Sunday 18 November 2012

Mijas Costa del Sol | Pleasurable Escapade for Sun Lovers.

Mijas is one of those splendid places in Costa del Sol to enjoy pleasurable escapades for sun lovers,a pleasant,splendid and attractive seaside resort,a lively,demanded and sunny destination to spend short breaks and holidays which apart all that also offers the chance to visit historic cities of  that shining jewel of Southern Spain called Andalusia with the brilliant detail of an average media of about 300/305 days of sunshine a year,which is definitely a stupendous incentive to take in great consideration.

Approximately 30,0 km south west of Malaga,,Mijas is one of the largest municipalities in the county of that city,extending its lands from the local mountains and the Sierra de Alpujata to the Mediterranean coast through an undulating territory formed by hills and mountains,consisting in the Cordillera Penibética, presenting an overview of about 1,000 m of media altitude, reaching the top with 1,150 m  with Mijas peak.

Bordered by the towns of Fuengirola and Benalmadena at north, Alhaurin de la Torre, Alhaurin el Grande and Coin at west,close to the famed Marbella and Ojen.Mijas had a growing urban development in the last three decades,despite that it has conserved and preserved its charming aspect and it is today one of the gems of the famous Costa del Sol.

Despite is today a quite large resort and very over sized by tourism with the construction of  modern buildings it has kept in the old town that charming appeal which once made it so attractive with Moorish style architecture,typical whitewashed Andalusian houses and cobblestone streets,a coastal white village which shows a very attractive aspect.

The core of Mijas Pueblo is situated at an altitude of 428 m,,the presence of  the mountains surrounding the town gives that enchanting place the character of a typical white village of Andalusia.Mijas Pueblo is also the administrative centre of the town,home of the Ayuntamiento (the City Hall)  and most of its historic buildings and around it  finally,a number of scattered agglomerations of more or less rural character such as Valtocado, Entrerríos Osunillas and La Alquería with several isolated housing estates developed around excellent golf courses.

The main economic local activity of the town is nowadays obviously tourism and all those activities arising from it.The municipality has a very good number Hotels and other of hospitality establishments including Hostels,Pensions and Apartments which all together provides a capacity of approximately 3,000 beds,that  relevant number is of course a great result with regard to the residential tourism area,considering that Mijas with the nearest Marbella and Estepona,they reach approximately the  54% of the offer on the Costa del Sol. 

Due to the development pressures and the massive presence of golf courses, both as industrial farming occupy a limited space.However there are still some wide rural areas with over 1,600 hectares under cultivation in in which the main are,potatoes,cereals,olive trees and ornamental plants in particular avocado and about livestock the main presence is related about sheep,goats,swine and equine.
With its  80,00 inhabitants,Mijas is the third town of the coast in terms of population,it focuses on three main agglomerations such as the mentioned Mijas Pueblo, located on the slope of the local Sierra,Las Lagunas, located in an area also called Mijas Costa.That is  part of the urban prolongation reaching the outskirts of the resort of Fuengirola which is the modern area hosting the industrial and commercial area of Mijas,rhe two resorts are separates by the A-7 highway, forming a single conurbation.

La Cala with its approximately 12 km of coastline in an area which extends around the large estates which occupy the entire coast, such as Calahonda, El Faro and El Chaparral.

 Inhabited since ancient time ,the former small village,was devoted mainly to agriculture and fisheries until  the explosion of tourism,started in the 50s of the last century.Today Mijas thanks all that is a cosmopolitan and multicultural resort with a high percentage of foreign residents and one of the main residential tourism in Andalusia. 

Historically the current resort was a settlement belonging to the Turdetania, founded inside fortification of which are still remains in the current plateau.Phoenicians and Greeks visited and settled in that land,particularly attracted by the presence of  minerals and precious metals which abounded in the territory.

The current resort was also colonised by the Romans who called it Tamisa which was transformed in an important trade centre,thanks also to the construction of the Appian Road which linked Malaga to Cadiz,furthermore the Roman Empire decided  there,yo develop the terracing and the planting of the first local vineyards.

After the fall of the Roman Empire replaced by the conquest of the land by the Visigoths and later by the Moorish who followed after the capture of Malaga in the year 714,the new Muslim rulers allowed the inhabitants of the former Tamisa to maintain their properties,their religion and customs,in return for a third of what they produced,it was thee origin of a sort of pre Feudalism of that time.Many things changed including the name,and the former settlement was renamed Mixa.

In the period of the powerful Caliphate of Cordoba,Mijas was conquered by a charismatic figure called Omar Ben Hafsun, along with other places close to the coast such as as Tolox and Comares, remaining in the hands of his troops until the rule of Rahman III in the  9th century.

In 1487,Mijas resisted to the attacks of the Catholic Monarchs during the siege of Malaga and surrounding,event after which its inhabitants surrendered unconditionally and were sold as slaves to the nobility who participated in the war and after the conquest of Granada proceeded to the distribution of houses,palaces and lands,it was the famous period called Reconquista,the reconquest.

A few years later, during the War of the Communities,the current resort remained loyal to Emperor Charles I who granted it the title of Loyal Allied and in the year 1521 it was declared exempt from taxes,giving it the official title of town.

During that period until the 18th century, the piracy along that Spanish coast was pretty intense,so that,following the example of the late 15th century to warn the population and to fight the invaders,began to be built along the coastline towers which are still conserved.

In the 19th century,the town mainly had in agriculture and fishing, some farmers and mineral extraction its most important resources,the vineyards culture which was among the main important in Mijas until the phylloxera plague of 1880 which destroyed almost all the plants around the municipality had a notable decrease.

Ad alternative  activity was created an important network linked to the production of paper,as there is evidence of the existence of a number of mills located in the immediate surroundings.The nearest Osunillas from mid-century was the most productive centre of that kind of industry providing the important  makers of  Valencia which created new functional links around that manufacture.

In the year 1873 an important event which changed the future of the resort happened when the road between Mijas and Fuengirola was opened,since there the town was segregated as a secondary centre,nothing of important since that construction was developed in terms of communication,that was undoubtedly a relevant improvement.

However,the town remained isolated until the time of the Second Republic,there was no telephone until 1953 and according to contemporary historic information, the town consisted mostly of humble mainly of agriculture and some fishermen but without a relevant organisation.The population was in major part scattered through the countryside,which had a small farmers and tiny hamlets.

During the postwar period there was much hunger and lack of work,since the only thing left was the collection of grass in the mountains to the rush,a situation aggravated by the existence of lack of water in Mijas.During those years there were also many operations anti-regime dictatorship of some people who had the popular support and respect by the locals.

Very interesting following the local history of Mijas is to take a look to the famous Torres Vigia which are four watchtowers which were part a former coastal defencive line located along the Mediterranean coast of Andalusia.

From east to west: there are the Torre Calaburras,the Torre Nueva de La Cala del Moral,Torre Battery La Cala del Moral and the Torre de Calahonda,all them are the former fortification so famous along the Costa del Sol erected to defend the land from the pirates attacks and invasions and definitely are part of the historic patrimony and heritage of that pleasant resort.

 The so called La Virgen de la Peña is the Hermitage of the Virgin de la Peña which is situated in a square with the same name is one of the great highlights of the resort,it is the dedicated to the Virgin Patroness the Virgin,with an image which was supposedly discovered in the 16th century.

it is a magnificent shrine carved in the rock by a Carmelite monk Diego de Jesus between 1656 and 1682 who added an irregular stoned sacristy trying to simulate a natural masterpiece.The exterior was developed with the same intention with an access to half a point and a small belfry.In a niche carved int the front there is the Virgen de la Peña,.The history of that shrine has its origin with a double appearance of the Virgin with two children in the town.  

In Calle del Carril the Iglesia de la Inmaculata Concepcion (the Church of the Immaculate Conception) which was built probably in the 15th century and rearranged in the 16th century with new architectonic elements.It was erected  on the rests of a former fortress which became later a Mosque and one tower was used as bell tower,that one you can see today,the religious building took from the former construction was developed from  Mudejar tower to fulfil the functions of the belfry an it was consecrated in 1631.

Erected on the ruins of an old Mosque,the religious building took from the former construction its Mudejar tower to fulfil the functions of the belfry.It has three naves separated by arches which alight on marble columns,covering the central wooden Mudejar  chancel and transepts.In the epistle opens another larger chapel with hemispherical domes decorated with plaster dated 1705. During its restoration between 1992 and 1993 were discovered eight frescoes with images of apostles,dating from the first half of the 17th century.

The Hermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is a Shrine dedicated to  of Our Lady of Remedies or also called Santa Ana in honour of St.Anne.Situated in the square Plaza de los Caños in the district of Santa Ana,it was erected in the early 18th century,it is a small Church with a single nave,restored in some occasions with a sculpture of the Virgin dated 18th century.

The aspect is very sober,but at the same charm for its simplicity,developed on a wide rectangular plan,it is a white religious building with a dark brown arched doorway and a small roof on which was placed two bells inside a rectangular belfry.

Take a look to the interesting Iglesia de San Sebastian,situated in a corner next to Plaza de la Libertad (Freedom square) a Church dedicated to  San Sebastian.Its construction is dated the late 17th century despite it was renovated several times.It consists in single nave developed on an irregular square plan with an hemispherical cross-vaulted and a wall with paintings depicting some angels.It is very attractive with its white facade,a pretty,small arched portal and its watch placed under a rectangular section on the top containing in a small rectangular belfry a bell.

The Plaza de Toros the Mijas Bullring is another famous local attraction and it was built in 1900. It is located on a rock and it host several important corridas (bullfights)  among the most popular and famous  of the Costa del Sol

Parque de la Muralla,is another place worth a visit,it is a park  located in the upper town,consisting in a complex of gardens arranged on the ruins of an ancient fortress surrounding the village and containing different species of plants which are complemented by a sort of terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Among its main attractions,it includes the route of the Wall,the gazebo and a waterfall 15 m high with lights with drops of water falling to the rhythm of music.

At the top of Mijas in a splendid corner of the wild Sierra,you can admire the picturesque white  Ermita del Calvario (Calvary Chapel) a small hermitage which is nestled in a mountainous area surrounded by rocks.It was built around 1710 for the removal of the Carmelite monks who lived in the Monasterio del Compas an ancient monastery.

The shrine was erected on a former convent and it is accessed by a road used for the Via Crucis at Easter and since it can be seen beautiful views of both the town and the coast.

The Religious building has a arched tiny portal on a white facade topped by a belfry,it reflects the traditional local architecture,with simple lines and no external decorations,the place where was developed its tiny Chapel is simply outstanding with stunning views,very suggested to take pictures thanks to the wild natural environment and wonderful panoramic views. 

Very interesting is another shirne situated on the road which links the resort to Benamadena, in Partido Rural de Osunillas the Ermita de San Anton a small religious building which just like the previous was built in the 18th century and site of monks of the Benedectine Order.It has a single nave, the size of the Holy polychrome wood is from the same period and it is dedicated to  St.Anthony.That sacred white building is very charming,of limited size it present a gable red roof combined with a tiny belfry with a bell,it was erected on the ruins of a construction of the ancient Tamisa.

The resort also offers in its relevant patrimony the opportunity to visit very interesting museums,one of them is Carromato Max which was opened in 1972 and it is the world's first museum of miniatures among the most important pieces highlight shows the Lord's Prayer written on the edge of a card or Abraham Lincoln painted on the head of a pin, among others.Other curiosities which make it interesting are stuffed dressed fleas,a ballet dancer carved on a toothpick, a naval battle at the head of a pin or the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Another interesting exhibition is the Museo Historico-Ethnologico (Historical-Ethnological Museum) opened in 1995 and containing a collection of farm tools and utensils fishing, oil mills,a warehouse and typical and traditional  local kitchen objects,that place is very interesting to discover or learn more about local culture showing the visitor a very extensive chronological history of the town with its most traditional and historic items.

A great attraction of that splendid Andalusian town is obviously its beaches.La Cala is an urban beach of dark sand of medium grain and some rocky sections with a high occupancy in particular in summer season.It is pretty long reaching a longitude of over 1,6 km and it constantly has blue flag.Around that sandy line there is a very lively nightlife during the weekends and it is a site of several musical events during summer season.

The beach of Cabo Rocoso has sands very similar to the La Cala,t is a semi-urban beach with a low occupancy except high season and it is about 100 m long.There the visitors can enjoy some activities such as windsurfing, sailing and diving.

 Playa de Calahonda is a golden sandy beach about 4.5 km long where the major activities are diving and fishing and it is pretty famous and very busy from June to September.El Bombo is another one, a semi-urban beach of dark sand next to a cliff, making it an ideal place for diving.It is 1,3 km long and has generally a very high occupation starting in spring and summer seasons.

El Chaparral is another one,pretty loved by locals,it is a beach which presents a mixture of  rocks and sands extending on a longitude of over 4.0 km long with the possibility to practise water sports,such as swimming, windsurfing,sailing and diving while the beach called El Faro (the lighthouse) is a rocky enclave with sandy coves,it started to be popular in the 60s,less famous maybe of the previous but it has a very good reputation for the quality of its warm waters and position.

 The coast of Mijas has a seabed which hosts a rich biodiversity in the European species coexist,African, Atlantic,Mediterranean species.Calahonda's seabed was listed as a Site of Community Importance in June 2006 and to ensure the conservation of the habitats and species were applied preventive measures, adopting corrective and compensatory systems of protection,the coast of Calahonda highlight is rich of of sea grass meadows among the most important in all the Mediterranean area.

 One of the main attractions in Mijas are the famous burrotaxi.They appeared at the beginning of the tourist boom.The burrotaxis are a unique transportation method of Mijas,which appeared in the late 50's, following some quarry workers returning to their houses with a donkey and they were required to be photographed by tourists or offering a walk.

The total number of donkeys which provide that popular service is over 60, of which 13 are donkeys and 48 car seat and there is also a special parking for them.It is a a nice way to visit some beautiful corners of Mijas riding that animal and it is part of the local folklore,now known worldwide.

The vegetation of the Sierra de Mijas is mainly composed by pine forest repopulated in the mid-20th century, together with carob,oaks and olive trees and typical Mediterranean scrub such as thyme,fennel, rosemary,lavender,palms and among other highlights glades orchids.The fauna of the forest is populated by chickadees,robins,owls and other small birds while the mammals are represented by the the presence of dormouse,wild rabbits and some ibex.

The most important cultural events in the municipality are the Biennale village of Mijas and the Theatre Festival held between October and November the first and the second in June and the official art exhibitions take place in the halls of the Casas de la Cultura.

For performing arts representing the municipality has the Municipal Auditorium and the new Teatro de las Lagunas,throughout the year there are several music festivals, especially during summer season,in August takes place the Festival Flamenco,Latin Night and Calapop Festival,dedicated to different genres.

 June is the month of Celtic Night,which usually bands playing bagpipes from Gibraltar and Northern Spain from Galicia.Also throughout the summer taking place along the beaches of the municipality Moon Nights and beach, including classical music concerts,dance and Flamenco.Finally,in autumn marks the Jazz Festival of Mijas who promote talented Andalusian musicians and it has a relevant prestige.

El Caballo Cartujano the Andalusian horse is a symbol of that beautiful land (I wrote a post about Jerez de la Frontera in the case you are interested) there are horses shows held in the resort of Torremolinos,Mijas-Costa,near Fuengirola.It is performed between the hours of every Thursday,with exhibits of horses full of feeling,art and professional choreography.

Among the figures highlights the runner-Spain High School.Its program includes a free drink,a visit to the stables and a typical Andalusian hall,collection and free shuttle bus and the show.It also offers a number of other services such as giving riding lessons,excursions,sale of horses,horse and carriage hire and other activities.

As a symbol of Andalusia the horse is protagonist in other events too. Since the opening of the Hippodrome Costa del Sol, Mijas is also a place of a major equestrian events in Spain: Mijas Cup or Grand Prix of Andalusia, which has the particularity to be celebrated at night, in addition there are numerous establishments where you can practise horse riding in the case you love that splendid activity. 

The sport star in Mijas in number and quality of facilities is the Golf. Mijas has eleven Golf courses to practise that sport,one of them,La Cala Golf Resort is one of the largest in Europe and it boasts an international fame and prestige opened some years ago on that coastal town.The course consists of 18 holes par 72 with a length of 5,866 m.In the construction there was a development of the same level of the most prestigious Golf Courses of the United States Golf Association (USGA) in terms of tees, bunkers,drainage and greens.

La Cala Resort is  the largest golf complex in Spain,it is a residential and recreational exclusive area of approximately 1,000 hectares located between the Sierra de Mijas Natural Park and the Mediterranean coast including a  luxury Hotel and Spa.It provides excellent facilities and three golf courses with 18 holes.The American course Campo Asia and Campo Europa and it also  has a par 3 practise course for beginners.

 A historical event occurred in Mijas in the year 1831 along its coast on the beach known as El Charcón.The rebel General Torrijos came there with 52 men after they crossed the mountains of Mijas and they took refuge in a mansion of Alhaurin de la Torre property of the Count of Mollina. 

The building was surrounded by the troops of the Military Governor González Moreno who arrested a few hours late the Officer and his soldiers who were executed on the beach of San Andres on 11th December 1831.
The local cuisine,apart the many existing international restaurants opened to satisfy the requests of the tourists coming from diffeerent countries, is based primarily on the rich and varied starters,for its wide variety of soups and naturally a wide variety of tapas.

Highlights include local plates such as Gazpacho,Cachorreñas and Gazpachuelo, fried and grilled fish,delicious seafood, the famous fritura Malagueña is a great speciality which consists in a big plate composed by fried fish with squid.Among other traditional gastronomic products although Mijas is a coastal resort you can taste excellent Jamon Iberico (Iberian Jam),Chorizo,Morcon and Morcilla homemade pork derivatives with an old tradition  produced in the Sierra of Malaga,and as sweets a local kind of  donuts to try are the famous Hornazos inherited by the Arabs.

In addition to all that you can also enjoy a wide selection of wines of the Serrania de Ronda and Malaga,with a good choice of sweet,dry and smooth wines.The altitude of the hills where the viticulture is developed produces local grapes with a relevant flavour and body,wines are pretty eclectic,ideal as aperitif,
used for cocktails or to enjoy in a meal at lunch or dinner.Some whites are very palatable,they could be used for fish and seafood,also in the most stylish haute cuisine,while the fine rosé and reds are excellent accompanying meats and also stews.

The most important personality of Mijas is probably Manuel Cortes,alias the Mouse founder of the local PSOE political party of Mijas last Republican mayor,who lived 30 years hidden in his own home to escape the repression of dictator Francisco Franco.

Mijas is approximately 30,0 kilometres from Malaga International Airport,from the Capital of the Costa del Sol there are excellent connections to  Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Mijas Costa, Marbella until to join  Sotogrande,including Cadiz and Costa de la Luz.

Reaching Mijas is not difficult, the best way is by by the AP7 motorway or the E15 or the 340 the resort is a very well connected to that so important Andalusian Airport.

If you are planning to visit Costa del Sol,Mijas with its splendid beaches,a mild climate all year several sport facilities,great excursions around the interior of the beautiful Andalusia and along the sunny Costa del Sol,a great choice to spend beautiful holidays is that place,located a pleasant and very attractive natural environment where the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of its Sierra embrace each other.

The picturesque white houses,its charming narrow streets are definitely another incentive to fall in love with that destination and decide to spend unforgettable days in that enchanting and splendid resort,a little gem of Andalusia called Mijas,very suggested of course for all the sun lovers and for who desires to spend relaxing holidays in a special place with  many more things to discover and enjoy.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Hotels in Mijas 

Gran Hotel Guadalpin Byblos Spa
Hotel La Cala Resort 
Hotel Calamijas 
Gran Hotel Vik Costa del Sol 
Hotel Tamisa Golf 
Hotel TRH Mijas Beach & Cultural
Hotel Radisson sas El Marques Resort Spa 
El Oceano Beach Hotel

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Thanks a lot to read and note.