Andalucia's white villages: welcome to Frigiliana
Frigiliana is one of those white villages in Southern Spain that often –and rightfully– makes it to the 'The 10 most beautiful villages in Spain' lists.
Just about 70 km away from Malaga and 5 km from Nerja, Frigiliana is located on the slopes of Sierra Almijara, offering one of the most incredibly beautiful views of the eastern Costa del Sol.
What to do in Frigiliana
Voted the 'prettiest village in Andalucia' by the Spanish Tourist Board, Frigiliana is distinctively Moorish in appearance, with the old quarter made up of narrow, winding, cobblestone streets full of small shops, tapas bars and restaurants well worth exploring.
Whitewashed and colourful, the village itself is a delight for the eyes. Every time we pay a visit, we particularly enjoy walking around its winding streets, and we completely love the sight of traditional white Andalusian façades decorated with ceramics and flower pots as we stroll by.
Dating from the 17th century, the building that is home to the Archaeological Museum of Frigiliana is a piece of art in itself. The archaeological pieces here are displayed in a chronological order –from the Neolithic age to the modern day– which makes it easy for visitors to understand the historical value of the exhibition. There is also a section devoted to contemporary art, as well as temporary exhibitions.
At the botanic gardens of Santa Fiora, visitors can learn about how, throughout the history of Frigiliana, local vegetation has been used for various purposes including commerce, medicine, basketry and even perfume making.
The Three Cultures Festival is a 4-day encounter that is all about music, gastronomy and culture. Held at the end of August to celebrate the historic confluence of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures in Frigiliana, thousands of people gather to enjoy shows, exhibitions and activities in a relaxed atmosphere.
Exploring and nature near Frigiliana
If mountains and forest are your thing, the Natural Park of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama offers fantastic hikes. If the higher peaks like Maroma (over 2,000 metres high) are too challenging on a hot day, there are always easier hikes in the valleys. There you'll be able to enjoy equally excellent walks in the cool shade supplied by tree-lined watercourses.
Cool in both senses of the word, the Caves of Nerja is definitely a must to visit in the area and a major attraction in Southern Spain for locals and visitors alike.
The caves are not just a tribute to beauty found in nature: they also offer superb acoustics, with of the chambers making a unique venue for the Festival of Music and Dance, held for one week in July. If you are around in July, this is a great opportunity to visit the caves and enjoy one of the most renowned music and dance events in the Costa del Sol.
Just 7 kilometres from the sea in Costa del Sol, beachgoers are in luck and spoilt for choice from Frigiliana, with plenty of sandy beaches to pick from and yet at a prudent distance from all the hustle and bustle of the busy coastal resorts. Our suggestions are Burriana in Nerja, Calaceite in Torrox and the off-the-beaten path beaches in the Maro cliffs natural area.
For great family picnics and wild swimming in Frigiliana, the Higueron river is a perfect spot. If you walk the river upwards, you will find a series of waterfalls and natural pools to swim in.
Another beautiful walking opportunity is a trail running along the bed of the Chillar river. It's 8 kilometers to the dam, but we recommend you to allow time to stop and contemplate the grandeur and beauty of the landscape.
Eating out in Frigiliana
Frigiliana has a good variety of bars and restaurants to choose from. The local cuisine is based on local fresh local produce including seafood, cane honey and sweet wines. Pescaito frito (deep fried fresh fish) and molletes (traditional bread rolls) are a classic in the entire Malaga area.
Sal y Pimienta is a lovely Spanish and Polish restaurant located by the main square.
Even if we haven't had the opportunity to try it ourselves when in Frigiliana, everyone there insists on how good pizzas are at La Tahona, also by the main square.
On the outskirts of Frigiliana, the Balcón de Frigiliana restaurant offers traditional meals and tapas as well as English breakfast with great views down to Nerja and the sea. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are also available.
One of the most popular restaurants in Frigiliana is La Taberna del Sacristán. Located in the old quarter, its main highlights are the fine cuisine and the good atmosphere, as well as the outdoor seating areas.
At La Parada del Zacatín, they have a good selection of tapas and raciones (the larger version of a tapa) and local wines at fair prices. The house specialty? Their mouth-watering cod fritters with cane honey.
Amenities in Frigiliana
For rural Spain, Frigiliana (in the Axarquia region) is well over the average in terms of services and amenities. Within the village you'll find chemists, a health centre, ATMs, plenty of shops and petrol station. The Guadalinfo centre offers free WiFi, and you'll also find WiFi available at several restaurants.
Frigiliana Rustical Review
Blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate, this coastal-rural village has not only survived the influx of foreign residents who have made their homes here –we can't blame them for choosing this stunner of a village, can we?– but also kept up with the area's growth into a melting pot of different countries without losing a shred of its original charm.
Surrounded by nature and with plenty of options for exploring in the country as well as the seaside, Frigiliana is the perfect destination for those looking to keep away from the touristy crowds of the Costa del Sol and yet be within easy reach of everything it is famous for.
We particularly recommend visitors to walk around the old town Frigiliana in the evenings, as the atmosphere gets peaceful, relaxing and special.
If travelling during the main summer season, our suggestion is not to arrive too late at the beach so that you can park easily. Here's a tip for summer beach bars: if you want to eat there later on, it's always a good idea to book a table as soon as you hit the beach.