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The streets of Alfarnate are filled with colour to celebrate its cherry blossom. Turismo Alfarnate
Painting the Axarquía area of Malaga province pink and gold this weekend
What to do

Painting the Axarquía area of Malaga province pink and gold this weekend

The Sakura festival in Alfarnate celebrates the village's spring cherry blossom with a Japanese feel while Periana is paying tribute to its olive oil industry

Javier Almellones

Axarquia

Friday, 5 April 2024, 08:13

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Alfarnate and Periana in the upper Axarquía, on the eastern side of Malaga province are both celebrating their local produce this weekend. While Periana will be painting the town gold to celebrate its verdial olive oil, otherwise known as 'liquid gold', Alfarnate will be seeing things through rose-tinted glasses as it pays tribute to its cherry blossom during its Sakura festival. As there are just 17 kilometres between Periana and Alfarnate, combining the two festivals is the perfect combination for a weekend getaway in the easternmost area of Malaga province.

Sakura is the Japanese word used to refer to the cherry blossom and the village will be decorated in pink and all things Japanese on Sunday 7 April. Along with the festivities in the village itself, there are plenty of walking opportunities to enjoy including Las Pilas circular route.

Early arrivals in Periana can enjoy a miller's breakfast.
Early arrivals in Periana can enjoy a miller's breakfast. Diputación de Málaga

Alfarnate town hall has programmed various activities that reflect Japanese culture, including bonsai techniques, geisha make-up, martial arts, samurai, origami and live demonstrations of Japanese cooking. There will also be a market. Sakura starts at 10am and will finish at around 5.30pm.

Just 15 minutes by car is the town of Periana where its olive oil festival is taking place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April. There will be a traditional miller's breakfast of coffee with bread, cod, beans and, of course, local verdial extra virgin olive oil (Evoo) for early birds (9.30 am on Saturday and at 10am on Sunday).

On Saturday there will be a guided walking route through an olive grove in the morning as well as an olive oil tasting session and a live cooking demonstration by Sabor a Málaga (in Spanish). On Sunday, there will be live Verdiales music as well as a DJ, stalls selling local olive oil and other artisan products and a free paella tasting at lunchtime.

The town's two olive oil mills, San José Artesano in Mondrón and San Isidro Labrador in Periana will be open for olive oil sales.

Verdial variety extra virgin olive oil is known as the liquid gold of the Axarquía.
Verdial variety extra virgin olive oil is known as the liquid gold of the Axarquía. Diputación de Málaga

Another event to complete the weekend is a performance of the Passion Play (El Paso) in nearby Riogordo on Saturday evening, which had to be postponed due the rain last weekend. It starts at 5pm and tickets can be bought beforehand or on the day. For further information on where to buy tickets visit: www.elpasoderiogordo.es.

What to visit

Ruta de las Pilas. This circular route is one of the best ways to enjoy the springtime scenery of Alfarnate, which at this time of year offers the intense colours of the cherry blossom. Where: Departure indicated in front of the local cooperative.

Lavadero de la Cruz. Until a few decades ago this enclave was fundamental to the daily life of Periana, as it was here that the village women used to wash their clothes by hand. Now restored, it has become one of the highlights of the village centre. Where: Calle Cerco.

Source of the river Guaro. Located in the Guaro district of Periana, the river is flowing again after the recent rains. See it by travelling from Periana to Alfarnate via Puerto del Sol along the MA-156 road. Where: Next Guaro (Periana).

Oil mills. During this weekend you can visit the oil mills of San José Artesano, in Mondrón (Periana), and San Isidro Labrador, in Periana town. In both cooperatives you will be able to buy verdial and picual variety olive oil . Where: Mondrón and Periana.

Where to eat

Cristóbal. A temple of traditional Alfarnate cuisine, just a few metres from Santa Ana church. Tapas, Iberian sirloin steak, croquettes, mojetes (mushrooms and scrambled eggs) are among the options. Where: Calle Sacristía, Alfarnate. Telephone: 684 149 962.

La Taberna de Cati. Paellas are among the specialities of this bar in Periana which must be ordered in advance. Lobster, rabbit, fish and a vegan option are available. Fried and grilled fish, Iberian pork, beef and meatballs in almond sauce are also on the menu. Where: Paseo de Bellavista, 35, Periana. Telephone: 656 905 996.

Where to stay

Cortijo Las Monjas. Offering panoramic views of the upper Axarquia and surrounded by olive groves, the accommodation offers around six comfortable apartments where guests can relax, escape and even take part in some of the many activities on offer, including yoga retreats, hiking, theatre and musical performances. Where: Cortijo Las Monjas, s/n. Ctra. MA-4102, Km 7.1 29710 Periana. Telephone: 635 425 077 www.cortijolasmonjas.com

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