This article looks at the intrinsic link of modernity and tradition in the Mediterranean. It focuses on an ongoing debate between locals and incoming leisure migrants in a village in Andalucía about the nature of ‘progress’ in the area. Central to these discussions is the topic of ‘tradition’, manifested in the village in three ways. First, there is a projected notion of tradition espoused by foreign migrants and tourists. Following this, there is a production of tradition by locals to meet those needs. Third, tradition is revealed as the continuation of ‘ways of life,’ adopted as complementary to modern living. All three forms are fundamentally related to the Northern-European modernity as inspired by the Enlightenment. The article concludes with a call to recognise the potential of exploiting the semantic fluidity of the concepts and language of modernity and tradition. As active agents, local people participate in these discourses, but also use to their advantage this ambiguous position they hold in being part-but-not-quite-part of modernity.