Top 3 Villages of Costa Del Sol
Costa Del Sol. The Coast of the Sun. The southern coast of Spain is littered with beach side towns and bordered by rolling hills and jagged mountains housing quaint hinterland villages.
Brits flock to the balmy coast every summer to bask in the warm, glowing rays, over-crowding the beautiful beaches with their pasty bods whilst the hilltop towns lap up their panoramic views over the med and steer clear of a vast amount of the hustle and bustle.
Rich with Andalucian culture and a warm heritage, these towns are a must do for any visitor exploring this coast line. Delicious food created from local produce will have your mouth watering, witness mountain village life how it has been for centuries as locals stroll to the central fountain to collect their weekly water and scrub clean the towns walk ways with so much pride and soul to preserve their beautiful villages.
The below three villages were the stand out to me when travelling through this chilled part of Spain. I hope in your travels here, you experience the same beauty that I did.
Hidden in the hills behind Marbella, Ojen is a picturesque little mountain village characterised by white washed houses with sun kissed terracotta roofs. You would imagine cobblestoned streets, but no. The streets are also terracotta tiles. The local women of this sleepy village line the alley ways on their hands and knees as they scrub tirelessly ensuring the tiles are clean. They repeat this ritual daily. The village has a rustic Mediterranean ambiance about it.
Built into a cliff side and cascading down the mountain, Ojen is quite steep to explore but worth the effort to push yourself to weave and navigate through the narrow streets. A gorgeous little church marks the centre of town with lemon trees twisted into vines that encompasses the church walls. Their branches drooping with heavy, fat, juicy lemons. Vibrant bougainvillea’s hang in the streets, contrasting against the pure white walls.
A fountain flows through the centre of the main square with the ice cold spring water flowing down from the surrounding mountains. This is the village’s water supply. Local men and children line up with empty bottles and barrels to fill, stocking up for the week ahead.
The towns’ cemetery is also white washed. Each grave showcasing a plaster cast of the deceased and the head stones overflowing with vivid flowers that dance in the ocean breeze. The view from Ojen, is breathtaking. Panoramic vistas spanning the valley below and continuing out to the Mediterranean Sea beyond.
There is a local tapas bar, El Caldero, just behind the main square which will get those taste buds working overtime. The food here is traditional tapas and it is very well done. The swordfish here is strongly recommended.
Mijas, another mountain village, a little larger than Ojen, but a little more sheltered. Still offering the sweeping panoramic views, Mijas is a little more touristy. Although stunning, this town is geared for the tourists. The cobble stoned streets are filled with colourful shops bursting with costumes, accessories, and intricately painted handmade pottery.
Many foreigners have settled here to absorb what is seemingly a well persevered Andalucian lifestyle. The handful of locals still living in Mijas, live by the relaxed Spanish way of 'mañana' and embrace the Spanish fiestas that punctuate the calendar.
You will hear the sound of donkeys eeyoring as you wander the buzzing streets. One of draw cards for Mijas is its donkeys. You can sit atop a donkey and explore the quieter streets of Mijas. The donkeys happily trot around, each one identified by individual number plates they have attached to their foreheads with colourful tassels that dress their headpieces and saddles.
Exploring for even 10-15 mins on a donkey is great. It will show you the secret nooks and crannies of Mijas you may not otherwise discover. You may come across rural farm houses with chook pens and breathe in the delicious aromas of toasted almonds floating on the breeze.
Also centred with a sweet little church, this chapel is built into the rocks and is almost completely overgrown with ivy. Stunning. There is an old bell at the top which rings on the hour. The chapel is so small, that inside there are only about 5 pews. Simply gorgeous. It is like a cave that has been carved and dug out of the rock, clinging to the edge of the cliff, again, offering stunning views.
Ronda, sitting on the edge of a plateau of rocky outcropping, hemmed by dramatic sheer cliffs. You wouldn’t want to be one of the many houses clinging to the edge if there were an earthquake! Rhonda is the largest of these three towns but definitely a must see. It is also one of Spain’s oldest cities dating back to Islamic times.
Ronda’s old town has retained a vast majority of its historic charm and its dramatic escarpments and gorge views through the centre of the town are what draw the tourists. Streets are cobblestoned and wind between handsome mansions.
Plaza Duguesa de Parcent is Ronda’s heart and beautiful soul boasting a convent, two churches and a belltower. This is a vast leafy square which draws the locals.
Ronda is also known for its shopping as well as a base to explore further into the surrounding winelands and other smaller white washed villages. You can easily explore its central sights on foot; however, taking the foot trails up and down the cliffs requires good knees and hips!
All of the above towns can be reached from the major coastal cities along the Costa Del Sol either by local buses or organised tours.
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