A Spanish mountainous village located 7 kilometers off the coast amidst Estepona, Marbella, and La Serrania de Ronda mountain range, Benahavis is one of the most mountainous villages with more than 5 thousand residents and yet close the resort beaches. The border of Benahavis municipality almost reach the coast but is not a coastline itself. Its topography passes through Guadaiza, Guadalmina, and Guadalmansa Rivers.
The town derived its name from the Arabic “Bin al Havis”, which means “son of Havis.” Havis is an 11th-century Moorish prince who ruled in Montemayor Castle.
Historical Background of Benahavis
The history of this town dates back to the latter part of the 11th century when Benahavís was founded by Arabs around the fortress that they had constructed to protect the Eastern section of the Arab castle of Montemayor. The community was closely drawn with Arabic past of Andalusia, specifically with Marbella, the municipality to which it belongs till it was bestowed in 1572 by Philip II the so-called “Carta Puebla.”
Montemayor Castle played an important role in disputes between succeeding Arab leaders in Andalusia, due to its strategic location. Also dated from the same period, the 3 towers; La Leonera, La Reina, and the Daiden, were constructed in the same vicinity to defend the castle. These fortifications were very significant throughout the battles that were executed amongst the various Kingdoms in and around Tarifa de Al Andalus due to their strategic value where most of the Northern region of Morocco can be spotted and controlled from its walls. The structure overlooking even the African coast, with up to 100 km of seaboard visible in fine weather was tremendously useful at a period when pirate attacks were common.
The Christian period started in January 1485 when the Catholic Kings entered the Marbella city, intended to conquer the last Moorish territory in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula and keys of the city were handed over to King Ferdinand by Mohammed Abunefa after the signing submission.
The Catholic Monarchs trusted their protection to Don Pedro Villandrado, the first Christian mayor of Benahavís. Right after, it resulted to a clash between Marbella and Benahavís which continued for more than 3 centuries, up until in 1572 when Benahavís realized its independence from Marbella, the moment when King Felipe II presented it with the “Carta Puebla”.
Present day Benahavis
These days, Benahavís is a typical Andalucian town with its street layout preserved in original form and several monumental features that bear witness to its glorious past.
Benahavís also takes pride in its majestic natural landscapes that are a must visit such as “Las Angosturas”, a tight gorge where Guadalmedina River passes through. The local municipal economy highly depends on tourism, due to its neighboring Marbella. Benahavís offers excellent international cuisines, impressive golf complexes that are located in the boundaries of the municipality. These features appeal to a huge number of investors who have put their investments into different property developments in the area which has contributed significantly to the town.
Travel to Benahavís
To get to Benahavis, you can choose from various airports such as Malaga International Airport and the Jerez Airport. However, the closest airport to Benahavís is Gibraltar’s North Front Airport which is just 31 miles away.
If you want to know what fun activities, things to do or must-see places you should check out, check out the list below. Do include these interesting tourist spots in your Benahavís itinerary.
- Castle of Montemayor
- Torre Tramore
- Torre Esteril
- Torre Daidin
- Torre Campanillas
- Torre Leoneras
Benahavis, being recognized to be Costa del Sol’s dining room of the is a paradise for food lovers and drinking buffs with its various types of restaurants and international dishes. While the majority of restaurants usually serve Spanish meals, visitors can order Italian food, French cuisine, and Indian curry. Every restaurant is known for preparing huge portions and offering visitors a great value for their money.
For excellent food quality and superb service, you can check out the following restaurants.
- Los Abanicos Restaurant
- Amanhavis Hotel & Restaurant
For a more unforgettable experience, try to indulge on a food journey and sample a wide selection of native favorites like meat dishes (venison, veal, rabbit or suckling pig); dishes like Fish and Shellfish Zarzuela and other kinds of exquisite recipes. A lot of restaurants also offer these other dishes that are most recommended like T-bone steaks, veal sirloin steaks, oxtail and the hot Spanish sausage they call chorizo.