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about gaucín

Gaucin village house with flowersEmbraced by the dramatic terrain of the Serranía de Ronda, Gaucín was once a sleepy, sun-bleached mountain village.  Nowadays, its inhabitants manage to blend a centuries-old way of life with a burgeoning interest from cosmopolitan visitors seeking an idyllic holiday hideaway or a  permanent home in the tranquil heart of Andalucía - reputed to have the best climate in Europe!

This enchanting 'Pueblo Blanco' is overlooked by the majestic Medieval 'Castillo del Aguila' (Castle of Eagles) which dominates the craggy skyline and gets its name from the many raptors, such as Griffon vultures, eagles, honey buzzards and kites, soaring across the blue skies overhead. From this amazing vantage point there are stunning far-reaching views to the Mediterranean coastline, Straits of Gibraltar and beyond.

Gaucín's pretty, narrow streets entwine rows of white-painted houses with red-tiled roofs, cloaks of bougainvillea and 'hanging gardens' of exotic pot plants.  Walking through the village you will still encounter the occasional mule carrying its load of logs or fresh produce to and fro .. but more often posing for photographs!

Cork cutting In bygone days, the economy of Gaucín was typical of small mountain villages tucked away in the Andalusian countryside. Income was mainly dependent on agriculture, with bartering of labour and goods being commonplace, and mules being used to transport produce along the narrow mountain paths.  As well as local produce, the mules would carry salted fish from the coastal ports.. not to mention contraband cigarettes and alcohol!!  But how times have changed.. today the secret 'smugglers’ paths have become way-marked walking routes popular with hikers!

Driving around the area of Gaucin takes you along picturesque country roads through protected Natural Parks and ancient cork-oak forests that produce an abundance of acorns, a valuable source of food for wild boar and Iberian black pigs.  More importantly, these forests are of great economic value and are considered to be national treasures by the Government. The bark from the cork-oaks can only be harvested every nine years – an age-old tradition requiring great skill that is passed from one generation to the next.

The gorge in Ronda Only 40 minutes away, through the tumbling mountains of the Serranía de Ronda, lies the historical town of RONDA, popular with international visitors and home to Spain's oldest bullring, Plaza de Toros, built in 1784.  The town straddles the famous El Tajo Gorge, a plunging 300m ravine spanned by a centuries-old bridge - certainly not for those who suffer from vertigo!  The 'Puente Nuevo' (new bridge!) across the gorge was completed in 1793.  Legend has it, that the architect fell to his death from the bridge during his final inspection whilst trying to catch his hat that had blown off in the wind!  Both Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway resided in Ronda for many years, writing about its history and beauty, thus adding to its popularity with tourists.

Back in Gaucín, an interesting blend of nationalities live in harmony with the local Spanish community and enjoy the gentle pace of life, magnificent scenery, stunning views and a pleasant climate.  Inevitably, more visitors are discovering the charm of Gaucín, which now boasts several up-market restaurants, a delightful boutique hotel, a good selection of tapas bars, a larger supermarket, two delicatessens, a health food shop, and an excellent antique/gift shop.

For those who enjoy country pursuits, there is a good range of activities available, such as guided walks, hiking, horse-riding, birdwatching trips & even fungus hunting!  For the more active, there is a tennis court, padel tennis court, excellent public swimming pool (open high summer), yoga, pilates and golf (nearest course is only 30 mins away).

For those seeking a more sedate lifestyle, there are numerous cultural & music events, a local choir (always looking for recruits!), painting classes, Spanish lessons, book clubs and bridge groups. Due to its picturesque location, stunning views and clear natural light, Gaucin has become particularly popular with artists & photographers. In fact, the well established Art Gaucin ‘Open Studio’ weekends attract many international visitors to the village (see ‘Links’ page).

For further information about life and events in Gaucín visit the following link
www.gaucin.com

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