Tourism and the expat resident population have made their mark on Mijas which has a distinctly cosmopolitan flavour with international restaurants, clubs and bars. Yet the municipality has managed to retain its old world charm and has a reputation as a holiday spot for the more discerning tourist. You won’t find any major boulevards and main thoroughfares here – Mijas is a delightful maze of narrow cobbled streets and archways with picture postcard houses, red tile roofs and balconies ablaze with brightly coloured geraniums.
At the entrance to the village you’ll see the ancient spring which still provides natural mineral water from a tap in the wall. A major attraction for visitors is the surviving tradition of donkey taxis which trek around the pueblo for the benefit of of foreign sightseers.
Local arts and crafts thrive here, notably hand made linen and wicker items. The pueblo is also noted for its delicious local bread, honey and almond cakes. A popular local dish you’ll find served in most of the Spanish restaurants here is “gazpachuelo” (an egg soup variant of the famous Andalucian cold tomato soup).
For out of season visitors, a wonderful local spectacle is the celebration of the feast of San Anton in January. The locals throw a “romeria” (open air party) at the holy hermitage of El Puerto, traipsing up the mountain in carriages and carts piled high with flowers and food.
Down at the coast, about 15 minutes by car from the village, you’ll find Mijas Costa which seems like a world away from the pueblo. Also known as La Cala, this area was once a small, charming fishing village but has now been transformed into a popular beach resort with watersports, bars, restaurants and all the trappings of modern day tourism.
This entire area is a golfer’s paradise with year-round sun and numerous championship golf courses within easy reach. Just inland from Mijas Costa you’ll find La Cala North and South golf courses and the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
Also within easy driving distance are the famous courses of Valderrama, Torrequebrada, Alhaurin La Grande and Monte Mayor. No wonder they call the Costa del Sol the Golfing Mecca of Europe!
This area caters for mainly middle to upmarket tourists. There are two hotels in Mijas itself, with a few more in the vicinity. There are a couple of pension options for the more budget-conscious traveller.
Mijas can be found 5 miles inland from Spain’s south coast (5 mls NW of Fuengirola, 21 mls SW of Malaga airport). It is found on high, wooded ground in the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas mountains.
During the daytime the main activities are exploring the village with its old Spanish architecture and places of interest including Inmaculada church, the museum of miniatures, the Roman and Moorish ruins, the bullring, the El Compas viewpoint and shrine of the Calvario.
The nearest beach is the 6-ml stretch of sandy beach at Fuengirola, 5 mls away. The Mijas Costa beach front stretches for 8 mls but is an 8- to 16-ml drive away.
There is a weekly flamenco show, guided walks of countryside (Wed and Sat). Halfway down to Fuengirola is the tennis club owned by Lew Hoad, ex-Wimbledon champion.
Mijas is an upmarket and relatively quiet resort so don’t come here expecting all night discos and karaoke bars! But you can drink and dine in the local bars and restaurants till the wee, small hours and for a wilder night out you’ve got the big coastal resorts only a short distance away.
In the nearby holiday towns of Malaga , Benalmadena , Torremolinos , Fuengirola and Marbella you’ll everything you need for a great night out. The entertainment ranges from gay night-clubbing to traditional flamenco performances. There are discos, casinos, theatres, clubs and cinemas.
There’s an excellent range of local and international cuisine in and around Mijas. The local “ventas” and tapas bars serve home-cooked fresh produce at ridiculously cheap prices.
A cheap, fun and extremely noisy place to eat is Venta Los Morenos, a pretty drive inland from the pueblo on the Mijas to Coin road. It’s very Spanish and very cheap.and also very popular since a Sunday Times travel writer “discovered” it! More of a Sunday lunch place than a candle-lit dinner for two venue.
One of the oldest Spanish owned restaurants in the village is El Capricho right in the centre of Mijas. The food is excellent, the waiter service friendly and the view from the outside terrace across the square is wonderful. For a beachside meal try the first class Mijas playa restaurant at Mijas Costa. The menu is extensive with a range of top notch food and wine to suit all budgets.
For sports fans, Mijas is the perfect location for a holiday. There’s a wide range of watersports available at Mijas Costa and along the coastline and for golfers.well, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven! There are nearly 60 courses in Andalucia and 30 are on the Costa del Sol.
Local excursions include the same as those listed under Torremolinos.