If you’re thinking about visiting the region of Axarquía, you shouldn’t miss out on Competa. Discover with Ruralidays what to do in Competa during your getaway.
The province of Malaga is renowned, besides the beaches and favourable weather conditions, because of the quaint White Towns that are spread on its hills. Among them, the lovely town of Competa, 638 metres above sea level, stands out.
Thanks to some of the most delicious wines in the region, splendid landscapes and a full touristic offer, you will fall in love with the town as soon as you step a foot in it.
How to get to Competa
Competa sits 53 km from Malaga city centre. You can reach the town by car, which is by far the fastest way. You can take the A-7206 or the A-7207 from the capital city of the Costa del Sol.
Tip: if you choose the second option, you will also see Trayamar, an archaeological site of Paleopunic tombs dating back to the 8th century BC.
Also, the bus company Loymer provides routes from Malaga to Canillas de Albaida, with stops in Torre del Mar, Algarrobo Costa, Algarrobo, Sayalonga and Cómpeta. Make sure to check their website before choosing to travel by bus.
If you choose to go to Competa by car, know that the town is characterised by lots of stairs, which help make the slopes easier to get through. Therefore, we suggest you leave the car parked outside the town, and enjoy Competa on foot.
History of Competa
The history of this town dates back to the Roman times when it was known as “Compita-Orum” (cross of paths). Like the rest of Andalucia, it was conquered by the Moorish, who ruled the area until the Catholic Monarchs came into the scenery. That was 1487 when the first written document about Competa appeared. The repopulation of Competa started taking place in 1570, thanks to the migration of inhabitants from Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
However, it was from the late 20th century that Competa has seen its population raising after German, Danish and British people started buying old houses to repopulate the town.
Nowadays, Competa is one of the tourists’ favourite holiday destinations, who die to spend some days in the Cornisa de la Costa del Sol, whose architectural and monumental richness is second to none.
Why is Competa also known as “Cornisa de la Costa del Sol”?
The nickname “Cornisa de la Costa del Sol”, literally “The Ledge of the Costa del Sol”, is no reasonless at all. Thanks to its location 630 metres above sea level, enveloped in the Sierras de Tejeda y Almijara Natural Park, the town is a natural viewpoint, which offers terrific views of the nature that extends at its feet. The narrow streets that wind up the town among the whitewashed houses uncover the best hideouts to have a drink, enjoy the delicious cuisine and jump back in time.
Steps to fall in love with Competa
1. The Plaza Almijara and the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
The Cathedral of the Axarquía, as the 16th-century Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción is also known, is the most emblematic monument in Competa. Located in the central square, Plaza Almijara, the Church is particularly famous for its 35mt-high Neo-Mudéjar tower, which substituted the church’s minaret after its destruction during the 1884 earthquake.
Inside the church, you can admire the fresco of Our Lady of Assumption and the Baptism of Jesus, masterpieces of the Velez painter Francisco Hernández.
And after visiting the Church, you can sit down in one of the several bars and restaurants in the Plaza, whose terraces around the fountain liven up the ambience. The authentic façades of the 19th century still decorate the square.
2. The Paseo de las Tradiciones
The Paseo de las Tradiciones is another landmark you can’t miss out on. This white-tile-and-terracotta promenade that flanks the right side of the Church was inaugurated in 2009, where the old Market used to take place. On one side of the paseo, you will find a series of ceramic mosaics displaying the history of the town and the fundamental impact of the 800-year Moorish domination on Competa, as well as the arts and traditions that were typical of the area. The other side of the promenade is a balcony on the street below and the quaint whitewashed houses.
3. Plaza Vendimia and the Casas Colgantes
The Grape Harvest Square is another famous plaza in Competa, which becomes especially crowded on the Noche del Vino (see below for more info). The square welcomes three ceramic mosaics representing the elaboration of the Muscatel wine, from grape harvest to grape-treading. In the Plaza, you can also rejoice in the views of the Casas Colgantes (Hanging Houses).
These are a group of whitewashed houses located on the rocks of the old course of the river that used to divide Competa, near Barranco Pérez and Arroyo street. The position of the houses makes them seem as they were hanging above the river.
4. Hermitage of San Sebastián and Hermitage of San Antón Abad de Extramuros
The 16th-century hermitage of San Sebastián is believed to have been the first parish church of the area, as it was founded when the Catholic Monarchs conquered Competa. Located in the oldest part, known as El Barrio, the shrine keeps the image of the town’s Patron Saint, San Sebastián.
The other hermitage of the town is the 18th-century Ermita de San Antón, in whose interior you will find important holy images, such as San Antón de Abad and Nuestro Padre Jesús en la Borriquita, representing Jesus during the entry in Jerusalem. This is one of the most devoted images of the Semana Santa in Competa.
5. Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares
This two-storey museum is located in an old 19th-century, Guardia Civil headquarters. It was created following the increasing demand of Competa’s inhabitants to have a museum that collected the tools used in the rural times, as well as the costumes and generally everything related with the cultural and artistic manifestations in the region.
The museum also features a photo archive of the cultural heritage of Competa.
- Monday: 4.30 pm – 7 pm
- Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday: 10 am – 1.30 pm; 4.30 pm – 7 pm
- Friday: 10 am – 1.30 pm
- Sunday: closed
6. Museo Molino de Hadriano
This museum occupies an old olive mill, its central piece being the 19th-century mill wheel used to elaborate the famous wine of Competa. Inside the museum, you will also have the possibility to buy the products of the region (wine, olive oil and other gastronomic delicatessens).
7. The Viewpoint
The Gaudi-inspired Mirador sits at the entrance of the town arriving from nearby Torrox, on the A-7207 road. The viewpoint offers terrific views of Competa, the peak of La Maroma (the highest peak in the province of Malaga) and the Natural Park that envelops the town.
8. Your holiday home in Cómpeta
The last, but maybe most important, step to fall in love with the town is to rent a holiday villa in Competa, be it in the mountains or in the town centre. Featuring breathtaking views, enveloped in nature and provided with all the facilities and comforts you may need, the holiday homes in Competa are the ultimate reason why you should consider this as your next holiday destination.
Cuisine in Competa
Wine is the jewel of Competa’s cuisine. The varieties of wine, muscatel, semidulce and dry, accompany Competa’s traditional dishes, the potaje de hinojos (a soup made of fennels, onions, pork meat, ham and potatoes) and the migas (a Spanish dish made of bread, garlic, and bacon). You can also try the lomo al ajilo, the choto, the asadura a lo pastoril and the potajes de vigilia (made with chickpeas, potatoes, cod and veggies).
When should I travel to Competa?
Unmissable moments to visit Competa are when the town livens up during its fairs and fiestas.
La Noche del Vino
The Noche del Vino, literally “the Night of the Wine”, is undoubtedly the most famous celebration of the area. It takes place on August 15th to honour the Saint Patron of Competa, Our Lady of Assumption.
Initially, the celebrations took place to bid farewell to the farmers leaving for the grape harvest. However, it was only in 1973, when local Aurelio Fernández invited all the inhabitants of Competa to drink free Muscatel wine all night long. Since then, the Noche del Vino has been attracting tourists from every part of Spain, and Europe, who await this summer night to dance to sevillanas and flamenco music in the central Plaza de Almijara, and, above all, drink free wine in the Plaza Vendimia, which also welcomes the traditional treading of the grapes. The Noche del Vino has been declared as Fiesta de Interés Turístico de Andalucía.
El Día de las Cruces
The Día de las Cruces is celebrated on May 3rd, like in the rest of Andalucia and Spain. The precious floral crosses, which are elaborated by children and grown-ups, are taken on a procession along the streets of the town. The itinerary starts in the main square and ends in the Cruz del Monte, the highest peak in Competa, where all the crosses are kept in a sanctuary.
Feria del Barrio
The Feria del Barrio celebrates Competa’s Patron Saint, San Sebastián, on the Sunday closest to January 20th. El Barrio is the neighbourhood that welcomes the Ermita de San Sebastián, and, in the afternoon, the image of the Saint is carried on a procession.
Feria de Verano
However, because January is no moment to engage in outdoor activities, San Sebastián is also honoured during the Feria de Verano, on the weekend closest to July 25th. Several activities and public acts are carried out during the fair, especially in the Plaza Almijara during the day, and on the fairground near Plaza de la Axarquía at night.
On February 3rd, the blessing of bread Roscas takes place in the Church. Colourful ribbons and medals are attached to the roscas, which are then blessed with the holy water by the priest. After eating the roscas, the ribbons and medals are worn by those affected by small illness such as a cold and flu, to be healed.
More data about Competa
- Surface: 54.70 km2
- Inhabitants: 3,705
- Demonym: competeños
- Location: Cómpeta is located in the North-West part of the region of Axarquía, in the Sierra de Almijara. It’s 28 km far from Vélez-Málaga and 52 km from Málaga
- Average temperature: 17.5ºC
- Average rain falls: 630 l/m2
Tourist Office in Competa
Address: 1, Avenida de la Constitución
Telephone: (+34) 952 55 36 85
You now know all the secrets in Competa. What are you waiting for? Pack your suitcase and enjoy a getaway in Competa!