In many ways Gaucín is the whitewashed village to end all whitewashed villages – the ideal base for exploring Andalucía’s “pueblos blancos”. It has the classic ingredients: imposing mountain setting, clusters of small houses clinging to hillsides, steep narrow streets, courtyards and squares that empty at the midday sun, surrounding semi-wilderness...
And, most spectacularly embodying Gaucín's rich history, the grandiose Castillo del Águila, which pre-dates the Moorish conquest of Andalucía. Significant numbers of expats have discovered the village’s charms, in part attracted by the authentic Ronda-style tiling and antiquated interiors of their properties, much to the bemusement of many locals who have decided to modernise their own homes.
Gaucín is most easily accessible from the coast via Casares, although it is also connected by a direct road to Ronda in a northerly direction. Dense forests line the windy road, harbouring an abundance of wildlife, before clearing for a first sight of the town – seemingly dropped in the middle of nowhere yet perched high enough to be able to survey its splendid surroundings and awe-inspiring views down to the coast and Gibraltar.
Bucolic Mountain Trekking and Adventure
After this intrepid journey, some might bemoan the “lack of much to do in Gaucín”. Perhaps a justified complaint, at least for those who like to fill their days with boutique shopping sprees, fancy health clubs, plush restaurants, sprawling garden centres and yachting. However, for others with more of a sense of bucolic adventure and imagination, Gaucín's appeal is being able to wander into the surrounding mountains, forests and grasslands, unburdened by traffic and (usually) uninterrupted by other humans, or indulging in some horse-riding, bird-watching or organised nature-trekking.
For evening entertainment, there are several restaurants and tapas bars dotted around the village, and festive events are held at various times of the year, but revellers seeking a less slower paced nightlife will need to drive into Ronda or back down the coast.