What to do and what to see in Algarrobo

The coastal municipality of Algarrobo is located in the east of the province of Málaga, 38 km from the capital of Costa del Sol and in the southern part of La Axarquía.

It has an area of about 10 km2 and its municipal area has a fairly rugged terrain with ravines and slopes that gently slopes towards the sea.

Algarrobo limits to the north with the municipalities of Arenas and Sayalonga, to the east and west with Vélez-Málaga and to the south with the Mediterranean Sea.

The municipality of Algarrobo is crossed from north to south by the river that bears his name, transforming the old landscape of vineyards, olive trees and almond trees into terraced subtropical crops and vegetables.

Algarrobo town is three kilometers from the coast inland and in its municipal area other coastal annexes stand out, such as Algarrobo Costa, Mezquitilla and Trayamar.

In addition, Algarrobo is part of the Sun and Wine Route in La Axarquía.

History of Algarrobo

The municipality of Algarrobo has a succession of human settlements since the third millennium BC in the Cueva de Algarrobo (Algarrobo Cave), corresponding to the Neolithic, and from the second millennium the sites at the mouth of the Algarrobo River.

The Phoenicians established settlements in Algarrobo, in a place known as Morro de Mezquitilla (Mezquitilla Mound), in the Mezquitilla area. However, the most important archaeological finds correspond to the 7th and 6th centuries BC. These show the existence of a Phoenician necropolis in Trayamar, as well as the great level of prosperity that its inhabitants had at this time. It is considered one of the most important finds in the West, the remains (vessels, jewelry, etc.) are in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Málaga.

The Phoenicians were succeeded by Greeks and Romans, but it was the Arabs who founded the population centre, those who impregnated the distribution of its streets with their seal and those who gave it the name of Algarrobo (al-karat).

After the conquest of Vélez-Málaga by the Christian troops, Algarrobo, like all the neighboring towns, presented their surrender to the troops of the King of Castile. Likewise, Algarrobo also intervened in the Moorish revolts of 1569 and suffered the same fate, with the expulsion of the Moors from their lands in 1571 and the subsequent repopulation with Christian families, setting itself up as a Manor that would be abolished by the Cortes of Cádiz in 1811.

On July 18, 1821, Algarrobo's application was requested to obtain the title of Villa and thus form its own Constitutional City Council.

Algarrobo suffered at the end of the 19th century, like many towns in La Axarquía, the destruction of a large part of its wine resources by phylloxera. And in December 1884 it was affected by a great earthquake with its epicenter in Arenas del Rey, Granada.

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What to see in Algarrobo

Algarrobo town, with an Arab layout, rises by climbing the side of a hill, on the top of which stands the hermitage in honor of its patron, Saint Sebastian. Its streets are steep and stepped, and some of these streets have houses with a niche to deposit a saint or virgin.

While you are discovering the urban fabric of Algarrobo, you will be able to see the different elements that make up its cultural heritage. This is the case of the Church of Saint Anna, dating from the late 16th or early 17th century, built on a Latin cross plan. It consists of three naves, two lateral and a larger central one, connected by semicircular arches that rest on octagonal pillars. They are topped by wooden covers, the main one with a pair and knuckle, and the side ones with hanging. Externally it is accompanied by an exterior tower of four bodies. It has two open transept dressing rooms, one located to the left of the presbytery and the other on the side wall of the right nave with Rococo-style plasterwork.

At the top of the town you can see the Hermitage of Saint Sebastian, a work of 1976 copying the traces of the old one, which was in front of the current one. It has a Latin cross plan and a single nave with an entrance from the outside under a semicircular arch. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens that make it an unavoidable place to visit.

Very close to the sea you can find the beacon towers, two watchtowers, one on the right and the other tilted, built on each side of the road near the mouth of the Algarrobo River. They were built to preserve the defense of the area against possible invasions through the sea, especially from pirates. The Torre Ladeada (Tilted Tower), also known as Torre del Portichuelo (Portichuelo Tower), is striking for its inclination and was built in Islamic times. However, the Torre Derecha (Right Tower), also called the Torre Nueva (New Tower), belongs to a 16th century military fortress.

In addition, on both banks of the Algarrobo River you can find the sites at the mouth of the Algarrobo River.

On the one hand, there is the Morro de Mezquitilla site, located on the eastern bank. It is a promontory that has been documented as a peninsula during Phoenician times. In this Algarrobo site there are mainly rectangular-shaped dwellings and habitats.

On the other hand, you will be able to appreciate the Necropolis of Trayamar, the most important complex of tombs of Phoenician and Punic-Roman origin in the Western Mediterranean. The archaeological remains found date from the 7th century BC. The Necropolis is made up of a set of tombs in rectangular underground chambers, with excellent paving and raised with beautiful ashlars. The remains found (jewels and other pieces) that made up the trousseau, are exhibited in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Málaga and, together with them, a scale reconstruction of how this architectural work must have been.

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What to do in Algarrobo

Algarrobo has different attractions in terms of entertainment. This is mainly due to the fact that it is a municipality that has both coastline and mountain.

With regard to the coastline, Algarrobo is divided into two beaches linked by a bridge, Algarrobo Costa and Mezquitilla.

Algarrobo Costa beach stretches between Caleta de Vélez port and Mezquitilla beach for about 800 meters and about 20 meters in average width, and usually presents a moderate swell. It is made of gravel and black sand, with great charm, within a quiet and familiar environment. It has a promenade and several urbanizations have been built around it. In addition, it has several prestigious restaurants and seafood restaurants, located right on the promenade. In it there is lifeguard equipment, parking and showers and public toilets, and you can rent sun loungers, hammocks and umbrellas.

On the other hand, the Mezquitilla beach extends to the east of the previous one, along about 650 meters and about 20 meters in average width, and usually presents a moderate swell. It is also made of gravel and black sand, with great charm, within a quiet and familiar environment. Located in a semi-urban area without a promenade, it has parking services, showers and public toilets, with restaurants in its surroundings. In it you can rent hammocks, sun loungers and umbrellas, as well as nautical equipment. It has access adapted for people with reduced mobility.

Once you know the Algarrobo beaches, it is time for you to get to know its mountain. For this, the best way is through its hiking routes.

One of the routes is the Bentomiz Castle Route, which starts from the town of Algarrobo and reaches the Bentomiz Castle, in the municipality of Arenas. It is a 10 km route, ascending on the way out and descending on the way back, with dry vegetation, made up of broom and bolinas (Genista umbellata), almond trees, olive trees and vineyard crops. At the top of the mountain are the ruins of the Bentomiz Castle, of which only remains of walls remain, but which had great importance in Arab times. From its esplanades, you can see many towns in La Axarquía, the entire Sierra de Tejeda and Sierra de Almijara and the entire Málaga coastline. On clear days you can see the mountains of North Africa.

Another route that you can take in Algarrobo is the Los Villares-Parque Fluvial Route, which goes from Algarrobo town to Algarrobo Costa. On your way, you will pass fruit tree plantations, such as mangoes, avocados, lychees, etc. It is a 12 km route with a medium difficulty level.

In addition to these two hiking routes, in Algarrobo you can do Arroyo de Los Perales Route and Los Lagos-Algarrobo Route.

Now, if your intention is not to leave the population centre, the municipality of Algarrobo is equipped with a sports centre and a municipal swimming pool, where you can practice another type of sport.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Algarrobo

The calendar of festivities and celebrations in Algarrobo is full of events for all interests. In addition, depending on the celebration, it will take place in one or another of the urban centres of the municipality.

The first celebration in the year that takes place in Algarrobo is the Saint Sebastian Fest, patron saint of the town. It is around January 20 and a festival is held there and free tastings are held. The festivities begin by moving the image of the saint from the Hermitage of Saint Sebastian, located in the upper part of the town, to the Church of Saint Anna. The last day it is again carried in a procession to the hermitage, an act that is carried out with the accompaniment by the local music band, with rocket fire throughout the entire route and with fireworks. This day is very busy and visited by the inhabitants of neighboring towns.

In the spring, two events take place in Algarrobo, on the one hand the Holy Week, in March or April, and on the other the Pilgrimage of Saint Isidore, held on the Sunday closest to May 15.

To welcome summer, Saint John's Night is celebrated on the Algarrobo Costa beach, which takes place on the night of June 23-24. Tonight is enlivened by live music and a great moraga takes place.

The first weekend of August you can enjoy the Algarrobo Fair, which lasts three days. During its celebration, various sports competitions and children's parties are scheduled, such as ribbon races on motorcycles and cucañas.

At the end of August the Mezquitilla Fair takes place. It is similar to that of Algarrobo, to which is added a large popular moraga made next to the beach.

The Algarrobo Costa Folk Festival is held annually in summer and, although there is no fixed date, it has been held on the last weekend of August or the first of September. His claim is to spread dance in all its variety and richness. It is a sample of the dances of different cultures, so in each edition there are local, national and international performances.

At the beginning of September the Candelarias take place in Trayamar and during this celebration the Flemish Night is celebrated. It is a flamenco festival that, since 1998, has been held on the occasion of the night of the Candelarias. Different performances are offered there with the idea of promoting this artistic discipline and fostering interest.

You can also enjoy, at the end of September, the Burning of Algarrobo. It commemorates the attempt to burn the town by the French army in the Spanish Independence War. During the celebration there is a reenactment of the events that occurred on September 23 and 24, 1811, but tastings and performances are also held.

Also at the end of September the Algarrobo Rock festival takes place, which brings together different rock groups in the Parque de la Escalerilla (Escalerilla Park), in Algarrobo, to give rock concerts with free admission.

In October, the Algarrobo Oktoberfest is held, a party designed to promote German culture on the Costa del Sol. At this festival you can get to know German culinary specialties, as well as typical beers of the country. During these days there are concerts with folk songs in German, English and Spanish, as well as parades of Teutonic costumes.

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Gastronomy of Algarrobo

The municipality of Algarrobo has a very rich and varied gastronomy, based on local products such as excellent fruits and vegetables, among which you will find tomatoes, strawberries or muscatel grapes, and on seafood such as anchovies, sardines and the poplars.

Thanks to these products, the local cuisine of Algarrobo is prepared, which stand out dishes such as ajoblanco, sardine skewers, gazpacho, kid in sauce, algarrobeño stew, fennel stew, migas and fish casserole with rice.

In confectionery you can taste the mythical cakes of Algarrobo, highly appreciated throughout the province of Málaga and beyond.

Its nuts such as figs, almonds and raisins are also highly appreciated.

All without forgetting that Algarrobo belongs, together with Sayalonga, Cómpeta, Canillas de Albaida, Torrox, Nerja and Frigiliana, to the Sun and Wine Route within La Axarquía, so it is not surprising that its Muscat wine, of artisan production, is worth trying.

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