La Cala de Mijas, the Jewel of the Costa del Sol
Golf, Sightseeing, Shopping, Eating and Relaxing in and around La Cala de Mijas
A Christmas Treat
You may think Christmas holiday travel is a luxury, a time to get away to a better climate, have a complete rest to boost your spirits for the coming year, and avoid all the preparation for the Festive Season. A Christmas holiday in La Cala de Mijas makes your dream possible. It's a short flight from the United Kingdom to Malaga and La Cala de Mijas is an excellent coastal base for tourists, sightseeing fans, golfers or just those who want to chill out.
La Cala de Mijas on the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain is on the main coastal road between the touristy Fuengirola and the jet-setting Marbella. It is about 25 minutes drive from Malaga Airport, a perfect distance after a short 2 and a 1/2 hour flight from the United Kingdom.
Originally a fishing village, it is now a thriving centre and a perfect holiday base for lots of sightseeing trips, both near and further afield.
La Cala de Mijas has managed to keep its olde worlde charm with its whitewashed buildings in narrow streets decked out with colourful plants and flowers. Today it is much more than a pretty place to live; it is packed with restaurants, internet cafes, bars and supermarkets, together with the panaderia [where the aroma of fresh bread wafts out of the open door], tobacconists [estanco], card shops, shoe and dress shops, launderettes and car hire companies.
There are numerous apartments and villas for hire and should offer good deals. There are 2 hotels in La Cala de Mijas, the 4-star Cala Mijas Hotel and the 4-star Gran Hotel.Also the new Beatriz Palace is next to the castle on the outskirts of Fuengirola.
The twice-weekly market is a must-visit destination; it's just across the road and draws people from other coastal areas too. If you're self-catering in one of the many rental apartments and villas then the market is just the place for your fresh fruit and vegetables. Fresh flowers, stalls packed with spices and olives continue the Spanish atmosphere you will experience. And then, there are the tourist-type stalls with leather handbags, jewellery, wooden statues, Spanish traditional costumes, everyday casual clothes, sheepskin slippers and even stalls to buy your bras and knickers!
If you're visiting at Christmas time the beach will certainly not be busy but you might enjoy a lovely walk along the sandy beach looking for all kinds of shells. You can have a long walk whilst taking in the sea air and will feel refreshed and ready to eat in one of the many restaurants. There are two beach bars that serve food during the tourist season but they will be closed for winter but there is still lots of choice.
Try Spanish-owned restaurants to find good value and good quality food. Eat where the Spanish eat and you will feel you've had a good meal.
Tapas are small snacks that are accompanied with a piece of bread. It is a popular way to eat if you are not wanting a complete meal. There will be lots of dishes that you can select at the bar. Some dishes are hot, like meatballs in sauce or a cube of pork in sauce but cold dishes like seafood or tomatoes will be cold. Experiment but don't order too many at once. See how filling they can be!
Churros y chocolate is a popular mid-morning ritual. Dip doughnut-like sticks into thick drinking chocolate and enjoy. It's very filling.
If you like to sample Indian, Chinese, Thai, English or Japanese food you will not be disappointed. There is lots of choice.
Try Paella [the traditional Spanish seafood dish] in a Spanish restaurant. Usually it is served for 2 people and will take a little while to serve.
There are plenty of bars with wide-screen televisions if you can't wait to see the sport. These are lively places.
You will be amazed at the number of golf courses within 15 minutes drive. La Noria is a 9-hole course in La Cala. It's a flat course so it's easy walking. They hire trolleys out.
La Cala Golf and Country Club, 6 kilometres up the hill, has 3 spectacular 18-hole courses. They are superbly maintained but you will need a buggy as it is very hilly and challenging. There is a grass driving range and a clubhouse that has fabulous views. You can call in for a drink if you are not a golfer.
El Chapparel is only a very short drive and offers a hilly 18-hole course.
Some of the fairways on Santana Golf Course are next to one of the La Cala courses and again, it's a short drive away.
Up and Down the Coast.
Puerto Banus boasts a harbour filled with expensive yachts, trendy boutiques and a choice of cafes and restaurants. A great pastime is sipping coffee on the quayside, watching the world go by!
Visit the old part of Marbella to experience the quaintness of the narrow streets and a bit of original Spain.
Malaga is an hour's journey by train from Fuengirola.
For the avid shopper try La Canada, a huge shopping mall with lots of restaurants and cinemas. It will keep you busy all day!
There's also the Myramar mall in Fuengirola, with lots of shops, restaurants and cinemas.
Car hire is the easiest form of transport, especially if you want to travel inland to places like Mijas, known as the 'White Village'. It's popular with tourists, has plenty of ceramic pottery and souvenir shops and offers donkey rides. Mijas is a 20-minute drive from La Cala.
Ronda, up in the hills, is approached by a very twisting and winding road, so if you're not keen on driving hairpin bends, then you can go by coach.
Nerja is a very popular place to stay or to visit. The drive will take you past Malaga and is about 2 hours.
Granada can be visited too. It's about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive, again up into the hills. The Alhambra Theatre is well worth a visit. You can pre-book tickets on the Internet at a cost of about 13 euros per person.
Buses travel along the coast road every half an hour. Bus stops are in the centre of La Cala de Mijas. They are not expensive.
The trains are new, clean, sometimes play classical music, have monitors and announcements at each station and are on time. It's a great way to travel. And it's good value, too. Take the Avant train from Malaga to Cordoba [ 1 hour ] or Seville [ 2 hours ] for an easy journey travelling through vast olive groves. You will avoid the stress of finding a parking space in the picturesque but narrow streets of both cities.
La Cala de Mijas, the Jewel of the Costa del Sol
La Cala de Mijas is an ideal destination for long or short breaks, for the golfer, the sightseeing fan, the foodie, the shopper or the sun bather. But the beach lover may find December and January not quite warm enough for bikinis and swimwear! An added bonus if you visit at Christmas is 'The Three Kings' Procession on 6th January. It is a treat for the children as adults dressed in costume and travelling on floats throw sweets to the crowd. It's fun to join in the Spanish tradition.
Whatever your choice, enjoy your stay and re-charge your batteries for the coming year. You'll go home refreshed and wanting to return as there's so much more to see and do.