapel. Place where “Jesus praying in the orchard” and the “Angel and Virgin for Peace” are worshiped.
– Monument Cante por Malagueñas:
Sculpted by the artist Miguel Carcía Navas, it symbolizes the origins in Álora of the flamenco style of the “Palo Flamenco de la Malagueña”, a popular style of flamenco.
– Cervantes theatre:
Modern building with 400 seats for various cultural activities throughout the year.
– Cervantes Viewpoint:
Open panoramic viewpoint over the Tajo del Arroyo Hondo. Named after the well-known writer Cervantes who lived in the house next door between 1587 and 1593.
►The Tourism Department of the City Council offers free guided tours to visit all the monuments in the town. Single ticket to visit the monuments is €3.
The visits, organized from Tuesday to Sunday and departing at 12 noon and at 4 p.m. from the Monument to the Malagueña, last approximately two hours.
– 169.62 km²
– 13,000 inhabitants
– The residents are called “Aloreño / Aloreña or Perote / Perota”
– In the Comarca Valle del Guadalhorce (Alhaurín de la Torre, Cártama, Alhaurín El Grande, Coín, Álora, Pizarra, Almogía, Valle de Abdalajís), 140,000 inhabitants
– build around the river Gualdalhorce (154 km)
– 3 hills: Falda del Hacho, Calvario, Cerro de las Torres (castle)
– Located halfway between the sea and the interior of the province of Malaga, at the foot of the Sierra del Hacho, on the northern peak of the Hoya de Malaga relief, on a promontory above the river Guadalhorce with: to the north: the nature reserve El Chorro , Sierra de Huma (1,191m) and Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, where the Caminito del Rey is located, to the west: Sierra de Aguas (949m) stretching to the Serranía de Ronda, a landscape covered with pine forests, to the east: soft landscape with small hills, natural corridor
– Neighbouring villages: north: Antequera and Valle de Abdalajís, east: Almogía and Antequera, south: Pizarra and Cártama, west: Ardales, Carratraca and Casarabonela
– Public transport: train Cercanías line C2 Málaga-Álora, bus Málaga-Álora, Álora-El Chorro / Caminito del Rey, Bda. Estación-Centro