Holidays in Gaucin

Everything you need to plan the perfect holiday in Gaucin: how to get there, the best places to stay, the best times of year to go, and an unbeatable selection of hand-picked holiday villas and cottages.

Find your Holiday home in Gaucin

Small and pretty, Gaucin is one of Andalusia’s most popular “white villages.” It sits 630 metres above sea level with views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Rock itself and Morocco across the water.

For those wanting a holiday within easy reach of the sea but who dread the prospect of an apartment block in the sweltering, busy resorts of the Costa del Sol, to the rescue comes "the illustrious, always noble, very hospitable village of Gaucin."

Gaucin is one of Andalusia's most popular "white villages." Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, the village sits hitched up in its mountain setting 630 metres above sea level.

The Mediterranean and sandy beaches are just half an hour away.

Gaucin is presided over by "Eagle Castle." Often overlooked itself by visitors, we think the promontory with its ruined tower and ancient walls is quite a magical spot, and one where children will enjoy playing, as long as normal care is taken with the drops.

Holidaymakers who today enjoy superb views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Rock itself, and all the way across to the Rif Mountains in Morocco, can imagine how important the strategic view once was to the castle defenders.

Many of the houses have roof terraces to take advantage of the panorama and some have been renovated to provide self-catering tourist accommodation.

Pass through hillsides of chestnut, carob, olive and oak, with the blue sea glistening in the distance.

The location was important to the Romans who founded the village, the Moors who occupied it for 700 years and the Catholic Spanish who made it into a refuge from bandits in the 19th century.

Smugglers used to hide out in Gaucin with their contraband of tobacco and brandy after sneaking their way through the surrounding hills.

Gaucin is an excellent location for walks, except at the height of summer when the heat restricts walking to early morning and evenings. You will pass through hillsides of chestnut, carob, olive and oak, with the blue sea glistening in the distance.

Birdwatchers descend on Gaucin at various times of the year to see a host of species, especially raptors.

A significant number of foreign residents (20% of the 2,000 inhabitants) have chosen to make their home here, especially artists who appreciate the natural surround and amenable atmosphere. You can also eat out without breaking the bank.

Gaucin lies inland from coastal Marbella, Estepona and Gibraltar for those who want to discover them and links the coast through the mountains with Ronda.

The most striking event of the fiestas held through the year occurs on Easter Sunday, when a bull tied with a rope is let loose through the village streets for both the brave and foolhardy to run from hell-for-leather, Pamplona-style!

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Summary

Small and pretty, Gaucin is one of Andalusia’s most popular “white villages.” It sits 630 metres above sea level with views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Rock itself and Morocco across the water.

For those wanting a holiday within easy reach of the sea but who dread the prospect of an apartment block in the sweltering, busy resorts of the Costa del Sol, to the rescue comes "the illustrious, always noble, very hospitable village of Gaucin."

Gaucin is one of Andalusia's most popular "white villages." Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, the village sits hitched up in its mountain setting 630 metres above sea level.

The Mediterranean and sandy beaches are just half an hour away.

Gaucin is presided over by "Eagle Castle." Often overlooked itself by visitors, we think the promontory with its ruined tower and ancient walls is quite a magical spot, and one where children will enjoy playing, as long as normal care is taken with the drops.

Holidaymakers who today enjoy superb views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Rock itself, and all the way across to the Rif Mountains in Morocco, can imagine how important the strategic view once was to the castle defenders.

Many of the houses have roof terraces to take advantage of the panorama and some have been renovated to provide self-catering tourist accommodation.

Pass through hillsides of chestnut, carob, olive and oak, with the blue sea glistening in the distance.

The location was important to the Romans who founded the village, the Moors who occupied it for 700 years and the Catholic Spanish who made it into a refuge from bandits in the 19th century.

Smugglers used to hide out in Gaucin with their contraband of tobacco and brandy after sneaking their way through the surrounding hills.

Gaucin is an excellent location for walks, except at the height of summer when the heat restricts walking to early morning and evenings. You will pass through hillsides of chestnut, carob, olive and oak, with the blue sea glistening in the distance.

Birdwatchers descend on Gaucin at various times of the year to see a host of species, especially raptors.

A significant number of foreign residents (20% of the 2,000 inhabitants) have chosen to make their home here, especially artists who appreciate the natural surround and amenable atmosphere. You can also eat out without breaking the bank.

Gaucin lies inland from coastal Marbella, Estepona and Gibraltar for those who want to discover them and links the coast through the mountains with Ronda.

The most striking event of the fiestas held through the year occurs on Easter Sunday, when a bull tied with a rope is let loose through the village streets for both the brave and foolhardy to run from hell-for-leather, Pamplona-style!

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Overview

WALKS

Rural walks through the hilly countryside will give you a real feel for the place. There is a choice to suit varying levels of fitness. One circular walk is detailed in the Local Guide we send to Rustical Travel clients coming to Gaucin.

 

BEACHES

A choice of sandy Mediterranean beaches lies within a 40-minute drive of Gaucin. The charm and relative peace-and-quiet of small coastal villages such as Sabinillas and Manilva with their boulevards and chiringuitos (beach restaurants), is a far cry from the big resorts. But if you want the best and most exciting beaches of all, go the extra half hour to Tarifa for Atlantic beaches. Tarifa, a surfer's paradise, also has boats that go out whale and dolphin-watching.

 

EAGLE CASTLE

With spectacular views, explore the winding streets of the old town and browse the craft and produce shops. Or why not walk up to and visit Eagle Castle ("Castillo del Águila"). The old castle was originally Roman and then enlarged by the Arabs, and is easily reached by foot up through the village streets.

 

RONDA

A major attraction. The small historic city of museums, Hemingway and Orson Welles, shopping and the oldest bullring in Spain, and famously divided by a bridge over a yawning chasm, is 40 minutes away via a mountain road that is an interesting experience in itself.

 

RONDA MOUNTAINS AND VILLAGES

Drive round the old whitewashed villages of the Ronda Mountains, inhabited since Neanderthal times and you can visit caves that prove it. There are many routes, but one that people always enjoy is the easy drive round through Montejaque and Benaoján villages, continuing south to La Pileta cave, where prehistoric paintings and fossilized Stone Age skeletons were discovered in 1905. A lovely walk combines with the little train running between Benoaján and Jimar villages. We have restaurant recommendations here, also.
Read more about Ronda Mountains and villages

 

Alcornocales Natural Park and Jimena de la Frontera

Forests of cork oak surround Jimena village, whose atmosphere is quieter than Gaucin and castle ruins also well worth a visit, especially for the views. El Anon is an enjoyable place to eat or have a drink.
Read more about Jimena.

 

Genalguacil

For a leisurely day out from Gaucin, a special Rustical Travel suggestion is this attractive village destination and the pretty drive there. Stop for lunch at a restaurant on the banks of the River Genal, with the option of a dip in the river first, and then on to Genalguacil to stroll through the open air art exhibits and watch the sunset.

 

BEST OF THE REST

Public swimming pool

The open-air municipal swimming pool at the entrance to Gaucin village opens during the summer months, until children go back to school in September.

 

Tennis court

There's also a municipal tennis court next to the village swimming pool.

 

Horse riding

Suitable for beginners and experienced riders. Tracks pass through Andalusian mountain countryside, through orange groves and over rivers.

 

Hike Grazalema Natural Park

The great, rugged limestone terrain is one hour from Gaucin.

 

Cycling

A hotel 7 km from the village has a few mountain bikes for hire.

 

Ethnographical museum

A small museum that not even some of the locals are aware of. Its tools, utensils, recreation of an old dwelling and photographs show you how much Gaucin has changed in relatively few years.

 

Gibraltar

In the British overseas territory you can watch the monkeys (semi-wild Barbary Macaques), go shopping, take a boat trip to see and maybe even swim with the dolphins.

 

Marbella

The razzamatazz of the coast's most exclusive resort can be enjoyed by anyone. Gourmet restaurants, designer stores and yachts in the harbour at Puerto Banus. The detailed Gaucin Guide we send you as a holiday document links you to an excellent maritime walk that goes by cool beach venues. Marbella also has a lovely old historic quarter that many people are unaware of.

 

FIESTAS

Carnaval on Shrove Tuesday is a day of parody and burlesque, costumed singing groups and dancing in the main square throughout the night.

El Toro de Cuerda: the highlight of the Easter celebrations and its church processions comes on Easter Sunday when two bulls tied by ropes run through the streets, chasing the fast, the brave and the foolhardy.

San Juan: on 23rd August, the eve of Saint John's Day involves a romería (peregrination on foot), brass band, horse and motorbike races and celebrations until dawn. An old electricity pole is greased with a cured ham hanging from its top, for Gaucin's best to shimmy up and claim!

Feria de Gaucin: the main summer festival takes place over 3 days, coinciding with the first weekend in August. Fairground rides and booths, music and dancing, and a large tent with food and drink.

El Santo Niño: a religious festival on which an image of the infant Jesus is carried down from Gaucin castle and paraded through the streets on 8th September. At night, dances and atmosphere are more traditional in character. The occasion has become one on which emigrants from the village return to be reunited with family and friends.

 

FOOD AND DRINK

For a village of its size – you can walk across it in 15 minutes – Gaucin has a decent number bars which serve good tapas and at least two good restaurants open all year round. For dining out, try:

• La Fructuosa - A restaurant of long standing in the village, it serves Mediterranean cuisine in the elegantly rustic setting of an old wine press. It offers stylish food and a good selection of wines. On its spacious terrace, it's possible to eat enjoying views of Gibraltar and even the mountains of Africa.

• El Lateral - Opened more recently and is already gaining a good reputation. The chef used to run a Madrid restaurant. It has become especially popular for a tapas menu that's available until 3 pm. At other times, main meals are based on local Mediterranean cooking, grilled beef, lamb, venison, fish stews, rice. Has a terrace for al fresco dining.

• La Granada Divino - Gaucin's newest restaurant has a more international flavour, although the English chef incorporates some local ingredients such as olives and cured ham. It's not the cheapest of the options but it's one of the best and the viewing terrace is very impressive. In Calle de las Piedras.

• Casa Antonia - In the centre of the village, we like it for its easy-going informality.

Of the village bars, we liked:

• El Zorro - Serves interesting tapas.

• El Portesuelo - With dishes such as spicy prawns (gambas al pilpil). Both these bars have free WiFi.

For eating in, you will find some delicious dishes to take away at Bonissim delicatessen, or delivered by a professional chef with a home-run business.

Of the supermarkets in Gaucin, we recommend Ruiz Galan for its good bucher's counter and freshly baked bread. The supermarkets are not large stores but perfectly good to stock up (one of them opens Sunday mornings as well).

Gaucin also has a mercado de abasto: an indoor market for fresh produce, including fishmonger's and butchers'.

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Photos

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Climate

Gaucin enjoys a distinctly Mediterranean mountain climate. Although backing onto mountains in a south-facing, raised position from where it looks out to the sea about 18 km away, the altitude in Gaucin is not particularly high, creating all the right ingredients for relatively mild temperatures all year round.

The altitude of 620 metres is just enough to a establish regime of mountain breezes in the summer when sunny weather is otherwise very stable. During the rest of the year, the sea acts as a thermostat and takes the edge off the winter cold. Severe mountain weather patterns don't occur at this altitude in Andalucia.

Having said which, Gaucin summers can be hot and the winters can turn from relatively mild to decidedly chilly, if never extremely cold. As proof of this warm climate, oranges, lemons and even limes grow here, whereas other mountain areas of Andalucia, such as the High Alpujarras, have extremes of temperatures which don't allow semi-tropical trees to mature fruit.

The altitude of 620 metres is just enough to a establish regime of mountain breezes in the summer.

The dry and sunny summer season is not particularly subject to afternoon summer storms, so from late May until late September, you shouldn't expect any rain at all. Blue skies are the norm day after day.

The clear lack of precipitation from mid/late spring to early autumn is simply a seasonal effect and there are local rivers which never dry out around Gaucin, providing a habitat for wildlife and vibrant nature with widespread forests. The watercourses are fed by generous downpours during the winter and part of the spring and autumn.

The cork oaks which form large woods here are a reliable guide to the climate. Cork oaks require plenty of sun but also a minimum average rainfall of 600 litres per square metre: they are trees associated with sunny regions, but by no means very dry or desert areas.

When the winter winds come, bringing moist clouds straight from the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west, they don't find many barriers before the Ronda mountains, so villages in this area receive a decent amount of rain. Sometimes rainfall is generous here, and this occurs mainly between November and March/April.

Is the hot and dry season restricted to May to September?

It's often longer. April tends to be slightly more unstable and slightly less warm than the first weeks in October. But both these months can be perfectly nice with warm sunshine. Depending on the year, you can enjoy swims in April and October, even if a complete week of cloudless blue skies cannot be guaranteed. The sea is, of course, always warmer just after the summer than before it.

The rest of the year can be lovely too, no matter which month, but less reliable weather-wise.

Will it be unbearably hot in the peak summer time?

In July and August, the heat in the middle of the day will normally be intense. Mornings and early evenings are, however, generally delightful thanks to the regime of mountain breezes. The nearby sea also helps to regulate temperatures in peak summer, unlike in inland Andalucia (Seville or Cordoba), where the heat can be unbearable. At night time, a light sweater may even be necessary due to the altitude in Gaucin.

By way of a local comparison, Ronda town, which is a 30 minute drive inland, has an average high in August of 35 C, compared to 30 C in Gaucin. Coastal destinations such as nearby Marbella have an average maximum of 31 degrees, but suffer from higher humidity and don't have the benefit of Gaucin's mountain breezes in the evening and by night.

 

GAUCIN CLIMATE SUMMARY

Gaucin has a mild and usually sunny but not arid, Mediterranean climate, typical of low mountain areas.

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Maps

Getting there

AIRPORTS FOR GAUCIN

The closest airports for holiday villas in Gaucin are Gibraltar Airport (GIB) at just 1 hour and Malaga Airport (AGP) at 1 hr 15 mins from the village. Malaga has the most flights to choose from, but you might find a better offer to one of the others.

Alternatives are:

Jerez Airport (XRY) 1 hr 45 mins and Seville Airport (SVQ) 2 hrs 30 mins.

 

CAR HIRE

We recommend a car for getting to your rural holiday villa in Gaucin. It's practical, convenient and needn't be expensive. A car may well be the only way of reaching your property, and is then invaluable for shopping, visiting places of interest, and making an easy return trip at the end of your stay.

The road in network in southern Spain is good and well-maintained, roads are quieter than in many other European countries, and parking in Gaucin is free.

Driving times from the airports above are shown on the villa's individual property page. You will receive a map with detailed directions for your holiday villa as one of your holiday documents from Rustical Travel.

If you're flying into Gibraltar at rush hour time, when the queue for cars crossing the border into Spain can be long, we suggest hiring a car from one of the companies (Avis or Europcar, for example) with an office on the other side of the border in La Linea de la Concepción. It's just a 10-minute stroll from Arrivals in Gibraltar Airport across to La Linea in Spain.

Rustical Travel doesn't have a professional arrangement with any particular car hire company and we suggest you shop around for car hire using a broker such as rentalcars.com or similar.

It's easy to compare prices of rentals with companies that operate at the airport you fly into, and all the reputable agencies have online payment for advance booking these days.

You don't have to use the broker. If you prefer, you can check the car hire companies own websites, compare prices, and book direct.

Gaucin village has some narrow streets and we advise against renting a large, bulky vehicle.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Public transport to Gaucin leaves more than a little to be desired.

There are no buses at all at weekends. If public transport is a must for you, be sure to check that timings allow connections.

First you need to take a bus or train to Ronda and then another from there to Gaucin. Bear in mind that "Gaucin train station" is in fact 14 km away in El Colmenar village and that you'd need to take a taxi from there.

Parking is free of charge in Gaucin. For convenience, we strongly recommend hiring a car.

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