Mijas may not be the biggest of the "pueblo blancos" (white villages) on the Costa del Sol, but it is certainly the busiest.

Every day over the summer, thousands of tourists flock to the tiny mountain retreat, perched above the busy seaside town of Fuengirola, and few can fail to be captivated by its beauty.

Mijas may be less than 500 yards above sea level, but the views from its many balconies are stunning, with Gibraltar and Africa looming into focus if conditions are clear.

The very top of the village, beyond the 100-year-old bullring and Church of the Immaculate Conception, affords the best vantage point of all, and well worth the climb from the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), where your tour bus is likely to have dropped you off.

Alternatively, you might opt to head upwards and onwards by donkey taxi - seven euros being the price to pay for the services of a four-legged friend.

There are more than 100 licensed donkeys for hire, and recent years have seen considerable improvement in not only their general health, but the way they are kept and general suitability for the job.

Mijas is a maze of narrow streets and parking used to be a massive problem until the building of a 10-storey car park adjacent to the main village square, which nears capacity by late afternoon, then all but empties just a few hours later.

If shopping's your thing, every street is lined with souvenir shops, picture galleries, or a jeweller's, with silver featuring prominently here, and at prices that need not melt the gold card plastic.

Eating out in the village is a delight, especially if you have arrived by bus, and are spared the drive down the twisting hill that leads to the N340 coastal road and return journeys to the likes of Malaga or Marbella.

Some of the best restaurants on the Costa del Sol are here, and many afford those stunning views from their dining terraces. El Capricho and Alcazaba are perhaps the pick of the bunch, and both offer three-course menus of the day (menu del dia) for as little as 20 euros.

Of course, a nice bottle of Rioja to wash it all down with might cost us much, but, hey, you are on holiday, and someone else is doing the driving home.

All the tour companies run daily excursions to Mijas, and you might expect to pay as much as 15 euros for the trip. Be aware, however, that you can get to the village by service bus from eight starting points, including Malaga, Coin, Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola.

A single fare on the last named costs only one euro and five cents, and there are 30 services a day starting at 7.20am.

Some say Mijas has become over commercialised, and suggest that to see hordes of tourists take over the village day after day is in some way distasteful.

There may be a hint of truth in that, but that shouldn't stop you joining the throng and judge for yourself if the village should be found "guilty" because breathtaking beauty has brought so many to its doorstep.

I know what my verdict is - magical Mijas is simply unmissable. Any visit to the Costa del Sol would not be complete without a journey there.

Now, could someone hail me a donkey!