Frigiliana belongs to the Axarquia region and is known nationally for the beauty of its streets and the views that every corner of the village offers. Its location at the foot of the Sierra de Almijara allows you to see from the village the sea between the nearby hills.
It is close to the well-known coastal town of Nerja, and about 60km from Malaga airport, where you can hire a 7-seater car and enjoy an exceptional family day out visiting the east coast of Malaga.
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History of Frigiliana
Remains from the Neolithic period have been found in the vicinity of Frigiliana, including a nearby menhir. However, its name dates back to Phoenician and Roman times, from the name Frexinius and the suffix -ana, or villa (villa de Frexinius). From these civilisations, coins and infrastructures have been found, such as a necropolis and the remains of the Fort of Frigiliana.
With the arrival of the Arabs in Frigiliana, the construction of a castle began, which was later destroyed after the reconquest. Today, only a few remains of this fortification remain. Over time, the village became a mixture of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.
In 1640, under the orders of Felipe IV, it became independent from Vélez-Málaga, from which time it began its industrial expansion, with the construction of several factories, plantations and various infrastructures.
During the Spanish Civil War, between 1936 and 1939, the whole region around Frigiliana became a hotbed of fighting and skirmishes, where the citizens of the neighbouring villages fled to the mountains of the Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama. These guerrilla fighters came to be known as “maquis” after the victory of Franco’s army.
What to see and do in Frigiliana
This white village receives more and more visitors every year and you will soon discover why. Hidden amongst the mountains are traditional whitewashed Mediterranean houses, set in steep streets with mosaic tiled floors.
From the Plaza de las Tres Culturas you can see the sea, looming between the nearby hills. If you want an even more impressive view, you have to climb up to the remains of Lizar Castle, where there is a viewpoint not to be missed.
At the entrance to the village you will find the Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana, a 16th century building, which is now the headquarters of the Nuestra Señora del Carmen sugar cane honey producer. Right in the centre you will find the Santa Fiora Botanical Garden, with native species and sculptures, and not far away, the Santo Cristo viewpoint.
The most outstanding point of interest in the village is the church of San Antonio, dating from the 17th century, with a Renaissance style and various religious wood carvings inside. However, one of the places that attracts most visitors is not in the village itself.
It is a small hamlet called El Acebuchal, a few kilometres past Frigiliana. This group of houses was destroyed during the Civil War by the Francoists to prevent the connections of the “maquis” in the area. Over time, the area has been reformed and today it is one of the most photographed places in the region. You can’t miss it.
Popular festivals and gastronomy
In chronological order, the most important festivities in Frigiliana are:
Festivity of San Sebastián: this is celebrated on 20 January in honour of one of the two patron saints of Frigiliana, and the saint is paraded around the village, along with a fireworks display.
May Crosses: Frigiliana is already well known for its beauty. Now imagine the village in springtime totally decorated with flowers along its narrow streets. A real spectacle worth seeing.
Feria de San Antonio de Padua: held in honour of the other patron saint of the village, it lasts for 5 days in June and, along with other events, a pilgrimage is organised to walk around the village.
Festival of the 3 Cultures: this event commemorates the coexistence of 3 religions in this region, with performances, a craft market and different events, both gastronomic and cultural, to spend an exceptional day. It is normally held on the last weekend in August.
Día de la Miel de Caña: held at the end of April, free samples are given of products made with this typical regional product, which is becoming more and more popular in the national cuisine.
During these festivities you can try some of the most traditional dishes of the town and the region, especially those that use sugar cane honey, a typical product of the region. The most notable sweets are the “arropías”, made from cane honey, and “marcochas”, popcorn covered in this honey.
If you visit the village during the cold season, don’t miss the fennel stew, fried goat or migas (fried breadcrumbs) with various sausages. It is said that the latter are best on cold or rainy days. In summer, you must try the varied and exotic tropical fruits that are grown in the region, thanks to its fantastic year-round climate.
Nature and hiking
Due to its location in the heart of the Sierra de Almijara, the options for those looking for hiking in the heart of the Natural Park are very diverse. The main route is the Gran Senda de Málaga, a long hiking route that runs around the entire province of Malaga.
However, it is not the only hiking route in Malaga, and even less so in Frigiliana. If you prefer more mountainous options, you have to head into the Sierra. From the village itself you can start the Acequia de Lizar route, which follows the banks of the Higuerón river and, if you dare to go deeper, you can reach the summit of one of the peaks of the Sierra de Almijara.
Thus, you can reach the Collado de la Piedra del Centinela, and following this same route, reach the Pico del Cisne. If you have made it this far, don’t hesitate to visit the Cueva de los Maquis, an old cave where the mythical skirmishers who opposed the national army used to hide.
How to get to Frigiliana
How to get there by bus
Buses depart from Malaga to Nerja every 1 to 2 hours, stopping at different points along the eastern coast of Malaga. The cost is 6 euros and the duration varies between 45min and 1h15min, depending on the number of stops.
From this village you can take a direct bus to Frigiliana from the bus station in Nerja. From here you can also take other routes that will take you to the coves of Nerja and Maro further away from the village.
This regular line from Nerja – Frigiliana does not continue to other nearby villages such as Canillas de Aceituno or Cómpeta, so if you want to continue exploring the Sierra de Almijara in depth, we give you the best solution below.
How to get there by car
If, on the other hand, you decide to have a car that allows you to move freely around the province, you will have the opportunity to see all the hidden corners of the eastern coast of Malaga. In just 50 minutes from the airport you will be in Frigiliana enjoying the beauty of this white village and its surroundings.
To get there from the airport all you have to do is follow the MA-20 road, which later becomes the A7. Following this road you will reach Nerja, where you can take exit 292 towards Frigiliana.
Map of Frigiliana
Don’t miss anything of this beautiful environment and explore every corner of Frigiliana and its surroundings with this map elaborated by CarGest. Here you will find all the places of interest mentioned and how to get to Frigiliana by road.
Best time of year to visit: Spring
Not to be missed: Hiking trails in the Sierra de Almijara, the village of El Acebuchal and the views from the different viewpoints in the village.
Places to eat nearby: Check here for the best places to eat in Frigiliana.