The breathtaking town of Zahara de la Sierra sits atop a hill overlooking Zahara-el Gastor, an aquamarine reservoir that is surrounded by the Sierra de Grazalema, a jagged green mountain range. Everywhere you look, there is picturesque scenery. The fields that lead to the water are blanketed with gold- enrod, poppies and wild alliums. The air smells like sweet jasmine. It is so peaceful that the only living things in your company are the chirping birds and buzzing bees slurping the nectar from the wild flowers. Unlike some of the larger towns in Andalucía that are overflowing with tourists, you can really feel the local presence. As you meander through the streets, you can hear the din of a soccer game, the clinking of glasses running under the faucet and the sub- tle hum of voices.
The road to the castle is fairly unforgiving, but worth the trek to see the homes covered in tangled vines of pink bougainvillea and the church of Santa María de la Meza. While the village can be seen in about an hour, it is nice to let time stop for a few hours. Enjoy tapas at one of the restaurants overlooking the lake or nestled in the Plaza Mayor, the town’s main square. A word to those that journey to Zahara - you may leave it, but it might never leave you.
“It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancolies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.”
- Gustave Flaubert
Photography by Alison