Mijas is a municipality that has two main parts. First you’ve got the old village, a charming knot of shining white buildings in an epic landscape a few hundred metres above sea level, but just a short ride down to the beaches of Fuengirola.
It was a Moorish town, huddled around a castle of which a few small fragments and the original street plan remain.
Then there’s Mijas Costa, which is actually some way south, on the coast between Fuengirola and Marbella.
This area has all hallmarks of a modern Mediterranean getaway, with acres of golf courses, yet more sandy beaches and upscale holiday communities with modern homes.
1. Mijas Pueblo
The oldest part of Mijas is set high away from the coast and on a mountainside where the whitewashed old houses stand out brightly against the evergreen trees and bare rock.
It’s a rural Andalusian village in every sense, except for the large community of expats: The streets, following their Moorish plan, are laid with cobblestones, the upper floors of homes have wrought-iron balconies, and hanging flowerpots bring vivid colour to the white walls.
There are a few superb vantage points for photos of the Sierra de Mijas cradling the village: You can clamber up a section of the old walls, or the terracing at the Plaza de Toros where the vistas are sublime.