Cómpeta - the white pearl on mountain

Compéta (approximately 3700 habitants) is a beautiful village in the Province of Málaga and more specificly, in its eastern mountainous area called Arxarquia. It has been a bit wild area in the history and it still is but there is no danger in any way for tourists. Also, during last decades lots of services have been developed tourists can enjoy.

What makes me the great fan of the area of Arxarquia is the untouched nature (it is bordering with the national park of Sierra Tejeda), traditional way of living in white villages (Pubelos Blancos) with lots of animals and active agriculture and the fact is is not so touristic as western part of the Province of Málaga (Costa del Sol): there is less mass tourism here and prices of all services are more reasonable.

As said, Arxarquia is the area where you can find several historical white villages but Compéta is one of the biggest, it has all necessary services (including hospital, ATMs and municipal swimming pool) and it has very rich cultural life, also including art galleries and exhibits organized by expats. As the matter of fact, lots of people from Nordic countries and Great Britain have been settled in Compéta constantly but in spite of that Compéta has remained unspoiled Spanish village.

It situates just 22 kilometers from the coast (Algarrobo Costa or Torrox Costa) but some 14 kilometers of it is mountainous road you have to drive in fact 40 kilometers per hour. The distance to Málaga airport is 70 kilometers and one can easily drive there in one hour. Compéta is a very good base for discovering surrounding villages or walking in mountains or just chilling in some of its numerous restaurants. As far I have not found really poor food there. However, be careful with the local sweet wine: one can not really understood how strong it actually is.

Fiesta & Flamenco

This is our daughter Heidi performing sevillanas with local flamenco teacher Carmen, July 2017. There is fiesta in Cómpeta every summer and among other activities one can always see flamenco. We are proud about Heidi's performance, she has studied flamenco nine years for now.

What to do

1. Walk in the village and visit the central square Plaza Almijara.
There is standing the main church which is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. You can find lots of good restaurants on that square also. Continue the trip to upper part of the village where you can see lots of nice viewing points. You can go to Plaza Vendimia or climb up to Plaza del Carmen (trip for more advanced hikers).
2. Walk in mountains.
The easiest path would be 2.5 kilometers and it would go to neighbouring village Canillas de Albaida. The bonus of this path is it has relatively few ups and downs and it is physically not so demanding. Also you can rest meanwhile in the bar in Canillas de Albaida (but then you have to go to valley and climb up again). This mountanous track (which is called „goat track“) is offering spectacular views over the valley and to Mediterranean.
3. Visit the village during ferias.
There are three significant ferias in the year: in the end of January, honouring Saint San Sebastián, in the end of July (four days), honouring Saint San Antonio (both are Saints of Compéta) and in the middle of August Noche del Vino (night of the wine), celebrating the recent harvest of grapes. Be prepared for very loud music and lots of people. As for the first two events, they will have most interesting processions with statues of Saints throughout entire village. NB! Our house Casa Caliza would be very good place to stay during ferias as it is on the edge of the village and you can have some sleep.
4. Visit the neighbouring white villages.
You can go to Canillas de Albaida (on the walking distance), continue to much smaller place Arches (it has very rich Moorish architecture, one vegetarian restaurant and one restaurant for meat lovers) and you can even continue to Sedella. This is much smaller place (approximately 600 habitants) and it has just one restaurant but if you would be a writer or an eremite, you may actually like renting a house there. On the way to cost you can visit Sayalonga and Torrox.
5. Visit the restaurant in El Achebuchal.
Located approximately 10 kilometers from Compéta. They have very special homemade bread and of course, interesting history. This village (as the entire area) had resistance to Franco forces and at some point all settlers were deported and the strongpoint of army was created. After some time it was deserted and all houses were just disintegrating, until in 1980s a family came with a mission to restore as much as possible. In general, they have succeeded very well and their restaurant has excellent food. NB! You may need book a table.
6. Make eastward car trip Torrox-Nerja-Maro-Almuñecar.
Nerja is very touristic but it has the place you should see: Balcon of Europe. It is penninsula reaching the Mediterranean and it has great viewing platform: this fun is all free. In Maro you can see few untouched coasts with agricultural activities still in action. Almuñecar has huge second hand fair in every Sunday morning (not in summer months!): lots of interesting and historical stuff with negotiable prices. On your way back you can visit another white village Frigiliana up in mountains just few kilometres from Nerja. This place is again touristic but let me recomment to climb up to ruins of the castle (but don’t do it if your movement is disabled in any way).
7. Go to the coast.
It takes only 45 minutes by car. If you take the road A-7207, you’ll end up in Torrox and Torrox Costa. Torrox has interesting main square with restaurants. If you take the reoad A-7206, you’ll end up respectively in Algarrobo and Algarrobo Costa. By the way, there is Lidl in Algarrobo Costa. Both coast have lots of swimming possibilities but my recommendation for swimming would be either Nerja or Torre del Mar.
8. Go westwards and visit Torre del Mar.
It has great beaches and huge supermarket, including Eroski grocery store which is also opened during siesta (but not in Sundays!). Also, you can always go further and visit Málaga, it takes just one hour by car. There is also the bus junction from Compéta to Málaga, three buses per day. Málaga is beautiful city, lots of Flamenco shops and museums (including Picasso museum) and the interesting castle area you can go by bus or climb up yourself.

Useful tips & links

  • The best way to fly to area is via Málaga airport as it has lots of connections. However, there is also an airport in Granada and Almeria also, but they are much smaller.
  • Next, you can rent the car or take the bus to Compéta. Both infrastructures are just perfect. There is most excellent highway connecting Málaga and Compéta, approximately half of it has top speed as 120 kilometres per hour (however, take into consideration traffic cameras which areas of occurence are actually marked by signes beforehand). The distance from airport is 70 kilometres and one can drive it easily by one hour. From airport, take A-7 to Almeria. There is no highway toll on that road (unless you are speeding).
  • The bus is a quite good alternative unless you are coming by night flight. There is a train connection in between Málaga airport and main railway station called Maria Zambrano. The travel is just some stops and it will take around ten minutes. The bus station is just next to the railway station. But there are just three buses a day: see their timetable here. You can buy tickets on board of the bus.
  • Our townhouse Casa Caliza stays quite close to the bus station in Compéta, just five-seven minutes of walk up to hill (if you have no heavy suitcases).

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