The most extensive municipality in the province of Malaga in Andalusia, Mijas is also one of the most touristic spots in the Costa del Sol. It consists of three communities: the inland white village of Mijas in the heights, Las Lagunas, and La Cala on the shores of the Mediterranean. Perched 428m above sea level in the midst of pine trees, the old town of Mijas is one of those famous picturesque Andalusian towns with whitewashed houses and lively flower-filled streets. It is one of the best known traditional Andalusian white villages, particularly for its donkeys who serve as taxis! It is a nice change from the concrete of the Costa de Sol coastline. A village with an Arab past, as evidenced by its outer wall and the 'Del Compas' watchtower, it also boasts the ruins of an ancient Moorish fortress. La Cala is a traditional seaside village that includes 7 miles of beaches lined with residential areas and hotels. Las Lagunas is the most modern part of the municipality of Mijas and, with 40,000 inhabitants, it is also the most populated.
Visitors to La Cala can enjoy golfing, tennis, and all kinds of water activities, such as scuba diving and sailing. Fans of hiking may choose to follow one of the many marked trails through the pinewoods. The Costa del Sol racecourse, on the outskirts of La Cala, is a great place for an evening out with the family. In terms of nightlife, partygoers will find trendy bars and nightclubs in Torremolinos, less than 15 minutes away by car.
For a cultural visit, don't miss out on seeing the bullring, the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Pena and the church in Mijas. Rather unique, the bullring is oval-shaped in the inside but square on the outside. Dating from 1900, it is home to a bullfighting museum and plays host to various popular fairs every year. Located opposite is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, built on the site of a former mosque. Don't miss the Sanctuary of the Virgin containing a wooden statue of the Virgin, used during the processions of Holy Week. Finally, a stroll along the 'Muralla' (ancient walls) will give you breathtaking views of the coast.
It is not possible to discover the real Andalusia without visiting the little gems of Seville, Cordoba, Granada, and Malaga. Less cultural but more bucolic, the Route of the White Villages is also full of wonders. In this case, take a hat and sunglasses with you, as the sun is particularly bright inland.
You will be approached by the famous donkey taxis but they aren't exactly cheap and it is more pleasant to explore the village on foot at your own pace.
La Cala and Mijas have a few restaurants where you can enjoy the local gastronomy and more particularly the soups, including the famous gazpacho. Tapas, of course! In the Costa del Sol, like everywhere else in Spain, tapas represents an important local culinary tradition. At the bar, on a café terrace or in a restaurant, you will be able to taste small portions of the most diverse dishes (cooked meats, cheese, prawns, olives, etc), served with a glass of Malaga, Liora, sangria, or chilled cerveza (beer). The drink typically enjoyed at fairs is Manzanilla; it is nice, sweet and very strong!
It is in Andalusia that you will find one of the best hams in the world: Spanish Pata Negra ham, especially that which is from Jabugo. For guaranteed quality, ask for the 'cinco jotas' label produced by Sanchez Romero Carvajal. It's quite expensive, but this is truly a luxury product! Gazpacho is also among the Andalusian specialities: this nice soup, served cold, includes oil, garlic and tomato and it is garnished with cucumber, onion, tomato, peppers and bread. It is also served in glasses with ice-cubes. Take advantage of your stay to taste all the available fresh fruit: pomegranates, persimmons, figs, strawberries and oranges. Breakfast without a delicious freshly pressed orange juice is simply out of the question! You will find many small restaurants serving fish and seafood specialities. Fish is fried directly on a fisherman's boat. Cuttlefish, squid (fried or in a salad) and red mullet are the most common.
It is in Andalusia that you will find one of the best hams in the world: Spanish Pata Negra ham, especially that which is from Jabugo. For guaranteed quality, ask for the 'cinco jotas' label produced by Sanchez Romero Carvajal. The price is quite high, but this is truly a luxury product! You can also bring back a bottle of Malaga, a Porto-like mulled wine, or fino, particularly popular in Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar, and Puerto de Santa Maria. Pottery, carpentry, marble statuettes, wrought iron, cushions and wall upholstery stand out among the local crafts.
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