Nestled amidst the beautiful landscapes of the Costa del Sol’s Axarquía region and part of the municipality of Cómpeta, El Acebuchal, fondly dubbed as “The Lost Village,” stands as a testament to resilience, history, and cultural restoration. Located 25-30 minutes from Cómpeta by car this once-deserted village has transformed into a captivating destination for travellers looking to tread off the beaten path.
Getting there from Villa Andalucia
Whilst you can drive there from Cómpeta, unless you have a 4×4 it’s not advisable. You have to cross a (shallow) river and drive along a track which isn’t always smoothed over and can be quite bumpy in a normal car. I wouldn’t advise doing it in a hire car! To get around this you can drive down to the coast and back up to Frigliana and access the village from there. This takes around 40mins.
Founded in the 17th century, El Acebuchal initially thrived as a stop-off point on the route connecting Granada and Málaga. However, during the turbulent times of the Franco regime, the village was seized as a refuge by the maquis (anti-Franco guerrilla group). The consequent expulsion by the Guardia Civil left the village deserted, with houses crumbling away in the shadows of time, earning it the monikers “ghost village” and “lost village.”
In 1998, the winds of change began to blow. Antonio García, known as “El Zumbo”, and Virtudes Sánchez spearheaded the restoration movement. Their passionate endeavors breathed life back into the ghostly facades. Today, Antonio helms El Acebuchal’s renowned bar-restaurant, while the village boasts over thirty beautifully renovated properties. As more families flocked to restore their ancestral homes or acquire available properties, the village metamorphosed into a living, breathing postcard of Andalusian tradition.
Today’s El Acebuchal: A Journey Back in Time
Visiting El Acebuchal is akin to stepping into a time capsule. The village’s cobbled streets, often graced by donkeys and mules, take you back to an era of simplicity. While modern amenities like television and card payments remain distant, it only enhances the village’s allure. Instead of digital screens, visitors indulge in delectable game dishes and bask in unparalleled serenity. The small chapel, dedicated to San Antonio, stands as a beacon for sacred ceremonies.
If visiting make sure you take some cash with you and book your table at the restaurant in advance. The restaurant has the best homemade bread I’ve ever tasted and incredible local dishes to try.