If you’re visiting Grazalema and trying to find the best things to see and do, this post is for you!
But instead of it fading into the background, merging with all the rest (“oh look, another white village”), Grazalema blew. me. away! It was quite possibly my favorite of all the pueblo blancos I visited in Spain.
Grazalema is located high up in the mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural, in a little cove surrounded by mountain peaks. The village is immaculate – fresh, white painted houses, picture perfect churches, a delightful square lined with trees, and flowers spilling out of window boxes everywhere.
This is also the wettest area of Andalucia, receiving over 800 mm (32 inches) of rain, annually, making the area quite green!
Grazalema is very close to many other of the pueblos blancos in Andalucia. It’s only 45 minutes from both Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas, and smack dab in the middle of Malaga and Seville (1 hour 45 minutes from either city).
It’s a convenient, gorgeous, somewhat off the beaten path white village in Spain – so of course it needs to be on your Spain itinerary. For the rest of this post, we’re going to dive into everything you need to know about visiting Grazalema, including points of interest, where to park, getting around, hiking trails, and more.
Best Things to Do/Points of Interest in Grazalema
Like most of Spain’s charming pueblos blancos, the best thing to do in Grazalema is simply wander all of the picture perfect streets and soak in the charm.
However, there are some fun, interesting, and beautiful spots and points of interest to visit in Grazalema, which shouldn’t be missed!
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There are two plazas in town that you can’t miss and I want to highlight here:
Plaza de Espana
The Plaza de Espana in Grazalema is the main square in town and is incredibly charming. The square is lined with white houses, has a short, wall around it, and is lined with flower pots. The Iglesia de Neustra Senora de Aurora church stands proudly at one end, and there are several restaurants with seating on the side of the plaza.
When I was there in early April, the trees in the square hadn’t bloomed yet, but when they are in bloom and leafy, the square will be even that much more charming.
This smaller plaza is tucked away on the edge of town. I found it to be a very charming spot, with a viewpoint (more on that below), lots of trees, and quaint buildings.
The following are 4 beautiful miradors (viewpoints) in Grazalema, that showcase the beauty of the countryside outside of town, or the town itself, nestled in the mountain peaks.
Mirador Del Santo
This mirador viewpoint requires a bit of a hike. You start from the A-372 road above town, and then hike 15 minutes up to the viewpoint. You gain a fair bit of elevation on this hike, leading to really gorgeous views over town.
The hike was a bit steep, but I managed to do it in sandals and a dress just fine (I didn’t realize how much of a hike it was before starting – I just expected a 30 second walk, ha!).
The summit, in addition to having great views, also features this statue of Jesus, resting on top of a column, which explains why this is called the “Viewpoint of Holiness.”
Unofficial Mirador on A-372
I mentioned in the Mirador Del Santo section, above, that you start the hike up to the viewpoint from A-372. The spot on the highway where the trail starts is actually a really fantastic viewpoint over the town as well.
I liked that the town was a little bit closer at this viewpoint. If you don’t want to do the short hike up to Mirador del Santo, I would still come to the trailhead to enjoy this view over Grazalema.
Mirador de Los Asomaderos
Mirador de Los Asomaderos is located at Plaza Asomadero, which I talked about in the Plaza section, above. This viewpoint is on the edge of town, and gives great views down into the valley beneath. It also gives a good view looking back towards the mountains, with some of the white buildings in town in the foreground.
Mirador El Tajo
This mirador is on the edge of town and overlooks the valley below the town. You can see trails, the roads leading into town, and rolling hills in the distance. If you’re visiting in summer and need to cool down a bit, it’s also by the Grazalema community pool.
While truly every street in Grazalema was extremely pretty, here are a few streets/locations that I think are worth noting:
A-372 near Mirador El Tajo
Just down the street from the El Tajo Viewpoint is, what I think, one of the cutest streets in the city. This spot is on a little hill, so you can see many of the white houses spreading out in front of you, and you can also see several mountain peaks in the distance.
If you visit in spring, the trees will also be in bloom and have beautiful pink flowers on them. This is a stunning shot of the city nestled in the mountains.
Besides the view, the buildings are just so cute, with tons of picturesque little spots in this corner of Grazalema.
Calle Dr. Mateos Gago
This pretty street has the characteristic white buildings, wrought iron windows, and cobblestoned streets you’ll see throughout Grazalema, but the striking tan and red tower of the Iglesia de San Juan de Letran church is perfectly framed between the buildings at the end of the street.
A little farther up the street was this florist. I LOVED the plants and greenery spilling out of the shop!
This very short street is located right off the main Plaza de Espana in town, so you’ll certainly walk by it at some point. The flowers and plants on the balconies, the white buildings and restaurant patio in the background, plus the lack of cars parked on the street made this a very charming street in Grazalema.
There are several fountains in Grazalema that have provided fresh water for the city occupants from the nearby Guadalete River and from sources up in the mountains.
Interestingly, Grazalema is one of the wettest spots in Spain, being uniquely positioned in the mountains to receive the wettest air that gets trapped from both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Over 90 inches of rain falls every year on the region.
It makes sense, then, that a city in such a wet region would have many freshwater fountains in town for residents to use. The fountains are all interesting designs and historical landmarks, and are definitely worth a stop by while in Grazalema.
Fuente de la Puentezuela
This two spigot, fresh water fountain is in the middle of the residential part of the city, on the corner of Calle Nueva and Calle Puentezuela. This fountain also marks the divide between the upper neighborhood and the lower neighborhood of Grazalema.
Fuente Plaza de Espana
This fountain is right on the Plaza de Espana and features four heads with spigots that fall into a long basin.
Also known as the Fountain of Eight Spouts, this fountain is the largest freshwater fountain of the bunch! It’s located on the lower edge of town and is very picturesque, the large whitewashed stone façade, the multiple fountains, the long basin, and the sound of babbling water.
The public baths of Grazalema are not like the Arab bathhouses found in Ronda or Granada, which were made for people to clean themselves. This bath house is a spot for laundry, where women would come and use one of the 16 basins to clean their family’s clothing. This spot is directly across the street from the Fountain of Eight Spouts.
There are 4 churches in Grazalema (it feels like a high number of churches for such a small town, but in 1850, there were 9,000 people living in Grazalema, so I guess the numbers do work out. Today, just over 2,000 people live in Grazalema).
Today, not all the churches in Grazalema are still functioning religious buildings, but are instead being used for community events, or are just closed to the public.
Iglesia de San Jose + Parque Huerto de San Jose
The Church of San José is from the 1600’s, and used to be a convent of the Carmelite order. There are not a lot of records left from that time period, so not too much is known about the church’s history. Inside, there is a beautiful statue of the Immaculate Conception, a focal point of the church.
This church is the highest located in Grazalema, and is in the upper neighborhood of Grazalema, being several minutes walk from the cluster of churches near the main square. Adjacent to the church is the small Park of San José, which has a few beautiful walking paths among the grass, trees, and bushes, with the church standing tall beside it.
Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Aurora
As the main church of Grazalema, this grand stone building with three bell towers sits on one end of the main square in town. This church was built in the 1500’s on the ruins of a Moorish mosque, and the original church building was partially destroyed in the Civil War, and then reconstructed in the 1700’s.
The church was not open when I visited, and from what I understand, it is currently in ruins and inaccessible to the public, but the façade is still lovely to admire.
Parroquia de la Encarnacion
This church was built in the 1500’s, after the reconquest of Grazalema, and the bell tower was converted from a minaret of a mosque on the same site. This church is located just a minute or two down the street from the Plaza de Espana, is right off of the main road in town, and is one of the main functioning churches in Grazalema, currently.
Iglesia de San Juan de Letran
I mentioned earlier that this church, the Iglesia de San Juan de Letran, can be seen from Calle Mateos Gago. This church was built in the 1700’s, and was on the site of a former mosque, and the bell tower is an old Arab minaret. Today, the church is used for youth programs.
➡️Mantos de Grazalema Museum + Shop
Textiles have been an important industry in Grazalema from the mid-1600’s to the mid-1800’s, and the city produced tons of merino wool blankets, as well as ponchos (aka Mantos) or cloth during this time period. The industry grew so much and the region was so important in wool cloth making that pieces made in Grazalema were exported to countries throughout Europe and even South America.
While textile production decreased in the late 1800’s, and livestock became a more important industry during this time period, cloth production has continued in Grazalema to the present day. Today, only one factory remains in the city, where high quality wool products continue to be made.
You can visit the “museum” part, which is just some old factory equipment from the 1800’s displayed in the old mill. There isn’t anything by way of descriptions or information about the factory or the machinery, but it’s free to visit. You can also shop in the store for the very high quality merino wool pieces made in the currently functioning factory.
Hours: 9:30am-1:30pm, Monday-Friday
Grazalema is situated in the Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural, and there are a whole host of hikes and trails in the surrounding area. In fact, hiking is one of the main reasons that some people come to Grazalema! Note that some (although not all) hikes require permits. You can request hiking permits here.
A few great hikes in the area to consider are the following:
Sendero El Torreon
Only 3.5 miles total on this out and back hike, this trail is nonetheless a very difficult one, as you gain 2309 feet on the ascent. The top is breathtaking, though, as the summit is one of the highest in the area, and you can see for hundreds of kilometers in the distance on a clear day. You do need a permit to do this hike. Get more info here.
Sendero Rio Majaceite
This hikes starts from the nearby town of El Bosque and goes to Benamahoma. What makes this a very popular hike is that it follows right along the Rio Majaceite river, with several small waterfalls and a light enough flow that visitors can go wading in the stream to cool off. Distance is approximately 5 km. Learn more here.
Llanos del Endrinol
This gorgeous hike starts just off of A-372, on the very northwest edge of Grazalema. It takes you up and into the mountain peaks, doing a 1.8 mile loop with incredible vistas over the mountains and valley. Learn more here.
The Calzada Medieval, or the “Medieval Road”, is a historic, cobblestoned pathway leading from the Plaza Asomadero down into the valley. Look for the sign and follow the walkway leading through town and down into the countryside below the village.
La Garganta Verde
This excellent hike is one of the coolest hikes in the region. The start of La Garganta Verde (aka The Green Throat) is at the highest point of the hike, and you’ll get great views of rolling green hills and ridges.
Descend a steep path into a sheer canyon, where you’ll be hiking along a river, through parts of a slot canyon, and ending at a little cave. You need a permit for this hike. Learn more here.
Want even more hiking options? Here are a few other hikes in the Grazalema Natural Park that you can check out (remember, some of these require permits):
Practical Information for Visiting Grazalema
How to Get to Grazalema
The easiest way to get to Grazalema, by far, is to drive yourself. As the village is tucked away high in the mountains, its not on a major public transportation route. Driving to Grazalema is easy and straightforward, although you will be driving through twisting roads as you climb in elevation.
If you need a bus to Grazalema, the best option is to take an Omnio bus from Malaga. The trip takes around 3 hours, costs 15 euro, only runs certain days of the week, and requires an overnight stay in Grazalema. There is one bus that arrives each day in Grazalema at 3:45pm, and one bus that goes back to Malaga each day at 8:45am.
Where to Park in Grazalema
Grazalema offers several free parking lots throughout the city, which is very convenient. I would recommend driving on A-372 through town and parking at “Aparcamiento El Tajo”, which is near the El Tajo Mirador, the Mirador Del Santo, and the pretty viewpoint on A-372 I mentioned above.
How Long Do You Need in Grazalema?
If you want to just explore the town of Grazalema, then you really just need a 3-4 hours to see and do everything, explore the streets, and grab some lunch at one of the excellent restaurants in town. If you want to do some hiking, add on anywhere from several more hours to another full day to hike in the Sierras.
Where to Stay Near Grazalema
If you’re just doing a day trip to Grazalema, then I’d actually recommend not staying in Grazalema, and staying in Montecorto, a little, off the beaten path white village that is central to most of the white villages of Andalucia.
This guesthouse – called “Grandfather’s Mill”, an adorable patio, rooftop terrace and pool, courtyard, garden, and little grove that you could spend your time in.
There were orange trees, lemon trees, olive trees, a little well, arched doorways, white paved paths, hammocks, and a little stream running through the property. It only has 5 rooms, though, so make sure you check availability.
You can eat breakfast on the patio, a delicious, homemade spread of local fruits, breads, pastries, and produce. From the upper rooms, you get views over the village and out to the surrounding mountains. I never wanted to leave.
The cherry on top is that Montecorto is very centrally located and so it’s easy to stay there and then quickly drive to the many pueblo blancos nearby, including Olvero, Zahara de la Sierra, Setenil de la Bodegas, Ronda, and Grazalema.
Prefer to Stay Overnight in Grazalema?
There aren’t a ton of options for places to stay in Grazalema (and practically zero hotels), but this little apartment is a great option right off of Plaza de Los Asomaderos It’s cute, cozy, and in an excellent location. Bonus – the apartment is super affordable. Check prices here
Guide to Grazalema – the Wrap Up
Grazalema is a sweet and charming village in Southern Spain with a rich history and beautiful terrain. I loved my time here, and I think you will too!