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What to do in Cartama

What to do in Cartama. ✅ Discover Malaga with Marbesol Malaga Guide. ⭐ Completely Free! ✅.

Cartama is one of the inner towns of the province of Malaga. Located only about 17 km west of Malaga, the provincial capital itself, you'll only need about 27 minutes to get there. The quickest route should be via the Autovia del Guadalhorce or A-357.

The name Cartama can be traced to its Phoenician origins. They called it "Cartha", which can be translated in English to mean "hidden city". This name was later modified into "Cartima" by the second occupants, the Romans.

Being strategically located at the end of the navigable portion of the Rio Guadalhorce, Cartama once had a river port way back during the time of the Roman occupation. During their own occupation, the Moors built a formidable castle to guard the town. Despite its current state, it still stands as one of the most striking historical sites in the area.

Another favourite historical site is the La Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios. This hermitage, which overlooks the town, is very sacred to the locals as it is dedicated to their patron saint, La Virgen de los Remedios, one of the titles of the Virgin Mary. Miracles that occurred during the 1936-39 Civil War, the 1579 epidemic, and many others are attributed to her.

As such, one of the most important celebrations every year is the Fiestas en Honor a Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, which is held every April 22. Just like any typical Spanish town, many fiestas and other religious events are also celebrated on different dates throughout the year.

For those who want to stay for a few days here but want to avoid the hustle and bustle of nearby Malaga, there's a sufficient selection of hotels, bread and breakfasts, and holiday apartment rentals within a 14 km radius from the centre town. Most of them are found in either the old Cartama Pueblo or Estacion de Cartama communities.

There's also a good number of restaurants and bars spread out across Estacion de Cartama and Cartama Pueblo where you can enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine, a nice variety of hot and cold beverages, and of course, the mouth-watering tapas.

what to do in cartama
 

History of Cartama

Cartama's origins can be traced as far back to the time of the Phoenicians. They were the ones who dubbed the place "Cartha", which means "hidden city". This was already after they established a community in Malaga.

From the moment the Romans moved in up until the time they left six centuries after, many developments took place here. This was confirmed by the discovery of numerous archaeological sites in the area, which revealed heaps of sculptures, mosaics, and even remnants of Roman burial grounds and roads.

One important archaeological find in the history of Cartama is the second century AD column that is now known as the Humilladero Cross. Cartama, which was already named "Cartima" by the Romans then, was very popular for its public baths because their waters were believed capable of healing diseases and ailments.

When the Iberian Peninsula fell under Moorish rule, Cartama became one of its prized locations. Being situated at the end of the rio Guadalhorce's navigable waters, the Moors immediately recognized its strategic importance in Malaga's lines of defense - the river banks of Cartama provided the best place to launch an attack to the provincial capital.

It is for this reason that they constructed a formidable fortress overlooking the entire village and its surrounding landscape. It is believed to have been constructed in the 10th century and served its purpose especially in the 13th and 15th centuries, during the Reconquista and Granada War.

The strategic value of the town was confirmed when records of the castle's downfall in the hands of the Catholic Monarchs were found in the bas-reliefs of the Coro in the Cathedral of Toledo.

Unfortunately, the castle - just like many Moorish castles in the region - was not restored to its original form and they had no intention to. Such was the practice then. In fact, Moorish structures, especially those with religious value, were torn down and Christian replacements were constructed in their stead.

One such construction was that of the Church of Saint Peter of the Apostle, which was built on top of a mosque. You can actually find many churches in Malaga that bear similar origins.


 

Monuments and Museums in Cartama

There are three main monuments in the town of Cartama: La Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, remnants of the Moorish castle, and the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle. You'll also find a museum in town devoted to La Virgen de Los Remedios.

Here are some of the things you might want to know about these Cartama monuments and museums:

-La Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios - The town's patron saint, La Virgen de Los Remedios, is venerated by all locals. In fact, the most important event in town, which is held every April 22, is a fiesta (feast day) dedicated to honouring her. The chapel in the Ermita (hermitage) is the home of her image during the entire year.

On April 22, the locals perform a pilgrimage wherein they walk - some even on their knees - uphill to the hermitage. They then bear the image of The Virgin and bring it down to the streets of Cartama, stopping at the doors of the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle, where it is to stay during the entire fiesta.

-Moorish Castle - One of the few castles in Malaga that still has a facade (albeit ruined) which you can make out as an old fortress, Cartama's Moorish castle was built to protect Malaga (the provincial capital) from intruders.

Back during the time of the Romans, when the predecessor of the Moorish castle was first constructed, the riverbanks of Rio Guadalhorce near the town was still reachable by boat. That made it a perfect jump-off point for any invasion directed at Malaga. The castle was erected to serve as a critical line of defence.

-Church of Saint Peter the Apostle - This religious structure was built on top of an old mosque after the Catholic Monarchs captured the town and evicted its Muslim residents. Built-in 1502, an inscription on the church's outer walls states just that. The church plays an important role during the town's main feast every April 22. It is where the image of the town's patron saint is housed during the festivities.

monuments cartama

Entertainment in Cartama

There are many forms of Cartama entertainment, and we've divided them into three categories: festivals, outdoors, and nightlife. Festivals is for those who want to observe or even take part in the activities of the local culture. Outdoors is for those who have an adventurous spirit. Finally, Nightlife is suitable for those who are looking for something to do after the sunsets.

Festivals

Like most Spanish towns, Cartama has a yearlong calendar of religious activities. These celebrations - majority of which are known as fiestas (festivals) - are all Roman Catholic in nature and are participated in by a vast majority of the locals. If you wish to know more about Cartama's local customs, we encourage you to drop by at these times of the year:

-February - This is the time of the Carnivals, the festive season that precedes the solemn season of Lent. You'll be able to witness street parties, fairs, and costumes. Expect an upbeat mood here.

-April - This is when the most important celebration of Cartama is held. It is a fiesta to honour the town's patron saint - the Virgen de Los Remedios. Since it is considered as a "Fiesta of National Touristic Interest", expect to see many visitors from the surrounding regions.

-May - Another big celebration is the Verdiales festival, which is held during this month. There are a traditional song and dance competitions with participants from neighbouring towns, so expect lots of lively music.
 

Other notable fiestas are the Cattle Fair and the El Sexmo fiesta in September, and the feast marking the return of La Virgen to the Ermita in June.

Outdoors

The neighbouring regions of Cartama are known for their rugged terrain and scenic spots. Hence, they are ideal for outdoor sports activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, and golf. Two of the best golf clubs nearby are Guadalhorce Club de Golf in Malaga and Lauro Golf in Alhaurin de la Torre.

Nightlife

After a long, fun-filled day in Cartama, you might have enough energy to stay up a little late. A few cold drinks, great music, and some chitchat with your companions or the locals would be the best way to wrap up your day. The best places can be found in either the pueblo or in the Station.

Restaurants and Bars in Yunquera

Restaurants in Cartama

Most Cartama restaurants can be found in the town's main communities: Cartama Pueblo, its oldest part and the centre of town, and Estacion de Cartama (the railway station). The two communities are situated on opposite sides of the Autovia de Guadalhorce (A-357), with Pueblo in the south and Estacion up north. In many of these establishments, you'll find delicious Spanish cuisine, some international dishes, and lots of tapas.

Here are some of them:

-Restaurante Berrocal - Located in Los Mondeños, Estacion de Cartama, this restaurant houses two large areas where you can hold events like weddings, baptismal celebrations, birthdays, debuts, parties, business affairs, and so on. The two spacious areas are called the Axarquia Hall and the Nerja Room.

There's a large parking space outside, with the mountain and the town both providing a scenic backdrop. Also outside is a playground with slides and swings where your kids can play while you wait for your food to be served.

-Meson Tintero Campero - Along Km 2 Carretera Cartama-Churriana, you'll find this nice establishment that serves a wide range of fresh seafood like shrimps, Malaga monkfish, swordfish, sea bass, squid, anchovies, lobsters, clams, and more. They also serve pork tenderloin, lamb chops, grilled rabbit or chicken, salad and of course, the Spanish speciality - paella.

Outside, you'll be greeted by a rustic facade with clear, sliding glass windows. The interior of the restaurant is rural-inspired, with the walls adorned with different kinds of farm tools. There are fireplaces set in strategic locations to keep you warm.

-La Bodega - This restaurant, along Calle de Miguel Berrocal, is a great place to feast on Iberian pork and beef. They also serve quality cheese from sheep and goat, plus a fine selection of the best wines in Malaga. The cosy atmosphere inside, which can accommodate up to 50 guests, is lit by elegant chandeliers.

Other restaurants in Estacion and the Pueblo are El Pescaito and Callaito, both along Carratera de Coin; Badulake, along Calle del Alcaudon; Bocateria El Rey Choguarma, along Avenida de Severo Ochoa; and Hacienda La Biznaga, along Calle del Jilguero.

restaurants cartama

Bars and Pubs in Cartama

When evening falls and it's time to unwind, Cartama pubs and bars can offer you ice cold drinks, delicious tapas or main courses and ample entertainment to wrap up your day in this scenic Mediterranean countryside.

Here are some pubs and bars for your Cartama night-out.

In Estacion, along Avenida de Andulacia, you'll find a string of bars and pubs. Since these establishments are all found in one street, you might want to start your bar-hopping here. There's Gregorio Cafe, La Roca del Mago, Taboada, Bar Nuevo, El Arder, and Piston Bar. Most of them are just alongside or fronting one another.

Some bars, like Diego Zea Naranjo along Calle de Antonio Machado and La Casa de La Cervesa along Calle de la Alozaina, although not really along Avenida de Andulacia are just a few meters from it, so you might want to have a side trip to check them out and sample their drinks as well. Beer drinkers, for instance, won't want to miss the beer in La Casa de la Cervesa.

In the older part of town, known as Cartama pueblo, there are a couple of bars we suggest you include in your list. They are Bar Lorito and Whiskeria Bells, which are both found along Calle de Juan Carlos I.

Although all bars along Avenida de Andulacia are separated by walking distances from one another, you should have a ride if you want to hop to those bars situated at the pueblo since the two places - Estacion and pueblo - are about 3.6 km apart. That's going to be about 8 minutes by car.

If you have a ride and are looking for one more bar to add to your list, Aguamania is highly recommended. It's got karaoke and live music and is located just outside Cartama.

Each of the Cartama pubs and bars that we mentioned has its own unique form of entertainment and atmosphere. La Roca del Mago, for instance, is a disco bar with an ethereal theme. On the other hand, Toppers Rest (in Estacion) is where Brits usually hang out. If you want to get loads of tapas, then you should stick to those operated by Spanish owners.

Hotels in Cartama 

Although there aren't many Cartama hotels, that doesn't mean there's no place to spend the night near this nice little Spanish town. On the contrary, there's a lot of bread and breakfasts and holiday rentals in the area. The main benefit of living in these establishments is that you'll be able to enjoy better privacy and more personalized service than on regular hotels. Here's a shortlist for you to begin with.

-Apartamentos Turisticos Altai - Found along Sorolla, in Estacion Cartama, this establishment features fully-furnished luxurious apartments, each equipped with all the necessary appliances such as a washing machine, fridge, air conditioning system and heating system.

They even have a parking space so you don't have to leave your car outside. They charge about 10 € / day for parking. Other rates that you might want to know are 30 € / day per person and 20 € / day per child. They don't charge anything for children up to 3 years old.

-Posada Los Siete Arcos - Also found near Estacion Cartama, specifically along Barriada Garcia Agua, this hotel features spacious rooms with TV, Internet access, air conditioning, shower, and a telephone. They have an outdoor pool and a bar right beside it. Their menu consists of local specialities like paella, zarzuela, and mariscos as well as other internationally familiar foods like barbecues, salads, fresh vegetables, and cakes.

-Dos Iberos - This elegant bread and breakfast along Santa Maria, in Alhaurin el Grande has spacious bedrooms, a large outdoor pool with a magnificent view, and a strategic location that renders many Andulacian tourist and historical spots easily accessible. From Cartama, you'll only need about 10 minutes to get here.

-Casa Mas Arab Guest House - If you're one who loves horseback riding and other outdoor activities, you might want to stay in this rural guesthouse in the countryside of Pizarra, about 15 km from Cartama. The place offers WiFi Internet access, a parking space, cooking facilities, a minibar, and an outdoor swimming pool, among others.

Other hotels near Cartama are Sol Andalusi Health Resort & Spa in Alhaurin de la Torre, Hotel Kadampa in Alhaurin del Grande, and TRH Mijas in Mijas.


hotels cartama

Shopping in Cartama

The Cartama shopping districts are mainly in the pueblo and the Estacion. In these two communities, you'll find a nice collection of stores that can meet your basic shopping needs. Here are some that we think you'll find really useful.

If you're staying in a holiday villa rental with a self-catering arrangement, you'll have to go out to buy your own groceries (unless of course, they provide shopping service). If so, you can get your groceries from any of these three hipermercados (supermarkets):

-Supermercados Rosi along Calle de Lope Vega; Mascomo along Calle de Gonzalez Marin; and Coviran along Calle del Ojen. They all sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. You can also find other items like soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and many others there.

Note that, if you avail of a villa rental's shopping service, you'll have to pay a fee. This will free you of the hassle of having to go to town. This arrangement is ideal if you really want to stay put in one place. However, if you want to explore the town and meet the locals, then buying your groceries on your own can help you hit two birds with one stone.

-Flamenca Biznaga - If you want to get your own flashy Flamenca attire, you can check out this shop along Calle Marbellies.

In Estacion, walk along Avenida Andulacia, where you'll find many little shops. Among them are Farmacia Mercedes Aguera (a pharmacy), Zapateria & Complementos Avenida (a shoe store), Productos Carnicos Molino de Calderon (a meat shop), and Anamar (a haberdashery), among many others.

-Trujillo - This flower shop sells lovely Spanish flowers. You might need them for a business function, a birthday celebration, a wedding, or simply a present for your loved one to greet her on a bright Mediterranean day. Trujillo can be found along Calle de la Alozaina.

If these shops are not enough, then we suggest you just head out to nearby Malaga, where you'll find larger shopping centres. Malaga is just about 17 km away, so you can shop the whole day and go back to the place where you're billeted in Cartama once you're done.

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