Mijas, known as the White Village, is situated at the foothills of the Cordón Montañoso del Litoral (Coastal Mountain Range), one of the most typical examples of the pretty mountain town in Andalucía, with views over much of the Costa del Sol. The municipal area covers almost 140 square kilometres, from the mountains down to the sea, surrounding the municipality of Fuengirola. The urban areas of Mijas are Mijas Pueblo, Las Lagunas and La Cala de Mijas. In the first we find the old part of the town with its Town Hall, its historic buildings and its whitewashed houses. Las Lagunas is where most of the services and housing developments are situated, as in La Cala de Mijas. The Fuengirola River flows through the centre of the municipality, where there are large agricultural areas being gradually taken over by golf courses and luxury housing estates. The coastal area is highly developed for tourism, even in the small coves where the mountains reach down to the sea. But the four Vigilance Towers dating from centuries back are still there, these being the Calaburras, the Torre Vieja, the Torre Nueva (this built in the 19th century) and the Torre de Calahonda, built in the 16th century.
Arriving from the old road that unites Mijas with Benalmádena, one passes the large lookout point opening to the sea, amidst pines and ornamental plants between the summer houses along the coastline. The origins of the town go back a long way, as we can see from various archaeological finds made in the area around the parish church. It was known as Tarnisa in Roman times, then a prosperous place close to the old road between Malaga and Cadiz. It was conquered in 714 by the Moorish leader Abdalaziz, son of Muza, through a pact made with the local Hispano-Gothic population, and it was the Moors who changed the Roman Tarmina to Mixa, a word that was bastardised into Castellano as Mijas. During the rebellion of Omar ben Hafsun at the end of the 9th and beginning of the 10th century, Mijas changed hands a number of times between the rebels and the emirate. It was conquered by the Christians after Malaga fell in 1487, just before the fall of the Nazrid kingdom. In the fighting that followed, Mijas became a military headquarters. Many of the defeated Moors decided to remain on in the town, which was re-populated by Christians from the north. Loyal to Juana La Loca in the war of the Comunidades, Mijas was awarded the title of Villa in 1512, along with a prize much better appreciated: freedom from taxes. The Crown later conferred on the town the title Muy Leal (Very Loyal).