Discover the unique town of Setenil de las Bodegas in Spain, where approximately 3,000 residents call the natural caves their home. The caves were chosen as housing due to their ability to provide natural insulation from the heat and cold, eliminating the need for full-fledged houses. This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
The name Setenil de las Bodegas highlights the town’s rich history. “Setenil” originates from latin words “septem nihil” meaning “seven times no” and refers to the seven failed attempts by Catholic rulers to reclaim the territory from the Moors, who ruled much of Spain for centuries. The Catholics finally succeeded on the seventh attempt and established Setenil as one of the last Muslim strongholds in Iberia. Over time, the cool and stable environment under the rock was used to store local produce in large rooms, hence the town’s second name “bodegas” meaning “warehouse” in Spanish.
Setenil is renowned for its meat products, particularly chorizo sausage and pork from pigs raised in nearby hills. Additionally, the town is famous for its pastries and has excellent bars and restaurants. The surrounding farms also provide neighboring towns with much of their fruit and vegetables.
The town has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers (June-August) and mild winters (December-February). The Carnival in February/March includes street parades, music, and dancing. Easter Week (March/April) features competing processions by two local brotherhoods. The Feria de Setenil de las Bodegas in August is a multi-day event with concerts, horseback riding, and flamenco dancing. The Fiesta del Aceite, with its varying date, celebrates the local olive oil production through a market and tastings.
The town of Setenil de las Bodegas is located in the province of Cadiz in southern Spain. The easiest way to get there is by car, as the town is well-connected by roads. It is approximately 45 minutes from Ronda and 1 hour 30 minutes from Malaga by car. You can also reach Setenil by bus, with regular services departing from nearby towns such as Ronda and Malaga.