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The Best Small Towns of Spain
Spain has many small towns, but some have more charm than others or are much more interesting.
Ronda is set on a high bluff overlooking the fields below and the views are incredible. In the Tourism office, one can pick up a map which shows where the most important tourist attractions are. The town includes a modern parador built on the edge of a cliff. There are historic churches and palaces (now museums) from the time of the Moors in the town. There is also one of the oldest bullfight rings in Spain in the center of town, and during one part of the year they celebrate the Goyescas, where the bullfighters dress in period costumes depicting times during the painter Goya's lifetime. Many celebrities have been enraptured by the town and Orson Welles was buried here, in the ranch of one of his bulfighter friends, Antonio Ordoñez.
The town has an old part and a new part and they are joined by a bridge which goes over the gorge. The bridge is the favorite place for tourists to look down at the little stream at the bottom of the gorge and take pictures.
Not to be missed is the Palacio de Mondragon, which has many Mudejar features, and a beautiful garden overlooking the gorge. The municipal museum is located in this palace. Then there is the Church of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion, La Mayor, which has a beautiful retable. It was a mosque and was converted into a Catholic church. Across from this church is the City Hall, built in 1734.
There is a city park that is beautifully tranquil and that runs along the edge of a cliff. One has gorgeous views from the edge of this park over the surrounding countryside. Ronda is not to be missed! Everyone who has gone to Ronda remembers this town for a lifetime. One can also pick up quality souvenirs in the town.
Mijas is a white town of Malaga, located close to Fuengirola, going up the mountain. This town is prepared for tourism and has plentiful parking because there is a large parking building (12 stories) in the town. Just follow directions as you enter the town. On top of the parking building is the tourism office, one of the best in the Costa del Sol.
Beside this office one can see the many burros that are part of the town's famous burro taxi fleet. One can take pictures of these burros and ride them. There is a nearby lookout point that has a little park and you can see below the coastline and the city of Fuengirola. There is also a little chapel in the grotto, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The town has many top quality stores and many good restaurants. The town is so charming that when Robert Redford was younger, he decided to live in Mijas with his family for a year.
Mijas has a very good hotel called Hotel Mijas, a 4 star hotel at the entrance to the town, with a good restaurant, wonderful views, and a swimming pool. A very good restaurant with a stupendous view is the Restaurante La Alcazaba located at the Plaza de la Constitucion.
Nerja is located on the coast, about 40 km away from Malaga, and this small town is the favorite of the English, and with good reason. The town has one of the best climates in Spain. The main tourist attraction is the Balcon de Europa, or “Balcony of Europe", which has beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding mountains. This is a beautiful place to sit on the benches in the little park adjacent to the balcony. The beaches here are quite small and intimate.
Take a walk to the parador and you will have one of the best views from there. The parador has a beautiful garden and overlooks one of the beaches, and in the background are the mountains. The sight is especially beautiful during winter, when the mountain tops may be covered in snow. There are many stores in
Nerja that are quite sophisticated and you can get quality merchandise, and many of these stores are on Calle Pintada. There are several good leather stores in town and jewelry stores too. Many stores carry quality souvenirs like Lladro.
Before one reaches Nerja, there is a turnoff for Frigiliana and one goes up the mountain for about 8 kilometers. Frigiliana has been named the most picturesque village in Spain for many years in a government run contest and it is a white town. Every small plaza has a chapter of the town's history done in ceramic tile. As one see all the plazas, one understands the complete history of the town. During Moorish times many of the Moorish nobles lived in this town. This town is truly extremely charming and unforgettable.
Many foreigners are now buying houses in the town. One can walk up to the top of the town and get very good views of the seacoast. The sweet wine of Frigiliana is famous and many visitors go to this town just to buy the wine. This town has had the least development of white towns along the coast, so it is the most original. The charm of this town is overwhelming!