Andalusia in Southern Spain is dotted with picturesque villages in the mountains, aptly named ‘los pueblos blancos’, which feature white walls, flowering bougainvillea, potted plants, and quiet picturesque streets.
If summer had a look, Andalusia would be it.
We rented a car when we were based in Málaga for a couple of days and took day trips out to various white villages and Mijas was the first we visited.
The roads were smooth and the paved highways were easy to navigate and figure out, but if you’d like to rely on public transportation, getting a bus from Málaga’s bus station will only cost you a couple of euros to get to Mijas.
WANDER THE TOWN
We parked on the outskirts of the village (for free), and walked into town by heading upwards and following the crowds, before eventually finding ourselves in the beautiful streets of the town centre.
There are plenty of shops, boutiques, bakeries, fruit stands and the like run by locals lining these streets.
Calle San Sebastian and Calle Calvario are said to be the most beautiful streets in all of Mijas, though I think Frigiliana and its streets will always be my favourite pueblo blanco.
TAKE IN THE STUNNING VIEWS FROM THE VIEWPOINT NEXT TO THE CHURCH ‘ERMITA DE LA VIRGEN DE LA PEÑA’
Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña is a small chapel carved into a rock and is open for visiting, but make sure you make it out to the viewpoint just next to the church.
From here, you can see a stunning panoramic view of the sea out ahead, as well as the coastal town of Fuengirola.
Even in the height of summer, the breeze in the hills made this a cooling spot to stop and take in the views.
HAVE A MEAL IN A SECRET GARDEN
Aroma Café & Secret Garden is a restaurant located just off a main street into an alley that stretches upwards into the houses of the pueblo.
On the outside, it looks like another nice but unassuming restaurant and bar, but this is a very, very popular restaurant, because there’s a… secret garden inside.
Yes, you read that right.
I asked if we could get a table for 4 for dinner, and we were told by the hostess that she had no tables left for the entire night.
We were about to walk away and find another alternative, but thought I had to see what was the fuss about this secret garden such that she had no tables for the rest of the night, and she kindly let us in and brought us around for us to take some photos before taking our leave.
We made our way through the restaurant into what felt like a backyard, except a massive one with many, many tables, an open bar and waiters dishing out seafood, grilled meats and the like to hungry patrons.
Lights hung above the diners and music was playing over the familiar sounds and chatter of a restaurant, or in this case, a summer barbecue in a backyard.
I understood then why it was so popular.
Then, lo and behold, the boss managed to get us a table, and we sat down to enjoy what was one of the most incredible meals, including a meat grill to share that was as scrumptious as it sounds, complete with fantastic service, and staff that could speak English (a major plus outside of the big Spanish cities if you don’t speak the language).
We enjoyed a starter of Garlic Bread, a side of prawns (‘Gambas Pil Pil’, an Andalusian specialty), a BBQ grill plate with a mixture of meats including chicken, pork and beef, as well as a slab of BBQ Ribs, and the bill came up to about €75 for a hearty meal for 4.
Mijas was a brilliant first introduction to the white villages, given that it’s not far from Málaga at all, and is compact and easy to explore in a day trip with a couple of hours on hand, and that includes having a delicious and slow, relaxing meal, and taking in the sights and sounds of the busy streets in town.
From my trip to Spain this summer, I've turned some of my photography into my brand of everyday products which you can check out below. Worldwide shipping is available so if you're looking for a tote bag or postcard to take home to remember your travels if you too have been to these parts of Spain, and if you'd like to support this passion project of mine, look no further!
View the full product catalogue at the shop here.
Barcelona wasn't on the itinerary this summer, but as you can imagine I have plenty photos from my stint 2 years ago.
One of my favourite neighbourhoods in Barcelona is El Born, which is basically the Gothic Quarter except lined with local boutiques instead of kitsch tourist souvenir shops, which lends itself to a really nice bohemian atmosphere.
Not to mention some of the best tapas bars in the city can be found here, which is a major plus.
El Born's also where you get all the beauty of the Gothic Quarter, and I particularly like the doors and façade of shops and houses here.
So here's a photograph of a coffeehouse in El Born, and I think this is quintessential Barcelona in a photograph.
View the rest of the collection here.
When in Seville, we went on a walking tour to get ourselves familiarised with the city.
I've fallen hard for walking tours after this summer, and I'm so glad I went on 2 in Spain alone.
Across the Guadalquivir River lies the neighbourhood of Triana, so called the neighbourhood of gypsies and outcasts, where inhabitants used to identify as being from Triana before Seville.
The draw of Triana though, apart from the flamenco flair, is Calle Betis, the riverfront promenade lined with restaurants and bars which turns into a hotspot in the evenings.
In the sleepy late afternoon though, the buildings shine in the sun as workers of each restaurant start slowly setting up for a busy evening ahead.
View the rest of the collection here.
When I lived in Barcelona, there were quite a few vintage clothing stores around, and this in particular was a chain of them— Flamingos Vintage Kilo. I would always walk into these stores even if I wasn't looking for anything in particular for the vibe of them. Everything about them just felt so damn cool. In this shop, I stumbled onto an area where there was a collection of vinyls, and there really is something about vinyls for me and the way they are packaged. There was no way I was leaving this store without at least a snap on the camera.