The Charms of La Cala de Mijas in Spain
This tiny former fishing village has grown up, but still retains its many charms.
La Cala de Mijas (or La Cala for short) is just off the main drag of the coastal highway, between the popular resorts of Fuengirola and Marbella on the Costa del Sol.
In the past, this lovely village would have been merely a blip in your rear view mirror as you sped down the highway to Marbella, Estepona, Gibraltar and beyond. However, in recent years the town has changed, mostly for the better.
La Cala in development
While the centre of town is small, with little new development, La Cala de Mijas has spread its wings inland, across the highway and into the hills beyond. Modern apartment complexes and supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi have been built. Golf courses are also within easy reach of the village.
Meanwhile in town, the quaint streets are lined with flowering plants in the true spirit of Spain, lovingly cared for by the Mijas ayuntamiento or municipality. One major change in La Cala is the Boardwalk, an almost 6 km pathway lining the beachfront, heading all the way to Cabopino Beach in Marbella. The Boardwalk makes for a lovely stroll or bicycle ride as it curves along the coastline.
Shopping in La Cala
Many residents complain that shopping is limited in La Cala, but there is an excellent variety of supermarkets, including Spanish brands Supersol and Mercadona and the aforementioned Lidl and Aldi further inland. There are several branches of local banks and endless ATMs for visitors to draw their foreign cash (albeit it at high prices!).
Shopping for clothing can be limited in La Cala, with a couple of beach clothing shops, opening only in summer, a Chinese clothing shop where you can buy fashion (that hopefully lasts out the season!), and a couple of small boutiques.
Surprisingly, one of the best places to buy clothing here, including some of the top brands of Europe, is in the Lions Club of La Cala charity shops. One shop sells ladies’ clothing at an amazing 1 euro each and you often get lucky with great outfits, while the other is known as the “posh” shop and has beautiful boutique and brand name clothing on sale. Men have a choice of clothing in the men’s shop, as well as bargain golf clubs and other manly items. The shops use the money earned to help people in the local community, so it’s always worthwhile browsing and getting a bargain there.
Dining in La Cala
Some locals complain that La Cala is made up of virtually nothing but restaurants, and they do have a point. There are literally hundreds of eateries in the village and surrounding area to choose from, serving every type of cuisine from traditional Spanish, to Italian, to French, to Thai and Chinese and more. As one closes down, another almost immediately opens. Visitors from the UK have a number of pubs available, showing the latest UK sport and serving roast beef and Yorkshire pudding every Sunday.
There is also a good variety of chiringuitos (beach bars and restaurants) spread along the coastline, but these normally close from around November onwards until spring rears its pretty head.
History in La Cala
A little piece of history stands on the beachfront, among the restaurants and ice cream bars. Known popularly as El Torreon, the “Torre Batería de La Cala de Mijas” in full, is a historic defensive tower on the coast. The ruined tower has been restored and can now be explored, including a museum. This tower is one of four placed strategically along the coast to warn of the arrival of enemy ships. These days the rooftop of the tower offers panoramic views over La Cala.
Best time to visit
Potential visitors should bear in mind that La Cala is crowded during July and August – really crowded! It can be hard to find a parking space or get a table at the more popular restaurants. However, spring and autumn are lovely times to visit, with mostly warm and sunny weather and less queues!
Featured image of La Cala beach by Tyk on Wikimedia Commons