La Axarquía is a region full of wonderful contrasts, located in the south of Andalusia at the eastern end of Málaga on the Costa del Sol. Its name derives from the Arabic name for the region meaning "the eastern lands". The Velez river serves as an axis for the area, with Vélez-Málaga as its center. Traditionally, La Axarquía is known for its wine and grapes, but today it also produces almonds, oil, and citrus fruits. Other fruits grown in the region include cherimoyas, avocados, mangoes, and many other fruits from overseas.
La Axarquia was one of the last territories to remain under Arab domination. As a result of this past, its architectural heritage is still present in many of the towns in the region. The region's name is traced back to Arabic الشرقية (aš-Šarqiyya, meaning "the eastern [region]"). It extends along the coast and inland. Its coastal towns make up the Costa del Sol Oriental - one of the sunniest places in mainland Spain with an average of 320 sunny days a year. The natives of the region are called axárquicos. The comarca is composed of 31 municipalities, of which the capital is Vélez-Málaga. The Vélez, Algarrobo and Torrox rivers all run through the region. Its highest mountain is La Maroma, highest point of the Sierra de Tejeda, Penibaetic System.
Taking the N340 highway you will arrive at Torre del Mar after passing the Penon hill, with its Osborne tower in whose base there are stonemasons and Venetian graves at its base; from Torre del Mar you arrive at Velez-Malaga in five minutes, and in Velez you should take a walk through the streets and gardens, and especially go up to Santa Maria, its most beautiful church that also dominates the whiteness of the village.
From Velez you can begin the magnificent route of the minarets; you are directed firstly towards Arenas, from there to Daimalos, where the first minaret is, whitewashed and simple. You can continue afterwards to Archez, where you will find the best of all, and you can ascend to Canillas de Albaida and Cómpeta, two large villages worth a visit; from Canillas there are interesting accesses to the Sierra Amijara, and in Competa you can try the famous wine. From there we can go towards Torrox, going up a hill in the middle of its magnificent orchards, and once in Torrox it we have an opportunity to try its rich pastries before arriving at Frigiliana, a very beautiful hillside town, dominating the sea and the fertile plain of the Higueron river; its streets are an evocation of its Moorish past and its residents are proud of it.
From Archez you could also continue towards the north via Salares and Sedela, precious enclaves of the Axarquena mountains, and leave by Canillas de Aceituno, already on the side of the Sierra Tejeda to descend into valley below.
Going up directly from Velez to the north, you can visit Periana, inland village, rural and on the edge of the calcareous mountains that hug the region taking the Boquete de Zafarraya, natural pass to Granada, and Sol, path to the lands of Alfarnate and Loja. In Periana there is a tourist village and at its end, in Mondron, the best oil.
From Vélez you can take the path to the west and via Benamargosa you can arrive at the charming town of El Borge. But the spot that is essential to visit is the central watchtower of Axarquia, Comares, elevated on a hill that dominates all of the region; we can go back to Malaga via Olias or by the highway of Los Montes, or also from Velez, by Benamargosa and Salto del Negro. Comares is beautiful inside, its streets, small plazas, and the castle, and towards the outside of the area, for the extraordinary views that it offers.
In recent years, La Axarquía has become a true gastronomic mecca. Espetos (skewered sardines), fried fish with unimaginable names, and grilled meats are its hallmarks.
One of the best places to enjoy the local cuisine is Torre del Mar, a paradise for tapas. El Yate is a seafood grill that works very well with fish from the Caleta de Vélez fish market and avocados from La Axarquía. You can enjoy a feast at both the table and the bar.
Another great place to try the local cuisine is Rincón de la Victoria, which has a range of beach bars where you can eat some of the best espetos in Málaga. El Deo is an authentic expert in skewering sardines and making marinades. They also make shrimp fritters and their summer fry is one of the great triumphs for those who have just arrived.
There are several routes to explore in La Axarquía. Driving your own vehicle is a great way to discover the region at your own pace. It's a good idea to plan your vacation before arriving at the airport and opt for a car hire at Malaga airport. Here are some of the routes you can take: