Voted as the prettiest village in Andalucía, Frigiliana has an important place in Spanish history, as well as a significant impact on current tourism in the region. Like much of Southern Spain, Frigiliana was occupied by the Moors before the Reconquista, and it is designed in the typical and traditional architectural style, featuring everything you expect from a Spanish pueblo; bright-white houses and winding cobbled streets lined with flowers.
There’s plenty to do, and many people come to visit the extensive markets on every Thursday and Sunday. For those who want to explore the Frigiliana a little more deeply, the most popular is to start at the Plaza de Tres Culturas (Square of Three Cultures), so called in celebration of the the relationship and coexistence between the three cultures that have lived in the here over the centuries; Christians, Sephardic Jews, and Arabs. From here you can take in the spectacular views and enjoy some food and drink on the terrace before heading out to the attractions of the town. We chose Plaza 45, which offered fantastic (and cheap!) food and drink, as well as brilliant service.
You can take the mini tourist train to catch the sites of the city, but I would always prefer to take my own time and walk, and so if you are able to it’s time to start heading up the hill! As you begin the walk up Calle Real, the first site you see will be the 16th Century manor turned molasses factory El Ingenio. A historically important site, the site was used for the celebration of mass since the 1660s, and was in operation as a factory since 1725.
As you pass El Ingenio, you will come to one of the most photographed spots in the pueblo at the intersection of Calle Real and Calle Hernando el Darra, the cobbled and flower-lined streets are the perfect place to capture the essence of a Spanish pueblo. Wandering further up the street, you will pass a number of tapas bars, restaurants and traditional and souvenir shops, as well as El Torreón, the 18th Century granary.
Your next stop is the Plaza de la Iglesia and the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, the town’s patron Saint. The 16th Century renaissance-style church has a simple facade, but contains a beautiful altar and traditional interior, with services every Sunday. The small square opposite is the perfect place to grab a coffee or beer and some food and admire the surroundings.
A little further up the street at Calle Chorruelo is the Fuente Vieja (Old Fountain). The fountain was constructed in 1640 by the first Count of the town and the fifth Lord, Don Iñigo Manrique de Lara, and was used to provide water to the inhabitants and livestock. From here you can turn around and head back to the main Plaza, or head down Calle Sta. Teresa de Avila and Calle Alta to the Vista Panorámica to find the best views of the town and the surroundings.
One other attraction not to miss in the town, though slightly out of walking distance from the main town, is the remains of an old Arab Castle dated between the 9th and 11th Centuries. Though not much is known of the castle, it was destroyed in 1859 by the then commander of the castle Don Luis de Requesens in order to avoid another Morisco uprising.
One of the highlights of the calendar in Frigiliana is the Festival of the Three Cultures. In late August, this 4-day festival celebrates the Christian, Jewish and Arab cultures with food, markets, art and music. With 40,000 visitors taking part in 2018, the festival includes numerous markets, street artists and concerts, a tapa route through the town, and a spectacular illumination of the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua. This popular festival is certainly one not to be missed!
Whatever your reason for visiting Spain’s famous Costa del Sol, I would certainly recommend making time for an afternoon walking the streets of this stunning and traditional white pueblo, for a time of exploration, relaxation, and to marvel at the beauty of the town.