IT has been a crossing point for travellers criss-crossing the Axarquia for centuries.

So, it is entirely appropriate that Puente Don Manuel is now the number one commercial hive for inland Axarquia.

Here, at the so called ‘cruz de Periana’ – overlooking beautiful Vinuela lake – you will find a bustling commercial centre with plenty of businesses and restaurants, including curry houses and fish and chip shops.

This fast-growing settlement, which is administered by larger Alcaucin, is where thousands of local expats stock up on all their essentials.

arkwrights-groceriesThere is a hairdresser, dentist and various British estate agents, not to mention the well established Arkwrights food shop, run by Linda and Geoff, which has been the glue of the community for years.

There are a number of good places to get a coffee, none less than the excellent Terrace cafe, a great butcher and probably the best fish and chips in the Axarquia with the Town Friar, now in new hands.

Make sure to take a ride up to the village of Alcaucin, which has a rich historical legacy and is full of narrow, winding streets and whitewashed houses.

Alcaucin derives its name from the Arabic ‘Al Cautin’, meaning the ‘arches’ a possible reference to the town’s aqueduct.

Way before the Moors – and Romans before them – it is known that prehistoric man lived here, after the remains of a Neanderthal man were found in 1983 in a cave near to El Boquete de Zafarraya.

Certainly though, it is scenery that is the biggest draw around here.

The lake of Vinuela, just a stone’s throw away is a great place for a walk and a picnic, or if you are after a bit of luxury a stay at the region’s top Hotel Vinuela.

As well as boasting wonderful grounds with tennis courts and two huge swimming pools, there is a spa and an excellent restaurant, which is one of the best in the whole region.

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