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Axarquia - The Route Of The Sun And The Wine

The Axarquia offers some splendid tours to discover the many secrets of the area. This is another route that combines the very best of this beautiful region: sea and countryside, the tourist hustle and bustle of the beach and the peace of the rural surroundings, culture and tradition. The typical fish dishes of the coast and the hearty gastronomic products of the mountains. On the very coast, we meet with the region's deepest past, visible in the Calcolithic remains of El Morro de la Mezquitilla and the Trayamar Necropolis, with Punic and Phoenician graves that go back to the 10th century BC. Both are found in Algarrobo, a town which, together with the El Faro archaeological site in Torrox-Costa, transport the visitor to the past when the Mediterranean was the centre of the world. This area is where most of the coastal tourism in the eastern part of La Axarquia is concentrated. The tourist development is most visible in Nerja since, in addition to its rich archaeological and monumental heritage like the Castulo-Malaga Roman Road, the Shrine to Nuestra Sra. de las Angustias and the Parish Church El Salvador, what most attracts the visitor's attention is the Balcon de Europa, a spectacular belvedere over the sea, built on the remains of the old castle.

A few kilometres away, Maro rounds off this important natural and cultural legacy, thanks to its nature reserve: Acantilados de Maro, a Roman aqueduct and, above all, La Cueva de Nerja. This cave, declared National Monument, is a rocky formation of crystalline spar over 250.000 years old. It surprises and astounds everyone for its spectacular unique beauty. Each year, in July, this grand natural scenario houses the renowned International Festival of La Cueva de Nerja.

Inland, this route takes us through towns with a marked country flavour, their quiet, steep, narrow streets are proof of their undeniable Moslem origins. Towns where the light creates arabesques of shadow and colour with the flowers, which are replaced every day and that hang from the walls, whitewashed over and over again throughout the years. It is a region of vineyards. Competa celebrates this fact every August, during the night of the Wine, when thousands of people climb up to the town (alt. 636m) to drink, sing and enjoy themselves.

The Mudejar style of the Parish Church of Santa Catalina (16th century) in Sayalonga and the Church of Nuestra Sra. de la Expactacion (16-17th century) in Canillas de Albaida are other examples of the religious architecture to be found along the route. This is rounded off by the Morisco-Mudejar town centre of Frigiliana, just a few kilometres from Nerja in the easternmost part of the mountains. Its preservation and excellent upkeep have earned it numerous prizes and distinctions.

Nerja is on the seashore some 50 kilometres from M�laga on the N340 coastal highway, and marks the eastern tip of M�laga's Costa del Sol. Nerja boasts 16 kilometres of beaches with powdery sand and sparkling clear water. All major water sports are available here, including water skiing, scuba diving and sailing.

Submitted by:

Rudi Van Der Zalm

With more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry Rudi van der Zalm is the founder of one of Europe's most popular websites for holiday houses in rural Spain. A wide selection of country houses and lodgings can be found at www.rural-tour.com


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