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Things to do in Frigiliana in 1 day

Frigiliana is one of Malaga's most exquisite and unique villages. It is one of the most popular white villages and is best consulted by travel experts, tourists, and locals alike. Furthermore, Frigiliana is much more endearing than you may imagine.

Being from Malaga, I had never visited Frigiliana in my early years. I made my first trip there in a motorhome a few years ago, and I have since made three more trips there. In this post, I'll outline the top places in Frigiliana to see in 1 day.

Its distinct charm makes it a must-see if you're in the neighborhood. You will become enthralled with it from your first visit and want to return time and time again. Some people are so captivated by it that they decide to settle there or retire there.

Table of contents

Frigiliana: a unique and special town

Frigiliana is a small town nestled on the mountain of the Axarquia in Malaga, from which you can see the sea on clear days. Its temperature is fantastic and consistent all year. Its residents are wonderful; they are polite and welcoming.

Frigiliana is small, yet it’s packed with fascinating places to explore. You will be immersed in peace and quiet there whether you choose to sleep there or spend the day there. You won’t want to leave.

Nerja is located 13 kilometers inland from the coast. It is somewhat concealed, which adds to its specialness. Because of its hilltop elevation, it is calm and has many winding cobblestone streets.

The residences and streets are meticulously maintained. The distinctive features of this municipality are its whitewashed houses with vibrantly colored doors and windows, an abundance of vegetation, and immaculate cleanliness.

History of Frigiliana

things to do in frigiliana, malaga
Frigiliana, Malaga

The tiny community in the Andalusian mountains of Malaga is part of the Torrox judicial district. Situated 300 meters above sea level on the southern side of this mountain range, it spans 40 square kilometers and is home to over 3,100 people. Together with Torrox, Competa, Nerja, and the white villages of Málaga, Frigiliana makes the ideal combination.

We may learn about its lengthy past by visiting some of its most famous locations, which are still in good condition now. Originating in the Phoenician culture in the seventh century BC, it was subsequently adopted by the Romans, Muslims, Moors, and Christians over the years.

From the long Muslim period in the region, its characteristic narrow, white, cobblestone streets remain. It is also due to this culture and its settlement of irrigation systems (that, walking through its streets, you can discover and see how they were) and terraced agriculture.

With the arrival of the Reconquista (Christian invasion) in the fifteenth century, both its people and its wealth in trade declined. From that point onwards, there were intervals of economic fluctuation throughout the Christian era.

This town rose to prominence in the 20th century through tourism. It has earned a reputation as one of the most picturesque villages in Malaga and all of Spain, thanks to its historical beauty, typical Andalusian architecture, and unique treasures. It is a reality that draws an increasing number of tourists each day, contributing significantly to the local economy.

Things to do in Frigiliana

Frigiliana is a rather small village, so you may be surprised when you find out that there is plenty to see, learn, and enjoy. I’ve been there three times in the past two years, and each time I go, I always find something new to be fascinating. Of course, if you’re well organized, you can see it all in one day. Most of these locations are found in the historic center and old town. 

I strongly advise you to take your time, take in the scene as it unfolds in this typical Andalusian community, absorb its spirit, and explore all it has to offer. You certainly have enough time in a day to complete everything.

I’ll share with you the location of some of the most iconic places, along with some insider knowledge that made my trip much more convenient.

🎟️ If you want to get to know one of the most beautiful villages of Malaga in depth, I highly recommend this private tour of Frigiliana, which has a duration of one hour and a half.

1. Casa del Apero

The Casa del Apero is the most emblematic and place in Frigiliana. It houses the Tourist Office (a must when you arrive at a place because it’s the best place to get tourist info), the library, and the Archaeological Museum.

With a marked Andalusian style, the Apero building dates from the 17th century. Its function at the time was to attend to the muleteer activities linked to and coming from the nearby Ingenio, such as storing livestock, serving as a granary, and storing farm implements.

Restored in the 1990s (of the 20th century), it became the Cultural Center “Casa del Apero,” encompassing the different services and points of historical and cultural interest of the municipality.

The courtyard of the Apero-Casa de la Cultura hosts numerous events such as concerts, conferences, shows, and theaters, especially in the summer months.

2. Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana

Continuing with the emblematic buildings and constructions of the place, we must visit the Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana, Casa Solariega, or El Ingenio. It is located in the Plaza del Ingenio. It will be the first thing you see when you arrive in the village. Just by looking up, you will find this imposing building.

It was built at the end of the 16th century by the Manrique de Lara family, lords of Frigiliana since 1508. In the Renaissance style, it occupies a very extensive surface of more than 2,000 square meters. Its façade features windows with grilles, sundials, and Arabic-style balconies, now destroyed and corroded by time.

Its interior (which can be visited) keeps a little of the history of its daily life. Everything is reflected in its halls, chapels,  huge staircases, or the roofs of more than 400 years ago.

It is also known as El Ingenio because it currently houses the only active sugar cane honey factory in Europe (in the post about what to see in Nerja, I explain a little more about what a sugar mill is because there, in Nerja, one is still standing by the activity of sugar cane in the past).

3. Mudejar Neighborhood, a must-see in Frigiliana in 1 day

axarquia malagueña
Things to do in Frigiliana

The Mudejar neighborhood of Frigiliana is one of its most picturesque locations. Its buildings and architecture still bear the essence and influence of the Moors. The neighborhood’s urban style transports you back in time, letting you meander through its winding lanes lined with white homes and colorfully painted doors.

During the Arab occupation, Frigiliana served as a strategic location. Its name, Frexiliana, or Frigiliana, originates from that period. Its primary source of revenue during these and even later centuries came from trade, in part because of its strategic location for the transportation of products.

4. Church of San Antonio de Padua

Strolling through the historic center of the Frigiliana, in the middle of Calle Real, you will come across the most representative and iconic church for the locals. The Church of San Antonio de Padua is perfectly immersed in the urban decoration of the area, as it is a large building with a white tower facade.

Once a Muslim mosque, today it is the center of Christian liturgy and receives a multitude of daily visits.

On leaving it, just outside its doors, there is a small square with a lot of charm. There are several bars and restaurants with terraces, ideal for a drink and a rest after the morning walk.

5. Fuente Vieja (Old Fountain Square)

If I had to pick a favorite place in Frigiliana, it would be the Fuente Vieja. It is in a small square, which is accessible by going down a steep street. Nothing seems special about the place, but when you get there, you can’t resist sitting on a bench in front of the fountain and enjoying the peace.

I always come back to this spot and spend a long time there, leisurely, looking at the fountain. I don’t leave without drinking the fresh water from the spring. For me, it is already a habit. 

Since I like it so much and consider it so special, I have take some time to learn about its history. It was built by Don Íñigo Manrique de Lara in the 17th century, in the year 1640. In it, he placed his own coat of arms (to show that he had made it since he was the first Count of the Villa).

It is attached to the wall of a house that was constructed after and still honors the fountain. Something that makes it even more special.

6. Calle Real, one of the main attractions to see in Frigiliana

Strolling through Frigiliana involves crossing Calle Real, the city’s main street. It’s where all activity, including pedestrians and commerce, occurs. It is, as they say, “the main artery” of the community.

The nearby streets and lanes branch off from there. As might be expected in a white Andalusian village, it is flanked by low, white buildings with colored doors. Its décor is remarkable, featuring mosaics and cobblestone flooring.

The historic Royal Warehouse is at the entry, to the left. A room with a red brick front that served as storage and shelter for the village’s cereal production at the time.

7. Corner of Real Street – Hernando el Darra

que ver en frigiliana en un dia
Things to do in Frigiliana

Walking down Calle Real, you come face to face with what is considered the most photographed spot in Frigiliana (although if you ask me, I don’t know if I would choose this as the most beautiful).

The corner where Calle Real and Calle Hernando Darra meet, or where Calle Real forks has a large coat of arms under a window. At this point, you must choose which way to go. The right and steepest part is Calle Hernando de Darra. Its slope is worth it because it hosts the most charming houses in town. Continue along Calle Real if you want to see the art galleries, the stores, and reach the Church of San Antonio.

*Recommendation: first go up Darra and then go down to visit Calle Real.

8. Lizar Castle

In Spain, there aren’t many towns without a castle. In addition, I visit any castles that exist to see them, and if I can, I paint them. Frigiliana is no exception, and the castle known as Castillo de Lizar is located there.

Even though it is in ruins now, the Muslim castle from the IX and XI centuries still has a certain allure. The greatest views of the entire valley and, on clear days, the sea, are available from this elevated location in town.

You can go up higher and see even nicer views if you wish.

9. Its commemorative plaques

commemorative plaques
Commemorative plaques

One of the most interesting details of Frigiliana are its commemorative plaques. Many places have them, but it is an important fact that a small village has no more and no less than 12 plaques of this style. They are distributed by the facades of the urban center and relate different episodes of the history of the Arab uprising.

It is a very different and interesting way to discover the history of the area.

10. Its doors and corners

things to do in Frigiliana
Things to do in Frigiliana

The best thing about Frigiliana is undoubtedly its streets, its white facades, and, of course, its colorful doors. The first time I was there, I was fascinated and fell in love with how well cared for everything is and the cleanliness and neatness of its streets. It is always something I comment on.

The Town Hall takes great care of the aesthetics of this town, and perhaps it is one of the most important aspects when it comes to attracting so much public and tourism. That being said, you will not stop taking pictures while you stroll its streets.

11. Santa Fiora Botanical Garden

Who would think that a small village would have a beautiful botanical garden? But if you go to Frigiliana and walk along the main road accessible y car (which surrounds the village), you will find this haven of vegetation very well maintained and with different species of the area.

The entrance is free, and it is perfect to enjoy the sunset. Among its species, you will discover the plants that the locals have used for centuries for their stews, healing remedies, basketry, silk, making paper, and perfumes.

The garden also includes a petanque court (which in the afternoons is crowded with elderly people hanging out) and several ponds with colorful fish.

Where to stray in Frigiliana

Where to stray in Frigiliana
Calle Bonita

If I go back to Frigiliana, I will definitely spend the night there. I really want to wake up to those views and that unique smell of the mountains near the sea. Besides, I want to have breakfast again in a very cool and special place. Their menu is one I really enjoyed: pancakes, homemade cakes, and natural fruit smoothies.

The place is called Caravansar’s Coffee. Its owner sold everything he had to open this little place with her mother, and now it is her whole life. Sitting at the little table on the street is really cool. It is in the newest part of town, on the other side of the historic center, which also helps to avoid the hustle and bustle.

It is also a guesthouse and would be my place of choice: Hospedería el Caravansar.

Also very good is the Hotel Villa Frigiliana (3***), 200 meters from the center.

How to get to and where to park in Frigiliana

Frigiliana is easily accessible, whether you come from Malaga or Granada. Just take the Mediterranean Highway to the Nerja turnoff, and from there, go inland (it is very well signposted).

Also, from Nerja, there are regular buses to get there easily, as it is only 13 kilometers away.

Of course, if you go in your car, the most complicated thing is finding a place to park. You can look outside the village, especially if you arrive early in the morning, or visit in autumn or winter.

If you come in the summer and/or weekend, there is a large parking lot at the entrance of the village, perfect for leaving the car and, from there, starting the visit.

Right there, at the exit of the parking lot, there is a little tourist train that, although it seems that it is not for you, I highly recommend. The owner has worked hard, and during the whole trip, he tells secrets about the town that you would not know otherwise. It is a very interesting way to get to all the corners comfortably. He also shows the caves in the mountains and explains what happened there in a unique way.

Map of things to do in Frigiliana

There is little to lose for Frigiliana. All you have to do is walk up the streets. Anyway, so you don’t miss anything, on this map I have located all the points of interest I am talking about.

This concludes this visit to one of the most charming villages in Malaga, Axarquia, and Andalusia. Take good note to discover the best things to do in Frigiliana and avoid missing anything. I am in love with it, and I highly recommend it.

If this is your first time in this country, in this Spain travel guide you can find information to organize your trip. If you have already been here and you feel like sharing your experience, feel free to leave a comment.

Autora María Alcaraz
María Alcaraz
Colaboradora en Come Ama Viaja

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