By Sally Harrison
IT’S official, the property market is booming in the Axarquía.
More than any other place on the Costa del Sol people are discovering that this is the nicest area to live in.
Having the best climate in Europe – Torrox officially takes the title – means that tropical fruit grows in abundance with mango and avocado plantations as well as even bananas.
Palm trees line many roads and you really do find yourself driving over lemons!
Its not unusual to have to wait for a herd of goats or sheep to cross the road or to see huge oxen pulling carts and men going to work on their donkeys or mules.
Life here is far from the madding crowd yet if you want to play tourist there are 25 kilometres of beaches just waiting for you to put down your towel.
People know your name and watch out for you, watering your plants if you are away
When its raining on the coast you quite often find that up in the mountains you are above the clouds
and enjoying brilliant sunshine.
More and more people are discovering the joys of living in the typical pueblos blancos where the local traditions and tranquil way of life continue.
Foreigners are welcomed and most become part of the local community, learning the language and joining
in with the festivities.
People know your name and watch out for you, watering your plants if you are away for a few days and taking in your mail until your return.
If you are ill they are the first to come to the hospital or your house to offer support and food.
The simple ways of life that are lost living in big cities remain in these villages like a time warp.
Waking up in the morning to the sun rising over the mountains, which in winter have sprinklings of snow on top, is just one of the many little daily occurrences that make life in the Axarquía special.
You can breakfast in a t-shirt on your terrace while the snow melts as the sun heats the day.
On the subject of property, which I have worked in here in Spain for decades, prices are lower here than in other parts of the Costa del Sol.
You can still pick up small renovated three bedroom homes for decent prices and a ruined cortijo to renovate from as little as 120,000 euros.
On top of that, restaurants and bars give better value for money with a three course menu del dia costing from just seven euros.
While time has stood still in the Axarquía progress is evident with a new tram service linking the capital Vélez-Málaga to the sea side resort of Torre del Mar.
There is a fantastic hospital, 24 hour health clinics in the larger villages and most have municipal swimming pools.
There are good local schools, with buses ferrying children to and from school, as well as free internet and Spanish lessons available in most villages.
If a new, relaxed way of life is what you are looking for, then the Axarquía has it all.