5 Things To Do in Archidona During a Day Trip
Updated: Aug 23
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Southern Spain is filled with gorgeous towns and villages, some of which are hardly visited by tourists. You'll find that some pueblos blancos have coach tours arriving at them throughout the day because of their popularity, but then there are also those inland pueblos blancos that are equally as beautiful to walk around, and receive little attention. They're just sitting there waiting to be explored! Archidona is one of these villages. It's nestled less than an hours drive from Málaga, at the foothills of the Sierra de Gracia (where you can find the remains of a 9th century castle), and is also very close to Antequera - another often overlooked location by tourists in the province of Málaga.
Despite it being a small town, there are some lovely things to do in Archidona during a leisurely day trip. The town itself has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site, with a history dating back to pre-Roman times, and is also very popular with people wanting to do some outdoor activities such as hiking or rock climbing. We spent the afternoon in Archidona, but sadly didn't have enough time to hike up to Ermita Virgen de Gracia or see the popular Iglesia de la Victoria. I would recommend adding them to your itinerary though, as they are two main attractions in Archidona. Here is my short list of things to do in Archidona during a day trip:
1. Iglesia de Santa Ana
There are a lot of churches tucked away in the streets of Archidona, but one that really caught my attention was Iglesia de Santa Ana. Visiting this beautiful church is one of the top things to do in Archidona, and it's located only a short walk from the main plaza. The original part of the church was constructed in the 16th century, over what was probably an Arab mosque, and together with the town hall they formed the first main structures of the modern Christian town. If you're touring southern Spain, you'll notice that there are a lot of impressive churches, even in the smallest of towns, so don't forget to visit a few of them at least!
2. Walk the Streets of Archidona
Since there aren't as many things to do in Archidona as there would be in a larger city like Granada, it's worth taking some time to walk around the streets that make up this charming town. Archidona is situated on a hill, so you should bring good walking shoes for your trip, and if you're visiting in the winter months the weather in southern Spain can be a bit cooler than you might expect, especially in places like Archidona that are situated in the mountains, so come prepared. We came across a number of pretty spots in Archidona that weren't on our itinerary, so we were glad we took a casual stroll through the town for a bit.
3. Iglesia de Jesús Nazareno
On our way to the main plaza, we came across Iglesia de Jesús Nazareno, which is attached to the IES Luis Barahona de Soto (a high school based in an historic building). The church dates back to the 17th century and is worth taking a look around if the doors are open, as it houses a number of important historic altarpieces and images. Sadly it was closed when we walked by, so if you're planning a day trip from Antequera for example, I would suggest checking the opening times if you want to see the inside. Just behind the church is a large free parking lot which is conveniently located less than a 5 minute walk from the main plaza (although there are a lot of cats roaming around under the cars so watch your step).
4. Plaza Ochavada
The main point of interest and thing to do in Archidona is to visit Plaza Ochavada. This plaza is where you'll find the town hall, the tourist office if you need any advice on things to see in Archidona or have any questions, and an array of restaurants. There are three arches that make up the entrances to the plaza, and connect it to the rest of the streets in the town. Plaza Ochavada was built at the end of the 18th century, and was once the location of the town's bullfights. Today the plaza is used for other cultural purposes such as Holy Week. Archidona actually holds one of the most popular Holy Week celebrations in the province of Málaga, so if you're planning a road trip in southern Spain around the Easter period, Archidona is a great location to head to. The fact that Archidona is only a small town doesn't take away from the fact that it's one of the more unique places in Andalusia to visit.
5. Restaurante Arxiduna
We were pleasantly surprised to come across Restaurante Arxiduna while we were walking around Plaza Ochavada. It holds several awards for its twist on traditional food, but is still a very budget friendly restaurant in Archidona. We enjoyed it so much that we went back twice during our stay in the area so that we could try out more of their delicious dishes. One of my personal favourites was a savoury waffle with Parmesan and truffle on top. If the weather is nice, I would recommend sitting outside in the plaza while you eat. And don't forget to order one of their tasty desserts to finish your day on a good note!
BONUS: Visit Antequera
Archidona is great for a day trip, but if you're staying in the area you could definitely see it in a few hours. So, if you have time, I would recommend making the short drive to Antequera. It's a beautiful historic city in Andalusia to walk around, with more churches per inhabitant than any other city in Spain, and is one of the best places to visit in the south of Spain if you want to immerse yourself in good food and Spanish culture. And there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the area too such as hiking at El Torcal. If you're still in the midst of planning your itinerary for southern Spain, make sure Antequera is on that list (along with Archidona, of course).
Where To Stay in Archidona
If you want to stay at a unique location while exploring Archidona and the surrounding area, I couldn't recommend Hacienda Mendoza enough. This rural hotel is located only a 10 minute drive from Archidona, and is ideally located halfway between Granada and Málaga as well. The hotel sits within a classic 19th century building that was typical for this part of Andalusia, and offers a number of services such as free WiFi, a restaurant and bar area, an outdoor pool, and a spa bath in each room (just to name a few things). The breakfast is also exceptional, with freshly squeezed orange juice and a wide selection of food to choose from. We stayed at Hacienda Mendoza for 4 nights and loved everything about it. From the hotel, we were able to visit a number of nearby towns that were less than 30 minutes away - even one that was in the neighbouring province of Córdoba. And the views of the mountains from our room were an added bonus as well!
Twin room price: €64 per night
Archidona is one of the smaller towns that I've visited so far in Andalusia, but it has just as much charm as the larger, more popular ones. I would definitely put it up there with some of the more secret places to visit in Spain, and if you're planning a trip to southern Spain, you should make some time in your itinerary for at least a few hours in Archidona (or a few days). It's one of the best inland towns near Málaga to visit, and most people don't even know it's there!
I would love to hear about your favourite places to visit in the province of Málaga, and if you've ever been to Archidona please let me know what you thought about it in the comment section below. Remember to follow me on my travels through Instagram as well - hopefully you'll be adding more unique places to visit in Spain to your bucket list!