Sayalonga: Rich in History, Culture, and Natural Beauty
Sayalonga, a charming, whitewashed village located just 9 kilometers from the coast, is a must-visit destination for guests staying in Competa. With its lilac flowering Jacaranda trees, typical Andalucian squares, and spectacular mountain and coastal views, Sayalonga exudes an old-world charm and tradition that has been preserved for centuries. The village is most famous for the Nispero fruit, which is celebrated every year in the springtime with the Nispero Fiesta, Dia Del Nispero.
Nature lovers will also find paradise in the nearby Sierra Almijara National Park and Tejeda mountains, which offer unspoiled natural environments for walking, cycling, and touring. Sayalonga also has historical and architectural treasures, such as the 16th-century Mudejar-style parish church of Santa Catalina and the round cemetery – the only one in Spain. Don’t miss the Fuente del Cid, a fountain named for El Cid Campeador, a Castilian nobleman and military leader who legend has it once drank from its waters.
A day trip to Sayalonga is a perfect addition to your stay in Cómpeta.
Discover more on the history of Sayalonga here at the Ayuntamiento’s tourist site.
Finding Your Way to Sayalonga: A Guide to Getting There and Getting Around
Saylonga is a charming village located in the Málaga province of Spain, just fifteen minutes from the town of Cómpeta. To get to Cómpeta, we recommend taking the Saylonga Road with it’s stunning vistas, it is also an easier drive than the winding Torrox Road. Saylonga is conveniently situated about 15 minutes from the coast and is a 45-50 minute drive from Málaga Airport (AGP, or Aeropuerto Gran Picasso).
Both Saylonga and Cómpeta offer a wide range of activities and attractions to suit all interests, including stunning beaches, vibrant markets, and breathtaking mountain vistas. If you’re not driving, you can easily get from Cómpeta to Saylonga by bus, which runs regularly. For those who prefer a more active approach, hiking or biking is a great way to explore the surrounding countryside.
We always recommend to our hiking guests to plan their routes using the app Wikiloc. Here is an example from that site listed as the Cómpeta to Sayalonga Fig Tree Route.
You can also find walking recommendations in our online guide book and on our YouTube channel.
Sayalonga's Mediterranean Charm Shines at the Dia del Nispero
This fleshy, slightly acidic orange fruit is also known as Loquat and Medlar Fruit. As Cómpeta is celebrated for it’s Muscatel wine, Sayalonga is famed for the Nispero. In early May, visitors flock to Sayalonga, which is when one of this pueblo’s happiest days takes place.
El Día del Níspero (The Medlar Day). This big festival celebrates the richness of the agricultural production in this privileged area, and it is a tradition attended by many visitors and personalities from all over the province. The festival takes place in the squares Plaza D. Rafael Alcoba and Plaza de la Constitución, and at the Museo Morisco Museum, which serve as the main venues for the festivities. The celebration begins with an opening ceremony, followed by theatrical performances, musicals, exhibitions, and craft stalls. Visitors can enjoy a free taste of the main regional delicacies, wine, nisperos and jam while listening to live music. The Golden Medlar is also awarded on Andalusian, regional and local levels. More on this intriguing fruit which originated in the East, in China, India and Japan here.
This Málaga traditional festival offers an excellent opportunity to get to know Sayalonga, a village with a rich and interesting history. If you are following us on Facebook or Instagram you can pick up the date of this year’s festival.
One of the most popular ways to use Nispero’s is in a jam you can check out a great recipe that we use often, from The Flour Handprint here. Did you know the seeds are also used to make Nespolino Liqueur, here is the recipe we are going to try this Summer.
Step Back in Time: Discover the Rich History of Sayalonga's Landmarks
MONUMENTO DE LA PAZ
Nestled on a tight curve of the road that connects Algarrobo and Sayalonga, you’ll find the striking Peace Monument. This thought-provoking work of art by Pláci de Gaona commemorates those who fought for freedom and justice during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). While passing by on foot, take a moment to rest at one of the tables provided. However, if you’re driving, be sure to park with care due to the monument’s precarious location. Viewing the monument takes only a few minutes of your time, but its message of peace will stay with you long after you leave.
The Cementerio Redondo in Sayalonga is a unique and iconic site in the region, located in the small village of Sayalonga. Despite its name, the cemetery has an octagonal base. It the only round cemetery in Spain.
Originally situated in the courtyard of the local church of Santa Catalina, it was relocated to its current location outside the village limits in the 1840s. Today, it has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over who are interested in its history and layout.
The cemetery’s design is simple yet stunning, with rows of traditional oblong graves encircling a central area.
The reason for the octagonal shape of the cemetery is subject to speculation. Some theories suggest that the intention was to ensure that the buried dead would never turn their backs to each other, while others suggest that the cemetery was built by Freemasons.
In fact, the cemetery contains various symbols associated with Freemasonry, including a triangle that crowns one of the tombs and a sun depicted behind one of the crosses. It also depicts the ‘Temple of Soloman’, which is a very typical element of Freemason buildings.
According to local legend, a young boy was killed on the road above the cemetery, and when no family came forward to claim him, he was buried in the cemetery. On the Day of the Dead, visiting children leave leftover flowers from other graves on his. Hear more about that in this clip on the cemetary.
The Cementerio Redondo in Sayalonga is not only unique in Spain but also in Europe, as it is the only round cemetery in the country. However, its origins and shape are still a mystery that fascinates visitors from all over the world. If you are in the area, a visit to the Cementerio Redondo is a must that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Mirador del Cementario Redondo
It is located on the Redondo de Sayalonga Cemetery and offers open views towards the Sierra Almijara, Corumbela, Mount Bentomiz, views of the towns of Archez and Canillas, and of course, of the Redondo Cemetery, Sayalonga, and to the Santa Catalina Church.
Built in 2002, this viewpoint located on the outskirts of the town in the direction of Competa offers visitors panoramic and splendid views of all the towns and mountains in the area in general.
Cementerio Redondo Interpretation Centre
It is situated in the centre of the cemetery. It is locked, so you need to go to the tourist information centre to get the key. It has a wealth of information on the cemetery so it is worth taking the time to visit.
Here is a Youtube clip showcasing the cemetery.
MUSEO MORISCO - let's go back in time!
The Museo Morisco in Sayalonga, Spain is a unique museum that was founded in 2004 with the goal of preserving and showcasing the rich Moorish culture and history of the town.
Visitors to the museum can learn about the customs, architecture, music, and art of the area, as well as how the Moors influenced the development of Sayalonga. The museum is open to visitors every day except for major holidays, and special guided tours are also available. It’s worth noting that opening hours are currently listed as Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 2pm, but it’s best to check ahead. For more information, you can visit the museum’s website or check out their Facebook page.
EL Callejón Alcuza or Alcuza Alley
Experience the ancient charm of the area by taking a stroll through one of the narrowest alleys in the Axarquía, the ALCUZA Alley. With a width of only 55cm at its narrowest point. The unique funnel shape is why it’s given the name Alcuza, which is derived from the Arabic language. You can find this charming alley among the many narrow streets that crisscross the Plaza de la Constitución, near the Tourist Office or the entrance to the door of the Church. The alley’s pavement has recently been renovated with exposed stones, enhancing its unique appearance. Stepping through this alleyway will transport you back in time, offering a glimpse into the ancestral heritage of Sayalonga. Make sure to add ALCUZA alley to your list of must-see destinations, an ideal place for that Instagram selfie!
Here is a quick Youtube clip showing the Alley.
The Hermitage of San Cayetano
The hermitage of San Cayetano was most likely built in the 16th century.
It was dedicated to Christian worship in times of cohabitation of the Christian and Muslim religions; Or perhaps it could have been dedicated to the invocation of some other saint.
Currently, the image of San Cayetano is inside an image from the 18th century and of great sculptural value.
You can find it next to the entrance door of the Santa Catalina Church.
Santa Catalina Church
Nestled in the heart of the historic town center, stands a true testament to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region. The Church, built in the 16th century, boasts an impressive Mudejar style, with its octagonal tower mirroring those found throughout the Province of Malaga.
While the Church’s architecture is undoubtedly impressive, it is the carving of the Virgen del Rosario that truly captures the heart and soul of visitors. This magnificent work of art, created by the Granada school in the 18th century, is not only a testament to the exceptional sculptural talents of its creators but also serves as a symbol of the region’s strong religious heritage.
Stepping inside the Church, one can’t help but feel a sense of peace and tranquility that only comes from being in a space that has been a source of comfort and hope for centuries. From its Roman temple origins to its transformation into an Old Mosque and finally, to the magnificent Church that stands today, the building is a true representation of the region’s rich cultural and religious history.
It’s no surprise that the Church, located in Plaza de la Constitución, is a beloved landmark for both locals and visitors alike. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our shared history and celebrating the diverse cultures that have helped shape our world.
As a final point of interest, Sayalonga is on the Ruta de Sol y Vino find out more here.
Savour the Flavors of Sayalonga: Our Top Picks for Authentic Spanish Cuisine
No visit to Sayalonga would be complete without indulging in the local culinary delights! Thankfully, the village boasts a plethora of amazing restaurants that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Here are some of our top recommendations:
First up is Meson Morisco, run by the ever-charming Rafa and his team. This restaurant is famous for its mouth-watering steaks but also offers a wide variety of Spanish-influenced dishes. With a 4.5 rating on Google and a perfect 5 on Trip Advisor, it’s no wonder that Meson Morisco is a firm favorite among our guests.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly dining experience, look no further than Jocavi. Located in the heart of the village, this cozy restaurant offers authentic Spanish cuisine with a modern twist. With a Google rating of 4.4, Jocavi is sure to satisfy your cravings for delicious food.
Offering another fantastic option is new kid on the block: El Ruano Restaurante Asador. Located on the edge of the village, this stunning restaurant boasts its own parking and breathtaking views. Serving up traditional Spanish cuisine with a contemporary flair, El Ruano is already a hit with both locals and visitors, earning an impressive 4.7 rating on Google since opening last year.
If you’re a foodie looking for a truly unforgettable dining experience, make sure to head over to Bodegas Bentomiz, an award-winning winery located just outside of Sayalonga. We have a dedicated blog post about the winery, which you can find on our website, where we share more details about their fine dining offerings and wine tour. Head chef Andre is a master of culinary creativity, conjuring up some truly amazing dishes that can be paired with a wine-tasting menu if desired. It’s the perfect activity to combine with a visit to Sayalonga.
In fact, Bodegas Bentomiz has also made it onto our “Top Ten Things to Do in Competa” page, alongside other amazing activities that are sure to make your trip to the region unforgettable. Make sure to check out the page and plan your itinerary accordingly.
And don’t forget to also check out our other recommendations for top-notch dining experiences in Sayalonga, including Meson Morisco, Jocavi, and El Ruano Restaurante Asador. With these incredible restaurants to choose from, your taste buds are in for a treat.
Stay in the heart of the action in Cómpeta and discover the nearby gem of Sayalonga
If you’re looking for a lively town with plenty of bars and restaurants, our luxury townhouse villas with private pools in nearby Cómpeta are the perfect base for your Andalusian adventure.
With easy access to Sayalonga, you can spend your days exploring the charming landmarks, indulging in local cuisine, and enjoying the beautiful countryside, before returning to your comfortable, modern villa to relax and unwind.
Our properties offer all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, from hi-speed WiFi and smart TVs to air conditioning and heating, so you can visit any time of the year. If you’re interested in booking one of our villas, then please visit our website where we offer 2-4 bed luxury townhouses.