Pueblos Blancos

 
El Gastor is located in the north-eastern part of the province of Cadiz, in the Sierra Norte. This small town is one of the 19 villages that make up the Route of the Pueblos Blancos. This municipality, located on the northern slopes of the Tajo Algarín, traces its origins to the Bronze Age. Thanks to archaeological remains such as dolmens and finds such as tools and bowls, we can place the first signs of human presence between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods. El Gastor was, in its beginnings, an area of passage for the different peoples who came to the Peninsula. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, the town changed sides between the Nasrids and the Christians due to the conflicts of the time. After the war of Granada, El Gastor stabilised with the Reconquest and began a period of more lasting settlements, however, it was not until 1834 when it gained its independence as a population center.

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GASTRONOMY AND CRAFTWORK
LOCAL FESTIVITIES
ROUTES
HISTORIC HERITAGES

Historic Heritages

Algarrobales Dolmen

Located on the country estate of the same name, we find another prehistoric construction with similar characteristics. This is the Algarrobales Dolmen, another 5-meter-long tomb. Along with the Charcón Dolmen, it makes up what is known as the La Angostura Necropolis, together with other sites in the area.

José Mª El Tempranillo” Museum of Uses and Customs

To find out more about the way of life of the people of El Gastor throughout history, you can visit the “José Mª El Tempranillo” Museum of Uses and Customs. The exhibition, located in the former home of the girlfriend of the famous bandit from whom it takes its name, is made up of everyday objects donated by neighbors dating from the 19th to the mid-20th century. A total of six rooms will give visitors an insight into the typical El Gastor house and the legend of one of the most famous Andalusian bandits of the Romantic period.

Diego Amaya and Isidro the Town Crier

Among the personalities who have been recognized by the town with a monument are the guitarist Diego Amaya, winner of the National Flamenco Award, who spent part of his childhood and youth in El Gastor; and Isidro the Town Crier. This personality, characterized by his simplicity and humility, lived in a cave and, with little knowledge of writing and reading, dedicated himself to proclaiming news of interest to the village.

‘Gastoreña’ Bagpipe Monument

One of the most recognized products of the local craftsmanship is the ‘gastoreña’ bagpipes, an instrument with a clear Arabic influence that has its origins in the first villages. El Gastor pays its own particular homage to this horn-shaped instrument in the form of the ‘Gastoreña’ Bagpipe Monument.

Church of Saint José

The most outstanding religious temple in the municipality is the Church of Saint José, an 18th century construction of neoclassical style that was rebuilt after it was attacked during the Civil War. Built on a single floor, the chapel houses different images from the 17th and 18th centuries, together with others of the patron saint of the municipality, the Virgen del Rosario.

Palomino Mill and Gabanillas Mill

The olive grove sector has positioned itself as one of the economic engines of El Gastor. This fact is evident in the industrial constructions in the town, such as the Palomino Mill and the Gabanillas Mill.

Charcón Dolmen or Tomb of the Giant

The remains of the Charcón Dolmen or the Tomb of the Giant are a prehistoric architectural landmark of a funerary nature located at the foot of the Tajo Algarín. This construction consists of a 9-metre passageway, which was used as a collective burial place and where different archaeological remains have also been found, such as pots, plates and bowls.

Routes

Las Plateras Path

The Las Plateras Path borders the Jaral Hill, the natural habitat of the plants that give it its name. The paths, which are also suitable for cycling, run mostly through flat areas, although there are some low-intensity hills. Along the route we can enjoy views of the Zaframagón Rock, the El Gastor-Zahara Reservoir and the Natural Park.

Tajo Algarín Lap Route

The route known as Tajo Algarín Lap consists of a 3-hour circular route that skirts the slopes of the Tajo and the Grajas Peak. The route, which can be done on foot or by mountain bike, allows you to enjoy views of the Malaver Sierra and the reservoir, until you reach a plain from where you can see examples of griffon vultures and mountain goats. On the way back to El Gastor we will come across the Cat Fountain.

Tajillo – Algarín Path

Thanks to the Tajillo – Algarín Path we can reach the highest area of the municipality, the Tajo Algarín. It is a two and a half hour walk that crosses the emblematic “Tía Cabrera” fountain and which, in several sections, can be combined with the path that leads to the Dolmen. The first destination on this trail is the Tajillo Chico, where we can get a panoramic view of El Gastor. The route continues ascending until it reaches the highest point. With an altitude of 1,061 meters, the panoramic view stretches from Seville, Malaga and Cadiz to the Sierra of Grazalema. These unique views make the trail a highly recommended activity for all visitors.

Path of the Tile

The Path of the Tile is mostly a linear path, from which you can see the town of El Gastor. The Tajo Algarín and the Sierra of Líjar can also be seen along the 5.2 kilometer trail. The lake known as the Charco del Vínculo and a namesake farmhouse are also a transit point. From here begins the steepest climb, 500 meters, until we reach the crossroads that allows us to reach the Malaver Sierra or start the descent that will finally take us to the Country House of the Nuns and from there we can return to El Gastor.

Algarín Hill and Tajo

In the vicinity of El Gastor we find different geological landmarks such as the Algarín Hill and Tajo, a massif that is home to an enormous diversity of archetypal species of the hill geography of Cadiz. With an altitude of more than 1,000 meters, on the way up to its peak we can find various trails, as well as Bronze Age sites.

Sierra of Grazalema Natural Park

Part of the area in which El Gastor is located is in the Sierra of Grazalema Natural Park. Declared the first Biosphere Reserve in Spain by Unesco, it is one of the most visited areas in the south of the peninsula. The Zahara-El Gastor reservoir is located in the same area, an aquifer environment where different sports and fishing activities can be practiced.

The Pared del Tajo Algarín Route

The Pared del Tajo Algarín Route is designed to take visitors to the base of the Tajo crag. The path runs along an old track and crosses areas full of pine trees, olive groves and holm oak groves, a layer of trees that covers the sides of the path, creating a tunnel full of vegetation. The views from this path allow us to enjoy geological landmarks such as Olvera, the Peñón de Zaframagón and the Sierra de Grazalema.

El Gastor – Zahara Reservoir Route

The El Gastor – Zahara Reservoir Route is a 2.5-kilometre walk along a path that formerly linked these two municipalities until the creation of the dam. The route crosses a path surrounded by farmland until it reaches the reservoir, where you can enjoy a swim, as well as activities such as fishing or water sports.

Dolmen-Grajas Peak Route

The Dolmen-Grajas Peak Route runs along the monoliths and the peak of this plateau. A two hours duration itinerary that allows you to enjoy unique views, with the reservoir and the Sierra of Grazalema as main subject, as well as to admire the remains of these ancient collective burial sites.

  • Gastronomy
  • Craftwork

Local Festivities

Patron Saint’s Day

At the beginning of October, the people of El Gastor take to the streets to celebrate the Patron Saint’s Day. The day of worship of the Virgen del Rosario is celebrated on 7 October, although the festivity is always moved to the nearest weekend. Along with the offering of flowers, prayers are said in honor of the Patron Saint, who is also carried in procession along with all the faithful through the streets of the town. The celebration is rounded off with live performances, horse shows and the Bull of Fire.

Saint Jose’s Day

On the occasion of Saint Jose’s Day, an image of the town’s patron saint is carried in procession through the main streets of the town. The figure, which dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, is carried on the shoulders of the locals, who pay homage to the Christian father figure.

Andalusia Day

Every 28 February, on the occasion of Andalusia Day, El Gastor joins in the celebrations throughout the community. The Gastoreña Musical Band is in charge of accompanying the institutional acts, which culminate in other activities such as the traditional stew competition. It is a day on which tribute is paid to all those who have contributed to the development and growth of the town.

Holy Week

Holy Week in El Gastor has established itself as one of the most exciting dates for the town’s devotees. The local musical bands accompany the different processions that pass through the streets of the town during the seven days. The final touch to this week of fervor comes on Easter Sunday with the departure of the image of Christ, carried only by women, and the Patron Saint.

Fair and Major Festivities

The first weekend in August is the Fair and Major Festivities, one of the most popular celebrations in the Sierra. Among the activities that make up the itinerary of these days is the election of the miss and mister among the young people of El Gastor who come of age. Various concerts and humorous performances enliven the nights of the fair, as well as the celebration of bingo in the Constitution Square. Sports competitions of different sports, the release of heifers through the town and the Bull of Fire complete the programme.

Carnival

With the arrival of February, El Gastor celebrates its own Carnival, which begins with the election of the poster announcing the arrival of these festivities. Children are the main subjects of Friday afternoon with their parade, while in the evening the last rehearsal of the carnival groups takes place. On Saturday night, humor and music fill the walls of the multipurpose hall, with performances by the different groups taking part. Finally, it will be the parade and the great cavalcade that will set the atmosphere for Sunday, which will bring the festivities to a close.

Corpus Christi

Declared to be of National Tourist Interest, the Corpus Christi celebration stands out for its attractiveness. Announcing the arrival of the summer season, El Gastor embellishes its streets with olive branches, eucalyptus and other plants. The façades and arches decorated with flowers and the altars built on the doors of the houses form a unique image of great beauty. The inhabitants, dressed in classic 18th century gleaners’ costumes, accompany the figure of the saint throughout the route.

Flamenco Festival

Coinciding with the festivities of the Patron Saint, the Flamenco Festival is also held in honor of the master guitarist Diego Amaya. Great figures of the guitar take part in this evening where flamenco is the absolute protagonist.

Living Nativity Scene

Due to the good reception it received in 2005, the Living Nativity Scene continues to be one of the most special Christmas activities in El Gastor. Every year, the villagers and the streets of the town dress up in period costumes to give way to recreations of scenes and trades.

Gastoreña Bagpipe Contest

In the afternoon of Corpus Christi, the annual Gastoreña Bagpipe Contest is held, a tradition that began in 1974 and continues to this day. A musical competition that takes us back in time through the use of this native instrument.

Virgen of Fátima Pilgrimage

The Virgen of Fátima Pilgrimage is one of the most eagerly awaited celebrations in the municipality’s calendar. Following the tradition, on the first Sunday in May the image of the Virgin spends the whole day in the house of a El Gastor family. The dwelling, decorated for the occasion, is a must-see place where neighbors make offerings and prayers. At the end of the day, the image returns to the church, accompanied by prayers and canticles from the women of the village. The festivity is enlivened by a marquee in the area known as La Teja, where locals and visitors eat and celebrate the day.

Craftwork

CRAFTS

In the craft sector, in addition to the gastoreña bagpipes, it is a tradition in this town the elaboration of ‘pleitas’, a braided esparto grass. Using this technique, it is possible to make espadrilles, mats or linings for carafes, among other items.

Gastronomy

GASTRONOMY

The gastronomy of El Gastor follows the traditional cuisine of the Sierra de Cadiz area. Livestock and highly flavored horticultural products form the basis of the local diet. Famous spoon dishes such as stews, rice with rabbit or the famous ‘guisote’, a recipe made from asparagus, garlic, bread and oil. The best-known local pastries are the white bread rolls and ‘hornazos’.

What to do

El Gastor

Flamenco Festival

Coinciding with the festivities of the Patron Saint, the Flamenco Festival is also held in honor of the master guitarist Diego Amaya. Great figures of the guitar take part in this evening where flamenco is the absolute protagonist.

El Gastor

Gastoreña Bagpipe Contest

In the afternoon of Corpus Christi, the annual Gastoreña Bagpipe Contest is held, a tradition that began in 1974 and continues to this day. A musical competition that takes us back in time through the use of this native instrument.

El Gastor

Fair and Major Festivities

The first weekend in August is the Fair and Major Festivities, one of the most popular celebrations in the Sierra. Among the activities that make up the itinerary of these days is the election of the miss and mister among the young people of El Gastor who come of age. Various concerts and humorous performances enliven the nights of the fair, as well as the celebration of bingo in the Constitution Square. Sports competitions of different sports, the release of heifers through the town and the Bull of Fire complete the programme.

El Gastor

Patron Saint’s Day

At the beginning of October, the people of El Gastor take to the streets to celebrate the Patron Saint’s Day. The day of worship of the Virgen del Rosario is celebrated on 7 October, although the festivity is always moved to the nearest weekend. Along with the offering of flowers, prayers are said in honor of the Patron Saint, who is also carried in procession along with all the faithful through the streets of the town. The celebration is rounded off with live performances, horse shows and the Bull of Fire.

El Gastor

Living Nativity Scene

Due to the good reception it received in 2005, the Living Nativity Scene continues to be one of the most special Christmas activities in El Gastor. Every year, the villagers and the streets of the town dress up in period costumes to give way to recreations of scenes and trades.

El Gastor

Carnival

With the arrival of February, El Gastor celebrates its own Carnival, which begins with the election of the poster announcing the arrival of these festivities. Children are the main subjects of Friday afternoon with their parade, while in the evening the last rehearsal of the carnival groups takes place. On Saturday night, humor and music fill the walls of the multipurpose hall, with performances by the different groups taking part. Finally, it will be the parade and the great cavalcade that will set the atmosphere for Sunday, which will bring the festivities to a close.

How to get there

The village of El Gastor in Cádiz is located near a hill and the source of the Guadalete river. It borders Algonodales, Grazalema, Málaga and Zahara de la Sierra.

From Seville, the quickest route is the A-92.

From Cádiz, take the A-375 to reach the municipality. 

From Jerez de la Frontera, take the A-382 and then the Carretera de Antequera or A-384.

From Malaga, the route chosen will be the A-357.

From Ronda, the MA-7402 or the A-374.

As for the intercity bus service, the company Comes has a line to El Gastor from Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Ronda (Málaga). In turn, Interbus DAMAS has a route that reaches the municipality from Seville and Ronda. You can consult all the information about routes and timetables on their website.

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