Benamargosa is an absolutely delightful little village lying in a valley 14 kilometres inland on the so-called Sun and Avocado route.
Its setting, with its surroundings of citrus groves, vineyards, and olive, avocado, mango and custard apple trees, interspersed with farmhouses and new villas, is extremely pretty. This is Andalucía at its fertile best, thanks to the sub-tropical climate of La Axarquía region and the plentiful water feeding into the village from the Río Benamargosa and the Carvajal and Cútar streams.
The village itself is of Moorish origin, taking its name from the original ‘Ben-Ha-Maruxa’, as it was known during this period. It is a hotpotch of twisty, steep streets of the whitewashed houses with wrought iron balconies so typical of Andalucía. At every corner there is yet another picturesque nook or cranny, or a terrace crammed with colourful pot plants.
Newer properties blend well with the older village houses, and only on the village’s outskirts are there noticably modern constructions, including the rather smart Town Hall.
From a historic point of view, the centrepiece of the village is the small Gothic-Mudejar Encarnación de María parish church at the bottom of the hill just off the main through road, which was built on the remains of a mosque at the end of the 16th century.
The other most important landmark is the Puente de Benamargosa, which stretches across the river and from where the road leads tothe neighbouring village of Cútar.
But the really irresistable attraction of Benamargosa is the tangibly warm, welcoming and laid back atmosphere. This is a place where the 2,000 or so locals and the many foreigners, mostly British, who’ve bought up rural properties in the vicinity mix happily, and where the traditional ways of doing things coexist with all the trappings of life in the 21st century.
There are a handful of bars and restaurants lining the main drag through the village. Inevitably avocados feature strongly in local menus; there is even an avocado milkshake.