What to do and what to see in Torrox

The municipality of Torrox is located in the east of the province of Málaga and the region of La Axarquía, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea with nine kilometers of beach. It is 23 km from Vélez-Málaga and 44 km from Málaga. Although its orography is rugged with continuous gullies and hills, its heights do not have great heights. Among its relief are La Rábita de Torrox (696 m) and Cerro Coscoja (545 m) located northwest of the municipality, and others of lower altitude such as Cerro de Pastora (452 m) and Cerro Gordo (350 m).

The Torrox lands are crossed by the River Torrox through the center of the municipality from north to south, better known in the area as the River Patamalar. Other rivers that pass through Torrox are River Güi or River Huit and Stream Manzano. Their valleys are generally covered by orchards, creating a strong contrast with the hills and slopes occupied by vineyards and olive groves or scrub and grassland.

To the north of the Torrox urban area, the orchards have a special attractive landscape, forming beautiful green terraces of vegetables, fruit trees and subtropical trees as if hanging from the steep slopes. As you get closer to the sea, the landscape becomes more open and the coastal tourist development gains more presence, contrasting with the beautiful pictures of the interior.

In addition, Torrox encompasses two population centers apart from the one that gives the town its name. These are located in the coastal area and are Torrox Costa and El Morche. In total there are about 14,000 inhabitants who live in the municipality.

Torrox borders various municipalities from the province of Málaga, such as Vélez-Málaga and Sayalonga in the west, Cómpeta in the north and northwest, Frigiliana in the northeast and east, Nerja in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the south.

History of Torrox

Although the name of Torrox comes from the Arabic turrux, which means tower, its lands were occupied long before, as shown by the polished ax found two kilometers north of the urban area. It is also assumed that Phoenicians and Punics were established these lands, due to the proximity to the archaeological sites of the mouth of the River Algarrobo in the municipalities of Vélez-Málaga and Algarrobo and which are known as Chorreras, Morro de Mezquitilla and Necrópolis de Trayamar.

The Roman presence left its mark on Torrox through the remains of the factory-city whose name was Caviclum and which is located on the right bank of the mouth of the River Torrox, next to the Torrox Lighthouse. The Roman era enjoyed its splendor between the 1st and 4th centuries, dedicating itself to preserving fish, highlighting the garum (sauce made from dried fish guts), which lasted until the beginning of the 8th century with the Arab invasion.

In the year 755, prince Omeya Abderramán settled in Torrox and, from here, went to Córdoba to found the Emirate of Córdoba.

At the end of the 9th century, Torrox joined the Mozarabic uprising, led by Omar ben Hafsun against the Córdoba caliphate. This ended at the beginning of the 10th century with the defeat and capture of all the rebels after Abderramán III had besieged the castle of Torrox. It is said that the prisoners were beheaded and their heads were sent to Córdoba. In this way, the municipality of Torrox was depopulated by Mozarabics until the 11th century, when a completely Muslim population emerged and depended on the Taha de Frigiliana.

From this time and until the 15th century, Nasrid domination was extended throughout La Axarquía, impregnating the coexistence of a great economic activity because of the silk industry, promoting the planting of mulberry trees throughout its fertile plain. This production was the main one of the municipality along with the one of dried fruits, sugar cane and vine, and it supplied the demand of the export and of the markets of Málaga and Granada.

Like Vélez-Málaga, Torrox was reconquered by Christian troops in 1487, although victory was not consolidated until the following year. Since then, there was an escape of the Moorish inhabitants due to the difficult living conditions of the new situation. The Catholic Monarchs gave the municipality of Torrox the title of "Very noble and very loyal villa" and in 1503 the construction of a tower was authorized to protect itself from attacks by Berber pirates.

Like the other towns of La Axarquía, in the mid-sixteenth century Torrox participated in the Moorish rebellion and suffered their expulsion after the defeat in the Battle of the Rock of Frigiliana. After these events came the repopulations by Christian families.

During the 18th century, Torrox's economy was based on the production of sugar cane, more than 80% of the cultivable land was dedicated to it.

The 19th century was especially significant on the negative side for Torrox. At the beginning of the century, the effects of the yellow fever epidemic and the ravages of the Napoleonic invasion were noted, whose troops used the Arab castle as a fortress, and later made it fly during their retreat. Almost at the end of the century, in 1884 an earthquake struck the region of La Axarquía, causing countless deaths and causing numerous damages. As a result of this disaster, Alfonso XII visited the affected area and, before leaving, he stayed in Torrox.

Currently, Torrox has an economy that is based on tourism, especially for its coastal areas, and agriculture.

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What to see in Torrox

An easy way to divide Torrox's cultural heritage is through its chronology. In this way, you will be able to see the different elements of the municipality, understanding the characteristics of each period.

Starting the journey through its history, the first thing you will see in Torrox is the Torrox Lighthouse Archaeological Site. It is an archaeological site from Roman times, which is one of the most important in the province of Málaga. This site, identified with the city of Caviclum, was an important center of agricultural and fishing production and export between the 1st and 4th centuries.

Continuing back in time to the Arab era of Torrox, you will find from the 17th century the Arab Tower. One of the many towers that formed part of the wall of the town and served as protection for the High Castle and as communication with the Low Castle, located next to the Torrox Lighthouse. After having been used as a home for years, the City Hall acquired its property in 1981 and it was not until 1997 when it was able to carry out a rehabilitation.

One of the actions that were carried out in the 15th century was the construction of watchtowers to defend the coast. The municipality of Torrox has two towers of this time, one of them is the El Morche Tower or Güi Tower, located in El Morche, and the other is the Calaceite Tower, located at the eastern end of Torrox Costa, maintaining visual connection with the other tower.

The most emblematic religious temple in Torrox is the Church of Our Lady of Incarnation from the 16th century and enlarged in the 17th century. It was first built on a mosque. Its structure is baroque, it has Mudejar-style wooden armor covers and its exterior stands out for its rectangular prism-shaped tower.

Another religious construction from the same century is the Hermitage and Convent of Our Lady of Snows with a Latin cross plan, with naves and side chapels, presbytery, choir and steeple. Attached to the hermitage is the convent that consists of two floors, with a cloister, patio and interior stables. In the 19th century, the convent was used as a fruit store and, later, as a Civil Guard house-barracks until the 1970s. Today it is municipal property and has become a hostel.

Ending the sixteenth century on your visit to Torrox, you can see the Hermitage of St. Roque in the St. Roque Square. Neo-mudejar work with a small unique nave, apse, choir and steeple. Outwardly, its main exposed brick facade stands out.

From the 18th century you can see what was the Hospital of St. José, which was in ruins, but it was proposed to make a residential building in its place respecting its original form. Also, you will be able to feed your curiosity about legends with the Bridge of Souls, of which it is said that on All Saints' Day (November 1) at twelve at night the spirits of the Moors and Christians who died in a battle in this Torrox environment, appear with torches. It is not sure if it is from the 18th century but the oldest data is from this century.

The St. Rafael Sugar Factory was built in the 19th century, exactly in the year 1850, according to a nearby plaque. It is located a few minutes before reaching Torrox and was intended for the manufacture of cane sugar. The language used, the use and arrangement of materials and the building's own typology, make it one of the most characteristic examples of nineteenth-century industrial architecture in the eastern part of the province of Málaga.

The House of the Hoya belonged to the Sevilla-Medina family and, although an inscription appears on the entrance that says "Jose Sevilla 1864", it is known to be older than this date. It is located in the Hoya Square and is also known as the House of the Joya or the Joya Palace. King Alfonso XII stayed there in January 1885 when he visited to La Axarquía due to the earthquakes of December 1884. Its garden is quite remarkable and spacious and was designed by the same gardener who designed the gardens of Málaga Park. It currently houses the Torrox House of Culture.

In the second half of the last century and more specifically in 1864, the Torrox Lighthouse began to work. In 1905, thanks to his lighthouse keeper, Tomás García Ruiz, the Roman villa Caviclum was discovered. Currently the lighthouse is for public use and inside is the Torrox Marine Museum.

To the north of the historic center is the Molino Pérez, a building that at the beginning of the 20th century had a large amount of land with olive groves, carob trees, almond trees and vineyards, as well as a part with orange trees, lemon trees and fruit trees.

Other elements of the heritage of Torrox that may be interesting to you are the Aqueduct of La Granja, El Portón and the Church of Santiago Apostle, this one in El Morche.

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What to do in Torrox

One of the main attractions of Torrox is to take a walk through its old town. In it you can find the Constitution Square, which is covered with more than 600 umbrellas of different colors during the summer months that serve as decoration and to shade you on the hottest days. In it you will find different elements named above, such as the House of the Hoya or the Church of Our Lady of Incarnation.

After having enjoyed a walk through the old town and having taken beautiful photographs in the Constitution Square, it is time for you to deep a little into the culture and surroundings of Torrox. For this, we suggest that you visit the Miniature Museum, located inside what was the Mint, in the historic center. Here you will be able to appreciate for free the works of the local craftsman Antonio Medina, among which a miniature from the municipality in which he spent several years stands out.

In order to get to know the natural environment that surrounds the municipality of Torrox, you can take one of the hiking trails it offers. The Torrox - El Morche Route is very simple, 7.3 km long and two sections easy to differentiate. The first section runs from north to south, from the town to the coast and, except for two small sidewalks, the route is on an easy dirt road. The second section is from the Torrox Lighthouse to the west, parallel to the coast, using the promenade and sometimes walking on sand.

Another option to being connected with nature is through the Torrox - Frigiliana - Sierra de Almijara Green Door. The Green Doors initiative aims to connect rural and urban areas in order to enable non-motorized transport, recreation and environmental education, reducing the isolation of urban populations. This Green Door connects Torrox and Frigiliana with the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park in a 19.3 km route.

If you are a sports and nature lover, you cannot miss the Almanzor Trail with 26 km in length and more than 1000 meters of altitude, held in Torrox in mid-December. This trail runs throughout part of the municipalities of Torrox, Cómpeta and Frigiliana, passing through areas such as the River Torrox, Sierra de Almijara, Puerto Paez Blanca, Casa del Río or Caserones. This race has a shorter version of 10 km.

It should not be forgotten that part of the Coastal Path runs through Torrox Costa. This path runs along the entire coastline of the province of Málaga, passing through the 14 municipalities that make up its coastline. In this regard, Torrox makes its beaches available to this sustainable project.

Surely, you will not be able to miss the opportunity to visit some of the beaches of Torrox Costa and enjoy the climate, the landscape and the tranquility of the Eastern Costa del Sol. In the municipality of Torrox there are basically 10 beaches.

  • Calaceite Beach - It is a beach with a length of 400 meters and a width of 30 meters. It is characterized by its dark sand and moderate waves. It is a calm beach and free of buildings. It is protected by a massif of rolling mountains and does not have many services.
  • Cenicero Beach - It is also known as Los Llanos and is located in El Morche area. It is 1,200 meters long and 50 meters wide. It is a beach with dark sand and moderate waves.
  • El Morche Beach - It is another beach in the population center of El Morche. It has good equipment and is about 1200 meters long and 50 wide. Its sand is dark and its waves are moderate.
  • Peñoncillo Beach - It forms a unit with the Mazagarrobo Beach and is a total of 1400 meters in length and 30 meters in width. It is of dark sand, moderate waves and is not very urbanized.
  • Ferrara Beach - This beach, 1,200 meters long and 30 meters wide, has a family atmosphere and is very well equipped. It is of dark sand and moderate waves.
  • Mazagarrobo Beach - As we have already indicated, this beach forms a unit with Peñoncillo Beach. It is 1200 meters long and 20 meters wide. It does not have a large influx of people and includes few services and equipment. Its sand is dark and its waves are moderate.
  • Chica Beach- It is a small beach 50 meters long and 15 wide, located next to the Torrox Lighthouse and the archaeological remains. Its sand is dark and its waves are moderate.
  • El Sillón Beach - Small beach between cliffs with a length of 50 meters and a width of 20 meters. Its waves are moderate and its sand is dark.
  • River Torrox Beach - This beach is located at the mouth of the River Torrox. It is a stony beach 200 meters long and 30 meters wide. It has dark sand and moderate waves.
  • Wilches Beach - It is a small isolated beach 150 meters long and 20 meters wide. It is also known as Vilches Beach. Its sand is dark and its waves are moderate.

On these beaches you can sunbathe or do some sport, either on the sand or in the water whenever the weather allows it.

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Traditional festivals and celebrations in Torrox

Torrox has a very varied calendar of festivities and celebrations throughout the year.

Starting shortly before the end of the year, in Torrox the Day of the Migas is celebrated on Sunday before Christmas. This dish is watered with local wine and, simultaneously, cultural activities are organized, such as exhibitions of handicrafts, typical products, folk dances, etc.

In the month of February the Carnivals are celebrated, with their parades of masks, band of street musicians contest and chirigotas.

Three events take place in spring, some of which are not only celebrated in Torrox, but are celebrated in other parts of Spain. On the first hand, Holy Week is celebrated between March and April with processions through the different streets of Torrox. On the second hand, it has May Crosses, where flower crosses are adorned and it is the time when you taste the exquisite arropía, a sweet of Arab origin. Finally, St. Anthony's Day, which, although it is June 13, is celebrated for three days around this day with singular relevance in the neighborhood Our Lady of Snows from Torrox.

Giving way to summer is the St. Juan's Night, which takes place on the night of June 23-24. It is celebrated on the beaches of Torrox with the tradition of jumping bonfires and bathing at midnight.

The month of August is the month with the most celebrations in the municipality of Torrox. On August 5, the Virgin of Snows and St. Roque's Day is celebrated, with processions of them, accompanied by regional dances and fireworks. The second week of August is the El Morche Fair, a population center belonging to the municipality of Torrox. August 26 is the St. Roque's Pilgrimage.

On 7 and 8 September is the Virgin of Candelaria's Festivity, where bonfires are lit in the farmhouses, singing, drinking and dancing around the fire. And at the end of this month the Grape Harvest is celebrated.

Finally, on the first weekend of October the biggest festivals of the municipality take place, the Torrox Fair. This is in honor of the Virgin of Snows and St. Roque, which, although it is celebrated in August, the celebration was passed to October due to the fact that people went to the farmhouses for the grape harvest and were not in town. After this, the festivity continues being celebrated in October for four days, apart from being held in August.

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Gastronomy of Torrox

Torrox has a gastronomy marked by Mediterranean products, both agricultural and maritime. Among its typical dishes, migas stand out, which can be accompanied by other typical foods such as sardines, cod, clams, olives, maimones, porridge, arriera salad, poor potatoes, gazpacho, ajoblanco, skewer of anchovies and skewer of sardines. The ajoblanco is usually accompanied with grapes.

Inside the Torrox pastry shop you can taste the wine bread rolls at Christmas, the arropía at May Crosses and the roscas at St. Juan's Night.

This gastronomy is accompanied with Torrox wines, of a high quality and belonging to the Sun and Wine Route within the region of La Axarquía. You can consume them sweet, semi-dry or dry and the so-called aguapié, of low graduation.

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