The most beautiful town in Andalucía? It’s some boast, but Benahavís might just well be. Tucked a few kilometres inland between Estepona and San Pedro de Alcántara, this quaint and picturesque pueblo is considered the gastronomic capital of the Costa del Sol; home to some of the finest restaurants found anywhere in southern Spain.
Anybody who lives nearby will shoot envious looks toward a Benahavís resident, for what the town may lack in vibrancy and convenience, it more than makes up for with its peace and quiet, deep well of charm and breathtaking beauty. With a gourmet restaurant on pretty much every corner, pristine streets that wind their way steeply through the stunning heart of town and an emerald encasing of densely-wooded mountains, Benahavís is as sleepy as can be, with every view a potential postcard, and every resident a lucky, lucky so-and-so.
Believe the hype. Make a checklist of everything you could ever wish for in your dream Spanish life. Fantastic weather? Check – that’s a given; Benahavís is at the heart of the Costa del Sol and receives more than 300 days of sunshine per year. A classic slice of Spain that’s accessible and welcoming? Check – Benahavís is just 7km from Puerto Banús, less than an hour’s drive from Málaga airport and has a small population of British, Irish and Scandinavian expats that have integrated well. A destination that is both beautiful and peaceful? Check – the approach road to Benahavís sees you leave the coastal highway behind and weave past rolling plains that turn steadily into rocky cliff faces and then a plunging ravine. The road winds between sheer cliff face and clear drop down to the crisp and cool waters of the Guadalmina River, before the whitewashed, sugar-cube beauty of Benahavís appears before you, tucked into the valley and magnificently presented in the bright Mediterranean sunlight.
The surroundings are evidently inspirational, for Benahavís is home to a thriving community of artisans, primarily in the form of painters, potters and chefs. In addition to the art galleries and craft shops, Benahavís boasts a brilliant portfolio of restaurants – from authentic pizzerias to classy haute cuisine establishments, robust grillhouses and the ubiquitous tapas tavernas. Dining out in Benahavís is a gastronomic pleasure, matched only by the visceral thrill of enjoying an al fresco meal under a star-studded sky in one of Europe’s most alluring of natural patios.