Malaga's olive oil route

When travelling inland from the hustle and bustle of Malaga's coast, we come across the dramatic and rugged landscape that is old as time itself. This is the land of the ancient olive groves. 

Throughout the centuries of spectacular advances in our modern civilisation, these ancient olive groves are still being farmed in the same ways that date all the way back to Phoenician times. A time, when wild olives were first domesticated and nurtured for maximum yield.

The olive has always formed an essential part of the ‘Mediterranean-Trilogy,’ alongside wheat and grapes. Bread, oil and wine have always been the backbone of the Mediterranean diet and remain so today. For many in Andalucia, a day is not complete without these three basic products.

The community of Andalusia is home to over 170 million olive trees, more than half of Spain's total. These huge managed forests have been tended by the generations of families, that have inhabited these plains and mountains. Thousands of years of careful management. 

Amongst the innumerable examples across the region, we find the groves of Arroyo Carnicero near the town of Casabermeja, Málaga.


Millennial Olive of Arroyo Carnicero, Casabermeja, Malaga

Best Monumental Olive 2013 Award

Arroyo Carnicero is reached by taking the road that links Casabermeja to Villanueva de la Conception. After approximately four kilometres, there is a small sign on the right indicating a track that leads off to an olive grove of some 150 trees. One tree, in particular, stands out. The award winning, "Millennial Olive of Arroyo Carnicero." 

An award that was granted by the AEMO, the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities in 2013.


Thousand year olive tree Millennial Olive of Arroyo Carnicero

This ancient olive tree appears to have its own unique personality, standing apart from the neighbouring trees. It is composed of three trunks and has a circumference of more than seven meters. Research conducted by the University of Cordoba has dated the tree at being over a thousand years-old. Despite appearances, genetic studies have confirmed that the tree has a single root. The three trunks, although now separate, were formally branches from the same tree. 

The "Millennial Olive of Arroyo Carnicero," is little known outside of local circles and deserves a visit. 

As you travel through these mountains and olive groves it is almost imperative to return home with some good virgin olive oil.


 Molino del Hortelano, Casabermeja 

One place this can be sourced is the Molino del Hortelano, just seven kilometres from Casabermeja.

Located on an estate of more than 60 hectares, the Molino de Hortelano is a small olive press producing artisan virgin olive oil from the Verdial and Chamomile varieties. The mill was formerly a winery until the late nineteenth century, when the Phylloxera virus wiped out the vineyards. It was then converted for the production of virgin olive oil.

Molino del Hortelano

The mill has been carefully restored and can be visited. The press is made up of large conical stones that were originally used to crush grapes and then for pressing the olives. 

Stone press from the XVIII century

We can also see the wine vats that are almost 300 years old and have a capacity for four thousand litres each. 

During the tour, your host will also explain the details of the operation of the mill and the process of making virgin olive oil.

Vats that hold up to 4.000 l

How to get there

Casabermeja: Casabermeja is located on a hill next to the A- 45, the main road from Malaga to Seville, Cordoba and Granada. The town is about 25 kms from Malaga - map

The Millennia olive tree: After leaving the A-45 and before entering Casabermeja, a sign will direct you to Villanueva de la Concepción; follow this road, which runs parallel to the highway. You'll come to a junction, take a left following signs for Villanueva de la Concepción. After 2 kms, you pass under the viaduct of the toll road and 2.2 kms later find the Arroyo Carnicero sign. The sign is quite easy to miss. Keep your eyes open on the right hand side of the road for the sign and a small track. Following this track, the olive tree is about 150m along. It sits on a hill on the right, just before crossing a small bridge over a creek.

Molino de Hortelano: In Casabermeja, take the old road to Malaga, MA -431, after 7 kms you come to a junction to the right with an old house. On the wall of the house, there's a sign indicating the direction of the mill (about 1 km away). If driving back to Malaga, we recommend taking the old MA-431 road. The route offers some stunning views of the Guadalmedina and the eastern part of the mountains, and on the other side, the valley of the Capanillas and Guadalhorce rivers. This road is dotted with dozens of wayside restaurants, called ‘Ventas,’ where you can taste the traditional dishes of the mountains.

An exceptionally beautiful drive, with glimpses of the sea and the approaching coastal towns. Looking behind us, we can see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Alongside the road there are almond, olive and carob trees as well as cork oaks and traditional whitewashed Andalusian farmhouses. Andalusia at its most traditional and most beautiful.