The Axarquia -

The Maroma and the Viñuela

Heading north from sea Tower, I entered inland Axarquía. I decided to bypass Vélez-Málaga, the capital of the region, and pushed further into the countryside as the road climbed higher into more rugged terrain. Once famous for its bandoleros or highwaymen, the Axarquía is now more renowned for its beautiful scenery, pretty white villages, strong local wine and good walking. The hillsides and deep valleys with their rich soil have been terraced since Mulsim times and are home to olive, almond and vines. As I took in the scenery, the busy beaches I had left behind just minutes before were long forgotten.



My first stop was Archez, a tiny, quaint, white village - the first of many I was to wander through during my two-day sojourn in the Axarquía. Hiding in the foothills of the Sierra Almijara, Archez is a lovely village with strong Moorish roots. Parking the car, I walked through the narrow streets, passing cats lazing in the sunshine, to find the church of Our Lady of the Incarnation whose tower is proof of the village's history. Dating back to the fourteenth-century, the tower was eleven the minaret of a mosque and its intricate tiling and sebka brickwork make it one of the best examples from the period. Like many villages in the Axarquía, time seems to have stood still in Archez. The local shop is one of childhood memories, everything you could ever think of and only the odd satellite dish reminds you that you are actually in the 21st century.



Leaving Archez, I crossed the river and headed to Salares, a center of olive oil and wine production. A young goatherd and his flock of bleating goats with jangling bells were blocking the road and I had to slow down to stop to let them pass; An event that happened often over the next two days and that was a constant reminder of the slower pace of life in these mountains.


Salares is truly beautiful; a dazzlingly white, picture postcard village. Its narrow streets are closed to traffic, (although I doubt it's much bigger than anything else), and people live alongside ruined tumbled down houses. As I walked down to steep pathway into the village, I passed a man carrying a full bricks. He was busy renovating one of the old houses in the village - a hard task for all the materials had to be carried in and out - but well worth the effort to obtain luxury living in such a peaceful environment.


I headed out of Salares, through more lovely scenery, to Arenas, where, I had read, there was a ruined Moorish castle atop a hill which afforded panoramic views of the area. I asked in the village and a kind local explained that I had just passed the turn off for the Bentomiz Castle .... or at least I think he did. The Spanish is heavily accented in these parts and with ears trained to the more coastal variety; it was touch and go if I had understood him correctly. As my little car bounced violently along the track, I could see no sign of a castle anywhere and that I had been sent to a wild goose chase but moments later I spotted the ruins and, parking the car, scrambled up to slope to the old castle walls. The scene before I was just stunning. Gnarled almond trees shaded a carpet of wild flowers - most of them bright red, delicate poppies - and I climbed the last part to sit atop what was eleven to true stronghold of the Moors. The Axarquía stretched out all around me; huge mountains, clusters of white villages, the far off Mediterranean, and in the foreground the fantastic floral display. Whilst clambering around, I had my eyes peeled for chameleons as they were said to be more abundant around Arenas than anywhere else in Spain but the disguise masters of the lizard world were too smart for me and I did not spot a single one.

Time was marching on, so I reluctantly left the peace and quiet of the old castle and retraced my steps back through Archez to take the road to Cómpeta. Famous for its wine, Cómpeta is yet another "Kodak moment" village. White houses tumble down the mountain with terracotta roofs vying for space and the old tower rising above it all in true majestic fashion. It is not surprising that Cómpeta has become such a firm favorite for European visitors and the town has seen an influx of residential tourists over the last several years. If you happen to visit during August, be sure not to miss the Night of Wine (15th) when the village remove literally goes to town. The area's Muscat grapes, renowned throughout the whole province, are honored when hundreds of barrels are rolled out to satiate the thirst of the revellers in the Plaza de la Almijara.

The next morning I headed for Alcaucín, passing the ruins of the deserted medieval village of Zalía - its fortress, one of three (including my beloved Bentomiz) that formed a defensive triangle in Moorish times. I had coffee in Alcaucín, near the San Sebastian Fountain, a fantastic five spouted fountain restored to its former Moorish glory and fed by one of the many natural springs found in these mountains. There are lots of smaller fountains in the village, all fed by mountain springs and still very much in use by the local population.


Driving to the northern edge of the region, the scenery becomes even more arresting. The Boquete de Zafarraya, a huge cleft in the mountains, is the gateway to the Axarquía towards Granada and in 1983, remains found in one of the caves near the pass have confirmed that this area was the last-known site in Europe inhabited by Neanderthal man. A sobering thought as I drove through the Zaffaraya some 30,000 years later. I skirted the northern boundary, through gray, rocky terrain and entered the Axarquía again, passing through the hamlets of Alfarnatejo and Alfarnate. The main claim to fame of Alfarnate is the sale on the outskirts of the town that maintains to be the oldest inn in Andalusia. The sale is also a museum, paying homage to its past patrons including famous outlaw Luis Candelas and the most feared bandolero of all, El Temporillo. On arrival at the restaurant in the 1820's and on hearing that there were no more spoons for him to eat his soup, Temporillo put a gun to the heads of the other diners and ordered them to eat their spoons, cracking a few teeth into the bargain . Today thankfully, the bar and restaurant with its pleasant terrace provides an ideal rest stop while touring the region.


I went next to Comares, another fantastic village perched high atop a conical hill, and, like most in the area, it has deep Moorish roots. Built over Roman foundations, the ruined Muslim fort was one of the strongholds of rebel leader Ibn Hafsun (along with Bobastro) and the innovative tourist board have laid little tiled "feet" throughout the town to mark out a route where boards tell the tales of old Near the City Hall building, the views offered by the viewpoint over the whole Axarquía are nothing short of spectacular.


Time to head home. I re-traced my route back to Apiary, a center for honey production and the Axarquía's most westerly point and followed the route to Malaga. The road winds its way through cork, oak and pine forests, through the Port of Léon to the coast and in its last stages offers great views of Malaga city and the Costa del Sol. I hit Malaga in the rush hour and came back to earth with a bump! I missed the calm of the mountains within minutes and longed to be back wandering the little lanes of the white washed villages. To escape the hustle and bustle of the coast for just a couple of days had been a tonic and one that I highly recommend.

(C) Jaqueline Roberts, Words & Pix

The Axarquia -

Information offered by

Finca Buenavista

The Axarquia -

Parking Finca Buenavista

Finca Buenavista is located in the hamlet of Chilches, in Vélez Málaga. Located in a privileged enclave, it has 8 apartments Y 1 houses rural in full direct contact with nature. A place of rest and tranquility from which you can enjoy all the services and activities offered by a region such as La Axarquia, in the center of the Costa del Sol. Beach, sun, snow, mountain, water sports, golf, culture, gastronomy ... are some of the benefits you will have at your fingertips living in a rural environment, just fifteen minutes from Malaga and with the most enviable climate in Europe. see more   save

Rincon Beach

"La Piriposa"

The Axarquia - CasaEnChilches.comIdeally located between the beach and the countryside. Very calm, in the heart of the Axarquia, near Málaga, Vélez, Nerja and Torrox .. The Piriposa is a beautiful apartment in chaletOn private pool - shared with the owners - with everything you need to spend an excellent holiday in Chilches. See more... save

Casa Paraiso

The Axarquia -

Jardin Casa Paraiso, Esterlitzias

Ideal for families of up to 8 people just 100 meters from Rincon de la Victoria beach full of typical Andalusian restaurants where you can enjoy the famous Spanish tapas accompanied by wine matured in the Spanish Sun. This urban Villa consists of a large living room, kitchen with pantry, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, toilet, backyard, and front yard where you can eat. Almost 200 m2 habitable.

Visit the accommodation


The Axarquia -

Pool (Algarrobos)

Pfunny apartment in chalet, newly renovated, with Three bedrooms and very bright. It has a large community leisure area that has pool, barbecue and tennis court. In the apartment you will find everything you need to spend an excellent holiday in Chilches. Ideally located between the beach and the countryside. Very quiet, in the heart of the Axarquia, near Málaga, Vélez, Nerja and Torrox. Not recommended for people with disabilities. Very close to supermarkets, restaurants, the beach and a few kilometers from shopping centers. Visit the accommodation page

House "The lemon tree"



Beautiful independent house of 2 floors ideal for couples or families with children with an age from 9 years. This Andalusian style house, is distributed on two floors.

  • Single house
  • Pool Available
  • Tennis court available

Visit the accommodation page

Vistas de Benajarafe

The Axarquia -

Balcony Views of Benajarafe

Vistas de Benajarafe It is a small apartment, ideal for a couple or for a small family with two children. The apartment is equipped with air conditioning, full kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom and a sofa bed for 2 additional beds. See the apartment

Traveler's Corner

Rincon del Viajero Pool

Rincon del Viajero Pool


Rincón del Viajero, the ideal apartment for those who love to travel with or without a car, ideally located just 50 meters from the beach, perfect for those who want to enjoy a break in their annual tasks. Bus stop, supermarket a few meters away, pharmacy, tobacconist, bakery, restaurants, Chiringuitos ...

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 4 people
  • Private garage
  • Etc...

see more

Casa Andalucía

The Axarquia -

Breakfast in the sun


The Casa Andalucía It is a rental house full of charm with completely private pool that will allow you to spend a holiday full of tranquility on the Costa del Sol. This independent house is within the domains of the Finca Buenavista, ideal for a romantic couple, a small family or lovers of naturism. It is very discreet and private allows you to spend a great holiday.

More information on Casa Andalucía

Casa Ronda

The Axarquia -

Private pool

The Round House is a rental house full of charm with completely private pool that will allow you to spend a holiday full of tranquility on the Costa del Sol. This independent house is within the domains of the Finca Buenavista, ideal for a romantic couple, a small family or lovers of naturism. It is very discreet and private allows you to spend a great holiday.

More information

Torrox Park

The Axarquia - CasaEnChilches.comThe Pacific Apartment, is located in TorroxIt is an accommodation that is located at street level and is located within a residential area very quiet, surrounded by gardens and Pacific.

With 2 bedrooms you can comfortably accommodate up to 5 people. Equipped with living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, winter balcony, barbecue terrace ... and a communal pool.

More information from Pacifico Apartment


House "La Fuente"

The Axarquia - CasaEnChilches.comIndividual house in Benalmádena!

Beautiful Independent chalet with private parking only 200 meters from the beach and the marina of Puerto Marina in Benalmádena, Costa del Sol.

Beach, sun, beach bars, restaurants, nightlife and multicultural, residential neighborhood and very quiet but in the center of Benalmadena Costa, one of the favorite destinations of visitors to the Costa del Sol.

plus information


Use of cookies

This website uses cookies so that you have the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent for the acceptance of the aforementioned cookies and the acceptance of our.plugin cookies

Cookie notice