If you’re spending your vacation in Malaga you will have a lot of wonderful things to explore. But when you have completed your Malaga itinerary, you might want to discover some of the incredibly charming white villages near Malaga.
There’s an array of beautiful villages near Malaga and while some of them are easily reached by bus, I’d rather recommend renting a car to reach a larger magnitude of them. Going on an Andalucia road trip is a great way to see them all.
There are so many underrated Malaga villages, but also in the neighboring provinces which are not much more than an hour’s drive from the city.
To help you decide which ones to add to your itinerary, I’ve listed up my absolute favorite white villages. Malaga makes a fabulous base for visiting each of the ones I’ve included. Read on and start planning your trip!
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White villages near Malaga
Among the nice villages near Malaga, you should not miss out on the award-winning Frigiliana village. It’s one of the most picturesque Malaga villages which also makes it one of the most touristy villages in Costa del Sol.
The village is set on the steep hillside overlooking Nerja’s coastline thoroughly decorated with colorful pot plants throughout the steep narrow streets that make their way up to the viewpoint on top of the village.
Among the things to do in Frigiliana, you can enjoy tapas and drinks in the sun with impeccable views or go hiking in the surroundings. Particularly beautiful is the Rio Higueron walk you can easily spend an hour or eight hiking depending on when you decide to turn around.
Mijas Pueblo is one of the most popular villages near Malaga Spain. Perched on the hillside of Sierra de Mijas above Fuengirola, it receives buses of tourists daily from both Fuengirola and Malaga.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. The enchanting village boasts incredible views over the coastline from its many viewpoints.
Things to do in Mijas Pueblo are plentiful. Why not make your own chocolate at the chocolate factory? There are also a couple of interesting museums, like the Miniatures Museum you can discover. Besides this, there are a lot of lovely bars and restaurants to have tapas or a meal.
Among the best things to do in Mijas for active travelers is to go hiking in the Sierra de Mijas, there are several hiking trails starting right above the town.
Possibly one of the prettiest villages around Malaga is the tiny hilltop village of Iznájar situated right across the Cordoba border.
There are a lot of things to do in Iznájar and you can easily fill up a day wandering the narrow streets that are blessed with sweeping views in all directions, visiting the Moorish castle overlooking the village, and searching for the best viewpoints.
However, the highlight of a visit to Iznájar is Patio de las Comedias, one of Cordoba’s award-winning patios filled with blue-painted pots with colorful flowers and other decorations.
If you have more time, spend a day at Valdearenas Beach which sits on the lakefront. You can rent umbrellas and sunbeds there and even paddleboards and kayaks.
Rute is an enchanting white village near Iznajar Lake in the Cordoba province that’s worth a visit. Boasting some of the most beautiful patios in the province and famed for its Anis production you find a whole lot of things to do in Rute.
Besides visiting the museums, some of them are only open in the winter months, like the Anis Museum, Chocolate Museum, and the Marzipan Museum, make sure you hit the hiking trails.
The ruins of Rute el Viejo are a short walk from the Tennis Club, but you can walk from the village too. A longer, but absolutely wonderful walk is up the hill to Torre del Canuto, the old watchtower that you can see from the village itself.
Among the best villages near Malaga to visit you find Casares. Famed for its natural thermal baths at Hedihonda, the hillside village is beyond picturesque with tall, whitewashed buildings climbing up the hill to meet the remains of the Moorish castle.
Among the best things to do in Casares is to go hiking, eat tapas, and explore the castle ruins. It’s a lovely town to walk around that you should add to your Andalucia itinerary.
One of the pretty villages in Malaga that doesn’t get near as much attention as it deserves is the hillside village of Ojén – the village of Lemons.
Decorating the main church walls are live lemon trees cut flat to resemble live paintings. Particularly beautiful in winter when the lemons are ripe and contrast the green leaves with their fresh yellow color.
The main square is always busy with restaurants and bars catering to locals and the few tourists that have made it up the 15 minutes from Marbella.
Other than walking the steep, charming cobbled streets, stroll along the side of the village where a cave carves in under the houses on the edge and makes it look like the rock they’re sitting on might collapse any minute.
Above the village, you can walk the steps to a cave overlooking the village and the valley below.
Another attraction in Ojén is the Charco las Viñas, a waterhole with a little waterfall that is perfect to cool down in during the hot summer months. This natural site is found below the village and is a steep walk down to the water.
Cuevas de San Marcos
Cuevas de San Marcos is yet another one of the pretty villages near Malaga that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves.
Situated near Iznajar Lake on the border to Cordoba, there are loads of fun things to do in Cuevas de san Marcos. Famed for Cueva Belda where there are unique bat populations living, you can hike to the caves and back or prolong the walk to include Cueva Nueva.
The adventurous will want to make the hard climb to the Medina Belda where you can see the remains of houses from Moorish settlements and climb the last few meters to the cross at the top of the peak where you’ll be mesmerized by the views of the village and surrounding countryside.
You can also walk to the river and to the Iznajar Reservoir which was built by Franco in the 60s.
Parauta is one of the cutest white villages near Malaga and surprisingly I haven’t seen many foreign tourists around there. The village is extremely popular among Malaga’s locals for the Bosque Encantado which is a fun little trail for children and adults alike, yet it’s still considered a hidden gem in Andalucia.
Walk past fairies, gnomes, little windows and doors in the trees, and a large unicorn. The kids will love it, but to be honest when I walked there with my fiancée, we were being just as much kids as any.
I highly recommend going on the weekdays to avoid the crowds, and if you happen to be there in mid-November you’ll be met by spectacular fall colors covering the “Bosque de Cobre” aka the Copper Forest due to the copper-colored canopies covering the valley during the fall season.
Igualeja is an underrated white village in Malaga’s Valle del Genal. Particularly famous locally for its fall colors, so if you make it there in mid-November you’ll be spoiled by a blanket of yellow and orange.
The most popular walk to see fall colors is a loop taking you from Igualeja to Parauta and back. This way, you get to see both villages in one unforgettable day – including El Bosque Encantado.
The biggest attraction in Igualeja itself is the Nacimiento del Rio genal, which is where the Genal River comes out. There are also a couple of cute churches, excellent viewpoints, and a charming main square to see.
Istán is an incredibly cute white village between Malaga and Marbella. With cobblestoned streets, an old washing place, enchanting squares, and local bars, this is a blueprint of the true Andalucia.
The village is a hotspot for hikers throughout the winter but there are also a whole lot of freshwater sources surrounding the village which attracts people in the summer months too.
Among them, you can hike to the Rio Verde and Charco del Canalón which is just past the village. Another refreshing spot is the Istan Lake which is one of the most beautiful lakes in Andalucia.
The lake is not easy to find the way down to, so I suggest you ask the locals – and it’s steep on a windy dirt road so you might want to leave the car on the top of the road and walk down to the lake to assure you get back up again.
One of the most underrated white villages near Malaga is without a doubt Gaucín. Sitting on a hilltop crowned by the ruins of one of Malaga’s most epic castles, Castillo del Aguila, it’s completely surrounded by nature.
The views are spectacular. Gaucín and its castle were strategically built to control the area across the mountains and all the way to the coast with views of Africa on a clear day.
Due to the picturesque surroundings, various artists from around the globe have settled in the whitewashed village and you can enjoy lovely little galleries in the narrow streets.
Gaucín is also a great place for hikers with multiple hiking trails taking you across the surrounding mountains and hills.
Setenil de Las Bodegas
One of the most unique white villages near Malaga is the tiny settlement that is built into the mountain near Ronda right across the Cadiz border.
You can easily see the whole village and walk above it for a bird’s eye view in about an hour. But take your time and peek into the little artisan shops and sit down at one of the bars for a drink or a bite to eat.
It is truly an unmatched white village Malaga city is only an hour and 15 minutes away from. I recommend that you combine visiting the village with Zahara de la Sierra which is a 40-minute drive away on picturesque mountain roads with unforgettable views.
Zahara de la Sierra
Zahara de la Sierra is one of the most impressive Malaga villages. The village itself is super tiny with pretty much a square and a church.
But the remains of the hilltop castle above the village boast epic views of the turquoise lake and countryside below. It is a short walk up to the castle remains, it’s free to visit, and you can walk inside up to the top for the best views.
The village is perfect to combine with Setenil de las Bodegas on a day trip from Malaga.
One of the most incredible villages near Malaga is the hilltop village of Salobreña that elegantly spills down the hillside down to the beach.
In the summer months, this is one of the busiest beach towns in Andalucia and by far one of my favorites. That said, there are more Spanish beachgoers there than foreign tourists which is one of the things I love the most about Granada’s Costa Tropical.
But even in the winter months, there is plenty to do in Salobreña like visiting the castle and wandering the incredibly charming streets through whitewashed houses decorated by colorful pot plants.
Juzcar – the Blue village
Not quite white, but still one of the most lovely villages near Malaga. The Blue Village or the Smurf Village – officially named Júzcar – is one of the best places to take your kids.
Completely Smurf-themed, the blue-painted houses feature wall paintings of different Smurf characters, there’s a Smurf playground at the entrance of the tiny village and on the main square you can expect shows, workshops, and Smurf souvenirs.
Your little ones can get their face painted and get a Smurf hat with their name on it. Júzcar is truly one of Andalucia’s enchanting treasures.
Reflections on villages near Malaga
Now that you’ve uncovered the most beautiful villages near Malaga, I’m sure you’ve already started planning your next adventure. I’m sure you’ll enjoy any of these. As you can see, some of them are close by and fairly small, so they are perfect to combine two and two on a day trip.
Nevertheless, you should travel by car to most of these to get the most out of your trip as public transport to most of them is poor.
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