Most people that head over to the Costa del Sol head for the coastal resorts like Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Marbella. It’s not hard to see why; clean, sandy beaches, great shopping opportunities, restaurants and bars galore and fantastic nightlife. You can easily while away a whole week sat on a sun lounger on the beach with a good book and feel like you have had the most relaxing holiday ever. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, you are really doing yourself an injustice if you visit the Costa del Sol and don’t venture inland to the picturesque village of Mijas.
The drive up to Mijas alone makes the trip worthwhile. Roads wind around the Sierra de Mijas mountain range and you get amazing panoramic views of the Mediterranean around each twist and turn. This is perfect territory for walking, mountain biking, quad biking or climbing so if you like to keep active head up here for fun.
Once you reach Mijas Village you can leave the car at the bottom of the village. Parking can be a bit tight so find a space where you can and begin the climb up to the top of the village. Take your time doing this as taking in all the picture postcard village houses, narrow cobbled streets and blooms of bougainvillea is all part of the experience. If you don’t fancy the steep walk, fear not. There are friendly local donkeys who are more than willing to walk through the village with you on their back (for a small fee of course!)
The best time to visit Mijas is lunchtime when you can sit in the village square and enjoy a leisurely meal in the sunshine whilst watching the world go by. You feel like you are a million miles away from the flash marina in Puerto Banus or the English cafes in Fuengirola. This is the beauty of Mijas, despite being a tourist magnet it has still retained all of its traditional Spanish charm. You can buy locally made crafts, leather goods and jewellery or sample delicious local foods like the honey roasted almonds that the street hawkers sell (the smell alone is irresistible!)
Mijas has lots of attractions that tourists often come to visit like the oval shaped bullring (one of the only ones in Spain), The Church of the Immaculate Conception and the ‘Virgen de la Pena’ where legend has it that the image of the virgin appeared to two shepherd boys in 1586 and this became the patron saint of Mijas. Its many annual festivals are also a big draw for tourists including the Holy Week festivities at Easter, the Kings Parade in January and the International Wine Festival in June. These are all great things to come and experience. However, the real charm lies in everyday Mijas, just going about its routine as it has for hundreds of years. The friendly locals, the tiny whitewashed houses, and the incredible bird’s eye view of the bustling Costa del Sol coastline below you. It is just perfect.