Setenil: a Picturesque Spanish Town That Shouldn't Be Missed

While visitors from the cloudier parts of Europe will clamour for every bit of sun they can when on holiday in Spain, the Spanish are more ambivalent about sunshine and appreciate some shade whenever they can find it. In Setenil de las Bodegas they seem to have taken the idea to an extreme.

Setenil de las Bodegas

As you wander through the little town, large chunks of rock hang precariously amongst the winding streets, often creating natural roofs for the houses and restaurants. Most amazingly, one large overhang covers an entire street, providing shade and natural cooling during the warm summers of southern Spain. Even more remarkable still, there are houses built on top of the overhang, giving the town layers of buildings separated by natural rock formations. The locals certainly exhibit confidence in the strength of their rocky structures, which seems fair enough as they have stood there for hundreds of years.

The "Bodegas" part of the name is fairly obvious, as a bodega is not just a wine cellar but could be any cellar or underground storage. The origin of "Setenil" is less clearcut. In the 12th century the town was fortified by the incumbent Moors who use the cliffs and caves as a natural protection. During the Christian Reconquest the Moors came under repeated attack. According to legend the defenders held out six times but capitulated on the seventh (sétimo in Spanish).

Setenil streetSetenil de las Bodegas is a great place to visit in summer when you can best contrast the heat of the sun with the cool of the shade. And of course there are plenty of bars and restaurants where you can refresh yourself while soaking up the contrasting light and temperature, and revel in the picturesque views.

Setenil is only a half-hour drive from Ronda, or just over an hour from the coast between Estepona and Marbella.

Little Hotels nearest to Setenil are:
Hotel El Lago in Zahara de La Sierra
La Fuente de La Higuera near Ronda
Villa Ignacia in Arriate
Cortijo El Guarda near Alcalá


30 Jun 2020, 10:38