Mountain villages of Axarquia - Itinerary from Malaga airport
Itinerary: Malaga - Velez Malaga - Competa - Frigiliana - Nerja - Malaga - (day trip or 2 days)
Leave Malaga following the coastline (either the inland motorway, N340, or the smaller coast road), as far as Velez Malaga, which is inland from beach resort Torre del Mar. Look out for the vineyards where muscatel grapes are grown, to make the famous sweet Malaga wine. You will drive up (A335) into the Sierra de Tejeda, which is part of a national park spreading across into Granada. The part of the park lying within Malaga province is called La Axarquia and has many pretty mountain villages such as Competa. This can be reached along the windy MA 117 from Velez-Malaga, and is a good place to stay the night and enjoy its cobbled streets and wonderful views.
Then head back down south towards Torrox, taking the left turning to Frigiliana. This is often called the prettiest village in Andalucia, with its whitewashed, flower-bedecked houses and narrow streets, and produces excellent ceramics.
From Frigiliana, head south again to the coast, to the seaside town of Nerja with its beautiful beaches, many watersports facilities and magnificent clifftop promenade.
From here, it's an easy drive back to Malaga, either along the small coast road, if you want to amble along at a leisurely pace next to the sparkling blue Mediterrean, or along the N340 if you're in more of a hurry.