East of Malaga lying roughly between Nerja and Colmenar is an area (comarca) of Andalusia known as La Axarquia - a name likely derived from an Arabic word meaning 'east'. Its capital town is Velez Malaga and Lake Viñuela, a man-made reservoir, lies at the region's heart. Dominating the skyline from every point is the mountain La Maroma (2069m) the mass of which lies on the border of both Malaga and Granada provinces. MAP

The west face of La Maroma in winter

Enjoying the benefits of both a sunny Costa-del-Sol coastline and the quiet mountains of the Sierra de Tejeda, the Axarquia is not an area frequented by the wealthy aspirants of the likes of Marbella and Puerto Banus and is as far-removed, culturally, from such places as it is possible to be. Towns are mostly small, understated 'pueblo blancos' where premium quality olive oil is the currency and Spanish the language of communication. Its people are mostly warm, friendly and welcoming and a morning 'Hola, buenos dias' will always be reciprocated with a smile.

Christmas Day morning view of the spectacular pueblo blanco Comares (as seen from Periana)
Sunset in the Axarquia

Popular with lovers of the outdoors and all things truly Spanish, the Axarquia and its wonderful climate remain an unknown entity for many travellers whilst a good many discerning northern Europeans have settled in the area to live. Coastal Nerja is a very popular seaside resort which still happily retains its roots, Spanish heritage and traditions whilst, at the same time, successfully catering for a growing and multi-national tourist trade. Long may such attitudes continue.

Sunset at Maro near Nerja
Axarquia life, light and culture
First light over Lake Vinuela
Misty sunset looking towards Tajo Gomer and Doña Ana near Alfarnatejo in the Axarquia
The diversity of life and culture in Spain's La Axarquia

And so your journey of discovery begins. So far, you have seen and read about only a very small aspect of the beautiful area known as La Axarquia. If you're the type of person who can sit on a beach all day but doesn't want to sit on it for a week, then this part of Spain is just for you. Not 'the real Spain' - just simply Spain. No más, no menos. Adios!

For more information about the Axarquia, what's going on where, why and lots more the very best place to start is the excellent Axarquia Facebook page run by people who actually live in the area. For more photographs of the area please visit my Axarquia photography gallery for instant downloads and more. Please contact me direct at

Olives in the rain
Created By
Michael Cummins


Landscape photographer

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