Iznajar: Southern Spain’s Hidden Gem (Best Things to do) Iznajar: Southern Spain’s Hidden Gem (Best Things to do)

Iznajar: Southern Spain’s Hidden Gem (Best Things to do)

High up on a mountain, overlooking the beautiful valley and lake below, lies Iznajar, one of southern Spain’s authentic white villages. During the summer, the typically quiet streets of the town burst into chatter as visitors blend with the locals. Most come for the beautiful white houses and the hundreds of flower pots, but with over 1000 years of history, the tranquil village has much more to offer, making it a must-see on your Andalusia road trip!

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Things to do in Iznajar

Iznajar is a perfect destination for a half-day trip from other iconic Andalusian locations such as Granada or Málaga. It’s a peaceful village, home to local people (mainly the elderly), and considered one of the region’s most beautiful Pueblos Blancos (white villages).

The winding little streets are lined with cute whitewashed houses that almost seem to dangle over the water reservoir below. Together with some fascinating historical highlights, you’ll be met with stunning sights that you won’t easily forget. 

1. Patio de las Comedias

One of the best things to do in Iznajar, Spain, is to check out the little courtyards within the village. Possibly the most picturesque patio of all is the somewhat secret ‘Patio de las Comedias’. Here, you’ll find hundreds of differently-colored geranium flowers in sky-blue pots. The stunning contrast between the white walls and the bright blues of the objects almost makes it feel like a mini version of Chefchaouen in Morocco

This little courtyard was home to the village’s marketplace or souk in the Middle Ages. Now, it’s turned into a peaceful area of Iznajar where people can come to relax and admire the views over the great reservoir. The flowers, which are taken care of by the local people, look the best in April and May.

Please, note: the houses on this patio are people’s homes, so always be respectful. Don’t sit on the doorsteps, try to stay quiet, and don’t leave any rubbish behind. 

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Iznajar: Southern Spain’s Hidden Gem (Best Things to do)

Fun fact: Every year, many villages in the Córdoba region compete to have the best patios. Patio de las Comedias has won numerous times for its beautiful little area, making Iznájar a perfect stop on your Andalusia road trip.

2. Castillo de Iznájar

Perched at the very top of the village, high above the traditional houses and surroundings, lies Iznájar Castle. This stunning old Moorish castle is what gave the town its original name.

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It’s characteristically built at the highest point of the region in order to defend it. You can spot the stone building from different angles within the village or visit the inner ramparts by walking to the top of Iznajar. 

Visiting the castle is a popular thing to do in Iznajar, as it allows a peek into the region’s history. But, besides learning about the fascinating ancient battles, the castle also makes a great place to visit for the views alone. From up top, you can look out over all the beautiful white houses, the great reservoir, and further surroundings. 

3. Parroquia de Santiago Apóstol

Within the same area as many of the other highlights of Iznajar lies the Parroquia de Santiago, a small parish church. As you walk through the highest winding alleys of the village, you can easily spot the building by its beautiful light-colored bricks. The church was built during the 16th and 17th centuries and currently holds an exceptional Baroque altarpiece on the inside.

According to some archives, the building was supposed to be much larger than it is now. Nevertheless, it’s another interesting thing to do in Iznajar. Take some time to walk around the medieval building, look up at the bell tower, and when it’s open, make sure to take a look at the inside of the church.

4. Plaza Rafael Alberti

Tucked away behind the church, you’ll find Plaza Rafael Alberti, a peaceful little square lined with different trees and plants. Depending on the time of year that you’re visiting Andalusia, having a bit of shade to sit and relax under can be very welcoming.

The plaza is named after the famous Spanish poet Rafael Alberti, who wrote a poem about the village back in 1920. While you take a break from walking through the cute little alleys of Iznajar, you can read the poem on the tiled mosaic in the center of the plaza.

5. Relax on the Beach at Iznájar Lake

Not too far from town, there’s a small sandy beach on the shore of the Iznájar embalse (reservoir). This beach, known as Playa de Valdearenas, is the perfect spot to relax for a little while. Spend some time soaking up the sun, go for a refreshing dip in the water, or rent a peddle boat, canoe, or SUP. 

This reservoir was constructed in the village valley a few decades ago and transformed Iznajar. Spanning about 32 kilometers, it almost feels as if this beautiful waterfront town overlooks an inland sea. Getting to the beach from the village takes about 10 minutes by car or 30 minutes on foot through beautiful olive groves. 

6. Mirador del Postigo

As Iznajar is located on a small mountain, it’s no surprise that there are some incredible views from every side of the village. However, one of the best points to take in the stunning surroundings is Mirador del Postigo. This is because this particular viewpoint faces the reservoir, allowing you to look out over the stream and the beautiful rolling hills covered in olive groves. 

Best Cafes and Restaurants in Iznajar, Spain

The southern region of Spain has numerous culinary delicacies typical of the region. Even though many of them heavily focus on meats, there are also plenty of delicious veggie options on the menus. From Spanish stews to different tapas, there’s lots of food to try when visiting Andalusia. A few cafes and restaurants in the village that we really liked were:

  • Meson Abuela Maria
  • Venta Casa Juani
  • Nelson’s
  • Taska Lucía

Where to Stay in Iznajar

Iznajar can easily be visited on a half-day trip. The village is small, and most of the highlights are within walking distance from one another. However, there’s nothing quite like seeing the town in the earlier hours and witnessing the local life. There are plenty of accommodation options in case you plan on staying a night in Iznajar: from beautiful villas overlooking the reservoir to cute B&Bs tucked in the little alleyways of the town. See all hotels in Iznajar.

Hotels in Iznajar Town

Hotels Outside of Iznajar

How to Visit Iznajar

Iznajar is about a 1 to 1,5-hour drive from popular cities such as Malaga or Granada, making it a great location to add to your Andalusia road trip.

From Malaga, you can take the bus to Iznajar. Although, we recommend visiting early in the morning to avoid bigger tour groups. The best way to visit Iznajar, however, is by car to give you more flexibility.

Getting Around

As the village is relatively small and the streets narrow, it’s best to explore on foot. If you’re visiting by car during the high season, you can park your car at the bottom of the hill. This ensures you won’t have any issues on one-way streets or when parking. If you’re visiting in the shoulder seasons, parking your car on the road will be much easier and is free. 

Best Time to Visit

The summers are very warm in Iznajar, Spain. Because of its small size and popularity for day trips from Granada, the streets can also get quite busy at this time.

Instead, choose to visit during the late spring or early fall. This is when temperatures are cooler, and it’s easier to explore.

03/01/2023 https://www.saltinourhair.com/spain/iznajar/
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