Under a Rock in Setenil, Spain

February 19, 2020

When we were visiting Ronda, several locals told us to visit Setenil de las Bodegas. They all said it was a city under the rocks and was quite unique. So we found out where it was and missed the bus. Instead of waiting for 1.5 hours for the next one, we hailed a taxi. It is a good 30 minute drive, but the taxi driver told us where to catch the bus back to Ronda when we were done. We checked the bus schedule and set an alarm for a 4 hour visit.

Not sure what we would see, we turned the corner and a huge rock outcropping was hanging over either side of the town roofs. The residents did not chisel into, but rather built out from the outcrops. Setenil is a very small town in the most northeastern corner of the Cadiz province. Although we can do our usual Romans/Moors/Arabs/Christians history, archaeologically this town can be traced back 15 to 20 thousand years ago with continuous habitation.

Looking down into the canyon-created river of Setenil de las Bodegas.
The old castle with the town lying in front and olive trees marching off into the distance.

The first walk through this town can be a bit nerve wracking. We kept looking up, wondering if things were going to stay put. But we got used to it and just enjoyed strolling up and down the very narrow streets and walking lanes. The town is well worth a visit, people very friendly, and our food was excellent.

Some of the many great restaurants lying directly under the rock outcropping.
One of the many views to be found in this fascinating town.
I don’t think the metal framing will stop the rock.
In our chosen restaurant for a great meal.

Directions: Walk to the Ronda bus station to find the tourist bus from Ronda to Setenil. The schedule is posted on a wall (ask, otherwise you will not see it). Pay the driver. It’s about a 35+ minute ride and €3 each way. If you take a taxi, it will cost you €25 one way. Just ask and the driver will return to pick you up at a designated time.

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