When holidaying on the Costa del Sol on a regular basis with all those gorgeous beaches available, you tend to get used to the sun, sea and sand experience. However, sometimes it’s nice to escape the crowds and do something a little different. You’ve rented a lovely holiday villa in Mijas from Panoramic Villas and now you are settled in, you might feel the draw of adventure out in the Spanish countryside.
Known as the “pueblos blancos” or white villages, there are many worth visiting, including the justifiably famous Mijas Pueblo, but we are going to head to just a couple of the more interesting and unique smaller villages, nestling up on the hillsides and offering special attractions, perfect for a day out.
Just a little down the coastal highway and near to Marbella you can turn off and head up to lovely Ojén. While Ojén does have a more modern, and less interesting, section these days, just across the highway it is possible to explore the original narrow winding cobbled streets, all lined with beautifully maintained white houses. As with all the white villages, you will find balconies dripping with geraniums and bougainvillea plants as well as the sound of caged song birds as you pass.
Originally, the source of much of the anise liqueur, known as aguardiente, that is still enjoyed by Spaniards today, the village has stopped production, but the distillery has been updated to contain a fascinating Wine Museum or “Museo Vino de Malaga,” where it is possible to taste and purchase excellent Spanish wines along with quaint locally produced pottery and glassware. The museum is definitely worth a visit.
The town also has a rather Bohemian atmosphere, with several artists in residence, and as you walk around you will find shops selling beautiful artwork and locally-produced handicrafts.
Setenil de las Bodegas
Heading much further down the coast to Cádiz province, but still within relatively easy reach for a day out, Setenil as it is known for short, is a totally unique destination. This town takes living between a rock and a hard place to a whole new level, as Setenil is famous for the fact that many of its inhabitants quite literally live under a huge, overhanging rock.
The older part of the town is spread along a river gorge, carved out by the Rio Trejo, and many of the houses, shops and restaurants in the village are literally carved into the rock walls of the gorge. What the residents did there years ago was to enlarge the natural caves that were already in existence and add an external wall, giving a totally mind-blowing appearance to the town as pictured here.
You might think that living in a cave is something our prehistoric forefathers did and not at all suitable for modern times, but in actual fact, these caves maintain the perfect temperature all year round and are warm in the winter months and wonderfully cool in summer. This must save a fortune on electricity!
It is great fun to stroll along the edge of the gorge, viewing the homes as you pass and stop for a cool drink and some tapas in the local bars and restaurants. Incidentally, Setenil is also famous for several delicious locally-produced delicacies such as chorizo (the tasty spicy sausage enjoyed all over Spain) along with an excellent olive oil, tasty jams and honey, perfect to take home after your holiday.
Make a plan to enjoy at least a couple of these charming white villages during your holiday and take home some great souvenirs too.