I like it when a place exceeds my expectations. When without even trying I’ve formed some preconceived idea of it and I think it won’t be that great, then it surprises me.
When my best friend and I went to Vietnam we pre-booked a backpackers tour of Halong Bay from our second day. On arrival in Hanoi we crossed paths with some friends returning from the same tour who weren’t exactly raving about it. Their stories had us both secretly worried that we should cancel, although neither of us admitted it until after the tour. That Halong Bay tour turned out to be one of the best tours I’ve ever done and I’ve recommended it to everyone since! I always wonder if I would have loved it as much if I had different expectations.
Where is Frigiliana?
So when I was travelling around southern Spain on a long weekend break from teaching English I heard about this place called Frigiliana, a small white Andalusian village at the base of the mountains. Frigiliana is only 15 minutes from Nerja on the Costa del Sol a Spain, an area known to be a mecca for British expats. You can easily take a day trip to Nerja and Frigiliana from Malaga.
I thought Frigiliana would be overrun and overdone, and after visiting some of the beautiful whitewashed Andalusian villages in the Alpujarras, the Sierra Nevada mountains, my expectations were really not high.
How to get to Frigiliana
The €1 bus to Frigiliana from the Nerja bus station didn’t exactly begin to convince me I was going to have an amazing time. I felt like I was on one of the 60s up bus tours my Grandma used to take because I think I was the only person on the bus under 50. Not that there was anything wrong with going where older people like to go, but I figured it might be a sign the town catered more to tourists than anything else and it would be overpriced and crowded.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Maybe visiting at the end of February and taking the early bus gave me the advantage, but I ended up having much of Frigiliana to myself. At least that’s what it felt like.
Frigiliana is a traditional Andalusian white village in the hills. I figured it would be a lesser version of Pampaneira and Búbion in the Alpujarras, but it had a charm all of it’s own.
What to do in Frigiliana
There isn’t a great deal to do in Frigiliana, other than enjoy it. I wandered into the upper parts of the town, barely seeing another soul, spending my time marvelling at the beautiful narrow streets with their colourful doors and pot plants everywhere. Positioning my Go Pro in random places and testing out how to take pictures with me in them using the mode.
There are art and craft shops you could spend time exploring, and numerous restaurants where you can enjoy Spanish food. I was surprised the prices were reasonable!
The Museo Arqueologico de Frigiliana is worth a short visit if you have the time, although its closed between 2-4pm so it depends when you’re there.
I didn’t have the time but you can climb up to the Castle of Lizar, not for the castle which is long gone but mainly the views back down over Frigiliana to Nerja and the ocean. Apparently there are donkeys to watch out for though!
I ended my few blissful hours Frigiliana sipping coffee under a lemon tree, looking across the lower part of the town, and down the green hilled valleys all the way to the sea. Frigiliana is now firmly on my list of exceeded expectations. Maybe it was the time of year, February isn’t so busy after all, but I fell in love with this little village just a day trip from Malaga and Nerja all the same.
Have you thought about skipping somewhere, only to visit and have it exceed your expectations?
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