What to do in Casabermeja
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Casabermeja is a little pueblo Blanco located some 25 km north of Malaga, the provincial capital. With a land area of only about 66 sq. km. and a population of a little over 3000, this tiny village with its whitewashed structures and steep, narrow streets radiate the same enchanting aura characteristic of the rustic white villages that dot the mountainsides of the Malaga province.
The white buildings and winding, narrow streets are the last visible traces of the long Moorish occupation in this region. The Moors were not the first occupants here though. Archaeological finds in neighbouring villages show that perhaps Romans and Phoenicians once lived here. Interestingly, prehistoric people are believed to have settled here sometime in the past.
Some interesting historical sites include the cave paintings at Piedras de Cabrera, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Socorro, the Torre Zambra, and the Cementerio Municipal de San Sebastian.
A natural area of interest that’s also worth visiting is the Parque Natural de Los Monte de Malaga, a 4900-hectare government-protected natural park that is home to the numerous flora and fauna found in the mountains of Malaga. There you can find plants like oleander, reeds, liquorice, manzanillas, clover and sorrel. Animals like mongoose, eagles, owls, hawks, rabbits, partridges, spiny-footed lizard can also found in abundance.
The town has an adequate number of restaurants and bars to satisfy varied discriminating tastes. Among the highly recommended establishments are Puerta De Malaga Asador Restaurante, Restaurante Casabermeja, La Posada, Casa Caña, El Lagar de Pepe, El Puerto, and Pizzería Nuevo Montblanc.
Although most of the restaurants mentioned above serve traditional Spanish/Mediterranean cuisine, there are still some that offer international dishes. Some of the delicious local specialities are olla de la era, migas, conejo al arillo, gazpacho, borrachuelos, tortas de aceite, and tortas de limon.
The local artisans are experts in crafting saddles, gowns, halters, ties, and decorative ceramics. To further promote the art of pottery and ceramics, the locals organised the Museo-Taller Municipal de Ceramica (museum-ceramic workshop).
Like in all towns in Spain, the residents of Casabermeja are composed mainly of Christians. Some of the religious festivals/celebrations include the Feast of San Sebastian, Casabermeja’s patron saint; Feast of San Marcos; Semana Santa (Holy Week); and the Feast of Corpus Cristi.
History of Casabermeja
If the rock paintings at Piedras de Cabrera are any indication, Casabermeja history can be traced as far back to prehistoric times. This is consistent with archaeological finds in the area such as the remains in stone burial grounds at Chapera and Cortijo del Hosptial, as well as those in other caves in the Malaga province.
Although other towns in Malaga are known to have Phoenician and Roman origins, e.g. Riogordo, which is about 18 km from Casabermeja, there are no traces of those ancient civilizations here.
What is certain is that the Moors constructed defensive outposts here. This is evident from the remnants of Torre Zambra, located somewhere near the old road connecting Malaga and Casabermeja. The narrow, steep streets of this pueblo Blanco is also typical of Arabic villages, so the town of Casabermeja itself may be proof that there was a Moorish settlement here.
After the fall of Malaga, the Catholic King and Queen sent a letter granting villa status to the place. This was confirmed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Carlos I, in 1550. On May 5, 1630, a Royal Decree was issued by King Philip IV granting the local residents the right to buy the Villa.
Monuments and Museums in Casabermeja
Aside from the allure of this pueblo Blanco's captivating facade itself, the historical and artistic sites you can find here will make your trip to this mountain village pretty much worth your while. What you’ll find below are the Casabermeja monuments and museums that should be included in every visitor’s itinerary.
-Torre Zambra - One of the last vestiges of the long Moorish occupation in the region, this imposing tower is perched on a hilltop some four kilometres from the village. It offers a magnificent view of the province, a part of Granada in the east, and even a strip of the northern coast of Africa in the south. The tower can be reached via the old road connecting Casabermeja and Malaga, at km 14.
-Cementerio Municipal de San Sebastian - This peculiar cemetery was declared a National Monument back in the 1980s. The distinction was made for its unique burial mounds and tombstones. During All Saints Day, relatives of the dead gather at the cemetery to clean the mounds and to adorn them with flowers.
From a distance, the cemetery’s narrow passageways and whitewashed mausoleums make it appear like a miniaturized version of the town itself.
-Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Socorro - First constructed in the early part of the 16th century, this church underwent major renovations and expansions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The interior of the building is characterised by three main naves separated by white rectangular pillars.
There are Baroque-style chapels on both sides. These are dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen and Jesus Nazareno. Outside, a five-story square-based tower rises high above on one side of the main structure.
-Museo-Taller Municipal de Ceramica - This museum is dedicated to the art of pottery and ceramics, crafts which the artisans of Casabermeja are known for. The organization is actually part-workshop and part-museum. So aside from exhibits, the place also offers consultative, research, and educational activities.
The institution was established to provide documentation, in-depth studies, and a learning centre for these particular crafts. You can find the Museo-Taller Municipal de Ceramica along Calle Real. For inquiries, you can contact them at 952 758 156.
Activities in Casabermeja
Due to the rugged terrain in these parts, Casabermeja entertainment typically comes in the form of outdoor sports and activities. Here are some of them:
-Enduro racing - This is an off-road motorcycle sport held in circuits laden with obstacles. the motorcycles used in Enduro racing have deep suspensions and powered either by two-stroke engines ranging from 125 to 300 cc or four-stroke engines ranging from 250 to 650 cc.
Once those snarling engines start filling the air, it’ll be easy to know when and where a race is taking place. The sheer sight of riders and their bikes shooting up from a mound from time to time as they go around the circuit is an exciting way to spend a weekend afternoon.
-Quad bike tours - An ATV or all-terrain vehicle a.k.a. a quad bike is a four-wheeled vehicle (some have three or even 6 wheels) that uses handlebars for manoeuvring. It is capable of navigating over rocky, muddy, or grassy terrain. Thus, when you hop on one, you can explore the mountains, rivers, and olive groves of the Malaga countryside.
-Hiking at Parque Natural de Los Montes de Malaga - The Malaga Natural Park is a lush haven of Malaga wildlife. You can navigate through trails amidst pine trees, olive trees, and cork oak. Every now and then, you can catch a glimpse of a badger, skunk, or a fox. You may also catch a hawk, owl, or eagle soaring overhead.
If you’re not the adventurous type, then perhaps you’ll find the historical spots in and around the village more to your liking. The cave paintings at Piedras de Cabrera, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Socorro, the Torre Zambra, and the Cementerio Municipal de San Sebastian are among the sites that provide interesting insights regarding this town’s historical heritage.
Casabermeja residents are deeply religious. That’s why there are many religious festivals every year. One of the most popular is the Feast of San Sebastian, wherein at the end of the procession in the town square, local restaurant owners allow visitors to savour mouth-watering native delicacies.
Restaurants in Casabermeja
No need to travel all the way to Malaga to enjoy delicious food. There’s a sufficient selection of Casabermeja restaurants where you can enjoy good food amidst the pleasing rural ambience. Here are some of them.
-Puerta De Malaga Asador Restaurante - This restaurant along Paseo Puerto de la Horca specializes in mouth-watering grilled food. They cook the meat in a wooden oven, giving it a unique appealing taste. You can enjoy your meal or drinks in either the patio or the tavern. (phone: 952 758 554).
-Restaurante Casabermeja - Located outside the town proper, this restaurant can be found along the Autovia Malaga-Madrid, at Km 15. They specialize in mountain dishes like stuffed pumpkins, mushrooms, eggplant with cane honey, Malaga rock salmon, and lobster, among others. (phone: 952 758 425)
-La Posada - You can find this establishment in the southern tip of the town proper, along Calle Real. Try their cabbage dishes, rabbit in garlic, and fried bread crumbs. If you’re looking for a place to stay, this establishment also accepts lodging. (phone: 952 758 229)
-Casa Caña - Also found along Calle Real, this restaurant serves fried bread crumbs, callos (these are made up of pigs’ trotters and snouts), steak, fried cod, and omelettes. (phone: 952 758 404).
-El Lagar de Pepe - Located along the road connecting Casabermeja and Villanueva de la Concepcion, this restaurant is part of a rural hotel with a whitewashed facade. For your alcoholic beverages and other refreshments, they also have a bar. (phone: 952 758 296).
-El Puerto - This place along Paseo Puerto De La Horca serves delectable seafood and meat dishes coupled with a nice selection of Spanish wine from their very own cellar. We highly recommend their "boquerón victoriano" de Málaga, grilled shrimp, and clams, as well as their selection of homemade sweets/desserts. (phone: 952 758 077).
-Pizzería Nuevo MontBlanc - Had enough of those Spanish dishes? How about some Italian and American food for a change? This place along Paseo Puerto de la Horca serves pizza, hamburger, ice cream, and other non-Spanish food. (phone: 952 758 218).
-Bar Restaurante Alba - This resto-bar is also found along Paseo Puerto De La Horca. Before you start drinking, you might want to stuff your stomach with their mouth-watering tapas and steak. You can find Bar Alba at the corner of Puerto de la Horca, right beside the Heladeria Mont Blanc Cafeteria/Pizzeria. (phone: 952 758 232)
-La Romana - Another bar that can be found along the same street. They serve breakfast and lunch here. (phone: 952 758 318).
Nearly all pubs and bars in Casabermeja serve bite-sized finger-foods known as tapas. They go well with your favourite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. One way to enjoy tapas is by pairing each kind of tapa with a certain kind of beverage. When you move on to the next tapa, move on to the next beverage as well.
The best way to do this is by bar-hopping. In which case, you may have one pair of drink and tapas for every bar you hop into. Unlike in the big Spanish cities, there are still some establishments here that serve drinks with free tapas.
Normally, people go to the bars not earlier than 11 PM. The peak hour is usually at around 3 AM, slowly tapering down until 6 AM.
Hotels in Casabermeja
-Hostal Los Gallos - Despite its relatively small size (having only 15 rooms), this hostal along Calle del Bicevendido has sufficient amenities to make your stay comfortable. Your room will have a private balcony, air conditioning, heating, Wi-Fi Internet access, and a fridge. They also provide laundry and ironing service. (phone: 952 758 109)
-Hotel El Lagar de Pepe - This rural hotel can be found along the road joining Casabermeja and Villanueva de la Concepcion. Their rooms are equipped with air conditioning, heating, a bathroom, and a terrace. They also have an on-site bar and restaurant. Parking is not a problem because there’s a wide space outside. (phone: 952 758 296)
-Hostal La Posada - Located along Calle Real, this hostel also features an on-site restaurant where you can dine after a tiring day outdoors. All rooms are provided with air conditioning, heating, TV, and a shower. (phone: 952 758 229)
-Pension El Taxi - You can find this pension house along Calle Puerto de la Horca. All rooms are provided with air conditioning, heating, TV, and a private bathroom. (phone: 952 758 022)
-Ferienhaus Das Kleine Paradies Holiday - The Little Paradise is a holiday villa located some 4 km southeast of the village. It features an outdoor pool, a terrace, private tubs, a music room, study, gaming room, a sauna, and a parking space that can accommodate 12 cars. You can go horseback riding in the surrounding landscape, which is adorned with olive, almond, and orange trees. (phone: 952031890)
If you have a car, you may opt to stay in Colmenar, which is only about 10 km from Casabermeja. Here are two of the hotels there that we find appealing enough.
-Balcon de los Montes - Located along Calle Serrania de Ronda, this hotel with a white and brick-red colored facade offers Internet access, private bathtubs, TV, minibars, direct dial telephones, and air conditioning. (phone: 952 730 530)
-Hotel Los Arrieros - When coming in from Casabermeja, you can find this place near the entrance of Colmenar, along Calle de Carretera Casabermeja. Inside is an on-site bar/cafe/restaurant, while outside, you’ll find a children’s playground and a garden terrace. (phone: 952 730 037)
Shopping in Casabermeja
There are only a few stores in town that can cater to your Casabermeja shopping needs. As a matter of fact, if you’re staying in a self-catering holiday rental and need to replenish your food supply and toiletries, you might as well head straight to Malaga, the provincial capital.
Malaga is only 25 km away. That’s just less than 30 minutes by car. Once you’re there, you can choose from a wide selection of supermarkets.
Some of the big shopping centres in Malaga are:
-Plaza Mayor along Calle Alfonso Ponce de Leon, with telephone number 952 247 580
-Malaga Plaza along Calle de Armengual de La Mota, with telephone number 952 614 040
-La Rosaleda along Avenida de Luis Buñuel, with telephone number 952 305 191
-Larios Centro along Av de Andalucia, with telephone number 952 369 393
-Carrefour Alameda along Autovia del Mediterraneo, with telephone number 952 619 000
-Malaga Nostrum along N-340, with telephone number 952 239 130
These are really big shopping centres, so you can simply pick one and shop all day long.
Now, if you only need stuff like fresh bread, then there are bakeries in Casabermeja where you should be able to find what you need. Here are two of them.
-La Divina Providencia - Conveniently located at the heart of town, along Calle del Cristo, this bakery serves fresh cakes, pastries, bread, and other baked products. It’s situated near the corner of the street. Look for a glass door underneath a hanging sign that says “PANADERIA”, which is also right below two balconies. (phone: 952 758 005)
-Panaderia Justa - Just a block away from La Divina Providencia is another bakery. It is located along the narrow, inclined street named Calle de la Camacha. Look for a narrow, brown-coloured wooden door. The opening is found underneath a colourful signboard. (phone: 952 758 252)
Looking for a piece of antique to beautify your home? The Antiques Place is a small shop along Calle de Colmenar that sells antique tallboys, coffee tables, wardrobe closets, dining tables, and many more. Specializing in pine furniture, they buy old pieces and restore them to original form. (phone: 952 758 347).