12 Incredible Things To Do in Casares, Málaga
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
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If you're looking to visit somewhere off the beaten path in Andalucía, Casares is a fantastic inland white village in Málaga to start at. There are numerous things to do in Casares, which is why it makes for a great day trip from Málaga, and it's only a short drive from the coast as well. I was very surprised to learn that Casares isn't usually on any coach trip circuits, but that just means that you'll have this fantastic hidden gem in Málaga all to yourself! The drive up to Casares from the coast is probably just as impressive as the Moorish white village itself, and you certainly won't be short on photo opportunities here either.
Casares is located close to Estepona and Manilva, and is also only a short drive to Gibraltar (which you can see from the top of the village). It has a history dating back to the pre-Roman era, and according to some references it's where Julius Caesar came to get rid of his liver disease by using the village's spa. The name Casares is said to derive from the Roman general himself, although it can also be linked to the Moorish word for castle or fortress. Casares was also one of the last Muslim strongholds in the area following the Christian reconquest in the 15th century, and much of its Moorish architecture still remains today. There's definitely no shortage of interesting history in this Andalucían white village, which is why you will also find plenty of unique things to do in Casares too. Here are my recommendations for what to do in Casares:
1. Take in the views at Centro de Recepción de Visitantes de Casares
The first thing you'll come across as you make your way into the village itself is the Centro de Recepción de Visitantes de Casares. It's located on the main street heading into Casares and you'll see a large parking lot next to it, which a lot of people who are travelling in campervans use. The building itself may or may not be open, but if you follow a trail behind it, up a small hill, you'll come across a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside with the sea in the distance. Once you're done here, you can continue your drive into Casares.
2. Stroll through the streets of Casares
Casares is a very picturesque white village in Spain, so it's a shame that it's overlooked by tourists who favour staying along the coastline. One of the best things to do in Casares is to take some time out of your itinerary and explore its streets. The streets are quite narrow and can get steep in some parts, but there is a pretty corner at almost every turn, and you can still see a lot of the Arab influence in the buildings and the street layouts. If you've visited any other Moorish white villages in Málaga, like Comares or Álora, you'll notice how similar the streets are.
3. Stop at Plaza de España
The main plaza in Casares is called Plaza de España, and is where you can find a lot of the locals hanging about. There aren't too many restaurants in Casares to choose from if you're looking to eat in the centre (there are a lot dotted around the countryside though), so your best bet would be to eat in this plaza. Here is where you'll also find Fuente de Carlos III sitting in the middle of the road, which was constructed in the 18th century to provide fresh water to the centre of the village. The fountain is still in use today if you run out of drinking water!
4. Iglesia de San Sebastián
Sitting just beside Plaza de España is the beautiful Iglesia de San Sebastián. This church was built in the 17th century, and has recently been remodelled inside, which you can look at if you have the chance to go in it. During the month of May, there is a celebratory pilgrimage which walks over 11km and finishes its procession at this church. This isn't one of the main things to see in Casares, but it's a beautiful religious building to take a quick look at.
5. Casa Museo de Blas Infante
Not far from the main plaza is Casa Museo de Blas Infante. Visiting this museum comes highly recommended and is one of the top things to do in Casares according to multiple tourism websites. This building was the home of the famous Andalucían writer and politician Blas Infante, and you can see many of his works and various documents on display on both floors of the house. This is also a tourist information point if you need any assistance.
6. Arco del Arrabal
As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of examples of Moorish architecture throughout the village. One of the most obvious ones is Arco del Arrabal, which sits just below the castle, and is one of two main entrances that the castle would have had. The arch can be a little tricky to locate if you're using Google Maps, but visiting it is definitely one of the best things to do in Casares in my opinion, and it's on the way to the castle too!
7. Castillo de Casares
Surprisingly, this was not on my radar as a castle to visit in the Province of Málaga, but it offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape and without a doubt should be on your list of things to do in Casares. This defensive castle would have been the origin of Casares as an Arab stronghold in the 13th century, as it provided views of the countryside, as well as Algeciras and Gibraltar. Although it now stands as a ruin, Castillo de Casares is still a main point of interest in Casares and worth hiking up the narrow streets to get to.
8. Ermita de la Vera Cruz
Sitting only a few minutes walk from Castillo de Casares is the unimposing, and often bypassed, Ermita de la Vera Cruz. It's a very small chapel built over 200 years ago, and although it's closed off by iron railings, you can still see its interior clearly enough. You can also get a very nice view of another side of Casares from here, and may even be greeted by a cat or two. This isn't the most exciting thing to do in Casares but it's in between the castle and the main church so you might as well as make a brief stop.
9. Iglesia de la Encarnación
One of the highlights of the village and certainly one of the main things to do in Casares is to walk up to Iglesia de la Encarnación. This is the main church in the village and it was originally used as a Franciscan-Capuchin convent. It dates back to the 16th century, and is located very close to the castle. It's also where you'll be able to get a bit closer to the Griffon Vultures and the eagles that are constantly flying around.
10. Walk around Iglesia de la Encarnación
One thing I would recommend doing is to walk around to the back of the church. Here is where the gardens of the old convent would have been, which are still noticeable today. You also get what I think is a nicer view of the church as it looks a bit more medieval, and there are plenty of seats around its perimeter so you can relax in the shade for a bit.
11. Vulture watching at Mirador del Tajo de la Planá
The back part of the church is also where you'll find Mirador del Tajo de la Planá. This is a beautiful viewpoint where you can see the countryside as well as the coastline of the Costa del Sol in the distance. But the reason why this viewpoint makes my list of things to do in Casares is because of the vultures and eagles. Casares is a protected area as it's home to a nesting site of a colony of Griffin Vultures, as well as a number of other protected birds and eagles. You can often see them flying high above the village, and this viewpoint brings you even closer to them. If outdoor activities are more your thing, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails surrounding Casares to choose from where you can also try to spot the vultures.
12. Take in one last view at Mirador de Casares
One last view of Casares won't hurt, right? Mirador de Casares offers unrivalled views of the white village below and is very easy to access by car, with free parking onsite. Visiting this viewpoint is one of the best things in Casares that you can do, especially if it's a clear day, and you may even be able to spot a few birds in the sky as well. Casares really is one of the best destinations in southern Spain to visit if you like to get off the beaten path, and this viewpoint shows the village in its entirety and is truly breathtaking.
If you're hoping to visit unique places near Marbella, or want to head to a stunning inland white village as part of a day trip from Málaga, I couldn't recommend Casares enough. Unlike other white villages near Málaga such as Benamargosa or Cútar, you'll find you can easily spend a full day exploring Casares and learning more about its history and culture. There are more than enough things to do in Casares to keep you busy, and if you find yourself craving the beach again, it's less than a 30 minute drive back to the coast!
Have you driven to Casares before? If you have any other recommendations about places to visit near Marbella or Estepona, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below - I always love visiting unique places in the Province of Málaga! Remember to follow my travels on Instagram as well!
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