9 Must-See White Villages in Málaga
Updated: Aug 5
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The Province of Málaga is a beautiful part of Andalucía to explore, rich in both history and culture. For many people, Málaga is a place to go to get some sun, relax on the beach, and have some much needed relaxation. As far as day trips from Málaga go, nearby white villages are definitely a first resort for a lot of visitors. And while there are many white villages in Málaga that are along the coastline, there are even more inland white villages to explore that most tourists never get to see, such as Gaucín. If you're planning on staying in Málaga's city centre, and are renting a car in Málaga too, you'll have more than enough pueblos blancos at your fingertips to keep you busy for a while.
The origin of white villages in Andalucía can be dated back to the Moorish period, which is why the layout of the villages reflect traditional Muslim ones with their winding narrow streets and whitewashed houses - designed to offer shade and protect the houses from the heat of the sun. Many of these white villages were originally built as fortresses to protect the Muslim occupied areas from the Christian armies and other would-be attackers. You'll quite often still be able to see the remains of medieval walls, towers, and Arab arches dotted around the white villages in Andalucía. Hopefully while you're in southern Spain you'll have time to visit at least one of the many beautiful must-see white villages in Málaga. If you're having trouble deciding which ones to see, here are my recommendations:
Almogía sits just north of Málaga and is definitely an underrated destination in southern Spain. If you're not wanting to drive too far from the Costa del Sol, Almogía is a great option for a half-day trip from Málaga since it takes only 40 minutes to drive to. This whitewashed village is not the most popular white village in Málaga to visit, but nonetheless it's very picturesque to walk around and has an interesting history to go along with it. While you're in Almogía don't forget to check out Torre de la Vela for a perfect view of the village, as well as Plaza de la Constitución for something to eat or drink. Almogía is a typical white hill town in Spain that's definitely worth exploring for a couple of hours.
One of the best Andalucían white villages that I've been to so far is Álora. It sits not far from the famous Caminito del Rey hike, and is certainly one of the more unique places to visit in the Province of Málaga. Álora has a history pre-dating the Phoenicians, and was used as a Muslim stronghold for centuries, up until the 15th century when the Christians gained control of it. As well as visiting the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación and the Castillo Árabe, make sure you drive a little outside of the village centre to Santuario Nuestra Señora de las Flores - a convent dating back to the 16th century with amazing views of the mountains. Álora is one white village in Málaga you can't miss!
A very unique place to visit near Málaga is the quaint village of Archidona. We spent four nights in this area and had a fantastic time walking around the village and visiting other nearby points of interest such as El Torcal and Antequera. Archidona sits less than an hour from Málaga, in the foothills of the Sierra de Gracia, and is home to the award winning Restaurante Arxiduna which I would highly recommend eating at. Other points of interest include Iglesia de Santa Ana and Plaza Ochavada which are both equally as beautiful to take photos at. Although it's not set along the Andalucían white village route, Archidona is worth adding to your itinerary and is a fantastic white village in Málaga to explore.
Hidden gems near Málaga don't come much better than Casares. Legend says that its name came as a result of a visit from Julius Caesar, but it can also be linked to the Moorish word for castle. Either way, there are a lot of great things to do in Casares and it's definitely one of the must-see white villages in Málaga. Casares is only a short drive inland from Manilva, and you can even see Gibraltar from Mirador de Casares as well. While you're exploring this village, don't forget to hike up to see Castillo de Casares and Iglesia de la Encarnación which are two of the village's main attractions. You'll also be treated to some rare bird sightings, such as the Griffin Vultures, with the area surrounding Casares being protected due to its various species of birds.
If you love driving as much as I do, and are interested in hitting up one of the many driving routes in southern Spain, the Ruta de la Pasa (Route of the Raisin) is a good one to start off with. Even if you aren't a fan of raisins, this route is perfect if you want to see a lot of very unique white villages in Málaga in a short period of time. One of my favourite stops along the route was Comares, which is the highest village in the Axarquía region and has been very heavily influenced by Arab culture, which is still evident today in places such as Calle Real and Puerta de Málaga. Comares is a fascinating village to walk around and the views of the surrounding landscape are incredible from it too. It's one of the most beautiful places near Málaga you can visit, and is often overlooked by tourists so you may have it all to yourself like I did!
6. El Borge
There are a total of seven white village along the Ruta de la Pasa to visit, but if you don't have time to see them all I would also recommend stopping at El Borge. This village is known as the "raisin capital" of the region, as it's one of the largest raisin producers in Spain. Apart from raisins though, this pueblo blanco is also known for its rich Arab history which is worth learning about before you visit. The village is easily accessible by foot, so you can explore its main points of interest such as Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario and Arco de la Pasa all within a few hours. El Borge may not be one of the most popular white villages in Málaga to visit among tourists, but if you're after hidden gems in Andalucía it's a great choice.
Frigiliana is considered by many to be one of the best Andalucían villages to stop at. Although it's not my favourite white village in Málaga, it's certainly worth driving up to if you're staying near Nerja. It also makes for a great stop if you're planning a road trip around Andalucía. The village is most famous for its narrow whitewashed streets and Moorish old town, and the views you get of the coastline aren't bad either! If you're looking for picturesque places to visit from Málaga for the day and have exhausted all of the white villages along the Costa del Sol, maybe you should give Frigiliana a try.
When most people think of Marbella, they immediately associate it with either beaches or nightlife. But Marbella also has a charming old town to walk around, filled with boutique shops, traditional restaurants, and of course the odd historic point of interest too. If you're visiting the city of Málaga, it would be well worth your time to plan a day trip to Marbella as it's one of the more unique pueblos blancos in Andalucía to go to. I would start the day off at Plaza de los Naranjos and then make your way along Calle Carmen towards Iglesia Mayor De La Encarnación and the many narrow shopping streets surrounding it. And you can always end your day with a trip to one of the nearby beaches in Marbella around sunset too!
9. Mijas Pueblo
One of the most popular day trips from Málaga is to Mijas Pueblo. This Andalucían white village is definitely more catered to tourists than other more inland ones, but it has some very interesting points of interest to visit as well. On top of being home to one of the many castles in the Province of Málaga, Mijas Pueblo has some fantastic shopping streets and other unique attractions to visit like Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña and Plaza de la Constitución. This is one white village in Málaga that you can visit at any time of the year and still enjoy yourself.
There are plenty more white villages in Málaga to choose from, and these are just some of the many options you can choose in terms of day trips from Málaga. Hopefully the next time you visit the Costa del Sol you'll have time to explore the areas around Málaga in their entirety, because there are some incredible places to visit and plenty of hidden gems to discover too. If you happen to be travelling to the Province of Cádiz during your trip to southern Spain you'll certainly be overwhelmed with the amount of dramatic pueblos blancos there, such as Arcos de la Frontera, but Málaga has some pretty impressive ones too!
Have you visited any white villages in Málaga that aren't on my list? Let me know which one I should travel to next in the comment section below! You can always follow my travels on Instagram too and keep up to date with my latest adventures.
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