Visiting the mountain village of Mijas was one in our “to-visit” list during this camper adventure. Having missed it last year, we made sure we visited this village this time around. And we did. But our coming to Mijas was not one without an exciting story! The first time we came to this village was when we drove up here with our D’Traveller. We were in Fuengirola when we decided to drive up here, thinking it would be easy considering it was just about 10 kilometers away. But for some unclear reasons, the camper would not work properly when we were driving the roundabout! The motor gave a strange screeching sound, and that we seemed to slide down! Hans had to step hard on the brakes and then tried to drive past the roundabout, which was not steep at all! After a minute, we succeeded, but then it has caused us already some perspiration and missed heartbeats! Looking for a parking for the camper in the village was out of the question! It was close to impossible, that we decided to drive away and go to Torremolinos instead.
Our second attempt to go up to Mijas was unplanned. It was Monday (Feb. 22, 2016), and from Torremolinos we were planning to have a day out in the neighbouring city, Benalmadena. We were waiting for the bus to Benalmadena when the bus to Mijas pulled over! In an instant, we decided to take that bus and go to Mijas instead! The busride to Mijas was in itself already an experience! We drove past Benalmadena Pueblo then on to the mountains, driving on long winding narrow road! The views were fantastic! It was a better alternative than going with the camper. More relaxed, cheaper and safer!
1. MIJAS PUEBLO – A MOUNTAIN VILLAGE
Situated 430 meters above sea level, the white mountain village of Mijas is one of the famous tourist destinations in Malaga. One should not confuse it to Mijas Costa, which is of course located along the coast. Mijas Pueblo is by far the cleanest village we have seen in Spain. There was absolutely no litter on the streets! We kept asking ourselves if we were in Spain! So clean, that it looked almost sterile! And fixed along the white painted walls along the narrow streets are flowerpots all painted in blue! Uncountable! There must have been a thousand of them, each planted with geraniums!
2. BURO TAXI
One of the major attractions of Mijas are its Buro taxis. These are donkeys used to transport tourists around the village. A bronze statue of a Buro is found in front of the tourist office. It is almost compulsory to get on it and have a picture. I did! In the early years, tourists would give good financial tips to farmers just to have a ride and picture with the donkey. The farmers received more than they earned in a day that the business for donkey taxi began. It was enticing to take a ride on a donkey taxi, but because of our principle, we did not do so. Besides, we were able to see more just by using our feet.
3. ERMITA DEL CALVARIO
One doesn’t need a map in exploring Mijas. Just walk its inner streets , get lost from one plaza to another, once in a while coming out to a local church or hermitage like the Ermita dela Pena and Mirador where one has a wonderful views of the mountains, the Ermita de San Sebastian, Ermita de Santa Ana, and Ermita del Calvario. The last one, Ermita del Calvario is the most rewarding one. In going there, one has to cross the main road, and climb 400 meters up the mountain of Mijas. The views here are magnificent! Plus it is quiet here, as not many tourists go up this way; they are all down in the village taking pictures of the donkeys!
4. OLD FORT
Another major spot in Mijas is the Old fort with its nicely landscaped gardens. The old fort was the old defence walls of the village and offers excellent panoramic views of the village and the mountains. There are concrete benches at strategic points to relax while enjoying the views! Plus the gardens behind it is equally wonderful. There are plants planted everywhere which bloom at different times of the year.
Lastly, to deeper appreciate the village, we visited the Casa Museum which houses old farming tools used in the village, a reconstruction of a typical Mijas house, an insight on how difficult life in Mijas was in the early years, and the role of the buros or donkeys in the lives of the people before, both as farm animal and as means of transportation. Entrance to the museum was 1 euro pp.
Mijas Pueblo is located near the Sierra de Mijas. There are good hiking trails which begin from the village, or specifically at Ermita del Calvario. As much as we both love hiking, we had to pass this one as we were both unprepared when we came to Mijas. However, it is a challenge to both of us to reach the Pico Mijas, the highest point of the mountain which is 1151 meters high! Maybe next time.