‘¡Hola! ¿Sabe donde puedo comer algo por aquí? ‘ I asked the old man that was slowly making his way through the town of Cútar if he knew where I could find something to eat. It was way past noon, the sun was burning and the roads were steep, and I didn’t manage to walk much faster than him myself. His name was Ernesto, he was 84 and before I knew it he was showing me around his town. The town were he was born, grew up and lived his whole life. Where he met his wife, had two children and lost one in a car accident. It was getting difficult for him to live in such a remote place, but not once had he considered moving.
There was nothing to eat in Cútar, but I couldn’t have cared less. It was story time…
ITINERARY – THE WHITE VILLAGES OF MÁLAGA
Covering the part of Málaga province east of Málaga capital, the region of Axarquía is sprinkled with dozens of ‘pueblos blancos’, incredibly cute villages with nothing but white houses and terracotta rooftops, narrow streets and jaw dropping views over the surrounding mountains. Of course, you can find them in other areas, mostly in the province of Málaga and Cádiz – stay tuned for more articles and check out this one about Mijas Pueblo, that’s definitely on my list for next time – but today, let’s head to Nerja, Frigiliana, Comares, Colmenar and everywhere in between. Welcome to the white villages of Málaga!
This itinerary goes from La Herradura in the east to Villanueva de la Concepción (which is just outside of the Axarquía region but still in Málaga province) in the west, but you can obviously drive in the other direction as well. Both areas offer magnificent sunsets, so make sure to arrive the day before to catch the one in your starting point.
Sunset in Maro, near La Herradura (GPS: Calas Torre del Pino)
From La Herradura to Nerja
Take the N-340 and drive along the coast from La Herradura to Nerja. This is my absolute favorite part of the Costa del Sol, as the coastline is beautiful and the beaches seem almost abandoned. And the best part… you can actually reach them on foot!
Kinda overrated in my very humble opinion, Nerja is most known for its ‘Balcon d’Europa’ and its caves. I skipped the caves, and I would have been just as happy today if I’d skipped the rest as well. The view’s nice but the city center doesn’t have that small town vibe I love so much. But here’s a little sneak peak of the view from Europe’s balcony for those who do want to give it a chance.
Alright, time to get serious! I promise from here on it’s only gonna get better, so get back in your car and head to Frigiliana.
Perched against the outer side of the Sierra de Tejeda, Frigiliana is a mixture of tiny alleys and lush green hills. Although crowded in summer due to its proximity to the Costa del Sol, in low season this place is a quiet little gem.
From Frigiliana to Vélez-Málaga
There’s two options here. Or actually there’s three…
1) You don’t like an adventure and don’t mind missing out on some stunning views. You’re crazy. Stop reading and go get help.
2) You do like a bit of adventure and want to see as much as possible. Continue to follow the MA-5105 to Torrox, from there take the A-7207 north to Compéta and the A-7206 back south through Sayalonga and Algarrobo.
Right outside Frigiliana, somewhere along the MA-5105
3) You really like an adventure and don’t mind breaking your car in the process. In this case skip the road through Torrox and try heading straight from Frigiliana to Compéta following the bumpy dirt roads defining the outline of the Sierra de Tejeda.
Spoiler alert! You might fail. You might end up in the steepest bumpy road you’ve ever seen with no other choice than to hit the gas and hope the car will stop jumping. You might start hearing some scary-ass ‘stop it now or I’ll break in two’ kinda noises coming out of said jumping car, and you might need to talk to yourself to calm down, but it’s totally worth driving around the area for a while. Just avoid the dirt roads! The views are amazing and you can be pretty sure you’ll be the only one around.
Only a dirt road can get you straight from Frigiliana to Compéta, but just driving through the area around Frigiliana, the roads, although narrow, are pretty decent.
From Vélez-Málaga to El Borge and Cútar
Definitely top 5 material for my list of favorite places in Andalusia, the road from Vélez-Málaga to Cútar and on to Comares is what road trip dreams are made of. Views to fall in love with and villages that are too good to be true. Ooohs and aaaaahs kept spontaneously coming out of my mouth behind every turn in the road, and I honestly think that if you were going to do just one thing in Málaga province, it should be this. Let me show you why!
Get on the MA-3112 right outside of Vélez-Málaga and drive until you reach El Borge. Good view points are rare here, but these little glimpses aren’t bad either!
El Borge (which is also the cover photo of this post) is small but relatively famous, as it’s one of the biggest producers of Muscatel raisins. At least drive through the city center, but if you can don’t hesitate to stop and treat yourself to a glass of wine. Just one, you still have some driving to do!!
From here, follow the MA-3106 to Cútar and get ready to fall in love…
Love at first sight… My encounter with the lovely and welcoming Ernesto probably had something to do with it too, but even without that I think Cútar would have been my favorite white town in all of Andalusia – and I’ve seen a few!
Visible from miles around, Comares is one of the highest – and cutest – white villages of Andalusia. From Cútar, keep on driving until you hit the T-section in Benamargosa. Turn left and follow the signs to Comares all the way up the mountain.
Time to catch the sunset
If you make it in time, head to Villanueva de la Concepción for sunset. Why? Here’s why!
Directions: it’s more or less at the crossing of the A-7075 and the MA-3403 in Villanueva de la Concepción, 15 minutes west of Colmenar. Just follow the A-7075 until you find a quite large area where you can easily park your car.
This whole itinerary is about 200 km and you’ll need about 6 hours for the driving. Rental cars are a bargain in low season. I paid € 130 for 6 weeks, plus € 200 for full insurance. Click below to check prices and availability!
Want more cool things to do in Málaga province? Check out my post about the Caminito del Rey!