The Axarquia

Address: Axarquia, Nerja, Spain

- Free


This is a wild and rugged region of fabulous white villages and spectacular scenery.

It's only a short half an hour drive from the coast into one of southern Spain's most fascinating rural regions. The Axarquia, dubbed 'a land of rebellion, resistance and renaissance', was until relatively recently unsafe for tourists, due to the treacherous roads and very real chance of being held up by bandits. Until 1957 rebels fought on against General Franco's fascist army, when the network of difficult to reach mountain villages were mostly joined by donkey tracks. Today, thankfully, the roads are much improved and my favourite things to do in this rural idyll include a spot of wine tasting (at Bodegas Bentomiz, in Sayalonga), trawling back through time (at the classic Moorish villages of Comares, Riogordo and Periana) and hiking (up into the Almijara Natural Park). There are also some terrific places to stay and eat these days.

Value for money

Price advice

It's free to explore and most bars, restaurants, shops and places to stay are considerably cheaper, up to 50 per cent in fact, than on the coast.

Expert tips

Make sure to time it well as everything will be shut apart from restaurants between 2pm and 5pm.

Take your time as the roads are not always the best.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with younger children
  • Foodies
  • Mature travellers
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • Sightseeing
  • History
  • Nature / wildlife