Benahavis is a simply delightful mountain village overlooking the Guadalmina River and according to the BBC Holiday Programme 'as close to paradise as you can get !!!'
In many ways one of Andalucía's best kept secrets Benahavis is just 7 km into the mountains from the main coast road, immediately west of San Pedro de Alcántara and only a few minutes from Marbella and Puerto Banus.
The name of Benahavis comes from the Arab - ben Havís - and means son of Havís, who was an eleventh century Moorish prince.
The village itself is a delightful pueblo, with narrow cobbled streets, that still keep the original Moorish layout. There are pretty houses, some shops and a simply amazing choice of restaurants. It is known locally as the Rincón de la Gastronomía or the 'dining room' of the Costa del Sol.
It was a firm favourite of Princess Diana, who often visited as a guest at the Goldsmith family's home just outside the village. Many other celebrities have chosen to enjoy this special area including Michelle Obama in 2010.
There are a few little shops for essentials (including freshly baked bread), a pharmacy, 4 banks and some lovely galleries including that of the famous sculptor David Marshall. On Tuesdays there is a small street market, which is great for fresh fruit and vegetables and on Sundays there is a popular 'rastro' (flea market).
For more choice there are several excellent supermarkets a few minutes drive away.
You can be in San Pedro in about 10 minutes and here you will find many delightful shops and there is an excellent market on Thursdays.
Puerto Banus with its nightlife, stylish shops, bars and restaurants is about 15 minutes away and Marbella a little further. The whole area offers tremendous choice.
Benahavis is justifiably proud of its restaurants, of which there are about 20 in the village, so you are spoilt for choice. Local specialties are roasted meats including suckling, pig, spring lamb, duck and the steaks are wonderful. There are a few nice tapas bars - a great lunch idea.
Personal favourites include Ruffino's (probably the best value in town too), Amigos, Los Abanicos and Amanhavis. For a lovely atmosphere and great bar food El Ambiente is an excellent choice and for a really Spanish atmosphere you can't beat Chico's. Villa Josefa has a pretty garden and serves excellent tapas.
If you like walking this is the perfect place with lovely walks through the hills and mountains all with splendid views. There are walks for everyone from challenging slopes to level tracks through the woods.
For the golfer the Costa del Golf beckons - Many golf courses are just a few minutes' drive (see the map below) and there is a huge choice of other courses within a short distance.
Benahavis is a great centre for sightseeing and the choice a places to visit and things to do is seemingly endless. Ronda is not to be missed and Estepona and Gibraltar are easy to reach. Seville, Granada, Cadiz and Córdoba are a little further afield. The countryside around is simply stunning.
For a peaceful and relaxing spot Benahavis is a perfect choice - a delightful lifestyle in a mountain village but yet within a few minutes
of all that the 'California of Europe' has to offer including some
wonderful beaches just a short drive away.Some have water-sports available and most have a 'chringuito' for drinks and lunch. Most also hire sun-loungers. Personal recommendations are Heaven, Playa Fantastica and La Triana at Cabopino. For a really swanky beach restaurant try Puro Beach at Laguna Village or Nikki Beach at the Don Carlos Hotel.
The history of Benahavis
Benahavis was founded at the end of the XIth century by the Moors.
It is closely connected the Costa del Sol's Arabic past, and
particularly with Marbella, to which belonged to until it was
granted the "Carta Puebla" by Philip II in 1572.
The Castle of Montemayor was built first and played a very important role in the battles between the various Arabs kings in Andalucía because of its strategic position.Its prominent location looking over a hundred kilometres of what is now known as the Costa del Sol and as far as the African coast made it important at a time when piracy and invasion were common. Notably it had a tunnel connecting it to the coast through which soldiers could make their way to intercept pirates and invaders.
The castle's fine location drew the attention of the
Catholic Monarchs who were determined to conquer
the last Moorish outposts in Andalucía.
Isabel and Ferdinand decided to occupy the province of
Malaga as part of the campaign against Granada.
0n the 11th of June 1485 Mohammed Abuneza
surrendered and Benahavis together with the localities of
Daidin, Montemayor Castle, Cortes Castle, Ojen, Arboto,
Almachor, Tramores and Calalui Fort (the Castle of Light) in the Bermeja Mountains were handed over to Ferdinand, who
appointed Don Pedro Villandrado, Count of Ribadeo, the first
christian mayor of Benahavis.
A dispute then arose between Benahavis and Marbella which lasted three and half centuries until Benahavis achieved the status of an independent municipality - a status it retains to this day.In fact it is reputedly one of the richest Town halls in Spain!
Easter - the statues of the Virgin and Christ are processed through the town on Good Friday.
The Feria is held around the 15th of August for the Virgen del Rosario, the local patron saint.
Romería - a pilgrimage to a small mountain church in early October
Map and distances
Please also see our recommendations for restaurants and shopping: more >
Weather in Benahavis
Benahavis enjoys a wonderful climate. It is rarely too hot or too cold.
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