The municipality of Mijas extends to the south west of the province of Málaga, 30 km southwest of Málaga city and is integrated into the region of Costa del Sol Occidental. Its municipal term, with an area of 148 km², extends from Sierra Alpujata and Sierra de Mijas, with its maximum elevation of 1,150 meters, to Mediterranean Sea. Through its territory is located the only natural pass between Costa del Sol and Valle del Guadalhorce, known as Gómez Pass or Fishermen Pass.
It is one of the municipalities with the highest population census in the province of Málaga, concentrated in three main urban centers. One is Mijas Pueblo, located on the slopes of Sierra de Mijas, it constitutes the historical center of the municipality of Mijas and keeps the character of the typical Andalusian white town. It is the administrative center of the municipality, where City Hall and most of its historical buildings are located. Another is Las Lagunas, located in the area called Mijas Costa, next to Fuengirola city, it represents the most modern part of the municipality, where the industrial and commercial area is located. Finally, La Cala de Mijas, which is the nerve center of 12 km of coast that Mijas has and where is located large urbanizations that occupy the entire coast, such as Calahonda, El Faro or El Chaparral. There are other scattered areas of more or less rural character such as Osunillas, Valtocado, Entrerríos and La Alquería, in addition to several isolated urbanizations built around a golf course.
All this set that forms the municipality of Mijas, limits to the north with Coín, Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre, to the east with Benalmádena, to the south with Fuengirola and Mediterranean Sea and to the west with Marbella and Ojén.
Mijas was a small town mainly dedicated to agriculture and fishing until the eruption of the tourism boom in the 1950s. Since then, tourism and construction sectors have been the engines of the local economy, although there is still a agricultural activity, mainly concentrated in the subtropical trees plantation.
Currently, Mijas is a multicultural municipality with a high percentage of foreign residents and one of the main centers of residential tourism in Andalusia, increasing the population considerably during the summer months. Among foreign tourists, the majority are from United Kingdom and Germany.
The proximity of Mijas to the sea determines a mild temperature, without excessive heat in summer and with mild temperatures in winter.
It is a municipality very rich in springs and the tree mass of Sierra de Mijas is made up of repopulated pine forest in the middle of the 20th century, accompanied by carob trees, holm oaks and wild olive trees, as well as Mediterranean scrub.
The first indications of settlements in the current municipality of Mijas date back to the Upper Paleolithic.
The Phoenicians occupied these lands from the 9th century B.C. and, from the 2nd century B.C. until the 5th century of our era, the Romans where who inhabited it, building great roads of union between different cities, one of them crossed the municipality of Mijas, the one that united Málaga and Cádiz. The archaeological remains found confirm the existence of the Roman city of Suel, a possible successor to the city that was formed after the arrival of the Phoenicians.
At the beginning of the 8th century, the lands of current Mijas came under Islamic influence, under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus, which, after landing in Algeciras, occupied almost the entire peninsular territory. During the period of Muslim occupation, there was significant economic and demographic growth, with agriculture being the basis of the economy. Between the 8th and 9th centuries different revolts took place at the hands of Umar Ibn Hafsun and his sons, around Bobastro and to which the towns of Awta, Comares and Mixas (Mijas) would join.
In 1487, Mijas was conquered by Catholic Monarchs. In 1492, the distribution of the properties to the new Christian settlers who had settled in Mijas after the conquest took place. Years later, many abandoned the granted lands due to the insecurity caused by the incursions of pirate ships that attacked the coasts of Málaga from ports located in North Africa, which would cause the coastal area to be uninhabited. In response to this insecurity, watchtowers were erected along the coast to control and prevent incursions by North African pirates. From the 16th to the 18th century, the Calahonda Tower, the Cala del Moral New Tower, the Cala del Moral Battery Tower and the Calaburras Tower were erected in Mijas, all declared Cultural Interest Assets.
During the 17th and 18th centuries one of the main economic activities of Mijas was marble exploitation.
In the 19th century, during the Independence War, Mijas was occupied by Napoleonic troops in mid-1810, and, from that moment, its territory was the scene of numerous confrontations between Spanish and French troops. In August 1812, French troops definitively abandoned Mijas, withdrawing to Málaga, from where they would abandon the province to the north.
In 1841 the segregation of a part of the territory of the municipal term that Mijas had maintained since 1487 took place, giving rise to the creation of Fuengirola as an independent municipal term.
During this century the economic activity of the municipality had a great boom, it was based on agriculture with the cultivation of vine, livestock and paper industry, with the construction of mills and fulling mills taking advantage of the driving force of the water of the numerous aquifers in area.
At the end of the same century, the phylloxera plague on the vines caused an economic crisis in the municipality, from which it did not recover until after the Civil War.
Starting in the second half of the 20th century, with the tourism boom, Mijas experienced a strong increase from its economy and population.
When you begin to see elements of cultural interest in Mijas, it will be helpful to know that the historical center of Mijas itself will place you in the center of a typical Andalusian town with simple, low-rise buildings, completely whitewashed, with bars and balconies full of flowers and fully adapted to the orography of its surroundings. Located on the southern slope of Sierra de Mijas, which is covered with pine trees, contemplating spectacular views of Costa del Sol, tourist centers such as Torreblanca, Fuengirola and, on clear days, the mountains of North Africa and the Rock of Gibraltar.
The municipality of Mijas has within its territory a large number of religious buildings, all of them subsequent to the reconquest of the area by Catholic Monarchs.
Inside the town of Mijas, located in the upper area, you can see the Church of Immaculate Conception, which dates from the mid-17th century. It was built on the ruins of an old mosque from which its Mudejar tower remained. It consists of three naves separated by semicircular arches on marble columns. In the epistle another larger chapel opens with hemispherical vaults on pendentives decorated with plasterwork of the Málaga type, from the early eighteenth century. Inside it houses eight frescoes with images of apostles, dating from the first half of the 17th century.
The Hermitage of the Virgin of the Rock is from the same century. This religious temple is excavated in live rock, and it is a cave hermitage to which a stone sacristy has been added. Inside it houses the Virgin of the Rock, patron saint of Mijas.
At the end of the 17th century, you will be able to appreciate the Church of St. Sebastian, which has been renovated on many occasions. It consists of a covered nave, a square main chapel with a hemispherical vault and a dressing room with an arched vault where mural paintings of angels are shown.
Moving on to the 18th century, you will see from the beginning of this the Hermitage of Our Lady of Remedies. This hermitage is popularly known as the Church of St. Ana and consists of a single nave. Inside it houses the dressing sculpture of the Virgin of Remedies from the 18th century.
Also from the beginning from 18th century is the Hermitage of Calvary, located in the foothills of Sierra de Mijas, surrounded by nature. From its location you get wonderful views of the Mediterranean coast.
The last religious building that you will find in Mijas from the 18th century is the Hermitage of St. Antón, which consists of a single nave. The image of St. Antón in its interior is carved in polychrome wood, also from the same period.
In the 19th century, specifically in the year 1876, the last religious construction that you will appreciate in the municipality of Mijas, the Hermitage of the Port, was carried out. It is located at the beginning of the road between Mijas and Benalmádena. Its construction was the result of a promise made by a lady of a certain age in the event that God gave her a son. The request was granted and she kept her promise.
Outside of religious buildings, you can find other military ones within Mijas, such as the Mijas Castle, located in Mijas Pueblo, on the Promenade of the Walls. It was built with the purpose of protecting the population against enemy attacks, serving as the perimeter wall of the town until the middle of the 17th century. Currently, there are only a few remains of a tower and walls that marked its perimeter.
Other buildings with the same purpose located in the municipality of Mijas are the Watchtowers, which are four beacon towers that formed part of an old coastal defensive line located along the Andalusian Mediterranean coast. From east to west, these towers are: Calaburras Tower, Cala del Moral New Tower, Cala del Moral Battery Tower and Calahonda Tower.
In the civil sphere, you will see buildings such as Miguel González Berral Municipal Auditorium and Las Lagunas Theater, recently built scenic spaces with modern architecture, as well as Bull Ring. It dates from the year 1900 and is located on the Promenade of the Walls, in Mijas Pueblo. It was built on the rock and its access door maintains the typism of the houses in its surroundings, totally whitewashed and with a peculiar oval shape.
Connecting more with nature you can see the Gardens of the Wall. Built on the remains of the old fortress that surrounded Mijas, they contain different plant species that are complemented by a viewpoint overlooking the sea.
Mijas is a municipality where you will not have time to get bored. You can learn more about different aspects thanks to its museums and cultural centers or attend its cultural events in the spaces provided for it. In addition, you will have the opportunity to delve into the natural environment of the municipality, either on the coast through its beaches, or in the mountains through Sierra de Mijas. Also, in relation to sport, Mijas offers you different facilities so that you can practice the sport that you are most passionate about. On the other hand, you can enjoy a leisure offer thanks to the infrastructure it has for it.
Regarding culture, Mijas has a considerable number of museums and centers where you can obtain information on a topic of interest.
First, starting with the museums, there is the Mijas Miniature Museum, popularly known as “Mijas Carromato” and located in Mijas Pueblo. It collect a collection of miniature objects accompanied by magnifying glasses and optical magnification systems essential for viewing. The collection is made up of more than 360 pieces, with themes as varied as: "dressed flea dressed", "a ballet dancer carved on a toothpick", "a naval battle painted on the head of a pin", "the Leonardo da Vinci last dinner on a grain of rice”, “the Seven Wonders of the World painted on a toothpick”, etc.
Another museum is the Historical-Ethnological Museum, also located in Mijas Pueblo, in Freedom Square. In its facilities there is a collection of farming, carpentry and fishing utensils, the old machinery used to make oil and wine, how lime was made, bread making in a traditional way, the importance of quarries of Mijas marble from Roman times, etc. It also exhibits collections of itinerant art and local crafts.
In addition to the museums, in Mijas there are other places such as Mijas Contemporary Art Center, where more than 400 works by figures such as Picasso, Dalí, Braque, etc. are exhibited. These include a magnificent collection of Picasso ceramics, considered the second largest in the world by number of works, by the Málaga genius. It also houses other temporary exhibitions and, in its facilities, free workshops for children and series of conferences or talks related to art and culture are held.
Furthermore, you can visit Watchtowers Interpretation Center, located in Cala del Moral New Tower. It displays a sample on the origin of coastal surveillance, the resources used, scale reproductions of the four Mijas towers and historical texts. A second room narrates the landing of Torrijos on the Mijas beaches and in a third, the fishing past of Mijas is exhibited with fishing boats such as the traiña, the seine, the sardinal and the patera along with other equipment.
As cultural centers, in Mijas you will find La Cala Cultural Centre, located on La Cala Boulevard, in La Cala de Mijas, and which has a library, a function room, where various activities such as concerts or workshops are held, and an exhibition hall. You will also have the opportunity to visit Las Lagunas Cultural House, located on St. Valentine Street, in Las Lagunas from Mijas Costa. It has a library and its facilities also teach various and numerous workshops. It houses Las Lagunas Adult Education Centre, the offices of Mijas City Promotion and Development Department and the offices of the Mijas City Youth Department. In addition, it has an exhibition hall and multiple uses, where individual and collective exhibitions, representations of small-format plays, concerts, conferences, etc. are held.
Apart from the two libraries located in these cultural centers, Mijas has another library located on Mexico Avenue, the Mijas Pueblo Library.
Continuing in the cultural field, you can go to different shows at the Miguel González Berral Municipal Auditorium or Las Lagunas Theater. The first one is located in the Gardens of the Wall from Mijas Pueblo and is home to the Villa de Mijas Theater Festival, which is held every year in August. Many cultural events are also held here throughout the year, mainly in summer. The second is located in Las Lagunas, Mijas Costa, next to Las Lagunas Sport Centre. It has a calendar of theatrical and musical performances throughout the year.
Of the natural environment of the municipality of Mijas it is necessary to highlight its main tourist attraction, its beaches. These, spread over 12 km of coastline, represent one of the most precious assets that Mijas has. Most of the access can be on foot or by car.
These beaches will provide you with the opportunity to do water sports or those related to their surroundings.
The municipality of Mijas also has facilities dedicated to sport, such as the eleven golf courses, being La Cala Golf & Country Club one of the largest in Europe.
The Costa del Sol Racecourse is the scene of one of the main equestrian events in Spain, the Mijas Cup or Grand Prix of Andalusia. In addition, within the municipality there are numerous establishments where you can practice horse riding.
Each urban nucleus has public sports facilities, the largest of which is Las Lagunas Sport Centre. In the municipal facilities you can practice aerobics, badminton, swimming, athletics, soccer and tennis, among other sports. There are also numerous private facilities scattered throughout the urbanizations of the municipality of Mijas.
Leaving the coast towards the interior of the municipality, in Mijas there is a main mountain range, which also receives its name, Sierra de Mijas. This mountain range runs parallel to the coast, separating Costa del Sol Occidental from Valle del Guadalhorce region. The highest point is Mijas Peak at 1150 meters above sea level, but there are others such as Mendoza Peak (1103 m), Castillejo Peak (955 m) and Moro Hill (973 m).
When visiting Sierra de Mijas, you should bear in mind that its orography is generally steep slopes and the streams that descend the slopes have excavated deep ravines that give the relief an abrupt and choppy appearance. Geologically it is rich in limestone, famous for the high quality of its marbles, since Roman times, and known for its lead, silver, iron and zinc mines that in ancient times were part of the socioeconomic fabric of the area, but which currently they are without activity.
Its flora is characterized by an extensive pine forest that covers it and an abundant Mediterranean scrub, such as thyme, rosemary, matagallo, fennel, esparto grass and palm hearts; dotted with carob trees, holm oaks, cork oaks and wild olive trees, and accompanied by other shrub species such as kermes oak, mastic, juniper, cornicabra, torvisco and rockrose. It constitutes a true green lung and a clear example of a Mediterranean ecosystem.
As for the fauna, in the highest levels you can find species such as lesser kestrel, Iberian imperial eagle or booted eagle. In lower environments, genet, dormouse, eagle owl, fox, occasional deer and mountain goat predominate; while in all the mountains you can see wild boars.
In order to explore all this natural environment that surrounds the municipality of Mijas, you can take one of the hiking trails that exist. Two of them belong to two stages of Great Path of Málaga:
Other hiking routes offered by the municipality of Mijas are: Málaga Port Route, Neighbourhood Quarry Route, Mission Cross Route, Gertrudis Small Valley Route, Small Valleys Route, Oleander Fountain Small Valley Route and Mijas Peak Route.
Among the main leisure places in the municipality of Mijas, the Mijas water park, Aquamijas, located in Mijas Costa, should be highlighted. A 34,000 m² space with wave pools, slides, float attractions, children's area, picnic areas, etc.
Finally, a well-known and typical attraction of Mijas is the “Burro Taxis”. Many tourists come to Mijas to visit the town on the back of a donkey or in a carriage driven by this noble animal. There are more than 60 donkeys that make up the “Burro Taxis” mobile park, with a place for them in the town, on Compás Avenue, where their carriages are also located.
The popular festivities in the municipality of Mijas are numerous throughout the year, given the dispersion of the population in different areas, towns and urbanizations. Each community or neighborhood celebrates its own festivity and pilgrimage, but the main fairs are Mijas Pueblo Fair, La Cala de Mijas Fair and Las Lagunas Fair. All three include horseback riding and fireworks, equestrian exhibitions, exhibitions and sports competitions. All this while eating and dancing, where the typical Mijas fandango is included.
Other festivities celebrated in the municipality of Mijas are Carnivals, in February, Easter, between March and April, May Crosses, in May, Corpus Christi, in June, St. John's Night, the night between 23 and on June 24, Live Mijas by Night, during the months of July and August, Tourist Day, in mid-September, and Feast of St. Antón, in January in the hamlet of Osunillas. Flamenco dance festivals are also held.
Furthermore, the most important cultural events held in the municipality of Mijas are the Villa de Mijas Art Biennial, between October and November, and the Villa de Mijas Theater Festival, in June. The official exhibitions of plastic arts take place in the halls of La Cala Cultural Centre and Las Lagunas Cultural House, as well as in the City Hall. For the performance of the performing arts, Miguel González Berral Municipal Auditorium and Las Lagunas Theater are used.
Throughout the year various music festivals are organized, mainly during the summer months, held outdoors. In August Flamenco Festival, Latin Night and Calapop Festival take place, dedicated to different musical genres. Celtic Night is celebrated in June, in which bands from bagpipes from Gibraltar and northern Spain generally play. In addition, throughout the summer Moon and Beach Nights take place next to the Mijas beaches, which include classical music, dance and flamenco concerts. Finally, in the autumn Mijas Jazz Festival is held.
Other cultural events held in Mijas are Story Contest, Love Letters Literary Contest, Senses Market and International People Day.
Mijas cuisine is based above all on the rich and varied first courses, due to its great diversity of soups.
Among the most typical dishes of Mijas, we must highlight salmorejo, maimones, cachorreñas, gazpachuelo, gazpacho, garlic soup, fish soup, tomato soup, lemon soup, mijeña salad, fried fish and porridge.
Among the most typical sweets, some such as sweet fritter, turnover and fried milk.
Regarding handicrafts, in the municipality of Mijas there is an association of artisans, the Mijas Artisans Association, created with the aim of protecting the artisan activity and making known the different artisan trades, as well as advising and helping artisans who they are beginning their activity, so that they carry out the fulfillment of the norms corresponding to their activities, at all levels.
In Mijas, articles of esparto grass, thread and wicker, ceramics, traditional and artistic forging, jewelry, silver embossing, soap making, natural cosmetics making, recycled paper making, wood carving, sculpture, leather goods, upholstery, are produced making headdresses, as well as many other products.