Benahavis is a beautiful, white Spanish mountain village just 7 km from the coast. Often referred to as the richest village in Spain, it is known for its charming, narrow streets and whitewashed houses. Benahavis is a 50 minute drive from Malaga airport, 15 minutes from Puerto Banus, and 25 minutes from Estepona. The first thing you notice when you enter the village centre, is how remarkably unspoiled it still is. Benahavis is best known for its excellent restaurants and many top quality golf courses in the immediate vicinity.
Although the village is small, the municipality itself is very large. It includes numerous mountain ranges such as the Serrania de Ronda, river valleys and forests, making it one of the most beautiful places on the Costa del Sol. Home to many golf courses and exclusive homes, the natural environment combined with a very low-density construction makes Benahavis very popular for property buyers on the Costa del Sol. Especially among foreigners looking for an oasis of calm and silence within reach of Marbella.
The town itself is surrounded by a natural park and retains a certain degree of a secluded, cosy atmosphere. La Zagaleta, an exclusive gated residential area and country club overlooking the village, lies within its municipal boundaries. El Madronal, another prestigious gated community, is also located here. Needless to say, it contributes to the status of Benahavis’ as the richest municipality per inhabitant in Andalusia. There are just over 7,100 people living in Benahavis. Like most resorts on the Costa del Sol, Benahavis is home to a lot of foreigners – almost 4,500.
The village may be small, but there are numerous restaurants to choose from. This, together with the high-quality cuisine, has led to Benahavis gaining popularity in gastronomy circles on the Costa del Sol. The village is also the home of the Sabor a Málaga hotel school, whose students regularly win awards for their culinary skills. Some of the most prestigious restaurants on the Costa del Sol can be found in the village. You can taste traditional Spanish cuisine, or dishes with a modern twist, as well as cuisine from many corners of the world. The main ingredients are pork, lamb and game such as wild boar. Fresh fish and seafood caught in nearby Estepona and Marbella.
The Sunday Market, held on the site on the way to the village, is one of the most popular markets on the Costa del Sol. It is a great Sunday morning activity that attracts many different buyers and sellers from the coastal areas. The Guadalmina River offers fantastic canyoning opportunities. The route along the river through waterfalls offers one of the most adventurous activities on the Costa del Sol. There is also a beautiful river walk that takes you over a spectacular bridge and along a traditional Moorish irrigation canal.
At the end of the 11th century, Benahavis was founded by the Arabs. The village was closely involved in the Arabic past of Andalusia, and in particular Marbella, the district to which it belonged in 1572. Benahavis, played an important role in disputes between successive Arab rulers in Andalusia, due to its strategic location. It was disputed for years by various military factions of the time. Its prominent location overlooking the coast, with up to one hundred kilometres of coastline visible in clear weather, and even the African coast, was very useful at a time when piracy and invasion were commonplace. The city owes its name to Havis, an 11th-century Moorish prince who ruled in Montemayor Castle. The name Benahavis is derived from the Arabic “Bin al Havis”, which is “the son of Havis”.
The castle’s strategic location attracted the attention of the Catholic kings, whose intention was to conquer the last Moorish kingdoms in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Isabel and Ferdinand’s troops had already besieged the Nazarite kingdom of Granada, but they decided first to occupy the nearby province of Málaga. Soon afterwards, on June 11, 1485, Benahavis, along with the places of Daidin, Montemayor Castle, Cortes Fortress, Ojen, Arboto, Almáchar, Tramores and Calalui Fort, in the Sierra Bermeja, all within the district of Marbella, were handed over to King Ferdinand the Catholic, by Mohammed Abuneza after the signing of the capitulation.
The Catholic Kings entrusted their custody to Don Pedro Villandrado, Count of Ribadeo, the first Christian mayor of Benahavis. From then on, a dispute arose between Benahavís and Marbella, which lasted three and a half centuries, until Benahavís reached the status of a fully independent community. As for Montemayor Castle, it is worth noting that as well as its impressive location, it had underground corridors to connect with the coast, large enough to accommodate a man on horseback, allowing the Arabs could move soldiers, food and weapons.
Contact Cilo Marbella if you are you looking for real estate for sale in Benahavis, one of the most exclusive regions of Spain. Cilo Marbella, the boutique real estate agency for luxury properties in Marbella and surrounding areas.