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Carratraca is a typical white Andalucian village of about 900 residents, situated in the northern part of the Guadalhorce Valley, between Ardales and Álora at an altitude of 540 metres right in the heart of the Sierra Blanquilla , 45 km north of Malaga. Click here to see where we are in relation to Malaga and the lakes.
This position provides the town with a mild climate all the year round: warm in summer and comfortably cool in winter.
Carratraca became one of the principal tourist attractions of the region right through the latter half of the 19th century and the 20th century and it boasted a magnificent spa baths, a casino and its own bullring. Sadly these were allowed to fall into disrepair and tourists stopped visiting the village.
However, there has been extensive investment taking place recently and the spa baths have been completely renovated and the Ritz Carlton have taken over the management of this and a 5 star hotel across the road. The aim is to restore the village to its former glory.
The spa water is famous for its restorative properties and it runs freely at taps at the bottom of the village where people come from all over Malaga to fill up containers with the water.
The bullring is no longer used for bullfights, but it comes to life at Easter when many of the villagers participate in a Passion play which is performed there. It is also used for concerts from time to time as it has amazing acoustic qualities.
Places to eat
There are numerous bar/restaurants in the village serving good quality, very reasonably priced tapas and meals. Typically a lunchtime set menu costs around 7€. This includes a drink, starters, main course, dessert and bread.
We can recommend Venta El Punto and Bar Martillo, both situated next to the spa taps.
Further along the road leading to the villa properties is a bar/restaurant- El Trillo. This is a pleasant place with a swimming pool at the rear.
A famous little restaurant is Casa Pepe, across the road from the spa baths. The cooking is excellent , but eating here is an unusual experience- it is the front room of a village house, there is no menu to choose from and you are served huge portions of whatever Pepe has prepared that day, starting with a large turine of soup, a meat dish and dessert- again priced at about 8 € a head. The cooking is excellent.
At weekend the Parador restaurant is open- and we highly recommend this. The prices are very reasonable and the service is pleasant and English is spoken. This is an old coaching inn, and the restaurant has a lovely atmosphere.
Click here to see details of local and national holidays and fiestas
Easter week - Passion play performed Good Friday and again on the Saturday.
Week around 15 August - Carratraca fiesta- flamenco singing and dancing in the square and the bullring- every evening from 10pm til 6am ! There are also afternoon events.
Weekend around 7 September - Embrujo Andalusi (previously known as Embrujo de Luna Mora). A lovely village festival, with the streets full of craft stalls and all the houses have candles outside at night.
Close to Carratraca
Surrounding the town is a landscape that compares favourably with the most beautiful in Andalucía, and it is of great interest to nature lovers. Within 15 minutes drive you can be at Ardales lakes and the famous rock climbing gorge at El Chorro- see relevant pages for more information.