For well over half a century, Mijas has been one of the most popular destinations on the Costa del Sol.

And there’s good reason for this popularity: at its heart is a quintessentially Andalucian ‘pueblo blanco’ – a pretty white village of plant pot-filled streets, with a bull ring, Mudejar church and hermitage, all just a stone’s throw from its coastal attractions. It really does tick a lot of boxes for the first-time visitors to the south of Spain

Where to stay: Mijas Pueblo or Mijas Costa?

When we talk about Mijas, we are usually referring to the municipality of Mijas, which is located between Malaga and Marbella in Andalucia. The area also borders with Fuengirola and Benalmadena on the coast, and Alhaurin inland.

It’s definitely one of Andalucia’s most popular and interesting destinations, as it has two very distinct personalities.

To give you the complete lowdown on where to go in Mijas, this guide looks at Mijas Costa and Mijas Pueblo separately, as each area offers unique experiences.  Here’s our pick of a few of the best things to do in Mijas…

Mijas Pueblo

Things to do in Mijas Pueblo

Andalucia is renowned for its beautiful mountainside white villages, and Mijas Pueblo doesn’t disappoint. Around 20 minutes’ drive inland from the coast, the village is surrounded by beautiful countryside, offering hiking trails and mountain walks of varying difficulty. The elevated position offers extraordinary views, particularly from the Mirador del Compas lookout point. In fact, Mijas Pueblo has everything you could want from a pueblo blanco and more, from winding cobbled streets to tightly packed white houses adorned with colourful potted plants, plazas, artisan crafts, cafes and fiestas.

Tradition plays an enormous role in the village, which can be explored via the bullring, museums, historical monuments and churches including Iglesia de la Inmaculada Conception.

Our top tips on where to go in Mijas Pueblo

1. Parque La Muralla

Mountain View from Parque La Muralla Mijas

Recently renovated, this park easily leads on to a leisurely circular walking route from Plaza Constitucion to Parque La Muralla and then to the Torre Muralla. Kids will love the new 20m zip line and play area.

We recommend starting with this, as you pass most of the sights in the village. The park itself has a 15-metre-high waterfall and some of the best views of the coast.

This is a popular part of the village for cycling, jogging and walking routes. There is also a museum, farm and aviary and a beautiful lagoon.

Our top tip: Andalucians traditionally go for a walk around 18.00hrs (add a couple of hours on to that for the summer). The views from the lookout spots down to the coast in the evening when the lights are twinkling is rather magical.

Address: Parque de la Muralla, 29650 Mijas, Málaga

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 to 20.00

Mijas Bullring and Church

2. Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña

Rocky hermitage in Mijas with sea views

If you like history, extremely original ecclesiastical architecture and great views, you should pay a visit to the ‘Hermitage of the Virgen de la Peña’ located on the rocky lookout post of ‘Mirador del Compas’.

Built in the 17th century, this tiny church was excavated out of the rock, resulting in an almost cave-like appearance. Inside, you’ll find a wooden carving of the ‘Virgen of the Rock’ which is now the patron saint of Mijas. Legend has it, that the carving was discovered by two children back in 1586…after being sent by a dove!

Address: Paseo El Compás; open every day and free entry.

3.Mirador del Compas

View from Mirador Compas Mijas

Next to the Hermitage, this square/look out spot has the most spectacular views down to the coast and across the Mediterranean Sea.

Grab a seat if you can, and stay a little while.

4. Plaza de Toros

Bullring in Mijas

Dating back to the year 1900, Mijas bullring has an unusual lozenge shaped layout with the seats at both ends, and the white washed entrance blends in perfectly with the village.

Typically Spanish and steeped in tradition, you don’t have to like the sport to appreciate the history.

Address: Paseo de Las Murallas, s/n. 29650 Mijas

Opening Hours:
Winter: Monday to Sunday: 10:30 to 19.00.
Summer: Monday to Friday: 11:00 to 21.00 / Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 to 19.00.

5. Museo Historico-Etnologico

A charming ethnological museum depicting mountain village life.

Address: Pl. de la Libertad, 1, 29650 Mijas, Málaga Hours: Everyday 10 – 15.00hrs and 17 – 19.00hrs

6. Mijas contemporary art centre

A must-see for art lovers, there are over 400 pieces of art including work by Málaga’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali to name but two. If this whets your appetite for all things Picasso, the Museo Picasso in Málaga is just a 30 minutes’ away by car.

Address: Calle Málaga, 28, 29650 Mijas, Málaga
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10.30 to 14.00.

7. Plaza de Constitución

Andalucian life in Mijas

In keeping with tradition, Mijas Pueblo has a lovely plaza at the heart of the village. Plaza de la Constitucíon is a relatively small, but perfectly formed square, lined with independent shops and restaurants and a cooling fountain. It provides a lovely spot to relax, take it easy and enjoy some of the local delicacies.

Our top tip: Stop for a traditional breakfast of pan con tomate (toasted bread with fresh tomato and olive oil) at La Boveda del Flamenco.

8. Iglesia Inmaculada Concepcion

Mudejar bell tower in Mijas - the Iglesia Inmaculada Concepcion

Quite typically of churches in the region, the site was once a castle and then a mosque.

This 16th-century church we see today has Mudejar features – a bell tower and wooden ceiling – and it’s thought that the square tower was once that of the fort/castle.

Address: P.º de la Muralla, 29650 Mijas, Málaga

9. Donkey Taxi

Tourists riding donkeys in Mijas village

The donkeys of Mijas go back to the 60s when tourists would see them being used to carry things up the narrow streets or returning from farming.

It’s said that the tourists would tip for a photo or ride, and it became so popular it quickly outstripped agricultural wages.

These days, all manner of donkey taxis are available, riding or in a carriage drawn by donkeys around the village.

The welfare of the donkeys is a priority, so there are strict stipulations that must be adhered to by the owners.

Address: Av, Pl. Virgen de la Peña, 29650 Mijas, Málaga

10. Hiking – Mijas Mountain Range and the Pico de Mijas

Hiking routes in Sierra de Mijas

The Sierra de Mijas is a beautiful place to walk with rewarding views from the various routes.

The highest peak (Pico de Mijas) is 1150 metres – putting that into perspective, the highest peak in the UK is 1345 metres.

One of our favourites is Puerta de Malaga (‘Doorway to Malaga’). It takes about 3 hours, is well signposted and is medium difficulty due to the steep inclination.

Costa del Sol from Mijas Pueblo

Mijas Costa & La Cala de Mijas

Mijas to Marbella coastal walk

Mijas Costa spans a long stretch of coastline between Marbella and Fuengirola, incorporating several popular beachside towns including La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda. The suburbs are connected by by a 6km coastal path, perfect for jogging, walking, cycling or simply sitting and soaking up the Mediterranean Sea views.

There are lots of opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, from jet skiing to water parks, kite surfing, sailing, dolphin spotting trips… and much more. Compared to Mijas Pueblo, the coastal resorts are less traditional and more cosmopolitan.

La Cala is arguably the most well-known beach town in the area, there is a lovely, small, town centre, and the surrounding properties are a good mix of traditional style Spanish property, new builds and luxury villas.

There are superb amenities, including a weekly market and plenty of bars and restaurants. It also has a beautiful sandy Blue Flag beach, offering water sports, sun beds and much more.

11. La Cala Beach

Kite surfer on Mijas Beach

Where Mijas Pueblo is village life in the mountains, its best beaches can be found in La Cala de Mijas, a stretch of coast near Calahonda.

The beach named La Cala beach is small, but with relatively calm waters, a beachside promenade and kayak hire it’s popular with locals and visitors.

This part of the coast has good facilities from watersports to restaurants, all within an easy walking-distance radius.

Do check out Max Beach a modern Asian-Fusion inspired Beach Club with a pool, Olivia’s for an evening of celebrity-spotting, or El Océano, part of a hotel by the same name.

Our top tip: Our favourite beach in the area is Cabopino, with its sand dunes and golden sand.

12. Coastal Walk

Sunset on the Mijas coastal walkway

La Cala de Mijas coastal walk is 6kms along the new boardwalk path that leads to Cabopino.

Take this walk at sunset and take your time with coffee stops and beach playtime along the way. Alternatively, it’s a lovely run in the morning.

Our top tip: During the summer, look out for concerts being held next to the 16th-century Torre Vieja watchtower.

13. A round of Golf

There is a plethora world-class golf courses within the municipality of Mijas, providing aficionados and beginners with plenty opportunities for ‘tee time’.

Most locally, La Cala Resort Golf, with three 18-hole courses, makes the most of the area’s steep topography.

As an alternative – and much more forgiving – La Noria Golf Resort is a totally flat, 9 hole par 33 golf course near the coast with putting greens.

Here are five of our favourite Mijas golf clubs: La Cala Golf, Mijas Golf Club, Calanova Golf Club, Miraflores Golf and Santana Golf.

13. Cala de Mijas Festival

Cala de Mijas Festival

Life by the beach is a mix of laidback relaxed times and high-octane nightlife.

Every year La Cala de Mijas ends the summer with a music festival held on the last days of August / beginning of September. There are six stages, four are located in Sonora Mijas and two at La Caja beach.

Previous acts include international names like the Artic Monkeys, The Blossoms, Chemical Brothers and Kraftwerk.

More information in our festivals blog.

Where is Mijas?

Mijas is in Malaga province and sits between Benalmadena and Fuengirola. It’s divided into Mijas Pueblo (village) which backs onto Mijas Sierra (mountain range) and Cala de Mijas (Mijas cove) on the Mediterranean Sea.

How to get to Mijas?

Mijas is very well connected. Mijas Pueblo is 26.7km (that’s under 30 minutes’ drive) from Malaga airport and 32.3km from Malaga Maria Zambrano train station which connects with the high-speed AVE trains to Cordoba and Madrid.

There is an excellent local taxi service, as well as UBER and Bolt operating in the area via the APP. If you are travelling with The Luxury Villa Collection, we would be happy to help you arrange airport shuttles and car hire.

Have we tempted you to come and stay in this beautiful part of southern Spain? See villas in Mijas here.

Ben Cooper

A head-over-heels hispanophile, Ben is a one-time travel editor at Rough Guides, DK Travel, ELLEuk and Red Online.

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