Visit Mijas Pueblo – The Charming White Village on Costa del Sol

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Before the beginning of 2017, I can’t really say that I have visited Spain. Sure, I have been to Madrid (one day, in a layover before my flight to South America) and 3 days in Barcelona (unfortunately timed with the referendum for the independence of Catalonia) but this doesn’t mean that I knew much about Spain. I wasn’t even aware of how big the country is. Do you know that there is around 1000 km between Barcelona and Malaga?

This year, however, I got the chance to explore more of Costa del Sol, the South part of Spain, and I fell in love with Andalusia’s white villages. There are so many beautiful places to see in Andalusia, from Granada, with its impressive Alhambra to Itaca, with its roman ruins, from Malaga, with its great nightlife to the El Chorro, with the famous Caminito del Rey. But today I am going to tell you about my favorite white village. I have visited Mijas Pueblo quite a few times so I’ve created this complete travel guide with my recommendation on how to best explore this hidden little gem close to Malaga.

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Mijas Pueblo is probably one of the most beautiful white villages Andalucia has to offer. Tucked in high, on the side of a mountain, the village offers stunning views over the Costa del Sol, from Benalmadena and Torremolinos in the East all the way to Gibraltar (on a sunny day) in the West. Sometimes you can even spot the shapes of the mountains from Morocco.

The village dates all the way back in the Bronze Age and has been inhabited by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Moors and in the end, by the Christians. Walking on the streets of the village you will notice an amalgam of different architectural styles, especially in the lower part. Being built on the mountainside, the village is split into the upper part and the lower part, divided by the Plaza Virgen de la Peña, the main square in town.

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Mijas is also famous for its burro taxis – touristy carriages pulled by donkeys. Mijas is one of the last places in Spain where donkeys are used for tourism. However, the local council has imposed a set of strict regulations to make sure the animals are very well taken care of.

 

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How to get to Mijas

The easiest way to get to Mijas Pueblo is by bus, from Malaga’s Central Bus Station (Estación Bus Málaga). The M-112 (see the timetable here) bus runs 7 times a day and the price of a single ticket is 2.30 euros (as per August 2017). The total travel time from Malaga to Mijas is 1 hour.

If you are based in Fuengirola then take the M-122 bus (see the timetable here) for a short 15 minutes journey to Mijas. The fare for a single ticket is 1.55 euros.

 

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Where to stay in Mijas

James Villas

If you are looking for a special getaway with your family and you want a quiet homely environment then you should consider renting a villa in Mijas. The biggest advantage of renting a villa is the privacy that it comes with. It is also a very cost effective solution when you compare it with booking hotel rooms, especially if you have a large family or you are traveling with friends.

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All James Villas in the Costa del Sol are designed in a traditional Andalucian style, offering stunning views over the coast and the mountains. Each villa is modern furnished, has an outdoor terrace with a covered dining area and comes with its own private pool. All the rooms are air conditioned and benefit from Free WiFi. The villas are fully equipped with everything you need for a perfect holiday, including an outdoor barbecue where you can cook your own dinner while watching the sunset.

 

Where to eat

The Secret Garden

This is by far my favourite place to have tapas in Mijas. From the outside it doesn’t look much, just a café with a few seats along the side of the street. However, if you venture inside, pass by the dining hall and head towards the tiny white door in the back, you will be welcomed into the secret garden. Simple chair and small tables are set on pebbles, underneath orange and olive trees, surrounded by green shrubs.

I recommend going for the tapas and don’t miss the Grandma’s spinach croquettes or the chorizo in sweet wine sauce. To drink, you must order the homemade sangria, they make a very good one, sweet and full of fruits.

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The Secret Garden is also famous for serving a delicious Argentinian steak but I didn’t try it as I went there for lunch and they only fire the barbecue in the evening, for the dinner menu.

 

La Bovedo Del Flamenco

If you are looking for the cutest and probably the most Instagramable coffee shop in Mijas, this is it. With vintage wrought iron chairs, blue umbrellas, red tablecloths and a white wall decorated with flower pots, La Bovedo del Flamenco is the perfect place to go for breakfast. Fun fact, this little café used to be the old village jail.

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Locals are praising the friendly service and the quality of the breakfast, especially the ham and cheese tostada, their speciality.

 

Restaurante La Alcazaba

If you fancy dinner with you a view and good cocktails then you should go to La Alcazaba. They specialise in fish dishes, sourced from the nearby sea, but their menu also offers plenty of other choices. However, due to the location and the panoramic views, expect to pay more than at another restaurant in the village.

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Make sure to book in advance and request a table next to the windows.

 

Pampa Tablas Y Tapas

Another excellent restaurant for tapas, Pampa Tablas Y Tapas is the perfect place for a relaxed evening, with plenty of food choices, both for meat lovers and for vegetarians. This is another restaurant that from the outside doesn’t look like something special but once you step inside you are welcomed warmly by the friendly staff, ready to take you through a journey of flavours.

The restaurant focuses on traditional Spanish cuisine and it is very popular among the locals because of the high quality of food and the affordable prices.

 

What to do in Mijas

Take a stroll along Muralla Gardens

The Muralla Gardens have been built on the remains of the old fortress walls and offer stunning panoramic views towards the coast. Situated in the lower part of the village, the gardens are designed to have multi-coloured flowers blooming all year round.

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The Gardens are also the home of the bull ring and the San Sebastian church. Dating from as early as the 1900s, the bull ring in Mijas is unique in Spain because of its unusual oval shape. Because it was built o a rock, the arena couldn’t be made round.  For the same reason there are seats only on 2 sides of the bull ring. Even if many areas of Spain have stopped bullfighting, they still happen at the arena in Mijas. The bullring is usually used for less experiences toreros to show their skills. The arena is quite small and for this reason only young bulls are used here.

 

Explore the Grotto of the Virgen de la Peña

The legend says that back in 1538 two children playing outside the city walls have seen a white dove, different from the others. The dove let them touch it before it flew away. The next day they had the same encounter with the dove so they told their parents who forbid them to go back to the walls, fearing something bad might happen to them. When they returned to the walls, days after, they’ve heard a voice calling them. They followed it and, besides the tower of the castle, the Virgin appeared to them, asking to be let free from the rock. The children told the story to their parents who alerted the authorities and the next day the entire village went to the tower. The father of the children started to remove the rocks and he found the statue of the virgin which stands today above the altar, in the chapel.

After years of failed plans to build a chapel in the same spot, a local priest decided to construct it himself inside the rocks, finishing it in 1682.

Virgin Mary is the patron saint of Mijas and it is celebrated each year on the 8th of September.

 

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Hike up to Calvario Hermitage chapel

Situated in the upper part of Mijas, a visit to the chapel of Calvario Hermitage will have you do a workout as well. The path is strenuous, uneven and rocky, going up underneath tall pine trees. Don’t attempt this short hike on a very hot day without good grip shoes and plenty of water.

However, the hike is all worth it once you arrive at the chapel and notice the panorama of the entire coast in front. The hermitage is a small chapel built in the Valencian Baroque architectural style.  When I was there it was closed and I’ve heard that it’s rarely open but you might be lucky. If not, the views are worth the effort of going up.

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From Calvario Hermitage there are several trails continuing towards Pico Mijas, the top of the mountain. This is considered a medium-difficult circular hike of 14,5 km (around 6 hours) with walking on top of a ridge and drop at some point, so if you’re afraid of heights take this in consideration. The views from Pico Mijas are stunning though.

 

The Burros of Mijas

The story of the Burros of Mijas started in the 1960s, when the first tourists arrived to the village. Back then the donkeys were used by the locals to transport wheat, fruits and vegetables in large baskets across their backs. The tourists were fascinated by this practice so besides taking photos, they started to ask the locals to let them ride the donkeys for a small tip. This amount of money was so large though, covering their daily wages, that one local men saw an opportunity and decided to start the burro taxi company.

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The location of the burro taxi is the same as back in 1960, in Plaza Virgen de la Peña, the place where the buses full of tourists usually stop.

Even if the donkeys are very well taken care of and looked after the El Refugio del Burro (The Donkey Sanctuaty, a non-profit association protecting the animals), I would not recommend riding them for the simple reason that I am against touristic activities which involve animals.

 

Watch a free flamenco show

You are in Andalucia, which means that you’re in for a treat if you are searching for a traditional experience. Every Wednesday at noon, in Plaza Virgen de la Peña, there is a free flamenco show performed by “Artes Cordobes”.

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Flamenco is a passionate art performance originated in the South of Spain and associated with the Romani people living in Andalucia. It consists of a combination of musical styles, like singing, guitar playing, vocalization, hand clapping, finger snapping and dancing. Flamenco is usually an expression of the deepest emotions using body language and facial expressions.

 

Visit the Wine Museum

Did you know that the region of Malaga is the oldest wine making area in Spain?

At the Mijas Museo del Vino you can find out a lot about the production of the sweet Malaga wine. The grapes used in the Malaga wine are already very high in sugar and go through a different making process than the wines in the North of Spain. After harvesting, the grapes are left outside to dry under the hot sun to reduce the moisture and concentrate the natural sugar.

Even if the Malaga wine is dark coloured, the grapes it is made from are white. The dark colour comes from the over ripening of the fruits.

At the Museo de Vino in Mijas not only you can learn about the process of making Malaga wine but you can also have a glass or two on their tiny terrace in the back. The museum organises tasting sessions and wine tours and also stocks about 250 different Spanish wines which you can buy.

 

Go shopping

Even if it is a small village, Mijas is a great shopping destination especially if you are looking for traditional handmade ceramics. Many local artists have shops in town where they sell their art and crafts, like leatherwork, linen, paintings and jewellery. If you are searching for a unique piece make sure to pass by Artesania de Espana. The owner is working together with artisan craftsmen from all over Spain to create unique ceramic pieces at the highest quality.

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If you like chocolate then you have to visit the smallest chocolate factory in the world: Mayan Monkey. Besides selling their own products, you can also buy a chocolate making experience in which you learn how to make chocolate bars, truffles, figurines and many other sweet treats.

 

Explore Mijas

Walking on the streets of Mijas is an experience itself, with the streets going uphill and the white houses dressed in flowers.  Take some time to just walk around and admire the most beautiful white village in Andalucia.

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Read the complete travel guide for Mijas, the most beautiful pueblo blanco (white village) in Andalucia, on Costa del Sol: where to stay, where to eat and what to see.

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

75 Comments

  1. Your trip looks and sounds amazing! The photos are really beautiful and colorful. I would love to visit Mijas Pueblo and watch a flamenco show!

  2. Wow you have taken the most beautiful photos and it just makes me want to visit right away. A friend of ours often visits the Costa Del Sol and says how beautiful it is. Little Spanish towns are the best they are so pretty and full of character. xx

  3. Spain is one of my top Europe Bucket List destinations and this is exactly what I picture when I think of visiting. So, so beautiful. I love all of the history and culture you included in this post – the story of the Virgin Mary statue reminds me of a similar story here in Costa Rica that has resulted in an annual pilgrimage of many, many kilometers after a little girl found a statue that kept re-appearing every time she moved it. I find local stories that like to be so fascinating! Thank you for sharing!

  4. You caught me at the first photo and I fell in love by the second photo and by the time you made it to “where to eat” … I’m infatuated. What a GORGEOUS and such picturesque city! I’ve been dying to get to Costa del Sol and this has just added to my wanderlust.

  5. I’ve been harbouring a crush on Sevilla for such a long time, but the whole Andalucia region looks so lovely! I’ve not heard of Mijas Pueblo before, but it was interesting to hear about all of the different people who settled there. If I go, I will have to check out that James Villa pools since it looks pretty spectacular. 🙂

  6. Thank you for this useful article, will save it to plan my upcoming Spain trip. This place looks lovely. Do you know any particular Instagram profile of a restaurant or a holiday home in that area? I need examples for my business 🙂 Thank you!

  7. What a thorough guide and I love how charming this white village is. I mean, even the donkeys look cute here. Also love the free flamenco show. Dying to visit more of Spain and get off the besten path so this is great. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. I went to Malaga and really wanted to get here and the other towns around. Such beauty. Hopefully next time I will be able to explore and see this for myself.

  9. I’ve not been to mainland Spain yet. Just the islands. Looks like Mijas Pueblo has to go on my list when I visit the mainland. The view from Calvario Hermitage is beautiful and all the color just makes you go ooh. Lovely!

  10. I’ve only been to Spain a couple of times too and on both occasions thought “Ugh, I love it here. Why don’t I come back more often?” Particularly to Andalusia – have only been to Seville. Those ceramics are gorgeous!

  11. You weren’t kidding when you said that La Bovedo Del Flamenco was Instagrammable because it is absolutely gorgeous! I love the sound of the secret garden as well, do they have any good veggie croquettes too? x

      1. Ah man now I am super hungry haha ! Where are you planning on travelling to next? Hopefully you can have a break at some point! x

  12. I loved learning about this adorable white town in Andalusia! I’ve always wanted to go to this region of Spain and Mijas Pueblo looks like a great place to start. Great photos and very informative!!

  13. On our last trip to Spain, we did a road trip from Seville to Granada, stopped at some White villages on the way but we didn’t make it to Malaga. Mijas Pueblo looks lovely and looks like there is so much to do too! Will have to plan a trip soon.

  14. I would love to visit Spain. Its high on my bucket list. I need to bookmark this page as I’d love to travel in a Burro Taxi and sip a coffee in La Bovedo Del Flamenco so visiting Mijas Pueblo will be high on my list.

  15. Everything is co vibrant, colourful and inviting. Looks like a beautiful village and a must visit for anyone heading to the Costa del Sol.

  16. Wow this is so pretty! I love that I’ve never heard of Mijas and it’s so beautiful – makes a change from all the articles on Santorini. Looks very peaceful.

  17. Wow, wow and a big wow to this stunning village of Costa del- Sol. I went upto Malaga in Spain and was not knowing this. This is my kind of travel to small, cute villages with full of art and culture. Now it is on my wishlist and I have to go again to south of Spain now.

  18. Wow, just wow, the pictures themselves are amazing, this village seems like a perfect getaway place… I would love to visit Spain one day and your post is just making me itch for booking something soon, you did an amazing job describing it also.. and burro taxis???!!! How cool is that!

  19. You may as well Costa del Sol Spangland 🙂 Did meet a lot of English people there? I know there were tons when I was there in the 90’s. Like you I prefer to stay in a villa. The villa you stayed in looked fantastic and private. I have friends who recently moved there from England so I may pop over for a visit in the near future. Thanks for sharing your holiday through beautiful images. 🙂

  20. Oh this area is so beautiful! I was actually in Marbella earlier this month, so not actually far from this area. I love how all the buildings and little streets look in Spanish towns like this – just all the little plant pots and the decor!

  21. What a beautiful and super informative travel post. Spain is up there on my list, I must add Mijas Pueblo to the must-see!

  22. I have been wanting to visit Spain since my first ever Euro trip. Spain is so beautiful and your pictures are even gorgeous. I hope I can visit Spain this year when I visit in December; although, I would love to visit it in summers. 🙂 <3 Thanks for sharing super detailed and helpful post.

  23. Wow what a stunning place, and so far removed from the tacky tourist hotshots like Benidorm! I would love to visit Mijas Pueblo as it seems like just the kind of place I love to be

  24. Wow! What a stunning getaway! The view from Restaurante La Alcazaba is absolutely surreal and that La Bovedo Del Flamenco looks like a place to take perfect pictures for an Instagram. As a lover of colors, I’d love to explore this little cute white village !

  25. Wow! This place looks amazing! When I think of Spain I often think of the obvious tourist destinations, but there’s so much to see in the quaint towns.

  26. What a small world! My best friend’s daughter just got home from a study abroad program in Spain. Mijas Pueblo was one of her favorite places. She talked about the how magical it was with the whitewashed buildings, pretty pops of color from flowers, the friendliest people, and of course incredible food. In fact, she’s talked about going back to teach Spanish when she graduates and if she does, you can bet we’ll be visiting! xx

  27. I have never been in Spain, but from your photographs it seems like a very beautiful place, especiall Andalousia. And I got thrilled about the wine museum, since the red wine from Spain is actually on of my favorites ( I ahve a great friend from Spain living close to me and he always has red wines). Thank you for the trip

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