La Axarquía is an area in Malaga situated to the east of the province. The capital is Vélez-Málaga and in total it has a population of some 185,000 inhabitants shared out amongst 31 municipalities: Alcaucín, Alfarnate, Alfarnatejo, Algarrobo, Almáchar, árchez, Arenas, Benamargosa, Benamocarra, Canillas de Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Colmenar, Comares, Competa, Cútar, El Borge, Frigiliana, Iznate, La Viñuela, Macharaviaya, Moclinejo, Nerja, Periana, Rincón de la Victoria, Riogordo, Salares, Sayalonga, Sedella, Torrox, Totalán and Vélez-Málaga.
This is an area rich in contrasts, from the coastal towns to those tucked away in the Malaga mountain range. The mountains are replete with almond trees, vineyards and olive trees and the valley is rich in fruit trees and vegetables as well as swathes of citrus orchards.
If you prefer walking or hiking, there are loads of excellent signposted hiking trails through the Sierra de Tejeda, a steep area rich in natural beauty. The highest peak is La Maroma, at some 2000 metros high.
When at the coast, it would be a crime not to try the pescaito frito (fried fish) at the Torre del Mar, while enjoying the beaches at Nerja or Torrox.
Inland, Competa and Frigiliana are uniquely beautiful towns that emphasise the wealth of contrast in this area.
EspetosMake sure you try these dishes when in the different areas: Iznate and Macharaviaya has great Maimones soup and Gazpachuelo; in Vélez-Málaga and Almáchar go for Ajoblanco, white garlic soup and Cachorreña fish soup with bitter orange; enjoy cabbage stew and Migas, or fried breadcrumbs in Benamocarra. Young goat stew and oil and almond tarts are famous in Algarrobo and crunchy pork in Sayalonga; when in Cómpeta try the country style liver and fennel stew, all with an excellent local wine; go for Migas and rabbit stew in Torrox and honey sweetened potatoes in Frigiliana; rice and fennel are the order of the day in Archez, and Gazpacho with broad beans in El Borge; little cakes in Alfarnatejo and Riogordo and roscos, or ring shaped cakes in Alfarnate…
SPECIAL FIESTAS IN THE AREA
ALCAUCÍN: at the end of November. Fiesta de la Castaña, or the Chestnut Fiesta with anisette and sweet potato tasting.
ALFARNATEJO: The first Saturday in August. Fiesta del Gazpacho.
ALMáCHAR: The first Saturday in September. The Ajoblanco, or White Garlic Fiesta. Declared to be of national interest for tourists.
CANILLAS DE ACEITUNO: The last Sunday in April. Fiesta de la Virgen de la Cabeza.
COLMENAR: mid-December. Mosto, or grape juice and chacina, or dried pork tasting.
COMPETA: mid-August. A night-time fiesta with wine tasting and grape stamping. Also considered to be a fiesta of national tourist interest.
FRIGILIANA: at the beginning of May. Día de la cruz, or Day of the Cross. The streets are decorated and visitors are invited to sample local food and drink when the sun goes down.
PERIANA: mid-May. Fiestas de San Isidro, with a renowned Flamenco festival.
RIOGORDO: Easter Week. The Riogordo Paso, or Procession. Declared to be a fiesta of national tourist interest.
SAYALONGA: beginning of May. Fiesta del Níspero (Loquat Day). Of national interest.
TORROX: Sunday before Christmas. Fiesta de las Migas, (fried breadcrumbs) – of national interest.
VÉLEZ-MALAGA: 23rd of June. Noche de San Juan, or Saint John’s Night.