Ojén is a beautiful small town (villa) in the province of Malaga in Andalucia, Spain. Although located in the mountains, it is in the heart of the Costa del Sol, not far from Marbella. It has a population of about 3,000.
Neanderthal Man inhabited this area during the Paleolithic period. Later came the Romans and then the Moors. Numerous signs of this history have been discovered in parts of the town.
The town sits beside the Almadán stream above the valley of the River Real at an altitude of approximately 200 m, hemmed in by the Sierra Blanca and the Sierra Alpujata. These may provide a clue to the Moors' determination to stay in spite of their apparent antipathy, for both ranges of mountains have long been known as rich sources of talc, nickel, iron and lead. This mineral wealth put the area in the forefront of the Spanish industrial revolution of the 19th century.
Close by, in the Serranía de Ronda, is the Refugio de Juanar. Originally the private hunting lodge of the wealthy Larios family, and a favoured retreat of King Alfonso XIII, this is now a hotel popular with tourists and hunters. The Serranía is still very much a hunting reserve where ibex, wildcats and eagles abound. It is also a favourite with ramblers and hikers who come for the mountain air and the panoramic views of Marbella and the coast 1000 m below.
- Aguardiente Ojén. The town is famous for its brandy prepared with anise and sugar until saturation. One of the average cotoots takes a dozen years. It is an anise liqueur that once played a major part in the town's economy. This liqueur, nowadays locally produced by the distillery company Dominique Mertens Impex. S.L., gained widespread fame abroad and is very popular in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, especially during the Mardi Gras festivities.
- Refugio de Juanar (near Ojén, in the Sierra Blanca). €50.