Tuesday, 9 January 2024, 09:38
The village of El Valdés is only four kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea and is set on a hilltop in the Axarquía area to the east of Malaga province – so far not dissimilar to many other villages in the area. However, this tiny village, which belongs administratively to neighbouring Moclinejo, is an art-lover’s paradise, with clear nods to one of Spain’s best-loved artists.
For almost two decades the traditional white houses of El Valdés have been splashed with vibrant colours in a style that does not copy, but rather pays homage to, the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
It all began in the mid-1990s when resident Antonio Montañez decided to build his own house in this unmistakable style. Casa Museo de la Axarquía is home to an impressive ethnographic collection, but the exterior is an authentic tribute to Gaudí’s art. Montañez even opens up his ‘museum house’ to the public on special occasions.
Nods to the artist behind Barcelona’s Park Güell extend through the streets of El Valdés. For example in the children's playground, which is next to Nuestra Señora de Lourdes primary school, there is a little train and other small constructions covered with the colourful tiled mosaics for which Gaudí is famous.
Next to the playground there is also a monument dedicated to the area’s stonemasons, a profession that was once very important in this part of Malaga province but has now disappeared. Alongside the monument there is also a mosaic tree and the names of the last stonemasons in the area have been remembered in writing next to its branches.
From the upper part of the village where Casa Museo de la Axarquía is situated, a walk down the hill leads to a colourful fountain in Plaza Axarquía where the names of the neighbouring hamlets of Los Palmas, El Villar, Los Patrones and Río Granadilla have been written.
Visitors are advised to leave their cars in the upper part of the village, not only to avoid getting stuck in its narrow streets, but also to enjoy a leisurely stroll to find other colourful tributes to the artist from Reus, Catalonia. El Valdés is just a 15-minute drive from Rincón de la Victoria and has become a popular place for second homeowners and even people moving there permanently in recent years.
El Valdés is also on the Axarquía’s Ruta de la Pasa (raisin route) and not only vineyards, but also the olive and almond trees surround the village, which give the visitor an idea of the importance of these products to the area’s economy. A five-kilometre walk, bike ride or car drive will take the visitor to the bigger village of Moclinejo via the Ruta de Sandoval (Sandoval route), offering stunning views over this rugged part of the Axarquía.
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