Genalguacil, the Museum Town
Did you know there is a Museum Village in Malaga? Not one of those boring museums where everything is the same, but one of the fun ones, where you don’t know what you’re going to find next and where each exhibit surprises you more than the last. Well, imagine that in a town, where each street is a gallery and each corner is adorned by a different artist, the place is called Genalguacil, it is in the Genal Valley and it’s a town with a lot of art. And as if that weren’t enough, together with Frigiliana, it is one of the two Most Beautiful Towns in Spain that are in Malaga province.
A Malaga municipality of 300 inhabitants located in the Genal Valley in the Serranía de Ronda, about two hours by car from Malaga city (122km), a little less than an hour and a half from Marbella (65km) and one hour from Ronda (46km). Nestled in the middle of a mountainous landscape 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by chestnut trees, cork oaks and Spanish firs and very close to the famous hiking trail of the Genal River Footbridges. The town of Genalguacil has a lot of art, and the surroundings a lot of nature, a perfect combination for a visit.
What to see and do in Genalguacil:
The first thing you find is the Fernando Centeno López Museum of Contemporary Art, which can be visited for only 2 euros and is free for children under 13. The Museum is built in an old oil mill and has three floors, not very large, where it houses permanent and temporary exhibitions. Here you can also find the Tourist Office.
The Museum is a good starting point to get the map of the municipality showing where some of the 200 works of art are in the streets (they are waiting for the new version of the map where all the works will be marked, now half of them are shown) but the best thing is to lose yourself and find them as you walk and get to know the corners of this beautiful town.
If you go to Genalguacil as a family, it is an ideal place because kids will be very busy looking for and at the works of art, they are super original and very different, so I assure you that they won’t get bored, and neither will the adults.
Don’t miss the Plaza de la Constitución with the Church of San Pedro de Verona because there are beautiful views.
Genal River Footbridges Hiking Route (Pasarelas del Rio Genal):
Although, as you can imagine, there are a lot of hiking trails in the area, some of which you can see on the town hall page, one of the best known is the Genal River Footbridges. It is a round-trip linear route of about 8 kilometres, with some ascent and descent but little overall difference in level. It runs parallel to the Genal River where there are three sections of walkways so you can do the route. In general, it isn’t very difficult, but there are some slightly tricky sections because the path is narrow and has a slight drop and, although there is a cable to hold on to, it can give you some vertigo. If you go with very young children who no longer go in a backpack, I would not recommend it, 4/5 and over is the ideal age for you to be able to relax. Another positive point of the route is that it begins between Venta San Juan and Camping Genal, so if you sleep there you will be the first to reach the route and if you are hungry after the route you can eat on either side (I explain this in the next section).
Keep two things in mind: it is a very popular route so it is better to start early to enjoy it (otherwise you may end up queueing in the narrow passages) and after heavy rains, the bridge at the beginning of the path may be swept away by rising water (as it happened to us when we went) but don’t panic, jump from rock to rock or get your feet wet to pass this first section and then you can do the route without problems.
I leave you a link to the route where it is very well explained and here below are some of our photos.
Where to eat in Genalguacil:
If you want to eat in town, we liked the El Refugio restaurant a lot. It has a terrace with beautiful views of the valley and the town and large rooms inside. Traditional food, very rich and tasty, with hearty, well priced dishes. Also, although everything is close by, this restaurant is just below the Plaza de la Constitución.
To eat on the outskirts, right where the route of the Genal River Footbridges begins, is the Venta San Juan. Although we did not go there, it has a very good reputation and when we passed by, it also looked good. We noted it down for the next time.
At Camping Genal there is a restaurant (it is better to check the opening hours before going because in winter they are more limited) but the terrace with a chill-out area above the river is great. If you aren’t going to eat, it is great for coffee or a drink afterwards.
Where to sleep in Genalguacil:
We stayed at Camping Genal, a small family campsite right next to the river. It’s surrounded by nature and has a camping area and pitches for motorhomes and in an area in front it also has bungalows. I will publish another entry with more detailed information about this campsite and others that we have visited in Andalusia (if you are interested you can subscribe to the blog and I will send it to you when I publish it).
How to get there and where to park: The best thing is to put the address of the Genalguacil Museum Parking in the GPS and leave the car there (it’s a large, free parking with beautiful views, you can see it in the photo on the left).
Forget about driving your car into the town or parking there, when you reach the entrance of the town take the road to the left, don’t even think about going right. I leave you a photo below so you don’t get lost.
If you want to know more about the very interesting initiative of the Art Encounters that gave rise to today’s Town Museum, you can visit the Town Museum page, by the way, it is a biennial event and it’s on this summer 2022!
Footbridges of the Genal River, as I have told you, if you are going to do the route, start early to enjoy it with fewer people.
And lastly, if you are going to visit Genalguacil you will not be disappointed, but don’t just visit the historic centre, lose yourself in its valleys, forests and rivers and why not, in its neighbouring towns.
The photo doesn’t show damaged street furniture in Genalguacil, and neither has our little delinquent bent the lamppost, it is just an example of the original works of art you can find in the streets (and Africa accompanying with a poker face and the coat back to front hahaha). I promise you that a walk through the town will keep kids and adults well entertained.
Many thanks to Southcamper for their collaboration with the blog and to Camping Genal for letting us spend the night at their facilities.
If you liked this curious town, you have other very cool destinations on our blog. Do you know the Lost Village of Acebuchal? And Cómpeta, the Cornice of the Axarquia? Or The Pyrenees of the Costa del Sol? Thank you very much for reading and see you at the next destination 🙂