Out and About in La Viñuela

With the same name as the reservoir which provides water for the Axarquía area, the village of La Viñuela calls itself ‘The Oasis of the Axarquía.’ 

It is a relatively modern village and grew from La Viña inn, which provided respite for travellers on the old Camino Real (royal road) from Vélez-Málaga to Granada. The inn, which still serves as a restaurant, La Antigua Venta de la Viña, on the corner of Calle Granada and Calle Nueva, dates from the 16th Century.  However, it wasn’t until 1764 that La Viñuela was officially recognised as a village and gained its first mayor, Don Juan Lucas Garcia del Rey.

La Viñuela also comprises the smaller hamlet of Los Romanes, on the other side of the reservoir as well as los Gómez. In total the population is around 2,000 (according to 2016 National Statistics Office data) and the town hall says that around half the current population is foreign, with many Brits,  Scandinavians and Germans choosing to call it home.

La Viñuela village itself is long, with windy roads and attractive plant pots adorning many of the buildings on the main Calle Pizarras and Calle Granada. There are two fountains that are worth looking for; the aptly named Oasis de la Axarquía on Calle Pizarras and La Cañada de los Deseos (fountain of desires), on Calle Granada, where you can make a wish by throwing a coin into the water. A detailed map with places to see and bars and restaurants can be obtained from the Town Hall on Calle Granada or on the website (www.lavinuela.es ). Other points of interest include the old mill and forge, the San José church, Virgin de las Angustias chapel and the old labourer’s house (Antugua vivienda de jornalero) to see some traditional architecture.

While the reservoir itself doesn’t belong to La Viñuela village, the town hall is responsible for the recreational area by the football pitch, which has barbeque areas. Check with the town hall as to when the barbeques can be used. It is typically between October and April, but this can vary depending on how dry the year has been. For something more typically Spanish, forget the spare ribs and barbeque sauce and try cooking paella on one of the stone barbeques. Use leña (firewood) and you will never taste paella quite like it!

There are all sorts of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed at the reservoir, including hiking, mountain biking, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. For further information on water sports, ask at the town hall or google water sports La Viñuela. It’s also a great place for dogs to cool off as the fresh water is better for them than sea water!

Los Romanes

Standing tall above the reservoir at 465 metres above sea level is the small hamlet of Los Romanes, where approximately 400 people live. This tranquil setting provides some of the best views over the lake and surrounding area. It is also home to the Sociedad Santa Teresa de Jesús olive oil cooperative where oil can be bought as well as the museo de Verdiales, which pays tribute to the local dance and music tradition. There are also one or two hotels, restaurants and bars in and around Los Romanes.

Festivals and traditions

La Viñuela celebrates carnival in February, but the first big event of the year is in May, when the residents of the bigger village get together with their los Gómez and Los Romanes neighbours for the annual Romería (pilgrimage) which leads down to the reservoir. While the modern day event only goes back as far as 1991, it is said that in years of drought, locals would walk through the streets carrying an image of Saint Joseph (San José) to ask for rain.

In July los Gómez celebrates its annual feria to coincide with La Virgin del Carmen, while La Viñuela’s feria is held either over the last weekend of July or first weekend of August and Los Romanes celebrates to coincide with 15th August which is the day of La Virgin de la Asunción.

La Fiesta de la Pasa is a two-day event which takes place in mid-September, to celebrate the annual grape harvest. Last year it took place on 21st and 22nd of September and involves music, dancing, gastronomy and an artisan market.

Services

La Viñuela has a number of bars, restaurants and shops. There is also a health centre, post office, primary school, banks and small supermarkets. There are new play areas for children and exercise areas for adults. The adult education centre (Centro de educación de adultos) provides free Spanish classes three times a week as well as access to computers.  There is also a helicopter pad just on the outskirts of the village, as you’re heading to the reservoir. Our guess is that it is used for tackling wild fires and also as an air ambulance service for people who get into difficulty in and around the reservoir. If anyone has a better suggestion, please let us know!

To get to La Viñuela take the A-7205 from the A-356 north from Vélez-Málaga. Street parking is relatively easy and there is plenty of parking by the football pitch at the top pf the recreational area of La Viñuela reservoir. Los Romanes is on the other side of the reservoir and street parking is also relatively easy.

With the same name as the reservoir which provides water for the Axarquía area, the village of La Viñuela calls itself ‘The Oasis of the Axarquía.’ 

It is a relatively modern village and grew from La Viña inn, which provided respite for travellers on the old Camino Real (royal road) from Vélez-Málaga to Granada. The inn, which still serves as a restaurant, La Antigua Venta de la Viña, on the corner of Calle Granada and Calle Nueva, dates from the 16th Century.  However, it wasn’t until 1764 that La Viñuela was officially recognised as a village and gained its first mayor, Don Juan Lucas Garcia del Rey.

La Viñuela also comprises the smaller hamlet of Los Romanes, on the other side of the reservoir as well as los Gómez. In total the population is around 2,000 (according to 2016 National Statistics Office data) and the town hall says that around half the current population is foreign, with many Brits,  Scandinavians and Germans choosing to call it home.

La Viñuela village itself is long, with windy roads and attractive plant pots adorning many of the buildings on the main Calle Pizarras and Calle Granada. There are two fountains that are worth looking for; the aptly named Oasis de la Axarquía on Calle Pizarras and La Cañada de los Deseos (fountain of desires), on Calle Granada, where you can make a wish by throwing a coin into the water. A detailed map with places to see and bars and restaurants can be obtained from the Town Hall on Calle Granada or on the website (www.lavinuela.es ). Other points of interest include the old mill and forge, the San José church, Virgin de las Angustias chapel and the old labourer’s house (Antugua vivienda de jornalero) to see some traditional architecture.

While the reservoir itself doesn’t belong to La Viñuela village, the town hall is responsible for the recreational area by the football pitch, which has barbeque areas. Check with the town hall as to when the barbeques can be used. It is typically between October and April, but this can vary depending on how dry the year has been. For something more typically Spanish, forget the spare ribs and barbeque sauce and try cooking paella on one of the stone barbeques. Use leña (firewood) and you will never taste paella quite like it!

There are all sorts of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed at the reservoir, including hiking, mountain biking, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. For further information on water sports, ask at the town hall or google water sports La Viñuela. It’s also a great place for dogs to cool off as the fresh water is better for them than sea water!

Los Romanes

Standing tall above the reservoir at 465 metres above sea level is the small hamlet of Los Romanes, where approximately 400 people live. This tranquil setting provides some of the best views over the lake and surrounding area. It is also home to the Sociedad Santa Teresa de Jesús olive oil cooperative where oil can be bought as well as the museo de Verdiales, which pays tribute to the local dance and music tradition. There are also one or two hotels, restaurants and bars in and around Los Romanes.

Festivals and traditions

La Viñuela celebrates carnival in February, but the first big event of the year is in May, when the residents of the bigger village get together with their los Gómez and Los Romanes neighbours for the annual Romería (pilgrimage) which leads down to the reservoir. While the modern day event only goes back as far as 1991, it is said that in years of drought, locals would walk through the streets carrying an image of Saint Joseph (San José) to ask for rain.

In July los Gómez celebrates its annual feria to coincide with La Virgin del Carmen, while La Viñuela’s feria is held either over the last weekend of July or first weekend of August and Los Romanes celebrates to coincide with 15th August which is the day of La Virgin de la Asunción.

La Fiesta de la Pasa is a two-day event which takes place in mid-September, to celebrate the annual grape harvest. Last year it took place on 21st and 22nd of September and involves music, dancing, gastronomy and an artisan market.

Services

La Viñuela has a number of bars, restaurants and shops. There is also a health centre, post office, primary school, banks and small supermarkets. There are new play areas for children and exercise areas for adults. The adult education centre (Centro de educación de adultos) provides free Spanish classes three times a week as well as access to computers.  There is also a helicopter pad just on the outskirts of the village, as you’re heading to the reservoir. Our guess is that it is used for tackling wild fires and also as an air ambulance service for people who get into difficulty in and around the reservoir. If anyone has a better suggestion, please let us know!

To get to La Viñuela take the A-7205 from the A-356 north from Vélez-Málaga. Street parking is relatively easy and there is plenty of parking by the football pitch at the top pf the recreational area of La Viñuela reservoir. Los Romanes is on the other side of the reservoir and street parking is also relatively easy.