When we think of holidays in Malaga, inevitably we think of beachfront hotels, sun, sea, beach bars, night clubs…and during the months of high season, noise and overcrowding often mingle with a happy and alcohol-soaked party helter-skelter. This article is for the visitors to the Costa del Sol and Malaga who feel like discovering a little bit more of the beautiful province in Southern Spain.
This attractive Andalusian province hides many corners and places of interest to anyone looking for a different kind of tourism. Malaga boasts beautiful mountains, forests, rivers and reservoirs, inland villages, and as well small charming coastal towns.
One of the most charming regions inland Malaga is the Serrania de Ronda and the town of Ronda, a historic city situated in a spectacular setting next to a gorge. The city is quite popular among visitors and is an excellent destination for a day trip from Malaga, where to enjoy fantastic landscapes and great local gastronomy.
Ronda is located about an hour from Marbella and during the trip we can enjoy splendid views as we move away from the coast to get into the protected natural areas of the Sierra de las Nieves and typical fir forests of this area. Beautiful towns and white villages of this region are Alozaina, Casarabonela, El Burgo, Guaro, Istan, Monda, Ojen, Ronda, Tolox and Yunquera. In the spring we can marvel at the almond trees blossom; in the early months of January and February bloom these first flowers while we can still see maybe snow at the summit of 1900 meters, hence its name (Snowy mountain range).
Genal Valley, located slightly west of the province and also belonging to the Serrania de Ronda, is known for abundant water and chestnut forests. This journey is especially beautiful in autumn when the leaves are tinged with colour, and to make a stop in one of the villages on the way to sample the famous roasted chestnuts. Villages of the Genal valley are Igualeja, Pujerra, Parauta, Cartajima, Juzcar (famous as the “Smurf Village”), Farajan, Alpandeire, Atajate, Benadalid, Benaulauria, Algatocin, Gaucin, Jubrique y Genalguacil.
All these villages date back to the time of the Moorish kingdom of Al-Andalus and have in common their whitewashed walls and steep, narrow streets, typical of the mountains.
Also an hour from Malaga and traveling along the green orchard of the province following the river Guadalhorce, we cross the Guadalhorce Valley and enter in the Abdalajis Valley, the impressive Gaitanes Gorge and the Guadalhorce reservoirs with its turquoise blue waters.
Along the way we visit the villages of Pizarra, Alora, Carratraca or Ardales and further on we discover a lush greenery, cool temperatures and stunning rock formations popular among lovers of nature, hiking and climbing.
Another little known region is the Axarquia, situated on the eastern Costa del Sol and bordering the province of Granada, about an hour from Malaga. Here you can find the Natural Park of Sierras de Tejeda, Alhama and Almijara, being the highest peaks in the province with over 2,000 meters with spectacular views. This area has a strong Muslim heritage, with white villages scattered along valleys and inaccessible mountains, preserving the trace of the last Nasrid strongholds in Spain.
The mountains protect the coastline, resulting in a subtropical climate with fertile land and production of tropical fruits. Nerja, the best known coastal town of the Axarquia, is famous for having the mildest climate in Europe. Other towns in the region are Alcaucin, Canillas de Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Competa, Frigiliana, Salares and Sedella.