Spain has long been a popular holiday destination for us Brits, giving us that warm, sunny weather we so desire, not mention the stunning beaches and gorgeous countryside.
While many of us don’t tend to venture too far from the beach when on holiday in Spain, those who do will find quaint, sleepy villages offering some much-needed peace and quiet.
In some regions, the villages you’ll find will be painted almost exclusively in bright white, to keep as cool as possible in the hot summer months.
But there is one exception to that rule – the town of Juzcar, in the southern province of Malaga. This small community of just 220 saw its fortunes change last year, after it was painted blue.
Now a real-life Smurf Village, Juzcar has seen tourist numbers go through the roof since donning the sky-blue finish on all buildings in the town.
Juzcar was first painted blue in June last year, after it was chosen to host the premiere of the Smurf film, The Smurfs 3D.
Officials in the town gave the go-ahead to turn it into a place the Smurfs would be proud to call home, and a dozen painters embarked on the mammoth task – using more than 1,000 gallons of paint in the process.
After the premiere, Sony Pictures intended to repaint the town in the traditional white, but residents had different ideas. In a public vote, the overwhelming majority of residents opted to keep the vibrant blue. It is little wonder – the town saw around 80,000 tourists visit in six months. Given that Juzcar usually gets around 300 each year, it was a no-brainer.
The mayor of Juzcar, who has acquired the nickname of Papa Smurf, said the “smurfover” has done nothing but wonders for the town.
“It’s given a boost to the local economy, it’s increased our happiness, our dreams and our levels of employment,” he told Spanish media.