Torremolinos Travel Guide

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Torremolinos is a seaside resort not too far from Malaga. It offers most amenities you expect on the Spanish coast: there are hotels with swimming pools, with bars and restaurants. Although you may find it hard to believe that just forty years ago Torremolinos was little more than a sleepy village, the old La Carihuela fishermans quarter still exists. The streets of the quarter have been pedestrianised making a pleasant walk. Many of the original cottages still exist and not all have been turned into bars or shops. Some have stood still in time. It's best to wander around the area early one morning before the tourists wake up and see a different world.

In general, however, the wave of tourists who descended on the town in the fifties and sixties changed the face of Torremolinos for ever, which doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself here. The Aquapark near the Palacio de Congresos has Europe’s largest water-slide and is a great attraction for children - and grown-ups who are still young at heart.  

Until a few years ago busy Torremolinos in the Costa del Sol took a bad rap. In the 90’s it was “terrible Torry,” describing the once-sleepy Mediterranean fishing village turned into a high rise tourist maze as everything you didn’t want or need in Spain’s fabled sunshine coast. Pressed to do something about scruffy conditions tied to an undisciplined growth in tourism, local authorities acted to turn things around. They wouldn’t allow their golden egg to go rotting. The result is that Torremolinos literally cleaned up its act.              

Now early every morning crews make sure streets and walkways are cleared of last night’s litter, and landscaping has been freshened and is brimful of fresh plants and flowers. The result is that the high rises seem less ugly and the town is neater and more typically Spanish, which, after all, is what you wanted in the first place.

The town’s star attraction is a smart seven-mile-long boardwalk or “promenade” that parallels the town’s Mediterranean coastline, separating a line of hotels from the stretch of ocean that lies between Spain and Morocco. A stroll along the broad promenade can consume a satisfying hour or two or even much longer if your feet will allow. Do this on weekends and you are sure to share the walkway with Torremonlinos families who, like you, are out to enjoy the gentle ocean breeze on a brilliant sunny day .              

Torremolinos doesn’t pretend to be an Andalucia destination as such, but for many thousands of visitors each year it is a logical starting point for exploring Spain’s most historic and arguably most beautiful region. By bus or car, romantic Cordoba, Seville, Granada and dozens of small, charming typical Andalucian villages are within easy reach. And Malaga, just 40 minutes away, has the new and now world-famous Picasso Museum as well as numerous amenities of a larger Spanish city.              

You can take all of this in day-hopping from Torremolinos, returning with an honest experience of the culture and history of the people and land that is the most storied in Spain. As for Torremolinos, in addition to that pleasant stroll along the promenade, which is an enjoyable part of our daily routine, there is plenty to do and see on days when you are not reconnoitering Andalucia. Go to Calle San Miguel, a bustling shopping area in the center of town that has its own distinctive old world identity, and stop for awhile at one of the sidewalk cafes to sip a drink and do some people watching. Take a long walk or a short bus ride north from the Calle to the weekly open air market offering everything from produce to pottery, Or reverse direction on the Calle, and walk to the 14 th century watch tower, Torre de Pimentel, and just beyond, descend the long, steep steps to the promenade and the sea.   Seek out the barrio de La Carihuela , nestled just steps away from the promenade. This is the original fishing village of old Torremolinos, and it is still famous for the pescaíto frito (small fried fish) served in its restaurants.              

Try Torremolinos during the dead of winter, as we do, and the plusses begin to add up. While Boston and New York hover in frigid temperatures, January and February days in the Costa del Sol are pleasant with cool mornings and evenings and mild afternoons. (Afternoon highs are usually in the mid-60’s F.) And, as the name “Costa del Sol” suggests, sunshine is the norm.             

Since winter is off-season, there are fewer tourists, good hotel rooms are usually easy to find, and rates are considerably cheaper than during the rest of the year. The very decent hotel in Torremolinos where we stay, just steps away from the boardwalk, costs just $55 a day as part of a package, and that’s with breakfast and dinner included. Not bad at all for an enjoyable winter get-away.

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August 01, 2006 change by ramco (4 points)

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