What to do and what to see in Totalán

The municipality of Totalán is comprised of a white town in Andalusia that is located on the border between La Axarquía region, to which it belongs, and the municipality of Málaga.

Totalán is a small town located to the east of the municipality of Málaga and which limits the municipality of El Borge to the north, Moclinejo to the east and Rincón de la Victoria to the south.

With 9 km² of Totalán surface, it extends through the Totalán Stream basin, with a relief of ridged hills covered with olive trees, almond trees, scrub and grassland. The orchards, generally of vegetables and some fruit trees, are scarce and take refuge on the banks of the stream.

Totalán town stretches on a small hill located in the center of the valley, hidden from all the surrounding lands, at 290 meters of altitude and 22 km from Málaga. Its main attraction is its landscape, its narrow and steep streets, and its white houses adorned with flower pots.

History of Totalán

The first settlements in the Totalán lands date back to the time of the Iberians. Its name, Totalán, is of Arabic origin and means "cake", because it is believed to have been one of the places where typical Andalusian pastries were made.

The historical past of Totalán in the Arab era is very similar to that of the surrounding towns and La Axarquía region in general, it is something that suggests the layout of its streets. However, until the reconquest by the Christian troops, there are few historical data about Totalán.

At this time Totalán town was listed as a farmhouse in the jurisdiction of Málaga.

In 1483, El Zagal defeated in the current municipality of Totalán the Christian armies that, starting from Antequera, went down the Totalán Stream to surprise the Arab garrisons of the coastal zone that were near Moclinejo. The Arabs were warned in time, which allowed them to emerge victorious from the confrontation.

Totalán suffered severely from the phylloxera during the plague of the late nineteenth century, which led to the abandonment of farmhouses and lands, an exodus that increased considerably from 1940, in the middle of the post-war period. Many of his neighbors marched to El Palo neighborhood, belonging to the city of Málaga, in search of a livelihood.

Currently, Totalán is a municipality that bases its economy on agriculture and tourism and is in full development. Little by little it is gaining prominence as a dormitory town, due to its proximity to Málaga city.

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What to see in Totalán

Totalán's main attraction is the town itself, with the surrounding landscape, its narrow and steep streets, and its white houses decked out with flower pots.

In Totalán there is a route through the town that will allow you to see most of the elements that make up the cultural heritage of the municipality.

The route begins in the Constitution Square, just outside the beautiful Church of Saint Anna. This church is the most important monument in Totalán, built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the late 17th century. It consists of two naves, one central and the other next to the Gospel, divided by semicircular arches. Its tower has Mudejar details and an Arab arch links the temple with some houses, starting a narrow street that will remind you of its past.

After having seen the Church of Saint Anna, you will have to head north, down Arroyuelo Street to reach Antonio Molina Square where you can see a beautiful Andalusi-type fountain and some get beautiful views from the viewpoint of the square. In the same square you will be able to appreciate an Antonio Molina Sculpture in homage to the famous singer. It is located at the entrance to Totalán, the town where his parents are and where he spent part of his childhood.

From the square you will have to retrace your steps, taking the same path as before, with the particularity that this time you will have to turn off onto a path that goes up to the Cascade Gardens. Here you will walk through a beautiful natural space with dense vegetation and various waterfalls, all distributed in an architecture of small roads with an intricate architecture but enjoying exceptional views to the sea and mountains.

Once you have reached the end of the waterfalls, you will continue north along Axarquía Street while continuing to appreciate the impressive views. You will go to Canela Fina Street until you reach the football pitch and the municipal swimming pool, from where you can get wonderful views of Totalán town, its mountains and the sea.

When you finish enjoying the views and have rested a bit, you will have to re-enter the town on Enrique Castillo Street. You will walk again through the shade of the convoluted streets of Totalán, dressed in white and with a Mozarabic feeling. You will pass through Morro Street and Passion Flower Street, where you will find the old City Hall and current Culture House.

You will continue until you see the church tower and, in this way, return to the starting point.

Outside this route through Totalán town, there are other elements that have a great representation both in the culture and in the history of the municipality. Elements such as the Salazar Tower, which is a defensive construction of the coastline, of Arab origin and from the 11th century. It is located in Cortijo de Zarzo (Zarzo Farmhouse), in the southernmost area of Totalán, on a hill overlooking the sea.

Totalán's oldest monument is located about 600 meters from the town center. It is the Dolmen of Cerro de la Corona (Corona Hill), a funerary structure that dates back to the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C. Remains of human skeletons and fragments of ceramic containers have been found there. The dolmen is a collective burial of at least ten individuals who had associated productive archaeological products.

Inside Totalán town you can see the Violin Tower - El Zagal Viewpoint, located in a small lookout square. It is a recently constructed minaret-type tower with an exhibition hall, where a mural is displayed showing the victory of the Arabs against the Christians in the battle that took place in 1483.

Finally, you will see the Municipal Laundry, located in the scattered La Huerta.

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What to do in Totalán

The municipality of Totalán has a very different range of things that you can do during your visit, with attractions for all ages.

You will be able to take advantage of the Municipal Library facilities, among which you will find a multitude of volumes to consult, computers, a reading room, etc.

The Guadalinfo Centre teaches, free of charge, training with courses and activities that help spread computer science and new technologies in Totalán.

In the Youth House you will find different entertainment with which this space has been equipped to promote youth dynamism and the development of healthy leisure. Among the equipment they have image and sound equipment, a ping pong table, a video game console, a foosball table and various furniture, subsidized by the Andalusian Youth Institute and the Totalán City Council.

In addition to these entertainments, Totalán has a natural environment that you can explore through two hiking trails that will take you to visit other neighboring municipalities.

One of these routes is the Totalán - Moclinejo Route, which runs between Totalán and Moclinejo. It is a 12 km linear route, medium difficulty and three and a half hours of estimated duration. Its route, between rivers, valleys, olive trees, almond trees and vineyards, is of great beauty and can be done both on foot and by bicycle.

The other route is the one known as Totalán - La Cala del Moral Route. It is a route of about 14.5 km between the round trips, a medium-low level of difficulty, which will take you from Totalán town to Cala del Moral beach, within the Rincón de la Victoria. The route practically develops through the Totalán Stream, where you will enjoy wonderful views of the high slopes of the surrounding mountains, with their scattered farmhouses, orchards and animals, to Cala del Moral beach, in the that ends, passing under the huge viaduct of the Mediterranean Motorway.

Finally, the municipality of Totalán is equipped with a sport centre covered by a climbing wall, a gym, a paddle tennis court, a football pitch and a municipal swimming pool, where you can practice other types of sports without having to leave the town.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Totalán

In Totalán, local festivals are held, in addition to national and regional festivals, some of them charged with uniqueness and tradition.

In the month of March or April, depending on the year, Holy Week is celebrated in Totalán, as well as in other parts of Spain, where, in addition to the traditional processions, the image of Christ Crucified at night is of special mention. Good Friday, which is carried only by women. The Virgin of the Sorrows is behind and both thrones make a journey in which recollection and silence are the protagonists.

The last week of May the Fair and Festivities in Honor of the Virgin of the Rosary are held, patron saint of Totalán. On the first day, the Virgin is carried out in procession through the streets of the town and, also, a festival is organized with performances of traditional dances and live music. On the second day, the virgin in pilgrimage is transferred to a place known as Los Baltasar, where a large popular paella is organized.

In the months of May or June, the Corpus Christi Festival is celebrated, in which the most central streets of Totalán are adorned with altars with household items, such as bedspreads, shawls, adorned with flowers. The balconies of the houses through which the custody must pass, which makes its itinerary under a rain of flower petals, are also adorned.

On June 23, Saint John's Night, the traditional bonfires are prepared for the burning of the "juas", a kind of ramshackle dolls. When the flames lose height, the young men jump the coals in a show of strength and courage.

One night in July, in the Antonio Molina Square, located at the entrance to Totalán, the Enrique Castillo Flamenco Festival is held, dedicated to one of the most important flamenco artists in Andalusia, Enrique Castillo Martín, born in this municipality.

In the first or second week of October, Cultural Week is celebrated, with an extensive program of cultural activities, with talks and colloquia on matters of general interest, pastry competitions, parades and games. All this in a festive atmosphere.

The last Sunday of the month of November is the Chanfaina Fest, a typical local dish made from fried potatoes seasoned with spices such as cumin, oregano, salt, vinegar, saffron, garlic, cloves and pepper, served stew. In addition, there are those who add black pudding, chorizo or offal.

It is a party declared a Provincial Tourist Interest Festival, which aims to highlight the traditions of Totalán before all the visitors who meet on this day, offering tastings of this typical dish and others made at home, at a festival, where there are also musical performances with “pandas de verdiales” and folkloric dances.

Lastly, on the first or second Saturday of December, a meeting of pastorals is held in the Church of Saint Anna, in the afternoon, in which around half a dozen groups from all over the province act recalling the traditional Christmas folklore, from many towns in the province of Málaga, including Totalán.

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Gastronomy of Totalán

The gastronomy of Totalán reflects the heritage of Andalusian gastronomy, based on typical products of the Mediterranean diet such as bread, wine, garlic and olive oil, which are of high quality within La Axarquía region.

Among the typical dishes that you can taste in Totalán is included fried pumpkin, tomato soup, gazpachuelo, chickpea stew, salmorejo, gazpacho, maimones, rice casserole, potatoes in pepitoria, lentils stew and, of course, chanfaina. All this accompanied by the excellent local wine.

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