At around the midway point between Fuengirola and Marbella you will find the delightful La Cala de Mijas.
Situated on a natural bay, it has grown over the years from a shack filled area to the bustling space it is today.
It is a part of the municipality of Mijas Pueblo, sharing its local Council, rules and regulations.
It wasn't until the 1950's that it really experienced notable changes, an asbestos factory, of all things, was built to help the employment situation, thankfully that has long gone, the construction of its very first hotel and not until 1953 was there even a telephone connection. Something that seems strange in our world of technology.
Although La Cala itself isn't a big town, there is something here for everyone. The lovely sandy, beach is the biggest attraction during the day, just laying there relaxing is all that some people need but if you get tired of that, you really should try the new coastal walkway.
Walking towards Marbella you will reach Sitio de Calahonda, a distance of almost 5 kilometers, there are sections that are still under construction if you go past this point, especially around Cabo Pino, as it has a protected dune area, over which they are still deciding the best route. It has given access now to parts of the coast here, which were previously only reachable passing through bars or hotels or taking a long walk along the beach itself. You can avoid clambering around those small, rocky outcrops, and won’t have to wait for the tide to go out.
Be careful though...sometimes you do come across inconsiderate bike riders who think was built just for them, but on the whole it is very safe to use. It also has access for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. In all a very pleasant walk, and which ever end you start or finish there’ll always be somewhere to stop for a coffee.
The official video can be seen here:
The beach now has improved facilities; they have clean toilets for a start! They are situated near the lifeguard stations and the beach bars – chiringuitos.
If you walk along to Playa La Bomba, there is a lovely beach bar, where the owner Pepe and his son Julian have a great menu. Be prepared to wait for a table at the height of summer, they are busy. But, busy means the food is fresh. They do an excellent “fritura” with all types of fish and the lamb brochettes were lovely.
In the center of La Cala you will find a busy shopping area. There is a good selection of shops, along with Mercadona and Supersol supermarkets. You won’t find much choice if you wish to buy clothes but there are a couple of souvenir shops and the inevitable 1€ store.
If you explore the narrow, side streets there are local bakers and butchers too. For some reason, the large Ex Pat community has caused the opening of the “Charity” shop.
There are at least 2, one of which seems to have a close connection to The Lions Charity. They are actually fantastic places to go if you need new reading material! There is a central paved area that runs along the length of the main street.
It is quite often used for the craft market, where you’ll find artisan products; this opens in the evenings during the summer months. At Christmas it is particularly pretty, when the decorations go up and the stalls start selling scented candles and gifts. Just walking around with a hot chocolate brings out the holiday spirit in most people.
Around this central area are an abundance of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets. Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Indian…they are all there. Newly opened is Olivia’s, which is located at the left hand end of the promenade. It is now the local celebrity bar, being owned by Elliott Wright of TOWIE fame.
They actually have great menu choices, along with live evening entertainment. In the main road you will find Biddy Mulligan’s, frequented by the younger crowd, an Irish bar with lively music and cold beer. But here in general, the nightlife is on a much quieter and smaller scale than nearby Fuengirola. Closing times are earlier too, you won’t be disturbed by the emptying of clubs and discos at 7am.
La Cala has much to offer too in daytime activities, nearby you will find horse-riding, diving schools, kite surfing, paddle board rental everything you might need for a great holiday.
If however you are looking for a more permanent move to Spain, it is a great area to live in.
Due to its location straight off of the dual carriageway you have great access whether it be by car, taxi or public transport. The local bus is the best way to travel short distances along the coast.
From Fuengirola to Marbella, leaving every half an hour between 7am and 11:30pm. Sometimes there is a night service in the months of June, July and August.
I wouldn’t bother with taxis now unless it was really necessary, even the journey from the airport is simple, a short train journey and a quick bus ride.
You must register with the Town Hall, it is a quick, simple process. You will become part of the town’s population, for tax purposes. Especially if you buy a property, they will want to know you have paid your yearly quotas. They are actually quite low amounts compared to the UK’s rateable system.
If you do want to buy property, there are numerous estate agents, they nearly all have staff that speak more than one language, so you’ll find communication easy.
You should use a reputable English-speaking solicitor, and always have official paperwork checked before signing. You are within your rights to ask for copies of a “Nota Simple” from the Local Land Registry, it costs around 20€, but will inform you of any debt outstanding or even if the person selling is actually the owner.
If you have children, there are 2 Primary/Junior schools and a Secondary school. These are public schools and use the Spanish curriculum. Although children integrate much faster than adults, they pick up the language and adapt so much quicker to their new surroundings. Do not worry that they will be the only foreign child in their class, I do know of one which has 8 Nationalities.
There is a brand new health center, and you will be seen if you present your E111 card. They have a voluntary translator there to help you if you have difficulties. And the local hospital is only a 15 minute drive away.
Become a part of the community…there is a fantastic activities programme run throughout the year. You can learn Spanish, join the Quilting and Handicrafts groups, and become a local by just sitting watching the boats sail by. Nearby there is a bowls club, numerous golf courses, and opportunities to practice all the sports you wish. Events, fairs and processions take place from January to December, you can get lots of information from the Cultural Centre on the main road.
La Cala has something special, a community spirit, and a friendliness that draws you in. It is welcoming to all and once you arrive, it is hard to say goodbye.