Mijas is one of the few towns in Costa del Sol that maintains its physiognomy and idiosyncrasy despite the touristic boom from the fifties. To walk in Mijas is to do a route through the Andalucía of the “Álvarez Quintero”…white houses, facades with flowerpots, patios with flowers and even “donkey-taxis” that allow you to get to know the streets and corners of this pretty town.
It used to be called “Tamisa”, in the times of Roman occupation, and it had an increasing commerce, since it was part of the Vía Apia that joined Málaga with Cádiz. They also contributed to the construction of its orchards and terraces, and of its first vineyards.
After the Romans came the Arabs, when they took Málaga around the year 714. They allowed the inhabitants to keep their traditions, houses and orchards in exchange of one third of the production, and they changed the name, calling it “Mixa”.
Mijas has gone from agriculture and fishing to tourism. There are many foreigners from all over the world that come to stay here and enjoy the wonderful weather and atmosphere. It is a great choice, no doubt about it.
I love this concept. The store below sells local natural products and is a charming restaurant, and there is a museum above. The menu is also charming. As you will see, the feature is duck, which is fantastic. You have to order it (see photo). It's all accompanied by a cozy ambience and of course, some delicious wines. It's definitely a place to go back to.
The municipality of Mijas has an area of approximately 140 km, from the Sierra to the beach, and the best way to see the landscape that surrounds it is at the Mirador de la Peña, located in the gardens that also bear the same name. The lookout has some telescopes, revealing the beauty of the coast and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as The Laguna and La Cala de Mijas, also belonging to the same municipality. A good place to relax while admiring the wonderful scenery all around you. I would definitely recommend that you visit.
The street Los Canos is a friendly street in Mijas, where, as in almost all places, it's pleasant to just walk trough, even though the heat can be stifling. The street is lined with restaurants and souvenir shops, so it's a good place to end a visit to the village. A good restaurant on this street is the Barbecue Restaurant La Reja, where you can enjoy a good grilled steak for a decent price.
Arriving in Mijas, right where the tourist buses were parked, we had the first glimpse of La Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña located on Paseo Compass. The chapel was carved into the rock of a promontory jutting into the side of a hill, back in the sixteenth century, in the place where the Virgin appeared to the shepherds. The friar Diego de Jesus Mercy, tried in 1656, to have the authorities make one chapel that would commemorate that place where the Virgin appeared for the first time. His pleas, however, were ignored, and so he decided to excavate the rock. At the beginning, everyone was mocking him because they thought it would be impossible, but then everyday they kept watching his determination and will, and at one point began to bring him some lunch. It took him 26 years to complete, and asked that his death might be buried in the same cave that did not leave any excavated but no sign of the site, and so he died in 1682. Inside of it is stored the Virgen de la Peña, patroness of Mijas. In its vicinity, there is a lookout and you can see (no telescopes) an impressive view of the Costa del Sol and the beautiful Hermitage Valley Mijas. This is a place with a very unique history.
Another must-see visit in beautiful Mijas is its bullring. After you pay the 3 euro entrance fee, that is. The Mijas bullring was built at the request of its neighbors around the year 1900. It's location (built on rocks) and the facade, which looks like a typical Mijas home, have been photographed and visited a lot by tourists who are visiting the square since its inauguration party when there was the running of the bulls. There have only been two years when the festivities didn't take place, and both were due to the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939.
Summer is getting too long and hot and the beach even becomes boring for children. So, a good option is to change the salt water for a fun day at a water park. Mijas Water Park is located on the N340, off the A7 and has a bus service from the center of Fuengirola. Children and adults can enjoy a long 50 meter slide and wave pool, kamikaze, Jacuzzi etc. There is a self service area costing 8.50 Euros and a picnic area with a kiosk where you can find soft drinks, pizzas, sandwiches and ice cream. Other facilities include a security service, first aid and nursing, cloakroom, chairs for rent, floats and a souvenir shop.
In the first week of June, Mijas, as it has done for 20 years, celebrates International Day of the People, a party full of color in which the whole community is involved. There are stalls representing different countries where you can taste the typical food and drink of each country as well as buy crafts and learn the customs of each place. At the multicultural festival, there are also performances on the main stage, representing the music and dance of each country. These take place all day and through the night, ending on Sunday with fireworks. The party reaches its climax with an international parade followed by percussion workshops for children; painting and ceramics; Moroccan henna; Mexican piñata; popular Scandinavian games; Dutch painting; Senegalese percussion; Chinese writing and salsa. A highly recommended way to understand the culture of different countries.
This Moorish tower is one of the few remaining vestiges of the old castle of Mijas. Its shape is square and solid, as befits its military origin, as it used to be part of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception. The church was built between 1540 and 1565 during the time of Bishop Manrique. It consists of three naves separated by arches supported by marble columns. The central area is covered with Moorish style wooden frames, while the sides are covered with barrel vaults. During its restoration during the years 1991-1992, eight new apostles columns were discovered, dating from about 1632.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built on the forecourt of a hill in the 16th century. Previously, a fortress and a castle stood there, and later, a mosque. It has three naves with coffered ceilings in the middle. In 1510, a Moorish-style bell tower was added for defence. Outside, there is a square tower, which some consider to be the tower of the ancient fortress. It also has two side chapels and its square shaped tombstones could date from the first half of the 17th century, although the decor is later. Inside, there are two paintings by Gomez Lobato from 1984. One represents the appearance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Santa Margarita and the other, disciples of Emmaus.
There's not one single street in Mijas that doesn't have a little shop where they sell souvenirs you can take home. In La Alacena I was struck by the white facade decorated like a typical village house without the "stalls" that often hinder passersby, without the silly polka dot aprons that you always see in souvenir shops, or the gypsy dolls, bulls with flags or ceramic donkey-taxis. Those things are usually photographed by the Japanese, but they don't pain a real picture of Andalusia. And the prices there aren't exorbitant or abusive, I'll leave you a record of the site here.
During the most of the tour of the village of Mijas, we could see the little chapel belfry, it was high on a hill. So when we were leaving Mijas, and taking advantage of it being right next to a gas station, we stopped to see it up close , and although it is now being restored, we could take some pictures and learn of its curious history. La Ermita del Puerto, was built in 1875 more or less, they say it was funded by a quite old lady, who promised that if God gave her a son, she would raise a chapel there. The request was successful and she thus fulfilled her promise by funding the construction of the chapel.
Fortaleza got its name from the ancient wall that protected Mijas with its height and situation. It made a good defensive place from which the enemy could be seen, both by land and by see. The fortress was built by the Arabs, and was part of a complex of watchtowers, castle and an Arab mosque (after their settlement, a church was built within the walls). Now, there are beautiful gardens, souvenir shops, the bull ring and a kindergarten. The views are spectacular, allowing you to see most of the Costa del Sol.
Batería Tower is one of the watchtowers on Malaga's coast. It's a 16th century building that has 2 floors and a roof where you can look at the sea. Inside the tower there's a large chimney where they used to send smoke signals to send messages. Today it's been quite well-restored and it houses the Interpretation Centre of Lighthouse Towers of the Historical-Ethnological Museum of Mijas. During our little walk around we saw sardines and other fish strung on poles that were about 30 inches long that they stuck close to the fire so that the fish cooks slowly without taking out the bones or the guts.
Thanks to its privileged position on the Costa del Sol, there is no limit to the exciting things to do in Mijas for tourists. Monuments, beaches and much more await lucky visitors. Those who are deciding what to do in Mijas can choose between exploring the town and the coast or enjoying both.
In the village you will find whitewashed corners, patios, gardens, chapels, and buildings of interest - all remnants of the Arab period. In the old town you will find many Mijas attractions including the tiny bull ring, two Moorish-style churches, the remains of the old Arab wall, and the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Peña - the patron saint of the town. Other things to see in Mijas of great historical significance include the Max wagon, the flour mill, the Museum Casa de la Villa, and the Contemporary Art Center.
If you prefer to find places to visit in Mijas on the coast, you will find numerous long beautiful beaches. Some of the best include the rocky headlands, Calahonda, El Chaparral, or Playa La Luna.
If you are still looking for stuff to do in Mijas, try out the donkey-taxi, a fun and original way to discover the city.
If you need more information on this or on the main attractions in Mijas or Mijas activities, you can go directly to the tourist office located at Av. Virgen de la Peña or browse from visitor experiences posted on Minube.