Riogordo, in the area of Axarquia east of Malaga, is situated 35 kilometres from Málaga (30 minutes drive),and about the same from the coast at Torre del Mar. The village has an altitude of 400 metres, a population of 3,000, and lies on the scenic Route of Olive Oil and Mountains.
The village layout of Riogordo maintains its Moorish origin, although newer construction also exists. There are many 16th century niches dotted throughout the streets and the parish church of the Virgen de Gracia is from the same century. There is also a rural ethnographic museum which is well worth a visit (open on weekends).
The history of settlement in the area goes back to the Phoenicians and Romans. Remains of these civilisations can be found at the Castle of Aute, which was later used by the Moors.
During the 19th century the proximity of Riogordo to the mountains made it a centre of banditry.
The festive calendar in Riogordo begins with the traditional Cabalgata de Reyes (Procession of the Three Kings) in the month of January. A month later, the carnival takes place. During Holy Week in Riogordo, the Paso de Riogordo takes place on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, this being a tradition that was recently recuperated in the town and which attracts more and more visitors every year. The Feria de Ganada (Cattle Fair) takes place from May 27th to 29th, in the Camino de Magiaza area. This fair coincides with the Veladilla, which is a gastronomic tradition in which the snails of the area are tasted, a typical dish of the area. The Feria takes place in the middle of August, when the image of Ntro. Padre Jesús Nazareno is brought from the hermitage of San Sebastián to the parish church, a tradition dating from the 17th century. The Río del Cante Flamenco Festival takes place on August 14th, and on September 7th is the Night of the Candelas or Festival of the Candil, in which bonfires and candles are lit.
The most typical dishes of the town are snails, cooked in a liquid sauce and available in all of the local bars and restaurants during the months of May to August. Other traditional dishes in Riogordo include chickpeas, porra and mushrooms. Fried bread crumbs and gazpacho are popular here too, the gazpacho made from tomato, fennel, peppers, onion and bread, all finely chopped with olive oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Vegetable dishes are part of the local gastronomy as well, due to the rich land around the riverbanks and the irrigation of the Río de la Cueva. There are olive oil co-operatives here, producing the highest quality oil, and pork products that are well known all over the region.