The name Ojen may derive from ‘hoxan’ – an Arabic word meaning rough or bitter – but don’t let that put you off. It really isn’t an accurate reflection of how stunning the place truly is. Located on the outskirts of Marbella, Ojen is a traditional Spanish town just a few minutes’ drive past La Canada Shopping Centre. With a range of amenities to choose from, the town has grown in popularity over the years, remaining true to its traditional Spanish routes but becoming more and more modern as time’s gone on.
The majority of the town offers beautiful views across Marbella and the Mediterranean ocean. On a clear day or night, you can even see right across to Gibraltar and Morocco.
About the area
Back in its heyday, Ojen’s aniseed liquor industry used to be a major part of the local economy. Times have changed a lot since then though, and the Spanish town is now particularly reliant on tourism, farming and construction.
Currently inhabited by approximately 2000 people, Ojen is mainly made up of Spanish nationals and other foreigners. However, not many residents actually work in Ojen itself, choosing to instead travel to other parts of the Costa del Sol for employment.
Featuring narrow streets with traditional architecture and a number of old buildings in the old town, Ojen also has several amenities to choose from, including bars, restaurants and traditional shops. However, if traditional Spain isn’t your cup of tea, the outskirts of Ojen are a lot more modern, featuring a number of luxury villas and urban apartments to choose from.
The prize and glory of this area though is the municipal swimming pool – a particularly popular choice for tourists and locals alike. Featuring a stunning swimming pool and an on-site bar/restaurant, it’s not hard to see why.
What to see
Around Ojen, the Sierra Blanca mountain range is a very pleasant area to enjoy. Located in the surrounding countryside, these areas offer plenty of places for tourists to go walking, trekking or mountain biking. You’ll also find a number of forests and plenty of unspoilt nature around Ojen – the perfect place to be for a summer BBQ.
One such place to visit is the popular El Refugio del Juanar. This sleepy village was once famed for its production of aniseed liquor – ‘aguardiente’ – a very potent and popular drink that many Spanish people have with their morning coffee. Give it a try if you’re in the area – it is rumoured to be good for the digestion system, helping that aforementioned BBQ slip down much more easily.
How to get there
There are a number of ways to reach Ojen from Malaga airport. The quickest and simplest option is to take the toll road AP7 and come off at La Canada. If you’re after more of a scenic route though, you can also reach Ojen via the Coastal Road, taking the same junction as the AP7 at La Canada.
Photo credit: Dave Pinter