PROVINCE OF MALAGA – During the Moorish rule, five white villages formed a ‘taha’, a region, in the hinterland of Málaga. The villages in this region are described by the Spanish newspaper El País as the Tuscany of Málaga.
The special collection of white villages, consisting of El Borge, Almáchar, Cútar, Comares and Benamargosa, offer nature, history, sweet wine and raisins as an alternative to the Costa del Sol. There are many similarities between these villages, but each village is special and has its own unique charm. Together they are reminiscent of the Italian region of Tuscany with beautiful places such as Florence, Pisa or Siena.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many ‘bandoleros’, poverty-driven highwaymen, were active in this part of Málaga. It was a way of life in this area, known as ‘la Toscana malagueña’. The landscape, the sweet wine and the natural environment make the region reminiscent of Tuscany. El Pais speaks highly of the five white villages in this ‘little Tuscany’ and highlights in a few sentences the historical value and charm of the various places.
Bandit gallery in El Borge
El Borge is praised for its “beautiful subtropical crops and ancient vineyards”. Also mentioned are the sixteenth-century church Nuestra Señora del Rosario, as well as the fountain ‘Fuente de la Vendimia’. El Pais recommends also a catering stop at bar Casa Paco, and the recently opened tourist attraction ‘Galería del Bandelero‘, the bandit gallery.
Raisins and Moorish rebels
In Almáchar, Eugenia Ríos Street stands out. This is mainly because of the photos showing the different stages of raisin production. Also worth seeing are the parish of San Mateo and the Las Cabras district. Furthermore, you can make a stop at the Santo Cristo Cooperative to buy olive oil, wine or vermouth. The local raisin museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
In the tiny village of Cútar, which lies against the hills, the information centre of the ‘Alquería de Cútar‘ is a must-see. It is a gateway to the past and history of the village and the region. Especially, with regard to the Monfíes. These were the Muslim Moors and rebels who fled in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Historians compare them to the bandoleros.
An unexpected surprise
El País does not say much about the last two villages, Comares and Benamargosa. However, the newspaper recommends a stop at the Atalaya restaurant in Comares to taste the delicious goat meat or the refreshing Salmorejo. The national newspaper also provides information about the geographical location of Málaga’s Tuscany. Furthermore, it highlights some other rural areas in the region, such as the hamlets of Triana and La Zorrilla.
In addition, a visit to the higher Buddhist centre is called ‘la estupa de Kalachakra‘: “An unexpected surprise in the Axarquía region, near the Arab defense tower that dominates the area, overlooking the La Viñuela reservoir, La Maroma mountain, the Mediterranean Sea and an endless range of hills.”
Also read: La Axarquia: wine and a lost village