Mijas Pueblo is without a doubt my favourite white village in Andalucia. Living only 15 minutes away from it by car, not only that I got to visit Mijas Pueblo many times, but I have also started to consider it my to go place when I am searching for some peace and quiet. You see, Mijas Pueblo is not yet that touristy, being located off the beaten touristic path of Andalucia.
Living in beautiful Andalucia for over a year, I consider myself a local and I want to share with you all the best things to do in Mijas Pueblo but also where to eat and drink together with the locals. For me, Mijas Pueblo is the most beautiful white village in Andalucia.
In fact, Andalucia is quite a stunning part of Spain itself. There are so many beautiful places to see here, 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.
Mijas Pueblo is probably one of the most beautiful white village Costa del Sol has to offer. Tucked in high, on the side of a mountain, the village offers stunning views over the Costa del Sol, from Benalmadena in the East all the way to Gibraltar in the West. On a clear day you can even spot the shapes of the mountains from Morocco.
Mijas Pueblo Spain 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.
Mijas Pueblo is also famous for its burro taxis – touristy carriages pulled by donkeys. Mijas town 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 well taken care of.
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How to get to Mijas Pueblo
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 2.35 euros (as per May 2019). The total travel time from Malaga to Mijas Village 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.
If you are based in Marbella you can opt for a private half-day tour with transport, pick up and drop off to your hotel included as well. Check out the details here.
If you are coming to Malaga by cruise ship and want to explore the white villages, there is a private tour that will pick you up directly from the terminal and take you to a city tour as well before departing for Mijas. These tours guarantee you get back in time to your cruise ship and start from only 58 euros. Check the details by clicking on this link.
If you want to rent a car make sure to read this helpful guide on how to save money on rentals in Spain. My preferred website for car rentals is Holiday Extras, where prices start at only 2 euros a day for a rental car in Spain. Also, even if Mijas Pueblo is located up on the mountain, the road up there is easy to drive and in great condition. I, as a beginner driver, have no problems driving there and back. There is a very big 10-level multi-storey parking in Mijas Pueblo which costs 1 euro a day.
Where to stay in Mijas Pueblo
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.
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 in Mijas Pueblo
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.
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.
Locals are praising the friendly service and the quality of the breakfast, especially the ham and cheese tostada, their speciality. This is a perfect place to have a drink in the afternoon, whilst you are watching the people pass by. Despite its beautiful looks, this restaurant is very cheap and a perfect place to eat in Mijas Pueblo.
One of my most recent discoveries when it comes to delicious restaurants in Mijas Pueblo is Alboka Gastrobar. Located just outside the main square, this restaurant is taking tapas to the next level, offering delicious fusion flavour combinations. The service is very attentive as well, which, in my opinion, makes Alboka Gastrobar one of the best restaurants in Mijas Pueblo.
They have a lovely outdoor terrace, but make sure you sit at the right tables, as they do share the space with Restaurante El Olivar, which is overpriced and has terrible food.
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.
For a restaurant with a view in Mijas Pueblo head over to Restaurante Triana. This is another hidden gem in Mijas Pueblo, a restaurant with a fantastic terrace overlooking the main square and very good tapas deals: 5 tapas for 9 euros. You can choose from vegetarian, fish, mix, or meat (which are a bit more expensive).
This restaurant is a bit hard to find, because you either have to climb up some stairs from the main square or go through the artisanal market in the upper town, to reach it. Most of the times it is empty, and you get the entire terrace just to yourself. The tapas are traditional, so expect plenty of comfort food. They taste delicious though, especially the meatballs in tomato sauce.
The best things to do in Mijas Pueblo
Take a stroll along Muralla Gardens
One of the best things to do in Mijas Pueblo is stroll and explore the Muralla Gardens, which have been built on the remains of the old fortress walls. Situated in the lower part of the village, the gardens are designed to have multi-coloured flowers blooming all year round.
From the Muralla Gardens you can admire stunning views over the entire Costa del Sol from more than one panoramic viewpoint. Walking along the centuries old remains of the Arabic wall you will see how Mijas Pueblo developed over the years.
Visit the Bullring Museum from Mijas Pueblo
The Muralla 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 on a rock, the arena couldn’t be made round. For the same reason there are seats only on 2 sides of the bull ring. According to the official website, there don’t seem to be any bull fights this year in the Mijas Pueblo bullring, which in my opinion is a good thing because I don’t agree at all with this barbaric way of slaughtering poor bulls.
The bullring in Mijas Pueblo has a Museum which you can visit and also organises events from time to time, which are worth seeing, as they involve flamenco dancers and a wooden bull carried around the arena. The cost of visiting the bullring museum in Mijas Pueblo is 4 euros.
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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.
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. Every time I hiked up there the chapel 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.
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.
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 Sanctuary, 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. Also, I have seen how the owners of the donkeys are beating them when they don’t behave, so please, don’t encourage this type of tourism. You might not see it during your visit, and you might enjoy a ride on the donkey, but those poor animals are suffering a lot, especially when there are no people around to see how they get hit by their owners. As tempting as it might be, I would recommend choosing a guided panoramic electric tuk tuk tour of the village instead, you will get to see much more and get a proper guide who will tell you about the places you are passing by.
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”.
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.
Don’t miss the Flamenco Dance Festival taking place in July, where not only locals but many national flamenco groups gather in Mijas Pueblo to show off their skills.
See a show at the Municipal Auditorium
There are many cultural events that take place at the Municipal Auditorium, an open air theatre located between the bullring and the Muralla Gardens. The most famous one is the Spanish Theatre Festival held here every August, where you can enjoy delightful performances on warm summer evenings.
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.
Visit the miniature museum
The Miniature Museum is one of the most popular and visited attractions in Mijas Pueblo. The building of the museum has the shape of a wooden wagon and it is painted bright yellow, impossible to miss. Most of the times there is a queue outside to buy tickets, which cost 3 euros for adults and 1.5 euros for children.
The cool thing about visiting the miniature museum in Mijas Pueblo is that you need to go around it with a magnifying glass, to be able to observe all the details of the exhibits. And no wonder, as some of the painting have been done on rice grains! It is a very entertaining museum, especially for children.
Visit the Historic ethnographic museum
Mijas Pueblo has a wonderful collection of ancient crafts and traditional objects such as farming and fishing tools, cooking utensils and gardening objects, gathered around in the old town hall of the village. Named also “Casa Museo”, at the ethnographic museum you will get the chance to experience the recreation of a traditional house, a wine cellar and two olive oil mills dating from the ancient times.
The entrance ticket to the ethnographic museum costs 1 euro only.
Visit the CAC Mijas – The New Contemporary Art Centre in Mijas
It is said that the CAC Mijas Pueblo has the second largest Picasso collection, after the Picasso Museum in Malaga. There are 130 works of art belonging to the famous artist, most of them being sculptures, ceramics and prints.
Other famous artists who’s works you can see at the CAC Mijas are Salvador Dali, George Braque and Tsuguharu Foujita.
The entrance ticket to the New Contemporary Art Centre in Mijas Pueblo costs 3 euros.
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.
Every Wednesday, in front of the Tourist Office, there is a large street market, where local artisans come to sell their crafts.
Make your own chocolate
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. This is a very popular activity among children.
Mayan Monkey has two locations in Mijas Pueblo, one in the main square, Plaza Virgen de la Pena, where the chocolate making workshops are organised and another one in Plaza de la Constitucion, where you can enjoy homemade ice cream or, a cup of delicious hot chocolate.
Explore Mijas Pueblo
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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