Villaluenga del Rosario in the Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural, the smallest municipality in Cadiz province and the highest of the Pueblos Blancos
At an altitude of 858 metres, Villaluenga del Rosario, in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, has two claims to fame. It is the highest village on the Pueblos Blancos route in the Sierra de Cadiz and, with a population of about 450 persons, it is the smallest municipality in Cadiz province.
Villaluenga del Rosario
The name of the village comes from its elongated plan; it is a very thin village, about 800 metres long and only 250 metres wide, in the narrow valley of the Arroyo Albarran. The limestone valley sides of the Sierra de Grazalema mountains rear up to the north and south. Villaluenga del Rosario is an ideal base from which to explore the Grazalema mountains.
The village you see today is of Moorish origin although there are signs of a previous Roman occupation, an aqueduct and the road itself, the A374, which is an ancient droving route between Ubrique, Roman Ocurri, and Grazalema, that was well trod before the Romans arrived. Even today it is not unusual to see the local farmer with a herd of goats going from one pasture to another.
It is goats, or rather the milk from the goats, that has made the village. The local cheese is called payoyo, named after a unique breed of goat found only in this area. The breed, Cabra payoya, is endangered and the cheese, first manufactured in 1996, is one way to ensure the breed’s survival. The cheese has won a number of awards.
Two buildings are worth a visit. The ruined church of El Salvador has been converted into a very nice, tranquil, cemetery and the bullring that is built entirely of stone.
Plaza de Toros