What to do and what to see in Torremolinos

The municipality of Torremolinos is located in the south of the province of Málaga, with 20 km² of surface and star-shaped. It stretches along the western shore of the Bay of Málaga and behind Sierra de Mijas. It is integrated in the Costa del Sol Occidental region and in 1988 it was segregated from Málaga city, becoming a municipality.

Torremolinos limits to the northeast with the Churriana district, integrated in the municipality of Málaga, to the east and southeast with the Mediterranean Sea, to the southwest and west with the municipality of Benalmádena, and to the northwest with the municipality of Alhaurín de la Torre.

Except for a small strip to the north of the municipality, populated with pine forest and known as Montes de Torremolinos (Torremolinos' Mountains), Torremolinos is almost entirely urbanized.

Torremolinos city is located 13 km southeast of Málaga city. It has a population that multiplies during the summer months and is a cosmopolitan city where more than 100 different nationalities reside, with approximately 75% coming from European Union countries.

Torremolinos is connected by the A-7 motorway, which bypasses the city from the north, as well as by commuter train.

During the sixties and seventies, Torremolinos created a liberal, permissive and cosmopolitan environment that set it apart from other areas of Costa del Sol, becoming one of the main references for music and nightlife in Spain and a LGBT tourism destination recognized worldwide.

Torremolinos is one of the main tourist destinations worldwide within the Costa del Sol, especially visited by British, German, Irish, French, Scandinavian and Spanish tourists from other parts.

Its two oldest neighborhoods, La Carihuela, to the south, and El Bajondillo, to the north, are separated by a small cliff, Punta de Torremolinos (Torremolinos Point). The third original population nucleus is located in the northwest of the city, the neighborhood of El Calvario. Other more recent neighborhoods are El Centro, Montemar, El Pinillo, Playamar, La Colina and Los Álamos.

Torremolinos has two television channels, Canal Costa del Sol and Torremolinos Televisión, which broadcast programming of local interest. The written press is present through local newspapers, such as Torremolinos Información or Diario de Torremolinos and digital media. It also houses the literary magazine Litoral, which was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War and reappeared in 1968.

History of Torremolinos

The findings found in the Punta de Torremolinos area, next to the beach, testify that the first settlements in its territory date back to the Neolithic, some 5,000 years B.C., attracted by the existence of rock shelters, good weather and sun, together with abundant fishing, hunting and water.

The Phoenicians founded the city of Saduce very close to Torremolinos, but it was the Romans who settled in the territory of the current municipal area. The most important inheritance left by them was a causeway, built 2,000 years ago, several meters wide that linked Cádiz with Málaga and that crossed Torremolinos from end to end. On both sides of this road they built villas and fish salting factories.

The Arabs, taking advantage of the aquifer wealth of the area and the great channel that started from the mountains to the beach, came to build up to nineteen mills. The Inca Mill, the Batán Mill and the Cea Mill were located in the area of the springs, close to what is now the Conference Centre. These and others, following the channel to the beach, dedicated their activity to milling wheat, salt, minerals such as iron, or products such as oil.

The vulnerability of the territory from the sea to invaders from North Africa led, in the early 14th century, to the construction of a defense tower located at the end of San Miguel Street, known as Molinos Tower or Pimentel Tower, 12 meters high, consisting of two floors with vigilant windows to the sea and a terrace.

After the Christian conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, Torremolinos continued to be exposed to pirate incursions until well into the 18th century, which slowed the demographic development of the town. The piracy problem led to the construction from 1763 of the Saint Clara Castle and a battery of cannons in the nearby hills of Montemar, of which remains that can still be visited in the Battery Park are still preserved.

At the beginning of the 20th century the decline of the milling industry began and Torremolinos joined in 1924 due to economic problems to the municipality of Málaga, being then a small fishing village.

In the late 1950s, Torremolinos experienced a boom in tourism, attracting national and international tourists, which caused a boom in construction dedicated to tourism. In the sixties it was gaining fame as a wild tourism destination.

On September 27, 1988, it achieved the segregation of the municipality of Málaga and today it constitutes, with Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Marbella, one of the main destinations for sun and beach tourism on the Costa del Sol.

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What to see in Torremolinos

Torremolinos city has one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe, San Miguel Street. From this street you can start to see elements of cultural interest, as well as take the opportunity to do some shopping.

At the end of San Miguel Street you will find the Molinos Tower or Pimentel Tower, an old name that paid homage to a military man who helped the Catholic Monarchs to conquer Málaga. This was built around the year 1300 along the coast of Torremolinos, integrating into the coastal defense system formed by the Nasrids. It is twelve meters high with a solid base and two floors. A humble neighborhood of millers was created around the tower, which would eventually become what is known nowadays as Torremolinos.

Not far from the tower you will see the Saint Clara Castle Hotel, which opened in August 1974 on the ruins of the disappeared Saint Clara Castle, from 1763. In 1993 it ceased to function as a tourist establishment, becoming a community of luxury owners in one of the best areas of Torremolinos.

A construction that contributes both artistic and ethnological values to the cultural heritage of Torremolinos is the María Barrabino House. It was built in the 19th century and there you can see the ways of life of the bourgeoisie of the time, as well as the representations they made. It has been uninhabited since 1997 and, currently, almost in a ruin situation.

Between 1959 and 1960, the construction of one of the emblems of the expansion of tourism in Torremolinos, the Pez Espada Hotel, was carried out. It is an important exponent of what was called the “relaxation style” and it incorporates the revisionist tendencies of the Modern Movement of those years. It is a hotel that continues working today.

With also some characteristics corresponding to the Modern Movement, as well as to the progressive ideals of the Spanish Second Republic, the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Cultural Centre was built in 1935. It has been declared a Cultural Interest Asset and is located in the centre of an elevated garden with views to the sea.

In the heart of El Bajondillo you can see the Navajas House, built in 1925 with the arrival of tourism in Torremolinos. It is very close to El Bajondillo Beach with a neo-Mudejar style. This house belonged to the Luque-Navajas family, which was dedicated to the sugar cane business, which was very beneficial at the mouth of the Guadalhorce River. Today weddings and celebrations are held inside, in addition to exhibitions, concerts and theaters.

In the Saints Archangels Square is located one of the religious temples of Torremolinos, the Church of St. Michael Archangel. It is neoclassical in style and was built in 1718 and renovated in 1896.

In 1970 the construction of a landmark of the Costa del Sol and Andalusia in congress tourism was carried out, the Costa del Sol Congresses and Exhibitions Palace. This building became part of the State Heritage in 1971. It is It is made up of a circular floor plan in which the different auditoriums, commission rooms, secretariats and other offices are distributed. The most remarkable thing is its central hall with its emblematic translucent dome and its crystal lamp in the centre of the room.

Although the urban development of Torremolinos, disorderly and speculative, has been questioned, a more calm analysis allows us to appreciate that not everything was negative. Some of its buildings are excellent examples of the architecture of the Modern Movement and Art Deco, such as the Aladdin Bazaar, a building that simulates the appearance of a ship.

A second stage was an innovative architecture, with tall buildings, placing Torremolinos at the forefront of the avant-garde among the cities of Spain. The hotels are the best preserved buildings where the international style that characterized Torremolinos is appreciated.

Another building of interest within Torremolinos is the Principe de Asturias Municipal Auditorium, where the largest events in the city are held.

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What to do in Torremolinos

In Torremolinos you will not have time to get bored, since it has a wide list of attractions, both natural, headed by its beaches, and built for tourism, dedicated to leisure and fun.

Apart from the cultural centers previously seen, the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Cultural Centre, the Principe de Asturias Municipal Auditorium and the Costa del Sol Congresses and Exhibitions Palace, Torremolinos has other places where you can expand your knowledge according to the theme that you prefer.

The Tattoo Museum was the first museum dedicated to this specialty in Spain. Its collection is made up of utensils, prints of famous tattoo artists of the world, patterns, diagrams and more than 100,000 drawings.

Another is the Cinema Museum, which has a collection of cinematographic objects.

In addition, in the centre of La Carihuela, Chiriva Square houses a large number of cultural activities.

When you start exploring the natural surroundings of Torremolinos, it is normal to start with its main tourist attraction, its beaches. The municipality of Torremolinos has almost 7 kilometers of coastline, with urban beaches accessible from the promenade, with dark sand and moderate waves. It has a high level of occupation during the summer months and all of them have umbrellas, hammocks, bars, restaurants, newsstands, etc. Torremolinos beaches are as follows:

  • Los Álamos Beach - It is also known as El Cañuelo Beach and is located next to the Los Álamos urbanization and between Playamar Beach, to the west, and the border with the municipality of Málaga. It is a semi-urban beach with fine sand and wide spaces. It is ideal for practicing water sports such as kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, etc., with a medium level of occupancy, as it is the farthest from the city centre. It is a benchmark in the nightlife because on its promenade there are numerous pubs-chill-out, beach bars and discos.
  • Playamar Beach - Located next to the Playamar neighborhood, where its imposing towers rise, and between Los Álamos Beach, east, and El Bajondillo Beach, west. It measures just under a kilometer and has a width of between 40 to 50 meters. This beach has all kinds of services and is of a medium-high occupancy level. Ideal for renting aquatic equipment such as pedal boats or jet skis. There are also beach volleyball nets for sand sports. It also stands out for its nightlife, since some reference premises are found on its promenade.
  • El Bajondillo Beach - Located in the traditional El Bajondillo neighborhood, between Playamar Beach, to the east, and La Carihuela Beach, to the west, after Punta de Torremolinos. It is about 1,100 meters long and about 40 meters wide. The end of this beach has become a gay-friendly area after the opening of an LGBT beach bar and, also, the sand artists who usually do their works on it are very interesting, turning this beach into a museum in the summer sculpture outdoors.
  • La Carihuela Beach - Located in the old fishing district, west of Torremolinos. Today it is a cosmopolitan area that concentrates a large number of hotel and leisure establishments, undoubtedly a true reflection of the tourist boom that Costa del Sol experienced a few decades ago. The beach is connected with Benalmádena to the west, through Puerto Marina, and limited to the east, by Punta de Torremolinos. It is about 2,100 meters long and about 40 meters wide. Its restaurants serve the best prepared fish in the area. It is considered one of the best urban beaches in the entire province of Málaga. Ava Gardner or the princes of Denmark or Monaco stayed in the hotels on this beach. With clean and normally calm waters, the palm grove areas with natural grass in the middle of the sand stand out, providing great shade for tourists, as well as its wide promenade full of life throughout the year and especially in summer.

On the other hand, within Torremolinos city you will find green areas such as Los Manantiales of Torremolinos Complex - Molino de Inca Botanical Garden. It is located north of the city, where the original springs of Torremolinos are located. It is a space with more than 150 palm trees of 50 different types, about 300 trees of 60 different species and about 400 also varied shrubs. Next to it is located the Pinar de los Manantiales (Springs' Pine Grove), an extensive forest considered the lung of the city, where the springs that give it its name spring up and where you can enjoy a recreational area with barbecues and recreational tables.

Also, with an area of about 74,000 m² and located in the Montemar Alto area, you will find the Battery Park. This has a large central navigable lake, 9,000 square meters in area, a 15-meter lookout tower, with a lift and views of the Málaga coastline, a network of trails, a physical exercise area, a playground for children, a bike path and a running track. The natural area also has more than 750 trees of more than 25 different species and abundant floral vegetation.

On the outskirts of the city, you will find impressive places with amazing views of Torremolinos and the coast. In order to get to these sites, nestled in a more mountainous area, there are different hiking routes that you can take and thus achieve greater contact with nature.

One of the best known is the Cañada del Lobo Trail. This route provides a perfect place to get to know the natural environment of Torremolinos. In the highest part you will find a viewpoint with a sculpture of a wolf, from where you can get one of the best views of Costa del Sol. Near the top is a refuge and a hostel for tourist accommodation. The route is 4.9 km away, with an average difficulty and an estimated duration of two and a half hours.

Part of the municipality of Torremolinos is covered by one of the stages of the Great Path of Málaga. It runs through the province of Málaga through its nine regions, connecting some municipalities with others through rural areas.

  • Stage 34, Benalmádena - Alhaurín de la Torre - This stage starts from Benalmádena and runs, passing through part of the municipality of Torremolinos, 12.3 km until you reach Alhaurín de la Torre. In the part that corresponds to Torremolinos, the route changes from forest tracks to a zigzagging path, passing through Cañada del Lobo (Wolf Cattle Route) and reaching an area of Puerto Blanquillo (Blanquillo Refuge). On this route you will have the opportunity to visit the southern slopes of Sierra de Mijas, as well as get fantastic views of Costa del Sol and the Guadalhorce Valley.

Another route that runs through the province of Málaga is the Coastal Path, which also has a stage that runs through Torremolinos. This path runs along the coast of the entire province, passing through all the municipalities that complete the Málaga coast from Estepona to Nerja.

  • Stage 6, Benalmádena and Torremolinos - It runs 14 km of continuous coastline thanks to the Benalmádena and Torremolinos promenades, except for the section corresponding to Carvajal Beach in Benalmádena. You will have the opportunity to get to know all the beaches of these two municipalities, as well as to visit places such as El Bil-Bil Castle, Puerto Marina or the abrupt union between La Carihuela Beach and El Bajondillo Beach.

In addition to hiking, Torremolinos has three large sports facilities, a municipal gym and private centres, so you can do other types of more urban sports. The Torremolinos City Sport Centre Stadium, which has an athletics track and an artificial grass football pitch; the Saint Michael Palace, equipped with futsal, basketball, handball and volleyball fields; the Virgin of the Carmel Sport Complex, which consists of three swimming pools, one of them for jumps, three sports courts and a covered room for general gymnastics.

Also, Torremolinos has one of the most attractive golf courses on Costa del Sol where you can improve your swing.

As for leisure, Torremolinos concentrates a large part of Costa del Sol's offer in terms of bars and clubs and nightlife in general.

There are two large leisure centers with different orientations where you can spend a pleasant and fun day. One is the Aqualand Water Park, which is a water park with different attractions for all ages. The other is Crocodile Park, a zoo dedicated to crocodiles and other reptiles and amphibians.

Lastly, it is important to mention LGBT tourism in Torremolinos, since it constitutes the municipality as a gay-friendly point within Andalusia and Spain.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Torremolinos

Torremolinos, being one of the main tourist destinations, has an extensive calendar of parties and celebrations annually, some of them religious and others pagan. This calendar will allow you to plan the date of your visit depending on the celebration that you are most interested in enjoying.

The first event of the year is the cavalcade of the three kings, on January 5 of each year. Between five and eight o'clock in the afternoon the cavalcade crosses the Torremolinos streets distributing about 5000 kilos of candies among all attendees.

In February the number of festivities begins to increase, starting with the Carnival, in which, apart to having a great participation and a good atmosphere among the inhabitants of Torremolinos, numerous activities are carried out such as the chirigotas contest, the parade of La Carihuela, the Children's Costume Contest and the Great Carnival Dance. To finish, the Sardine's Burial is celebrated in the San Miguel neighborhood.

At the beginning of the month the Rockin'Race Jamboree is celebrated in Torremolinos, a rock festival that takes place, among other places, in the Principe de Asturias Municipal Auditorium.

February 14 is a special day for couples, as it is Valentine's Day. Although there is no special celebration, Torremolinos makes up a good option within the Costa del Sol for a romantic getaway.

In the second half of February is the Torremolinos International Dance Championship, also known as MueBT, in which there are different competitions of different styles, from hip hop and break dance, to waltz and tango.

To end the month, Andalusia Day is celebrated on February 28. In Torremolinos, an Andalusian products market is held in Costa del Sol Square with gastronomic and artisan products.

Between March and April, depending on the year, as in many places in Spain, Holy Week is celebrated in Torremolinos. While around these months, but with a variable date, the Verdiales Day takes place, commemorating the verdiales of the province of Málaga in the surroundings of the Hermitage of St. Michael.

Internationally, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in Nogalera Square on March 17.

Already in spring, due to its large influx of tourists and inhabitants of international scope in Torremolinos, in Independence Square, the Foreign Residents International Day takes place on the first weekend of April.

At the end of April you will find in Torremolinos a celebration originating in the Netherlands, the Koningsdag or King's Day. During this day, La Carihuela dresses in orange in a great cultural and gastronomic event.

In the month of May are the May Crosses, where the Torremolinos streets are adorned with flowers, shawls, ceramics, etc.

In mid-June, with shows, gastronomy and crafts from different countries, the Cultures Festival takes place in Nogalera Square. While giving way to summer, the night of June 23 to 24, the St. John's Night is celebrated on the different Torremolinos beaches, lighting bonfires and gathering families and friends.

The last weekend of June you can enjoy the Montemar Fair, held in Montemar Alto. This fair has live performances, music and various attractions.

The month of July begins with the 'Birra & Art' beerfest. With live music every day in Costa del Sol Square, this beer festival features national and international craft beers, as well as a brewing workshop.

Also in the month of July two different fairs take place in different locations in Torremolinos, the Los Álamos Fair, around July 8, and the Virgin of the Carmel Fair, around July 16.

In August the Flamenco Festival takes place, one of the oldest in the province of Málaga with different important figures in flamenco. In addition, also in August the Torroles Sound music festival is held.

In mid-August, the Mad Bear Festival, one of the most important LGBT festivals in Europe, takes place in premises around Nogalera Square.

During the whole summer, on the Torremolinos beaches, the Summer Cinema is held with movies for the whole family.

Due to the large tourist influx that Torremolinos has had since the 1950s, Tourist Day is celebrated in September. It is commemorated in the urban centre and on different beaches in the town, such as El Bajondillo Beach, Playamar Beach or La Carihuela Beach, with folkloric performances and gastronomic tastings.

At the end of September the Pilgrimage of St. Michael takes place, which is considered a National Tourist Interest Festival. Each year it gathers around 200,000 people, becoming the second most important pilgrimage in Andalusia after El Rocío, and the most important urban pilgrimage in Spain. It is celebrated in front of the Pinar de los Manantiales in a festive atmosphere. A few days later, the St. Michael Fair begins and in it people take to the streets of Torremolinos in one of the best known festivals in the province.

In October, Hispanic Day is celebrated with a national motive. In Torremolinos military parades and the municipal music band are held.

A festival originating in Germany is the Oktoberfest, however, in Torremolinos this German beer festival is celebrated with beer, not only German, but from different parts of the world. For this, the space of Nogalera Square is enabled, where apart from beer you can taste some typical German product.

For the celebration of the Hindu New Year, the last Saturday of October you can enjoy, also in Nogalera Square, the Diwali Festival or Lights Festival. During this day different activities and typical meals are organized.

During the autumn-winter and spring-summer season, in Nogalera Square is celebrated the Torremolinos Fashion Weekend.

Other celebrations that take place in Torremolinos are Pescaíto Day, Bicycle and Skate Day, Halloween and Christmas with the various related cultural events, such as the Christmas Market, the Opening of the Artistic Nativity Scene and Christmas Lighting.

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Gastronomy of Torremolinos

The gastronomy of Torremolinos, like that of most of the coastal municipalities, is based on seafood, with fried fish being the most representative of the town.

In Torremolinos you will find dishes with products such as anchovies, sardines, red mullet, squid, cuttlefish or baby squids among others, although we must not forget the rice and paella, as well as the refreshing gazpachos and popular stews.

Most of these dishes will have the opportunity to taste them in the different beach bars that are scattered along its coast. Although you can also taste the quality and innovation of signature cuisine in the different restaurants that combine modernity with tradition in dishes and tapas of design and creativity.

In addition, there are two gastronomic events, the Tapa Route, in spring, and the Grandma's Tapa Route, in autumn, where you will enjoy both classic and modernist and avant-garde tapas.

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