6 Things To Do Near Chilches, Málaga
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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The Costa del Sol is a hotspot for tourists throughout most of the year due to its favourable climate and abundance of activities. Quite a lot of people choose to visit popular places like Málaga’s city centre, Fuengirola, or Marbella, but this Spanish coastline has many more locations along it that are worth either visiting or staying at during a trip to southern Spain. One of these places is the town of Chilches. The town itself is very small, but it sits overlooking the sea and is less than a 10 minute drive to the waterfront which is ideal. We were fortunate enough to spend a week in Chilches at Finca Buenavista in a private rural house and loved its location in terms of its proximity to other nearby points of interest and the ease at which we could get to them all. There are some great things to do near Chilches, whether you want to stay along the coast and visit some beaches, or explore places that are more inland - there's something nearby for everyone to enjoy!
Despite its size, Chilches actually has a long history dating back to the Romans when it was called Cicer in reference to the chickpeas that were grown in the area. It later passed into the hands of the Visigoths, became a prosperous Islamic settlement, and was fought over my two noblemen in 1492 when Granada was taken by the Catholic monarchs. If you find yourself walking along the waterfront at Chilches, there’s still one remaining tower from the battle in 1492 to take a look at, so keep your eyes peeled.
Where is Chilches?
Chilches is located only 12km east of Málaga’s city centre, in the region of Axarquía, less than 1km from the waterfront. I would recommend hiring a car to get to it, as it’s nestled at a high altitude and it's easier to travel to and from with a car.
Getting to Chilches from Málaga's airport
Driving to Chilches from Málaga’s airport is very easy and is mostly done along the same stretch of highway, and takes under 30 minutes to get to. There are also shuttles and buses available from the airport if you aren’t renting a car.
I would never have found Chilches if I hadn’t been researching unique places to visit in and around Málaga, and I’m so glad that it popped up! There were plenty of things to do near Chilches for us to choose from during our time there, but here are my top picks to help you plan your own trip to Chilches and the surrounding area:
1. Go paddleboarding in Nerja
One of the first things we did while we were staying in Chilches was to research which of the nearby beaches along the Costa del Sol were good for paddleboarding. It turns out there are quite a few in the area that have relatively calm waters and are very popular with people wanting to kayak or paddleboard. During the summer months the beaches in and around Málaga are packed with tourists, but during the off-season chances are that you’ll have no problem finding a parking spot right in front of the beach. One of the most popular beaches to visit in Nerja is Playa de Burriana because of the large amount of activities offered around it. We chose this beach as our starting point to paddleboard to La Cascada de Maro - a waterfall in Maro that dramatically falls from the cliff into the sea. Paddleboarding or kayaking here really is one of the best things to do near Chilches - and you can even go on a guided tour to the Maro waterfall too!
2. Explore the Cueva de Nerja
Only a short drive from Playa de Burriana is one of the Costa del Sol’s most popular tourist attractions - the Cueva de Nerja. It’s also one of the more unique places to visit near Málaga that you can plan a trip to. The caves were discovered in 1959 by a group of friends, and one year later were opened to the public. It takes around 45 minutes to explore the Nerja Caves, and you can opt for a guided or self-guided tour depending on which you prefer. The caves are very easy to navigate with steps and bridges guiding you throughout your journey, and there is enough lighting inside the caves for you to see where you’re stepping too. The Nerja Caves are home to the largest stalactite in the world, as well as 589 rock paintings which is the largest amount found in one place in the world (they’re not available to the public though for conservation reasons). It costs €15 to enter the caves, which is a bit steep but you’re most likely only going to visit it once in your lifetime so why not splurge a little!? But, if you're on a tight budget, they are free to visit on Mondays at 9:30 for EU citizens if you book ahead!
3. Visit the white villages
Southern Spain is synonymous with pueblos blancos (white villages) so it’s worth mentioning that if you’re staying in Chilches, the town is perfectly placed for you to explore some of them! In my opinion, no road trip in southern Spain is complete without visiting a few white villages. Chilches is located in the Axarquia area of the province of Málaga which is made up of 31 white villages - both along the coast and inland. There are actually a number of driving routes in Axarquia to choose from that will take you through a selection of villages based on what they’re most known for. Of course, you won’t have enough time to visit all 31 villages unless you’re staying for a long period of time in the area, so I would recommend picking a couple that are easily accessible from Chilches. One of my favourite white villages in southern Spain is Frigiliana, which is only a 30 minute car ride from Chilches, or 15 minutes from Nerja if you’re coming from that direction. There aren’t too many things to see and do in Frigiliana, but it’s picture perfect and offers great views of the coastline. Vélez-Málaga on the other hand, has a few more interesting things to see in it, including one of the best castles I’ve been to in the province of Málaga. If white villages are your thing, then there are definitely a lot of things to do near Chilches to keep you occupied!
4. Drive along the Ruta de la Pasa
As I mentioned before, there are a number of fantastic driving routes around Chilches that you can go on, which will have you stopping at some beautiful white villages. One of the more interesting routes you can go on is called the Ruta de la Pasa (the Route of the Raisin). The route begins very close to Chilches, and takes you on a 62km journey through the villages where the best raisins in the world are produced. The Moorish village of El Borge is one of those stops, and despite its small size, the city boasts over 50 points of interest for you to visit, the most famous being its 16th century church sitting in the main plaza. If you plan on taking this route, don’t forget to sample some raisins and learn more about the traditional methods used in their production. If avocados are more your thing - there’s a route for that too!
5. Take a walk around Torrox Costa
There are a large number of coastal villages you can visit during your stay in Chilches, whether you want to hit the beach or simply walk around its streets and soak up the atmosphere. We stopped at Torrox Costa on our way back from Nerja, and were pleasantly surprised at how charming it was. It has a more relaxed feel than Nerja, and has actually been given the distinction as the healthiest town in Europe. Other than its beaches, the coastal town also has some Roman ruins on display next to its iconic lighthouse, and if you want to explore its old town, Torrox Pueblo is only a short drive away. Torrox is quickly becoming one of the more popular places to visit in the Costa del Sol, but it’s still not as popular as nearby coastal hotspots such as Nerja or Málaga itself.
6. Visit Málaga's city centre
Chances are, if you’re staying in Chilches it’s because you wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Málaga’s city centre and its beaches that are filled to capacity. But that doesn’t mean that a day trip to Málaga shouldn’t be in the cards for you. Málaga is a beautiful city in Spain to visit, with a history spanning thousands of years which is still proudly on display in between its modern architecture. The beaches are not the best in Málaga’s city centre, so I would avoid those especially in the summer months. What I would recommend instead is taking a walk through the city centre and learning more about the culture and history of the city instead. There are plenty of activities to do in Málaga and great view points to look out from, so plan ahead and make sure you have time to see the things that interest you the most. It’s only a short drive from Málaga to Chilches so you can spend the whole day there without having to worry about a long drive back to your accommodation.
Where To Stay in Chilches
Without a doubt the only place you need to stay in Chilches is Finca Buenavista. This rural accommodation is set in the middle of avocado and mango plantations, and offers both private houses and 8 self-catered apartments of different sizes. And the views of the sea from here are unbeatable. We stayed in Casa Ronda, which is one of their private rural houses ideal for 2 people. Our house was fully equipped with a TV, air-conditioning, a washing machine, WiFi, an outdoor barbecue, a kitchen and dining area, and our very own private pool! We had an amazing poolside view of the mountains and coastline, and could often see a shepherd herding his goats too which was nice to see. Casa Ronda is the perfect oasis to escape to, and it's a nice and quiet change compared to staying in busy tourist areas. Our hosts couldn’t have been nicer if they tried, and really made us feel welcome and were available at any time if we needed them. Finca Buenavista is located only a stone's throw away from one of the quietest beaches along the Costa del Sol too - bonus!
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Chilches is probably not the first town that comes to mind when you think of the Costa del Sol - you may not have even heard of it before! But it is the perfect area to stay in if you want to have a relaxing getaway but still be close to popular tourist spots. While you're exploring the area, you may even come across a few hidden gems in Málaga like we did!
Do you have somewhere you love to visit near Málaga? Do you have any questions about Chilches or Finca Buenavista? I'd love to hear about your experiences and answer any questions you may have in the comment section below! And please feel free to follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my latest travels!