30km (19 miles) W of Málaga, 18km (11 miles) W of Torremolinos, 585km (363 miles) S of Madrid

Just 8km (5 miles) north of coastal road N-340/E-15 is a village known as "White Mijas" because of its marble-white Andalusian-style houses. Mijas is at the foot of a mountain range near the turnoff to Fuengirola, and from its lofty height -- 450m (1,476 ft.) above sea level -- you get a panoramic view of the Mediterranean.

Celts, Phoenicians, and Moors preceded today's tourists to Mijas. The main allure here is the setting and the town itself, with its narrow streets, whitewashed houses draped in bougainvillea and jasmine, and panoramic views. Regrettably, because of the influx of tour groups, it is now overrun with tacky souvenir and crafts shops. And although it's as close as most Costa del Sol beachgoers come to a typical Andalusian village, that's something it hasn't actually been for a long time.