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The Axarquia, the easternmost region of the province of Malaga is still one of the great open secrets: With many corners, spectacular nature and white villages to discover. We show you some of the most beautiful ones.
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The 11 most beautiful villages of the Axarquia
The name Axarquia originates from the Arabic word for the direction of a place towards the east.
From the many centuries of the presence of Arabic culture in the area, the white villages, nestled on the slopes of the mountainous area, still bear witness to it today.
Even today it takes some effort to get there. On narrow, winding roadswe drive along the mountainous secondary roads.
They are ideal villages to discover with slow travel or as starting points for hiking routes. The Axarquia is home to the highest mountain in the province, La Maroma, with more than 2,000 metres.
The Axarquia comprises a total of 31 municipalities. The larger coastal towns of Vélez-Málaga, Rincón de la Victoria, Nerja or Torrox may be familiar to you. Today we take you through secondary roads discovering the Moorish legacy of the white villages nestled in the hillsides.
Alfarnate and its oldest inn in Andalusia
Situated at almost 900 metres above sea level and bordering the neighbouring province of Granada. This village was an obligatory stop on the way from the coast to the interior.
The 18th century inn Antigua Venta de Alfarnate, which is now a restaurant and museum of the history of Andalusian banditry, dates back to those times.
In recent years, Alfarnate has become a cherry paradise. Currently it is known as the Jerte Valley of Malaga.
Every year in mid-June thousands of visitors come to the Fiesta de la Cereza (Cherry Festival). There you can buy and taste this fruit.
Almáchar and its excellent raisins
Another of the Axarquia’s balconies with stunning views is Almáchar.
The village is well known for its delicious raisins which are carefully selected by hand as they are cut from the bunches. The village also has a Raisin Museum.
Another culinary delight is presented on the Saturday of the first weekend in September: On the Ajoblanco Day visitors can enjoy a cold garlic and almond soup.
Canillas de Aceituno and its suspension bridge of El Saltillo
Situated 650 metres above sea level and at the foot of the impressive Sierra Tejeda.
From its highest mountain, La Maroma with more than 2000 metres, magnificent views are guaranteed.
In the highest part of the village begins the route of El Saltillo, “the other Caminito del Rey” of Malaga. With its 70 meters high suspension bridge over the river Almanchares, it connects the villages of Canillas de Aceituno and Sedella.
Comares, the ancient capital of the Axarquia
An impressive vantage point more than 700 metres above the sea, also known as the balcony of the Axarquia. From the we cn enjoy reathtaking views of the mountains and even the coast.
Although until now it was basically dedicated to the olive tree, in recent years Comares is beginning to attract another type of tourism: Active Tourism in Malaga.
Nature and sport lovers are in luck in this village: a spectacular zip-line, a via ferrata and several trails close to the village where you can visit some of its springs.
In Comares we can also find the Church of the Incarnation of Mudejar style. It is built on the former Mosque, which is the best preserved of the entire province of Malaga.
Cómpeta and its wine
The village is situated 630 metres above sea level. It is thus another natural balcony with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Cómpeta is also an ancient land dedicated to the cultivation of vines.
Or visit the wine festival on the 15th of August: Locals trample the grapes to extract the wine which they later give to visitors along with a ration of migas (fried breadcrumbs).
Cútar, the Fountain of Paradise
It is one of the best-preserved villages. It also celebrates its Andalusian legacy every year on a weekend in October with the Monfî festival.
The inhabitants of Cútar stroll through the streets dressed in period costumes and there are stalls with craft and gastronomic products.
The village is also known for its lush surroundings thanks to its great wealth of water.
Hence the name of the village, which comes from the Arabic “Cautzar”, which means “fountain of paradise”. Visitirs can still see the Arab fountain from the 16th century in perfect condition.
Frigiliana, the balcony to the sea
This is probably the most visited and well known village in the Axarquia if we don’t count the coastal villages.
Frigiliana stands out for having the best preserved old town of Moorish origin in Spain.
Periana and its Arab baths
The village is situated 550 metres above sea level and bordering the neighbouring province of Granada. It has magnificent views of the Viñuela reservoir and the majestic Sierra Tejeda mountain range.
In the village there are ancient sulphurous water baths, the Baños de Vilo. During the 18th and 19th century it was one of the most famous baths in Andalusia.
In Mondrón, a hamlet of Periana, is the San José Artesano cooperative. They produce one of the most exquisite olive oils in the province of Málaga.
Salares and absolute tranquillity
You like to get lost in a small village of Arabic origin and spend a few quiet days? Then Salares may be a good choice.
Situated in the foothills of the Sierra Tejeda at 560 metres above sea level. It is a very small but charming village with whitewashed houses and narrow streets, surrounded by almond, orange and olive trees.
This village of only 200 inhabitants was in the news for being one of the villages that remained free of Covid. To give you an idea of the tranquillity that awaits you there. Salares is part of the Mudejar route, due to its ancient Moorish layout.
Sayalonga and its round cemetery
Two curiosities of this village are its round cemetery, one of the few in Spain, and Callejón de la Alcuza (funnel in Arabic).
Its one of the narrowest alleys in the Axarquia, with only 55 cm at its narrowest part.
On the first Sunday in May, you can enjoy the Día del Níspero (Medlar Day). This fruit is one of the most typical products of the village, with free tastings.
Sedella, at the foot of La Maroma
The village nestles 650 metres above the sea on the slopes of Mount Maroma. It is the highest mountain in the province. Sedella is also part of the Mudejar route of typical villages of Arab origin.
For lovers of hiking and active tourism, Sedella is the other access point to El Saltillo, the other Caminito del Rey. Its suspension bridge connects Sedella with Canillas de Aceituno.
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