The Best Things To Do in Gaucín, Andalucía
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If you’re planning on spending some time exploring the Province of Málaga in southern Spain, and love stopping at the famous pueblos blancos, then you’re going to want to add the charming town of Gaucín to your list. This white village is steeped in history, pre-dating the Romans, but it was the Romans who officially formed the settlement known as Gaucín, and later the Arabs who improved it. Gaucín has played an important role in the development of the area for centuries thanks to its strategic position in the mountains near Ronda. As you walk through the village, make sure you take the chance to enjoy the views as much as possible.
Despite it only being a small white village in Andalucía, there are quite a few interesting things to do in Gaucín. The village itself is located only a short drive from the equally as impressive white village of Casares, and is just under 2 hours from the centre of Málaga. It might be a bit tricky to get to using public transportation, so I would recommend doing a road trip around the Province of Málaga with a rental car. Gaucín is a great option for a half-day trip from Málaga, as there aren’t as many things to do here as in other spots such as Marbella. Here’s a look at my top picks for the best things to do in Gaucín.
Castillo del Águila
One of the most popular attractions in Gaucín sits at the very top of the village, so bring your walking shoes and lots of water. Castillo del Águila, also known as the Eagle’s Castle, is of Arab origin and dates back to the 10th century. Although it’s now a ruin, quite a lot of the castle still remains at least partly intact. The Torre Homenaje is accessible to visitors and if you climb to the top you’ll have the best views over the village and the surrounding countryside. Castillo del Águila is completely free to enter, but does have set opening times that are different in the summer and winter, so make sure you double check them before visiting.
Ermita del Santo Niño
As you make your way up to the Eagle’s Castle, you’ll pass by the unimposing Ermita del Santo Niño which is worth stopping at briefly. It was built in the 17th century and at one point was used as both a military headquarters and a storehouse for weapons. In the 16th century this is said to be the spot where San Juan de Dios was met by the baby Jesus. It’s an interesting historical attraction to visit and won’t take much time out of your schedule.
Eat tapas at La Esquinita
This may come as a surprise to you, but for such a small white Andalucían village, there are a lot of fantastic places to eat in Gaucín. There’s even a Michelin starred restaurant tucked away down one of the narrow streets. However, if you’d rather not spend all of your budget on food, and enjoy eating where the locals go, I would recommend ordering tapas from La Esquinita, which is located only a short walk from the Gaucín tourist information building. We ordered several dishes from their tapas menu, including homemade croquettes, and the bill was less than €10 per person. For me, it’s one of the best restaurants in Gaucín.
Iglesia de San Sebastián
While you walk around Gaucín, don’t forget to stop at Iglesia de San Sebastián, a beautiful church dating back to the 16th century. The church has undergone some restoration work, so it gives off a later Renaissance feel to it, which makes for some great photos! It’s based along a road, so it’s a bit difficult to see the full extent of it. I would recommend viewing it from above at Mirador del Castillo del Águila for the best photo opportunity.
Cementerio Municipal de Gaucín
While a cemetery may not be what you’d expect to put on your list of things to do in Gaucín, the Cementerio Municipal de Gaucín is very unique and a big attraction for visitors to the village. It sits at the base of the hill where the castle is located, and was built with the tombs stacked four units high in white painted stone. There are fresh flowers placed on all of the tombs which really makes it feel peaceful.
Mirador del Castillo del Águila
One of the best things to do in Gaucín is to admire the views from Mirador del Castillo del Águila. This area has recently undergone a bit of a facelift and has been transformed into a beautiful garden space with several seating areas. It seemed to be very popular with both locals and tourists when we visited. This is a good alternative to making the steep walk up to the castle, as it offers almost identical views of the landscape with the sea in the distance.
Plaza de la Fuente
The main square in Gaucín is Plaza de la Fuente. This open plaza is a popular stop for locals to catch up on the daily gossip, and is home to the family-run Casa Antonia where you can sit outside and observe village life for a while. There isn’t too much to do in Plaza de la Fuente apart from stopping for something to eat or to take a photo, but it’s definitely a must-visit in Gaucín.
Fuente de los Seis Caños
Fuente de los Seis Caños is one of those attractions you can easily miss if you’re not specifically looking for it. It’s located at the edge of Plaza de la Fuente and was built in 1628. It’s an incredible sandstone fountain featuring six different faces on it, each spouting water from their mouths. You may come across a donkey or two tied up here as their owners stop for something to eat at Casa Antonia.
Plaza de Guzmán el Bueno
Less than 5 minutes up the hill from Plaza de la Fuente is another, more intimate plaza known as Plaza de Guzmán el Bueno. This plaza boasts a few restaurant options and is more shaded than the main plaza, making it a nice place to visit to get out of the hot weather in Gaucín. You’ll pass by this plaza as you make your way up the winding streets towards the castle, so you can’t miss it.
Convento de los Carmelitas
An off the beaten path thing to do in Gaucín is to visit the Convento de los Carmelitas as it’s not located near any of the other attractions in the centre of the village. It has a rich history, dating back prior to the 13th century when an official Order was established here. The convent was unfortunately closed when we visited so we couldn’t take a closer look, but I would recommend taking the short walk to it if you enjoy looking at historic buildings.
Explore the streets
One of the best things to do in Gaucín is to take some time and explore its winding whitewashed streets. Gaucín should take no more than a few hours to explore fully, so you’ll definitely have some spare time on your hands to see what other unique places you can come across here. This is actually how we found La Esquinita for lunch, as well as a few other viewpoints. It can get very hot here in the summer months so make sure you’re prepared for the heat if you’re planning on walking around Gaucín or hiking in the area.
Take in the views
Being situated at the top of a hill has its advantages. Historically speaking, Gaucín was the perfect location for a lookout tower and was easily defendable from attacks on all sides. Today though, in a much calmer environment, visitors can enjoy the views from almost every angle in the village. The best view is from the top of the castle, but there are a lot throughout the village to choose from if you’re not able to hike all the way up there.
Gaucín is a stunning white village in Málaga to explore on foot, and is oftentimes missed by visitors to the area who favour staying along the coast and visiting places like Marbella and Estepona. Some of the most unique places in Málaga to visit are located inland though, and chances are you’ll find the villages are a world away from the crowded areas along the Costa del Sol. You won’t be disappointed if you add Gaucín to your southern Spain itinerary.
P.S. If you love exploring Roman ruins, you'll want to check out Acinipo near Ronda.
What’s your favourite white village in Málaga to explore? I’m slowly making my way through them, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. For more travel tips and to stay updated with my travels, you can follow me on Instagram or sign up to my mailing list.