Castril de la Peña is located at the foot of a rocky crag, in the north of the province of Granada, on the border with the province of Jaen and with the Parque Natural de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas. The Sierra de Castril, officially declared a natural park, has a spectacular cliff and many streams, caves and gorges. In the Sierra Seca you can see the Cueva del Muerto, full of stalactites and stalagmites, and the Cueva de Don Fernando, which is the deepest cave in the province. The Río Castril runs from north to south these, through canyons, waterfalls and caves.
The town centre has steep streets and uniform, low houses with white façades, cleverly adapted to the terrain. Its sights include the remains of Moorish walls and towers, the Peña del Sagrado Corazon and the Mirador El Canton, from where you can enjoy fantastic views.
For many years Castril has been famous for its glass crafts. The town has a festival for every season, the largest being in honour of the Virgen de los Dolores, officially of National Tourist Interest. It begins on the first weekend in October, and one of its highlights is the running of the bulls just like in Pamplona. Castril is linked to Fatima, Fuentes de Tubos, Almontaras, Fuentevera and Campo de Cebas.
Since 1997 Castril has had a strong tie to the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, José Saramago, who is linked romantically with a local lady called Pilar del Río. The town has dedicated its public library to this Portuguese writer and appointed him an honorary citizen.
Castril dates back to the time of the Punic domination of the region. The historian Tito Livio wrote that the Carthaginian general Amílcar Barca was defeated and killed here. The Romans were the first to use the cliff as protection for a military camp that later became the town.
During Arab times it became a fortified town and was called of Qastalla. From 1319 it was continually besieged by the Christians and changed hands several times until the final conquest in 1489 by the Catholic Monarchs. In 1490 the house of Zafra, headed by Don Hernando de Zafra, obtained the Lordship of Castril and repopulated the town after the expulsion of the Moors. At this time the houses, the church and the buildings that form the current municipality were built.
In the 19th century the town was burned down by Napoleonic troops and it was here that the battle of the Llano de los Tubos took place.
Typical dishes include Migas con Remojón, Maimones, noodles with hare or with partridge, buns with a rabbit filling and the many different stews made with trout from the Río Castril. Local specialities also include a variety of local meats (pork, rabbit, chicken) all known for their excellent quality.