Casares, the most famous of the

By: Ruth Polak

The Costa del Sol is blessed with several traditional Spanish white villages,
or Pueblos Blancos, each with its own unique atmosphere. However there
is something about the village of Casares that just makes you stand and stare.

As you approach Casares up a steep winding slope it is difficult to prevent
yourself from taking a sharp intake of breath and saying outload: "wow!"
Stop the car, climb out and admire the vista from a fantastic viewing point just on
the edge of the village, looking down across the entire valley.

Hundreds of white -washed homes perch precariously across the hillside,
below the battlements of an old Arabic castle. Hold onto your sunhat
though because the viewing point can sometimes be a real wind trap!

From here take one of the many paths leading down into the village and
experience a perfect day exploring the multitude of steep, winding streets and footpaths
that make up the delightful village of Casares.For the most part it is
traffic free, having been built in the days long before the motorcar when
the only form of transport was the donkey.

Head first for the Plaza de España- the main square.

Here you will discover
the statue of Blas Infante, the Andlucian Nationalist leader who was born in
Casares in 1885. There is also a fountain where you can refresh
yourself with a drink of cold, clear, fresh mountain water. Blas Infante's
birthplace has now been turned into a museum and tourist information

From the centre take one of the roads leading onwards and upwards until
you reach the old monastry and ruined church. The views from here towards
the coast are spectacular and you look down a gully where it is
reputed that Franco dispossed of his enemies during the time of the
civil war,  there is a poignant iron cross commemorating those who perished.
The base of the walls date back to the Moors as does one of
the arches you may have passed through depending on your route up.
Everything above shoulder height though is more likely to have been built
after 1500. Just below the monastry you will find a museum with many
old artifacts depicting life in and around Casares through the ages.
Be sure to descend via a different route in order to see as much as possible.

Casares, as with any Spanish village, has its fair share of bars and
restaurants so be sure to partake of some local tapas. The people are very
friendly and welcoming and I am sure you will spend a memorable day in the

The 2 annual ferias are held on the first weekend in August and on the
weekend closest to September 15th. They also celebrate a procession
of the Three Kings on the evening of January 5th.

After exploring the village you may like to head up the Sierra Crestillina,
which is a parque natural just on the outskirts of the village. You will
find a signpost to it  near to bar/restaurante Laura.A circular
footpath has been put in right round the mountain and it is approximately a
four hour walk. The scenary and views are fantastic but be sure to take
some water with you as it can get quite hot. Good footware is also
essential as the descent towards the end of the trail can be quite trickey.

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