Benahavis is located on the southern face of the
Serrania de Ronda mountain range. Benahavis is the most
mountainous village on the western Costa del Sol. Its terrain
is traversed by the Rivers Guadalmina, Guadaiza and Guadalmanza.
Places of great natural interest are to be found within
its boundaries, such as The Cerro del Duque, Daidin, The
Maquinas, The Charco de las Mozas and The Leche reservoir.
Further south are luxury housing estates, golf courses and
other tourist facilities, the result of the area’s
significant development. The village still retains a few
features of its origins as a white Arabic village, forming
a sharp contrast with the colour of the surrounding mountains.
Monuments of interest are Montemayor Castle and a former
Its name appears to be derived from the Berber tribe of Banu Habis, who
settled in the area. Montemayor Castle, built near the village during
the Moslem occupation, was an important military enclave due to its unquestionable
strategic value, as from the spot on which the fortress once stood, now
home only to ruins, over one hundred kilometres of coastline are visible
and the relief of North Africa can be seen. In the 11th century, the fortress
and the territory it controlled were caught up in the struggle between
the governing Malaga dynasty, the Edrisitas and the Hammudies, lords of
Algeciras. In 1273, the king of Granada, Mohamed, seeing his throne to
be in jeopardy, requested help from the Benimerines, who, as they advanced
across the peninsula, occupied Marbella, Montemayor Castle and Malaga.
The village was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1485, after the
fall of Marbella, which, along with Benahavis, was ceded to Don Juan de
Silva, Count of Cifuentes, in 1492, in return for his support in the capture
In 1572, King Philip II awarded Benahavis its own municipal charter, thus
granting the village independence from Marbella.