What if we imagined a classic Andalusian white town where tradition and avant-garde art coexisted? What if we added to the Arabic layout of its cobblestone streets, to its secluded squares and its colorful balconies adorned with flowers, dozens of works by contemporary artists from all corners of the planet? It turns out that this place exists, it is in the province of Malaga and has its own name: Genalguacil, known as “Pueblo museo”, which during the first half of August will host a new edition of its famous Art Encounters.
Genalguacil is located in the Genal Valley, in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda. This valley is a small paradise hidden a few kilometers from the Costa del Sol. A fascinating territory that acts as a natural bridge between the city of Ronda and the Strait of Gibraltar. As a result, the valley has a mild climate, a mixture of the influence of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
With little more than 500 inhabitants, Genalguacil is located west of the valley, in the area known as the Bajo Genal, 40 km from the city of Ronda and 150 from the capital of Malaga. Its Arab heritage, intermingled in perfect balance with its commitment to contemporary art, make it one of the most beautiful and unique towns of Andalusian geography.
A privileged natural environment.
Just over 30 kilometers separate Genalguacil from the city of Estepona, and it is in the middle of this journey that we find the first artistic manifestation. In this case, it is a masterpiece conceived by the work and grace of Mother Nature: the Royal Nature Reserve of Sierra Bermeja. Located at 1450 meters above sea level, its more than 1200 hectares extend through the municipalities of Casares, Estepona and Genalguacil , the latter being the most extensive.
Almost like a natural amphitheater, there we can enjoy one of the few fir forests that exist in Spain.A unique ecosystem where it is worth taking a pleasant walk surrounded by these relics of the Ice Age, which can reach up to 30 meters high.
In addition, being catalogued as a Special Protection Area for Birds makes it the ideal place for golden eagle sighting, peregrine falcons, royal owls and other species that fly as sentinels in the sky of the Sierra. Some binoculars, water and a lot of patience will be enough to make our trip an unforgettable experience.
And if you are looking to discover this unique place in depth, there are several hiking trails properly marked, which have their summit in such places that it’s possible for us to get from the town of Estepona to the peak of Los Reales (the roof of Sierra Bermeja), without hardly stepping on the asphalt.