The castle of Saint Barbara stands on top of Monte Benacantil with a gorgeous scenic view of the Spanish landscape of Alicante.
Standing 166m high, it is definitely the most prominent landmark in this city and possibly one of the biggest fortresses built during the Middle Ages in Spain. Built by the Muslims in the eighth century, it was re-conquered by King Alfonso X de Castilla in the 12th century, on Saint Barbara’s day.
La Cara del Moro Mountain
From the Beach of el Postiguet, if you look towards the Castillo de Santa Barbara, you may notice that the mountain upon which the castle stands has the shape of the profile of a human face. This is known as “La Cara del Moro” and appears in many postcards and even in Alicante´s coat of arms.
How to Get to the Castle of Santa Barbara
While walking up to Santa Barbara Castle, first you will encounter the neighborhood of la Santa Cruz. Its bright white houses along the narrow streets are full of flowers, contrasting with the blue sky and it is a real pleasure to contemplate. Then you will arrive at park Ereta. If you are already tired, you can sit and grab a bite to eat at a nice panoramic restaurant with an excellent view of the old town. It is even easier to take the elevator at Postiguet Beach and reach all the way up to the Castle.
Things You Should See Inside the Castle
The Castle of Santa Barbara has many interesting things to see, like the palace, cannons and war artifacts, a moat, a lookout tower and the dark dungeons below. La Sala Noble, the chambers of Philip II, el Baluarte de la Reina and the Baluarte de los Ingleses are very interesting places to visit.
A famous fresh water fountain is La Font del Gat, where for nearly two hundred years people have been taking its water to drink at home. A popular Catalan folk song mentions this place in its lyrics. (Walking down from the “Cat Fountain”, a soldier and a girl come back from a tryst.) This song describes the popularity of the gardens of Montjuic as a place for couples to spend some private time together.
The Castle has had some military presence in the last couple of centuries, with a Guard Wing and the garrison courtyard. For a while the castle was used as a prison, but then was abandoned for a long time, until 1963 when it was again opened to the general public.
Live Concerts in the Castle
In the garrison courtyard, on certain summer evenings, people can attend live concerts and performances for free. Don’t miss the opportunity of experiencing and listening to music in a medieval castle under the moonlight, on a warm evening!
Mijas, set in the hills of southern Andalucia overlooking the Mediterranean sea is a perfect location for a relaxing holiday or short break. The beach is 10 mins away, the views from the village are amazing and we have excellent bars and restaurants. Mijas activities guide consists of cultural and wine musuems, sports including rock climbing and visiting historical buildings such as the Mijas bullring. Many activities are free and can be enjoyed all year.
Within the botanical gardens of Parque Muralla, almost in the middle of the town, one could be surprised to find a rock gorge which is professionally customised for rock climbing and bouldering. And it is all for free for both professionals and amateurs to practice their skills in a beautiful setting.
Plaza de Toros
C/ Cuesta de la Villa, Tel: 952 485 248
Dating back to 1900 and located in the center of the village, this is still an active bullring. Bullfighting takes place exclusively during the summer months on Sundays from 18:30. The bullring is unique in its peculiar shape which cannot be found anywhere else. The entire typically Spanish spectacle is opened with a traditional flamenco performance.
Ethnological Museum of Mijas
Plaza de la Libertad, 2, Tel: 952 590 380
Exhibiting utensils of farming, fishing and general life from the past, this museum also shows an oil mill and wine cellar. Moreover, there are paintings and photography of local artists on display. Entrance to the museum is free and often accompanied by wine tasting.
Mijas Museum of Miniatures
Avda. del Compàs, Tel: 952 48 58 20
Museum of miniatures happens to be the most popular sightseeing destination for Asian tourists. Created by travel adventurer and hypnotist, Professor Max, this museum showcases over 360 pieces collected during his travels around the world. The very detailed craftsmanship can be admired, for example, on the reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “Last Supper” carved on a grain of rice.
Walking & hiking
Mijas is also a sought after destination for fans of hiking and mountain walking. There are several routes in the hills directly behind the town that are clearly sign-posted. A free map of the routes can be obtained from the local tourist office. Walks vary in time and difficulty levels. The views are spectacular and walkers can additionally visit the local shrine which is located on one of the routes. Further away from the town toward Osanillas, Pine forest walks can be found easily.
Mijas Wine museum
C/ San Sebastian
Mijas wine museum offers wine lovers the chance to learn from professional oenologists and try wine from all denominations of origin in Spain. The wine list includes cavas, noble wines, table wines, reds and roses along with gourmet food to enhance the experience, such as flavoured salts, cream syrup, balsamic jams and olive oils. Each wine is paired with a dish featuring salads, cheeses, cold meats as well as signature dishes such as ratatouille tartlets with tuna, baby habas in chinese spoons, endives with scorpion fish pie and duck thighs with Malaga sweet wine. A high class tourist attraction that should not be missed.
Avda. de Mejico
To use the municipal Mijas gym, membership is available although not necessary. The machines are a little dated, however, all of them are maintained constantly and the professional help of the instructors is always close-at-hand.
Grotto of the Virgen de la Peña
To this picturesque grotto, there is attached a legend dating back to 1536 when two children, a boy and a girl (Juan & Asuncion) experienced an apparition of the Virgin with Child in her arms and a white dove on her shoulder. The legend says that the Virgin was discovered by excavating the rock by the locals. Today, this beautiful grotto is continuously visited by pilgrims from all over the world. It is a serene and peaceful place for religious contemplation.
Mijas Church of the Immaculate Conception
Built on the ruins of the original castle, the church was consecrated in 1631 and uses one of the castles towers as the bell tower. The church contains features from the Mudejar and Baroque styles. There are 3 naves, each separated by rounded arches, the two side naves dating back to the first half of the 17th century. It is a wonderful piece of architecture waiting to be admired by art lovers as well as any viewers sensitive to historical and cultural beauty.
Mijas Swimming Pool
An outdoor municipal swimming pool is located in Osanillas, on the outskirts of Mijas. The pool is open during summer until 9pm and the entrance is free. It is a good alternative for those who feel less comfortable in the sea, especially for parents with children. Bar and cafe are also attractive breaks from the summer heat.
There are several retreats offering yoga and massage courses and most are run as part of a package which includes accommodation. At the entrance to the village, there is Bioyoga, offering courses in Ayurveda Massage and Yoga for pregnant women. They also sell various natural products. It is definitely a healthy and alternative treat for active women looking to calm and comfort body and spirit.
The beautiful Park Miralla is situated on the grounds of the original fortress that once occupied this vantage point. The park features botanical gardens, an auditorium and breathtaking viewpoints of the coast that can be explored further with the available coin-operated binoculars. The main church and bullring surround the park and add to the atmosphere of this wonderful area.