A pretty whitewashed village in Andalucia
Competa sits on the mountainside in the stunning Sierra Almijara mountain range. It’s just 55km from Malaga, so in no time at all you can land and then find yourself relaxing in one of its charming squares. Much of life centres around the main Plaza, the Almijara, which sits below the imposing Iglesia de la Asuncion Church.
The village is made up of many, pretty winding cobblestoned streets. Geraniums hang brightly from the balcony of the immaculate whitewashed houses. History is depicted in the beautifully tiled pictures you will find around the village, documenting Competa’s fascinating past.
From the distance Competa looks like sugar cubes tumbling down the hill. On driving into the village, you will come across a sign saying ‘Cómpeta, no hay otra igual ¡Disfrutala!’ which roughly translated means ‘Competa, there is no other like it, enjoy it!’
When wandering the pretty streets, you will receive a nod, a smile and a hola from the friendly Competeñans!
Why choose Competa?
Are you trying to decide on your next holiday and struggling to please everyone? Perhaps you have a husband/wife to please, kids/teenagers to please? Or maybe an anniversary/wedding/birthday/engagement/graduation to celebrate? Look no further, Competa has something to offer everyone and we mean everyone!
The Perfect Base
It’s the perfect base for foodies. Passionate about hiking or mountain biking, then you won’t be disappointed? If you like yoga, art, photography or meditation then you will find your retreat in Competa. Are you a keen cyclist, do you want to train for a triathlon? There are specialist trainers in the village along with a 25m swimming pool, not to mention the sea. Or perhaps you would like to explore on horseback? Do you want an adrenalin-filled holiday, maybe you’ll like Canyoning, jeep safaris or Moto X tours? If history is your thing then you will be interested in Competa’s diverse past, with Roman, Christian and Muslim heritage. Did we mention the one of the best ‘pay and play golf courses in the world is just 30 minutes away, Baviera Golf
It is just thirty minutes from the coast, where you find fabulously clean beaches, great promenades and water sports activities. There are two aqua parks close by. Walking is a very popular activity in the area. From gentle strolls through the pretty natural parks or the more challenging routes scaling Mount Maroma. Watch out for our upcoming blog on walking in and around Competa.
We could go on, but let’s look at Competa in more detail. Though, we should just add that if doing nothing is your thing, then this is the perfect place for you to do nothing in! Glorious sunny days, mountain and sea views and many bars and restaurants just steps away. Interested? Then find a comfy spot and sit down and read about all the great things Competa has to offer.
Competa is famous for its wine! In fact, one of the main celebrations in the town is Noche del Vino or Night of the Wine. Celebrated annually on the 15th August, the whole town comes alive and is decorated as a medieval market. The Ayuntamiento (town hall) provide free food and wine throughout the day. You can read more about the event here in our Noche del Vino blog.
This local wine is made from the Moscatel grape and actually has similar characteristics to sherry. It’s colour ranges from pale and straw like in the ‘seco’ to a rich dark brown in the ‘dulce’. The locals favour the seco but on first taste many find this a little too dry. The dulce is very sweet so perhaps try the ‘Semi-seco’. It is sold throughout the village in anything from a glass bottle to a plastic container.
Driving through the campo (countryside) you will spot the grape drying beds (paseros) on the hillside. White, rectangle, concrete beds which are laid south or southwest facing in the gardens of the locals, for this is an activity that many participate in. They are filled with earth and covered with a mat before laying the grapes on them to dry before pressing.
For a greater selection of wines, we are also blessed with two fabulous vineyards. Within the village we have Bodegas Almijara, who have been producing their wonderful Jarel wines since 1993. They work with local varieties like Moscatel de Alejandría and Rome. Rightly proud of the accolade of having one of their wines chosen for the wedding of King Felipe IV and Queen Letizia. We hope to visit them soon and of course we will add to our blog.
André and Clara are the proud owners of Bodegas Bentomiz, which offers award winning wines. We highly recommend a visit and that you take in a wine tour too. The food is first class and the tour with Rose is super interesting. These guys are not just owners they are innovators. Clara set up new methods in wine production, we won’t tell you as it will spoil your tour! André is responsible for the design of the beautiful building which nestles amicably into the hillside. He also creates all the ingenious food creations.
Currently, they open as a normal restaurant for lunch and they have presented many music and wine events on their terraces. Offering great tasting menus which can be accompanied by their recommended wine pairings and combined with a wine tour. Less than 15 minutes from the Competa Escapes houses, a minibus is around €20 each way, so very cost effective. You will find a blog from our last visit here. We highly recommend you go!
Competa Music Scene
Competa has a lively and varied music scene. Throughout the summer the three tapas bars on the Plaza Almijara square organise live entertainment on the stage. Performances range from local solo musicians and bands, to visiting tribute acts and flamenco entertainers. Plaza Vendimia also features frequent performances, one of the most notable being an operatic performance.
In addition, the bars and restaurants put on great performances too. The Hotel Balcon has regular entertainment and performing bands on a Sunday on the wonderful, sun-soaked terrace. El Pilon has regular Spanish acts performing. If local band Aire Flamenco are performing, make sure you catch them and their accompanying dance acts (amazing) – often seen at El Pampano. La Carpenteria bar has lively and entertaining acts and in the cooler months a roaring fire. Plus we love their gin selection. This list is not exhaustive, but we keep you up to date with the latest on our Facebook page, you can follow it here
Competa Restaurants and Bars
In the pueblo, you will find a wealth of restaurants, stretching right through the village. Plaza del Carmen is at the top of the village with two local tapas bars there, serving great food. Coming down through the village you will find two restaurants at Plaza Vendimia. Sergio in El Pampano has a wide and varied menu and the benefit of a large terrace and an indoor area for the cooler months. Sergio also provides a great pre-order Sushi platter. Gary and Gilly offer a warm welcome at the bijou Bistro 6, they offer an ever-changing continental menu.
You have three Tapas bars in the main Plaza Almijara square, Paco, Andre and Pedro all offer a warm welcome. It is a great place to people watch and enjoy the hustle and bustle during the day and as previously mentioned the home of weekly live music. Moving down La Rampa you have Bar Bodega, La Carpenteria and Café Competa.
Great cake and take aways too
Additionally, there is La Teteria Hierbabuena, during the day, a pretty boutique café style eatery, offering a great take out or eat in service. On offer are hot and cold dishes, the most divine cakes and one of my favourite wines. If you want to eat at home, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings they offer Thai (Tues) and Indian (Thurs) take away. Moving down the village you will find further bars and restaurants. So, as you can see you can come and stay for two weeks and eat somewhere different every day.
The photos below are of Cortijo Paco, about ten minutes’ walk from the main square. This restaurant has two floors and fantastic views down the mountains. It’s owned by Paco of Casa Paco in the square who has recently re-opened it. Both of Paco’s restaurants are great for any event and great for celebrations. Paco also caters the many fiestas and celebrations around the village.
We will be featuring them all in an upcoming blog.
Competa Ferias and Fiestas – the place for fun
Ferias are celebrated all across the Axarquia and it’s no exception in Competa, which has many.
Noche del Vino
Is a huge annual celebration specific to Cómpeta. It’s always celebrated on the 15th August and was to wish those going off to the fields for harvest well. In a procession the grapes are carried though the pueblo to Plaza Vendimia. Here the treading of the grapes is celebrated. The whole of the pueblo is decorated in a medieval fashion. Every year sees a new poster designed and though given out freely by the town hall they have become collectable.
The free Competa wine flows and Migas is served with green grapes. It is cooked in large paella dishes and is provided to everyone. Migas is a traditional dish served across Spain, but it varies from region to region. It is made from breadcrumbs and can have bacon, chorizo, garlic, onion, tomato, paprika and even salt cod added to it. Traditional Spanish bread whist delicious on the day baked does not have a very long shelf life. Migas is a super way to use the leftover bread up. Read more on Night of the Wine here
Competa Feria de Verano
Foam party fun!
This four-day celebration runs from Thursday to Sunday in July. It’s often said that it is the nearest weekend to the 25th July but always check before booking. This is a hive of fun and laughter with partying and late nights. There are always lots of live music and dance performances. Saturday afternoon sees the Plaza Almijara hosting a foam party, with a giant foam machine filling the square with bubbles. Lively and uplifting music is played throughout the day. Just off of the square, the steep La Rampa becomes a giant water slide. It’s ridiculously fun! We recommend bringing an inflatable ring or similar to travel down on – trust us you will thank us. There is a large fun fair and nighttime performances.
By far our favourite day of the Feria is Sunday! This is the day of the Romeria. Competeñans gather in the Plaza Almijara in traditional dress. Ladies in Flamenco dresses match their daughters in delightfully bright colours. The Andalucian horses commanded by their riders in traditional dress are magnificent and powerful. The huge oxen that lead the cart with the queen of the Feria stand calmly despite their enormity. The cart and horses set away on a parade around the village and are followed by locals and tourists alike.
Other special celebrations
As we mentioned, the town has many celebrations. Semana Santa is the celebration of Easter. It starts on the Sunday before Easter Sunday with community activities throughout the week. There is a large procession followed by everyone on the Sunday. The festival of culture is a great community event centered around Plasa Almijara. Three Kings in Spain is celebrated even more widely than Christmas in Spain. This is a time of wonder and warmth which focuses on the children. Read about this charming celebration in our Three Kings blog here
The town hall or Ayuntamiento generously provide for all of the events offering free food and drink to locals and visitors alike. Offering Migas, Paella’s free wine and on night of the Chestnuts, hot roasted chestnuts and Anis.
The village is alive during these fiestas and there is a wonderful atmosphere.
Village Museum & churches
Visiting the village museum, Museo de Artes y Costumbres on Calle Horne is a great way to learn more. Useful information leaflets are provided in several languages, but we recommend a free tour with Jorge who is incredibly knowledgeable. There are art galleries featuring local and international art and sculptures.
Visit the Churches and Ermitas dotted around the village. The main Church on Plaza Almijara has a wonderful inside. Along the outside you will find El Paseo de Tradiciones, where Competa’s history features in the beautifully tiled arches.
Other things to do around the village
Las Casas Colgantes
Take in the unique hanging houses, Las Casas Colgantes that hang in the valley beside Plaza Vendimia. They are particularly spectacular at night.
Weekly Market and shops
Visit the weekly market, with its colourful and unique stalls. Or visit one of the boutique shops in the village, selling leather goods, Moroccan furnishings and crafts.
Exercise that is fun!
Take a yoga class. Inez and the team are very experienced and offer classes in Basic, Vinyasa, Yin, Surya Chandra, Nidra and Ashtanga yoga methods as well as pilates. Take a look at their website here . There will also be room for private yoga classes on the roof terrace of No 8, with mats provided.
Take a walk to the Gaudi inspired Mirador Panoramico with superb views of the village and then stop and have a drink at Venta de Palma. Walk to the neighbouring pueblo of Canilllas de Albaida and stop for lunch. Or hop up onto a horse for a 4hour trek in the Sierra Tejeda national park with Los Olivillos. An experienced team with horses to suit every level of rider.
Trips from Competa
We are very lucky to have trusted partners who run trips from Competa.
Firstly, Cristian, Monica and their team offer a range of trips. Secondly, they are the best at what they do! Their activities include Canyoning, Kayaking, walking routes and routes on wheels, water adventures and more. They are very experienced with a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor and guests always enjoy their trips. You’ll find them in our guidebook, and we are happy to help you organise trips with them. Click here for their website
This is a wonderful tour company run by Cipri, Maria and their team at Ole Trips. They are wonderful guides and have very in-depth knowledge of Andalucia. You can take many tours with them, too many to list in fact! They range from spending a day as a goat farmer to touring the Alhambra Palace. They offer the sun and wine route, the white villages tour, avocados and mangoes tour – take a look at their website here. You will be amazed at the range they offer.
Passionate about Competa
As you can see, we are passionate about Competa – it’s vibrant, historic, picturesque and authentically Spanish. In conclusion, it has everything that you need on your doorstep, but it also makes a fantastic base for exploring Axarquia, Andalucia and the Costa del Sol regions.
Competa Escapes Townhouses
We have two beautiful townhouses in the heart of Competa. Both featuring private plunge pools and fantastic views. They are two bedroomed and ensuite but completely different. Both feature heating and air conditioning throughout, so they are perfect for any time of the year. They are perfectly situated for all the bars, restaurants and activities in the area. Soon to be joined by a third townhouse with three en-suite bedrooms and a private rooftop pool. Please take a look at our website when considering your next holiday – Competa Escapes and you can see a video of No 9 here and a video of No 17 here