Nestled in the heart of the Costa Tropical, Vélez de Benaudalla is a picturesque town that captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant local culture. This hidden gem, often overshadowed by its more renowned neighbours, offers a unique blend of historical charm and natural beauty that sets it apart as a must-visit destination on Spain’s southern coast.
Vélez de Benaudalla boasts a fascinating history that dates back to Moorish times. The town’s name itself is a testament to its past, with “Benaudalla” being derived from the Arabic term “Banu Udalla,” signifying a lineage of Berber origin. The Moorish influence is palpable in the town’s architecture, narrow winding streets, and the impressive Nazari Castle that dominates the skyline.
The Nazari Castle
Perched on a hill overlooking the town, the Nazari Castle is an architectural marvel that serves as a living testament to Vélez de Benaudalla’s Moorish heritage. Built in the 11th century, the castle showcases a blend of Moorish and Christian elements, with its intricate detailing and strategic location providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Today, it stands as a well-preserved historical site and offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s storied past.
The Gardens of Nazari
One of the town’s most enchanting attractions is the Gardens of Nazari (Los Jardines de Nazari). Located at the foothills of the castle, these meticulously landscaped gardens offer a tranquil oasis for visitors to explore. Filled with an array of exotic plants, water features, and architectural elements reminiscent of the Alhambra in Granada, the Gardens of Nazari are a testament to the Moorish appreciation for beauty in nature.
Beyond its historical significance, Vélez de Benaudalla is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. The town is enveloped by lush, verdant landscapes, including the breathtaking scenery of the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. The presence of the Guadalfeo River adds to the town’s allure, creating a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls along its banks.
Local Culture and Cuisine
Vélez de Benaudalla exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with its local residents known for their hospitality. The town’s annual festivals, such as the Feria de San Miguel and Semana Santa, offer a vibrant display of traditional Andalusian culture, featuring lively processions, music, and dance. Culinary enthusiasts will also find much to savor in Velez de Benaudalla. The town is known for its delectable local cuisine, with dishes featuring fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and traditional Andalusian flavors. Visitors can indulge in tapas at the charming local bars or dine in one of the town’s excellent restaurants.
Vélez de Benaudalla, often overlooked in favor of its more renowned neighbours, stands as a hidden gem on the Costa Tropical. Its rich history, stunning natural surroundings, and vibrant local culture make it a destination well worth exploring. Whether you are drawn to its Moorish heritage, captivated by its breathtaking landscapes, or enticed by its culinary delights, Velez de Benaudalla promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture to this enchanting town.
A unique place on the Costa Tropical where you can explore an ancient culture: that of olive oil. In Vélez de Benaudalla, the Andalusian Olive Oil Museum aims to promote agri-food products from Andalusia, with a primary focus on olive oil as a key element of its gastronomy. Get a firsthand look at the culture of olive oil on the Costa Tropical and its most renowned food products.
The museum features an exhibition area, an olive heritage zone, a conference room, a shop, and offices. Notable exhibits include a display of oils and a collection of antique machinery related to the world of olive farming and oil extraction.
You’ll have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of one of the oldest and most significant economic cultures in Andalusia: how this vital product is born and obtained, and its collection of the main producing areas in the region.
The Olive Oil Museum is divided into an Exhibition Area, Heritage Zone, Conference Hall, Shop, and Office.
They organize tours in various languages, guided tours with breakfast or snacks, tours with an introduction to oil tasting, wine tastings, courses on ham cutting, meetings, conferences, and incentives for companies.
Getting to Vélez de Benaudalla from Granada:
Getting to Vélez de Benaudalla from Almuñécar: