In the Northeast is al-Bayada, which means "the white town" in Arabic. Abanilla is known as the Murcian Palestine because of its desert landscapes, palm trees oasis and Muslim origin.
WALKING ABOUT THE STREETS
We strongly suggest you wander through Abanilla's Medieval narrow streets and enjoy its palace houses, as well as the Moorish atmosphere which still prevails. To get one's bearings: San José Baroque Church, the Fountain in Calle Mayor street and
AT THE TOP
You need to go to Lugar Alto -which means "high spot"- if you wish to enjoy one of Abanilla's most appreciated symbols: Sagrado Corazón de Jesús "Sacred Heart of Jesus". This outstanding image, which is 7m high, is next to the remains of a Muslim citadel belonging to Cora de Tudmir, where the Order of Calatrava built San Benito Gothic Church. Here you will admire the best panoramic view in the area.
ENCOUNTER AT DAWN
On the third Sunday of October, one of the region's oldest and most genuine rituals takes place in Abanilla: the Auroros Bells Encounter. This celebration has been declared of Nonmaterial Cultural Interest. It starts at dawn, when the sound of bells joins the salves and the typical singings of the huerta, sung by some brotherhoods from all over the region, that go up the town's steep streets next to the Virgen del Rosario... An event which is well worth a visit.
The erosions of Abanilla's rocky landscape and its extreme aridity make this place one of the most overwhelming spots in the region: there lies its beauty. Loneliness, silence, cliffs and whimsical geological formations will make you think you are outside the world. We suggest you start your route at the Parra de Mahoya ravine and then go towards Los Baños. If you come in the evening, you will enjoy the fresh air and the star-filled sky.
Even if it looks like the name of a faraway planet, PR-MU 74 is an easy trail tour going through one of Abanilla's most wonderful landscapes. The route starts in the small village of Mahoya -where, according to tradition, the Patron Saint appeared-, goes along the river Chícamo, surrounded by palm trees, paddle cactuses, pine trees, almond trees and olive trees, and ends at the amazing Cajer Canyon. Pay attention and try to spot a fartet -Spanish toothcarp- in the river Chícamo; it is a small fish which resists extinction. This route is suitable for children and photography enthusiasts.
OLIVES AND OLIVE TREES
If you are not allergic to their pollen, you will really enjoy this visit. You will get to know a forest with hundred-year-old olive trees and an olive cooperative. This is the perfect place for you to learn about the different olive varieties, the farm work and the irrigation systems linked to Abanilla oil. We suggest you leave room enough in your luggage for a couple of samples of this liquid gold, pressed in an old-fashioned way.
THE CROSS AND THE CRESCENT
If you are lucky enough to come to Abanilla towards the end of April and the beginning of May, you can participate in the Festivities Honouring the Holy Cross and of Moors and Christians, which are among the most traditional ones in the whole region. It is worth watching the colourful parades while listening to the pasodoble, witnessing the salute of the harquebusiers, or going in a procession with the Holy Cross to Mahoya Hermitage among the cheers, emotions and promises of the crowd. These festivities have been declared to be of Regional Tourist Interest.
TO THE RHYTHM OF THE JOTA
If you are keen on folklore, the "Villa de Abanilla" Festival is perfect for you to enjoy dancing and singing to the rhythm of the jotas, malagueñas, seguidillas and popular music from the five continents. Abanilla landscape is completed with neckerchiefs, refajos, waistcoats, bandurrias, guitars and lutes on the first weekend of August. This event revives the best elements from the past.
The tortilleras are a kind of omelette made of water, oil and flour, with a garlic and ñora aroma. Other typical dishes in the area are arroz y conejo, snails, gachasmigas, coldcuts and charcoal-grilled cabrito -young goat- meat. Moreover, when you come to Abanilla it is a tradition to taste Damasco apricots, brevas and peretas, dates, "granás" -pomegranates- and figs.
HAVE YOU GOT A SWEET TOOTH?
Abanilla's traditional pastries, known as fruta de masa, are a real delight. Fill your boots by discovering a wide variety of pastries, made in the wood stoves of the locality's bakeries in an old-fashioned way. The most famous ones are almojábanas, monas, madeleines, aniseed and orange rolls, almendrados, toñas and Christmas mantecados.
- Costa Cálida Región de Murcia