Competa is located in the Sierra Almijara (in the Malaga region of Spain) and is approximately seven hundred meters above sea level, offering fantastic mountain views of the surrounding countryside. It is less than an hour’s drive to the village from Malaga’s International Airport, making it not only a beautiful place to visit but also an ideal and convenient location.
The History of Competa
Competa has a fascinating history that dates back approximately 2,000 years to the Romans. The village was used for trading purposes by the Romans due to its idyllic location in between the coast and the mountains.
Competa also has 800 years of Muslim history, which you can still see from the magnificent Arabic architecture found in the village today. The Christians, who were led by King Ferdinand, defeated the Moors in the conquest of Valez Malaga in 1487. The Competa residents paid their respects to the Christian monarchs in order to try and keep their rights. However In the sixteenth century, unsatisfied with the Christian rule, many of the residents of Competa joined the Morisco rebellion; in fact one of the leaders of the rebellion was believed to have come from the village. However the rebellion was defeated and the Moriscos were eventually expelled from Spain.
The Village Today
As we travelled up the mountain road on my first trip to Competa, I was awestruck when we turned the corner and I got my first glimpse of the village. Traditional Spanish white washed buildings clung to the mountainside offering a picture perfect view.
We drove into the village, parked the car and spent the rest of the afternoon in Competa. The narrow and steep cobbled streets are lined with the occasional Café/Bar. We climbed up a cobbled road, which lead us to the central Plaza Almijara. This picturesque square has a few bars, restaurants and cafes serving a variety of cuisines including traditional Spanish foods and Tapas; in fact we stopped for a meal in one of the restaurants on the square and enjoyed a delicious paella dish. The beautiful sixteenth century church La Asuncion is also in the Plaza. The golden color of the church is a striking contract to the surrounding white washed buildings. If you continue to climb the cobbled streets until you are at the top of the village you can enjoy some stunning views across the village and the surrounding mountains.
Noche del Vino, translated as ‘night of the wine’, is the annual fiesta held in Competa. Visitors flock to the village to join the locals on the 15th August of every year. The fiesta involves much Spanish music, dancing and, as the name would suggest, the drinking of the famous sweet Competa wine. Traditionally the fiesta was an event to say farewell, back in the days when the villagers would go up into the mountains to stay in their farmhouses every August for the harvest. They would not return to the village until October.
Today the fiesta is still going strong and it is not just enjoyed by the locals. The fiesta takes place in the Plaza Almijara and visitors can enjoy much joviality including grape treading demonstrations, live music and dancing, and a delicious Spanish lunch often consisting of sardines, tomatoes, olives, grapes, chorizo, cod and a traditional Spanish dish ‘Migas de Harina’ (meat and bread crumbs cooked with flour and garlic). The fiesta goes on well into the night and much fun is had by all.
Sierras de Tejada, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park
Competa is located on the Sierra Almijara in the Axarquia. The Sierrra Almijara forms part of the Sierras Tejada, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, a mountainous terrain between Granada and Malaga. It was designated as a Natural Park in 1999 and the mountains have been described as breathtaking. Visitors flock to the area for its natural beauty and the fabulous terrain, which is ideal for hiking and horse trekking.
Places of Interest in the Region
Competa is located 18 kilometers from Torrox. Torrox village is approximately 4km inland. Torrox Costa is the nearest seaside resort to Competa and it enjoys a long stretch of sandy beaches and benefits from lively promenades filled with restaurants, shops and bars.
Further along the coastline, towards Malaga, you will come to the town of Velez-Malaga. Velez Malaga is the capital of the Axarquia and, although not a busy tourist destination, it is still well worth a visit for its history alone. The old part of the town, Arrabel de San Sebastian, has much to see including the 13th century castle, the Palacio del Marqués de Beniel, as well as historic churches, convents and monasteries. Valez Malaga is 4 km inland from the beach resort town of Torre del Mar.
Torre del Mar is a popular Spanish seaside resort with spacious sandy beaches, a busy promenade, bars, shops, restaurants and clubs.
Nerja is arguably one of the most interesting towns within a short driving distance of Competa. It is a picturesque seaside town built on a cliff overlooking sandy bays. There are many places of interest for tourists to visit including:
Balcon de Europa(translated as Balcony of Europe) is one of Nerja’s main attractions. It was once a fortress designed to keep out British pirates. Today it is a popular promenade with fantastic coastal views and many bars, restaurants, cafes, street vendors, artists and musicians.
Nerja Waterfall is located in the Natural Park and is a great place to visit in the hot summer months as you can have a refreshing swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall.
El Salvador Church dates back to the beginning of the 16th century and is popular for weddings and blessings. There is a large Norfolk pine outside of the church building, which originates from South America.
Cuevas de Nerja(the caves of Nerja) are a relatively new discovery made in the 1950s. They are located East of the town and have wall paintings which are believed to date back over 20,000 years.