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Frigiliana on the Costa del Sol, Spain

The Spanish village of Frigiliana is situated in the foothills of the Almijara mountain range, just 5km inland from the popular holiday destination of Nerja. It is also within an hours drive from the International airport at Malaga in southern Spain. Because airline companies now offer competitive flights to Malaga from many destinations around Europe, the opportunity to visit some of Spain’s most idyllic and charming villages has become easier than ever.

Frigiliana is one such village: a delight to explore, full of history and offers unbeatable Spanish charm. It has been voted one of the prettiest towns in the province of Malaga and it is easy to see why. It enjoys spectacular views of both the Almijara Mountains that form a beautiful backdrop to the village, and also the enclosed valley all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea.

The village has all the delights expected of a traditional Andalucia town with cobbled streets winding through white washed houses, decorated with vibrant colours from seasonal plants and flowers in bloom. With only around 2,000 permanent residents, Frigiliana is surprisingly blessed with many bars, restaurants and shops. The town centre is filled with small traditional townhouses, interspersed with idyllic shops selling textiles, rugs, leather goods, tiles, and local wines. There are also several excellent shops selling local pottery and ceramics, including decorative plates with distinctive Arab design.

There are also choice bars and restaurants to be found, some offering fantastic views of the mountains or the Costa del Sol, and some to relax and take in Spanish life. All offer traditional Andalucia cuisine and a fine selection of tapas. For anyone who has not tried Spanish local cuisine, a selection of tapas offers the opportunity to try several small dishes at an affordable price.

The surrounding countryside is also ideal to explore by foot, with the close river valley boasting fantastic views of the hillside scenery towering above, and a spectacular waterfall cascading down the rocks during the winter season. Slightly further along the valley can be found a seating area surrounded with trees, a flowing river and perhaps views of local wildlife.

The road from Nerja on the Costa leads straight into the heart of the town, and on approaching there are ample parking spaces all the way up to the village. There is a car park itself but the twenty of so spaces on offer never appear to be available. There is a large children’s play park and a street map displaying some of the more interesting attractions around the village.

Steeped in history with archaeological finds dating back to 3000BC, Frigiliana has been inhabited by many different civilisations including the Romans, Phoenicians and the Arabs. The Arab occupation has left the greatest impact on the village with much of the original Moorish architecture still apparent.

During the 16th Century there were many battles between the Moors and Christians in Andalucia, which culminated with the final expulsion of the Arabs with the battle of the Rock of Frigiliana in 1569. This historical rebellion between the local Moriscos in the village and surrounding area, and a Christian army led from Nerja was a particularly violent battle that is still remembered today. This fascinating story is depicted with twelve ceramic plaques posted on the corners of streets to be found within the village.

The Moorish influence is apparent throughout the town, and best enjoyed walking through the narrow cobbled passageways leading to the Mudejar district, one of the best-preserved areas of Moorish architectures in Andalucia.

The Church of Saint Anthony of Padua was built in the 17th Century by Don Bernado de Godoy, and was restored in 1976. Built in the Renaissance style, many of the original frescos can still be seen throughout, and the church houses three 17th century paintings of excellent quality. The plaque outside the entrance tells the full story of the construction.

Other sites of interest include the former Granary that was built in 1767 and a 16th century Renaissance Palace that has now been turned into a molasses factory. Another example of the Moors occupation can be found at the very top of the town with the remains of a Moorish castle.

There are many festivals celebrated in Spain, and if you are lucky enough to be in the village during the festivities, you will see this sleepy Spanish town burst into life with celebrations involving the whole town and everyone lucky enough to be visiting. One of the best fiestas to experience is the Frigiliana bull-run. A smaller version than the one held in Pamplona, both in size of attractions and in size of bulls, but nonetheless no less exciting for those participating.

Frigiliana, like many of the towns in the Axarquía region, benefits from a microclimate that offers average temperatures of 18C, so even during the months of winter, temperatures are expected mild with many crisp, blue skies. With excellent views over the Axarquía region, and the slopes of the Almijara Nature Park, Frigiliana is an excellent place to visit, explore and finally to relax in one of the bars or restaurants to appreciate the scenery and culture of this beautiful region.

But there’s no need to take my word for it. Apart from receiving many regional awards, it earned its most cherished prize in 1982, with 1st place for beautification in the whole of Spain from the ministry of tourism.

About the Author: Steve Greenwood has lived on the Costa del Sol for 3 years and works in Nerja. You are invited to visit Ideal Rentals For You for Costa del Sol holiday apartments, places to visit and things to do in Spain. Ideal Rentals ( offers holiday information on all the regions of Spain including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

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