Comares is probably the most talked about and most seen (from afar) village in the Axarquía. From almost wherever you are you can catch sight of Comares. It sits right on top of the mountain some 735 metres above sea level, 28 km from Málaga and 24 kilometres from Vélez-Málaga. Steeped in history and like many Axarquía villages the Arab influence is very obvious, at least 3 streets have original Arab arches. The name originates from the Arab word for castle, Qumarix. Due to its excellent location it was one of the Axarquía´s principle defense strongholds. It became the regional headquarters for Cútar, El Borge, Almáchar and Moclinejo during the 11th century and by the 15th century when Vélez fell to the Christians the last Moslem governor Mohammed el Jabis tried in vain to stop the invasion but in late 1487 Comares too was taken. In Calle de Perdon ( Street of Forgivness) 30 Moorish families living in the village were baptized.
As you walk through modern day Comares you cannot help notice blue ceramic footprints with Arab motifs. These footprints lead through the narrow streets and when you see 2 footprints together they will be in front of a monument or a colourful ceramic plaque inviting you to stop and take notice. One of the interesting places these footprints lead you to is the Plaza de los Verdiales, a monument to the panda de verdiales, not the black and white furry bear but a band of local men playing lively music. Comares even has its own style of verdiales and a statue of a typically dressed band member stands proudly in the square. One of the village shops is also in this square selling everything from bread to boots, milk to mouse traps! Being so high, the village has everything you need, chemist, doctors, municipal swimming pool, free internet etc.
From this Plaza if you carry on walking up hill on Calle Iglesias you will come to the church of La Encarnación. Built in 1505 using floor plans of an old mosque it has an eight sided tower. Whilst stopping to take a photo if you find yourself a bit peckish don´t worry because out of a nearby house will appear, like magic, a local woman who will drag you back in to sell you honey, raisins, almonds, and sweet homemade wine. Before you know it you will be several Euros worse off but ladened with these local goodies.
Wherever you go in Comares you will have stunning views. From the main square at the look out you can see the villages of Cútar, Iznate, Benamocarra,Benamargosa, Vélez-Málaga, Torre del Mar, Canillas de Aceituno, Alcaucin and Puente Don Manuel. From the back of the village you can see the majestic rugged mountains of Jobo, Palomera and Enmedio and the village of Periana.
There are plenty of walking routes mapped out for you through the countryside if you still feel energetic! If the steep streets have taken their toll, stop a while in the beautiful courtyard of El Molino de los Abuelos in the main square, or take lunch at the mayor’s bar, the Atalaya (Watch Tower) where you can enjoy a fabulous, inexpensive meal while taking in the fantastic views down to the coast. To really enjoy the views make sure you go on a clear day, in summer the skies are often hazy so autumn or winter is probably best.
To get to Comares you can drive up from Vélez Málaga and Benamargosa, or leave the coast road earlier from Málaga and drive up through Olías which is a much more winding road but has spectacular views.