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Málaga’s Costa del Sol has become world famous for its beaches, and it has Torremolinos to thank for that. In the 1960s, this once-quiet seaside village was the first on the Andalusian coast to be developed into a resort, attracting first the rich and famous, and then the crowds who wanted their own taste of its hippie chic. It remains a popular destination for its golden sand and warm Mediterranean waters stretching across six easily accessible beaches, as well as its water parks; Torremolinos also has a lively LGBTQ scene, with bars, businesses, and clubs focused on the Plaza La Nogalera.
The former fishing district of El Bajondillo has become its bustling commercial centre, with tourist-friendly restaurants clustered along Calle San Miguel, while the busy 5-mile Paseo Maritimo promenade is lined with high-rise apartments, beachfront cafes, and souvenir shops. But you can still see evidence of the old Andalusia in the hilltop neighbourhood of El Calvario, not to mention the 14th-century Moorish watchtower from which the town took its name.
Only five miles from Málaga Airport (AGP), Torremolinos is a favourite destination for budget airlines and package operators. For flight connections to a wider range of destinations, the nearest major airport hubs are Seville (SVQ) and Madrid (MAD). The short distances between the beaches and the main town mean that most people walk around Torremolinos, and even if you want to explore Málaga more widely, you’ll rarely need a car. The buses that run up and down the coast are regular, cheap, and cover a wide area; there are daily services to the cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada. Taxis are widely available, and scooter hire is also an option.
For sunseekers, Torremolinos gets the best of its weather between June and August, when the sun shines for 14 hours a day and conditions are perfect for the beach. Food, film, and music festivals take place all throughout the summer; it’s also the time of traditional celebrations such as St. John’s Eve (23rd June), when the beaches light up with bonfires and fireworks, and La Feria del Carmen, held in La Carihuela for four days in mid-July with a procession that escorts the icon of the Virgin out on the water to commemorate those lost at sea. But there’s also plenty to enjoy in spring and autumn, which tend to be warm without humidity, and the San Miguel fair from September 29 to October 2 fills the town with festivity. If you’re looking for winter fun, the town’s celebrations of Christmas, Epiphany, and the February carnival all have their own charms.
One of the few historic buildings near the sea to survive the wrecking ball during the town’s redevelopment as a resort, this 1920s family mansion, built in the Neo-Mudejar style and with interior designs inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, has been restored as an exhibition space and concert venue. But visitors can look around it for free.
Sitting at the top of the hill overlooking Torremolinos, this old neighborhood retains its historical charm, with whitewashed houses and floral window boxes crowded along its narrow streets. Step back in time and enjoy the local tapas bars, or pop by for its locally famous Thursday flea market.
A 20-minute walk to the south of town brings you to this laid-back, uncrowded beach community. This simple fishing village has maintained its Old World charm while also gaining a reputation for the area’s best chiringuitos (beach bars).