Arenas is one of the Axarquía region’s genuine working rural white villages as opposed to the rather chocolate boxy, dominated by tourism variety.
Easily accessible from Vélez-Málaga, and connected to the neighbouring villages of Corumbela and Archez by a rather more heart stopping, but very scenic mountain road, Arenas is still a village where agriculture is the main basis of the local economy, where everyone knows everyone else, and where residents always find the time to stop and chat to a stranger. This is despite the fact there is a growing interest in rural properties in the area among the foreign market, and particularly the British, Germans and Dutch.
Arenas’ origens are Moorish, a fact which is clearly evident in the layout of the streets and the style of the buildings.The village is somewhat short on major historic monuments however, although its Mudejar-style Santa Catalina church built on the site of a mosque is quite pretty, as is the small square where the dinky little Town Hall building is located and where an attractive fountain serves as a centrepiece.
The village merits a bit of exploration, with its winding little streets, typical of the villages in La Axarquía, and white washed houses decked with colourful pot plants. There are some fairly pleasant modern houses, as well as much older family homes where there’s more likely to be a mule parked outside than a car.