Trip from Marbella to Ojén
White village close to Marbella
Just 5 miles north of Marbella is a beautiful white village with fantastic views of the mountains and valleys of the surrounding Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park - a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Ojén serves as a gateway to the Sierra de Las Nieves from the Costa del Sol. Ojén has a typical Islamic layout. It is amazing that the village has remained largely unspoilt even though it is so close to Marbella on the Costa del Sol. You still get the feeling of old Andalucia as you walk around the maze of tiny cobbled streets. You will see balconies and terraces with beautiful bourgainvillea hanging down from them and many walls have lemon trees trained against them including the walls of the church in the plaza..
The Church of the Incarnation
The Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación is Ojén’s most iconic building and is located in the main town square. It was built in the sixteenth century on the ruins of an old mosque, keeping the minaret as the belfry tower. It is a single-nave church with a remarkable wooden truss and a figure representing St Dionysius the Aeropagite, the patron saint of the village. It has clear Arab influences with beautiful Moorish craftsmanship and decorated with geometric motifs. The coffered ceiling is made of red pine highlighting the clock. The two palms of its main facade give it a unique touch of exoticism. The outside wall are covered in lemon trees.
Fuente de los Chorros
Located in the heart of town, this 1905 fountain features five spouts that are always pouring water(‘chorro’ is the Spanish word for ‘spout’ hence its name). It is a symbol of Ojén’s abundant natural resources. It has come to be one of Ojén’s icons. It was built on the site of another water fountain dating from the early nineteenth century. It used to be the water supply for the village people but today it provides a beautiful restful sound as you drink your Sangria.
Museo El Molino
This olive oil museum displays the original devices that were used to make olive oil in the past. These include an ancient olive press in very good condition. It is an old windmill which has been partially restored by the council who now use it for tourist information. Its exterior structure is similar to that of a farmhouse. After the entrance gate there is a tourist information point leading to the mill room. In this room there is a huge water mill. There are plasma screens showing videos of the municipality and the Sierra de las Nieves. Upstairs there is a fully restored old brandy still that was used to distil the famous Ojén brandy. In the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries Ojén was famous for its herb brandy. The brandy had international fame and was based on a secret formula that is now lost without trace. In both the back room and the top floor are illustrative panels of the features of the Sierra de las Nieves. It also puts on temporary art exhibitions (painting, photography, sculpture, and so on). It has a small shop where you can buy products from the region of the Sierra de las Nieves.
Museo del Aguardiente
Aguardiente was exported to America and was known internationally until its disappearance between legends and secrets. Picasso painted it in 'Still Life in Spanish' and Camilo José Cela and Rosalia de Castro box included it in some of his novels. Moreover, the Maharani of Kapurthala, Anita Delgado, took it to the Far East. The Museum includes a series of informative panels about the liquor's history and legend, with photographs of labels from all over the world, posters, awards, old containers, etc. Some of the few bottles of Ojén brandy that still exist are preserved in the offices of various mayors of the municipality. Much of the material exhibited in the museum has been donated by the residents of the village.
The caves you see in Ojén are of a karst nature, formed by running water in soluble rock. They are closely linked to the life and history of the village because they were used as shelters for people and animals and the storage of animal food stuffs. They were useful because they were cool in summer and warm in winter.
There are two distinct areas to visit. The low caves are now used for cultural events with exhibitions and films being shown in one of the larger caves. If you climb up to the Cuevas de las Columnas y Campanas (Columns and bells caves) on the other side of the main road, you will find a gazebo at the top which is an ideal place to take a break and admire the views of the blue sea and the green mountains of the Marbella coast. The steps are narrow and it is a tough climb but the views are definitely worth it.
Many of the restaurants in Ojén offer traditional, historical and authentic Ojén fare. Look out for Ojéneto gazpacho, rice and fennel bolo, chestnut soup and other traditional flavors that capture the essence of Ojén heritage.
Ojén Botanical Garden
A short distance from the town centre is the Ojén Botanical Centre. This includes a Nature Visitor Centre and a recreational area for those who want to spend a day in the countryside. Bring your own food and take avantage of the tables and barbecues. They are many native plants and trees in the garden.
The popular Tostón takes place the first Sunday after All Saints. You will smell roasted chestnuts in the air as a symbol of autumn and coming winter. The roast chestnuts are accompanied by good Ojéneto spirits, raisins and bacon. It is organized by the San Dionisio Cultural Association and they have added popular games and other traditional cuisine such as the unmissable chestnuts in brandy.
This is one of the most important musical events in Malaga and Andalusia. It is held the first weekend of July and features some of the best bands of pop-rock. A festival of pop-rock music with individualistic personality. Ojén is a typically Andalusian village of whitewashed walls and narrow streets but for three days this old image gives way to a more modern, more bold, edgier and daring music extravaganza.
Festival Castillo del Cante
One of the oldest festivals of flamenco singing in the province. In the first weekend of August, the best exponents of this genre perform in honor of St. Dionysius. Its a classic affair where women and men dress in gypsy clothing to have fun from the early hours of the morning until late at night.
Feria de San Dionisio
This festival held in honor of San Dionisio patron of the municipality, whose name day is Oct. 9. The village square is the heart and centre of the party where everyone enjoys the local cuisine while the orchestra entertains. Dancing and all kinds of popular games are played such as ribbon races and the game botijo. This fair of Ojén can be enjoyed by all ages as attractions for children are laid on a few minutes from the town square. The square becomes a meeting point for all generations dancing to music with women dressed in flamenco dresses.
Walking in the National Park around Ojén
Ojén is part of the Sierra de las Nieves which was awarded the 2009 EDEN, a seal of quality and warranty prize of the European Union for the development of sustainable tourism and heritage. In 2010, the park gained the Skal International Award that honours the good work done by the people who run the park.
Just a 10 minute short drive from Ojén into the Sierra de las Nieves you will find the Refugio de Juanar Hotel. You can park your car here and wander up to the Mirador (viewing point) winding through the olive groves. Look down to Marbella and the coast. For those who want a longer walk then try hiking up to La Cruz De Juanar or La Concha. The views of the coast down to Gibraltar from the mountain top are breathtaking. Routes are available as a pdf document map from www.juanar.com. Another view point can be found by taking one of the first dirt tracks off on the left of the main path. There are stunning views over Ojén and down to the coast.
Flora and Fauna
The mountains have a great Mediterranean forest of oak trees, cork trees, oaks, pines, agaves and cacti, which extend to the edge of the road. There are varied medicinal plants such as sage, rosemary, thyme, Cantahueso, Hinojo or Manzanilla. In the thicket of underbrush you will find gorse, broom, Jaras, Abulagas or Siemprevivas You could be lucky and see many wild animals especially the Spanish Ibex which is a protected species and is virtually extinct. Also found in the area are the Aguila Real, Genet, Mongoose, Turones and many small mammals, birds and insects of various species.
MARBELLA - OJÉN L-80 Journey Time: 30 mins.
Monday to Friday
Leaving Marbella:- 7:50 11:00 13:00 13:40 15:00 16:35 18:15 20:00 21:00
Leaving Ojén:- 7:15 8:00 10:15 13:10 14:00 16:00 17:10 20:25 21:00
There are less buses on Saturday and very few on Sunday.
Note: All the buses go through Marbella centre.
These times were correct 02/05/2016 but check the Avanzbus website for further details: www.avanzabus.com
If you want discover the surrounding area you will need to hire a car. Ojén is accessed by the road leading from Marbella to Monda and Coín. For a panoramic view of the village and its surroundings, you can stop at the mirador (view point) on the main Marbella-Monda road near the tiled plaque.
Have a nice Day
Another great trip from our apartment in Marbella