Frigiliana: Curious Charm in Andalucia Spain

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The only reason I went to Frigiliana was because I was curious.  One of the pueblos blancos of Andalucia, this small white village was supposedly a must-see.  I was positive this was true — after all, the entire country of Spain is enticing.  Besides, I saw it listed online and in guidebooks.

With only 10 days to play with, Frigiliana beat out every other “must-see” in Spain, including big names like Seville.  Frigiliana won because I saw it mentioned over and over yet still couldn’t figure out why to go.  Curiosity won.

frigiliana andalucia andalusia spain pueblos blancos
These villages are known as pueblos blancos for their unmistakably white character.

Arriving by bus, we stepped out of the Costa del Sol and into Andalucia.  Nestled on a hill, Frigiliana has a distinctly Moorish heritage.  The village is a maze of narrow, uphill streets.  Cobblestone alleys wind aimlessly and narrow further, always stepping upward.

The more we explored, the more Frigiliana seemed like a postcard.  Small shops are tucked away beneath flower boxes waiting to be discovered.

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Wandering in Frigiliana

Everywhere you look, the buildings are whitewashed to reflect the summer sun.  Pops of color come from flower boxes, carefully tended to in windows.  The balanced, pristine effect builds a tranquil ambiance, delighting me even further.

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Beautiful flowers in the spring.

Frigiliana’s mystery appeal soon became clear: it’s picturesque, quiet, even restorative.  Unlike the resort towns nearby, this village feels centuries old.  Andalucia’s heritage and the Islamic, Moorish influence are noticeable.  Pebbled mosaics bring beauty to the streets and an old fort stands guard.

Frigiliana is the antithesis of sightDOING: you come for the beauty and stay for the food.  There’s not much to do in town except shop for crafts and sample tapas.  A slow pace and an open welcome are the real draw.

frigiliana andalucia andalusia spain pueblos blancos
Andalucia’s Bounty: Vino Dulce (sweet wine) with tapas like Spanish olives, buñuelos del maiz (corn fritters), and chorizo (spicy sausage).

Frigliana is an unexpected contrast to the exuberance of Andalucia.  It can be the perfect introduction to the people of Spain.  Locals are friendly and will chat with you as you peruse their shop or get lost in the maze of streets.  If you’re looking for a cultural experience, you’re more likely to find it here than in Nerja or Malaga.

frigiliana andalucia andalusia spain pueblos blancos

If you go…

I can’t imagine spending the night in Frigiliana unless you’re specifically looking for a quiet retreat.  We stayed at Pension Miguel in Nerja, a basic and affordable guesthouse that I’d highly recommend.  Buses travel between the two towns (just a few kilometers away) infrequently; check schedules before you go.  Day trips are easy, or just come for the afternoon.

Nerja itself is a resort town on the Costa del Sol that’s basically overtaken by Brits.  It’s lovely, full of sunshine, and I really enjoyed it.  However, it’s not particularly Spanish.  Go for relaxation and sunshine, not for Andalusian culture.

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Have you ever gone anywhere just to see what was there?  What did you find?  Share your stories in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Frigiliana: Curious Charm in Andalucia Spain”

  1. The first place I ever traveled was Spain when I was 13 years old, and I visited Nerja and Frigiliana. I can’t remember much about Nerja, but I DO remember how gorgeous Frigiliana was! I’d love to go back as an adult! And eat some of those tapas pictured 🙂

  2. Lovely article!

    I love Frigiliana, and my husband and I plan on living there someday. We currently live in England, and although I love England, I look forward to settling down in the tranquil Andalucian life!

    What exactly is pictured with the corn fritters and chirizo? I would love to locate recipes!

    1. @Linda, the corn fritters are known as bunuelos de maiz — unfortunately I can’t remember what sauce exactly it was paired with. Also shown is the chorizo sausage, olives, and bread (plus salt, pepper, and olive oil).

  3. Thank you for replying! I guess I wanted to know what those two dishes are at the front of the photo, on the left and right. They look like they are indented and stuffed with something. They are not the corn fritters, but they look awesome. Do you know what they are?

  4. LOL clay pots! I thought that was food!

    So the photo on the left is the corn fritters! That threw me because I did a search on youtube for those fritters, and they were round balls!

    Thank you for clarifying 🙂

  5. Frigiliana is one of the most simple, yet beautiful places I’ve been. I would love to go back someday, and experience more of the peaceful atmosphere in this small town. It was a restful break from the busy touring schedule, a chance to catch our breath and relax. Highly recommended!

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