The Secrets Of Andalucia – The Axarquia

The Axarquia, on the easternmost part of the Costa del Sol, is situated next to Malaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol and its seaport and airport, which are amongst the busiest in Spain. The city is also well-connected with the rest of Spain by road, thanks to the modern communication network. All of it makes the whole area an ideal welcoming place for quality tourism that look for something other than sun, sea and sand. A type of tourism that looks for history, for legend, such as that of the mountain bandits that still seem to lurk around the Venta de Alfarnate, where all those travelling inland from the coast had to pass. That look for nature, thanks to the walking trails through the beautiful countryside. That look for emotions, practising hang-gliding, windsurfing, waterskiing or scuba-diving. That looks for relaxation on the magnificant golf courses that have the Costa del Sol.

The Axarquia offers some spledid tours to discover the many secrets of the area. One of the most interesting itineries is the Route of the Olive Oil and the Mountains. The remains of huge millstones and enormous vats that can be found in the region are proof of how far back olive-oil making goes. It is the basic element of the traditional, delicious and healthy Mediterranean gastronomy. Following these remains, we commence the route in Viñuela, where ther is a reservoir on which activities are programmed that are increasingly popular with those who want to practice Active Rural Tourism. It is an area, as is most of La Axarquia, that is sought after by those looking for direct contact with rural and natural surroundings.

But as well as nature, we can also find other exciting activities:: archaeological remains, such as Cerro Capellania, the Neolithic site of El Fuerte en Periana, the Necropolis of Santa Ana or the remains of the Arab Baths in Vilo, which speak clearly of the places’s culture and historical past. Colmenar, with its Shrine to Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, adding the finishing touch to this whitewashed town, and Riogordo, where we find the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia (XVI century) form part of the history of La Axarquia. During the Napoleonic invasion, the so-called “Priest of Ribagorda”, leading his guerrilla squads, kept the troops at bay, attacking them even in their own barracks. On the slope of the La Maroma Peak lies Alcaucin, a name that comes from the Arabic al-Cautin (the Arches).

Nearby is the Castle and the settlement of Zaifa, erected upon an ancient Phoenician fortress. Following on north, we come to Alfarnate and Alfarnatejo and close to the former, La Venta de Alfarnate, a country inn dating back to 1690. This place was often withess to, and retreat from, the persecution of the bandits by the “Migueletes”. Now, calmed and peaceul, this eatery offers, in romantic surroundings, the most prized dishes of the region’s gastronomy, prepared with the delicious oil that gives this route its name.

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