As one of the first destinations to be developed on the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos provides you with all the things that attracted holiday goers in the 1950s and 60s. There are amazing beaches that continue in an almost unbroken line for tens of kilometres, blessed with sunny weather that runs from as early as Easter through to October. Golf enthusiasts can get to a course within minutes, there are tons of attractions that children adore and an endless number of restaurants for eating out. On top of all of that, you can go to all kinds of interesting places in the car, from typical Andalusian villages to outlandish spots. In this article, we will share with you the best things to do in Torremolinos.
Torremolinos alone has seven kilometres of seafront with six main beaches and there are many more if you continue to travel down to Benalmádena. The most colourful and lively stretch is Playa de Bajondillo, right next to the resort’s largest hotels and apartment blocks with tons of amenities such as sun loungers, parasols and restaurants. If you would rather a bit more peace, you could go up to the Paseo Marítimo towards Playamar and Los Alamos where the resort’s sprawl begins to thin out but there are still conviences such as sun lounger rental and beach bars.
2. La Carihuela
La Carihuela is Torremolinos’ former fishing district and although most traces of the old industry are gone, the neighbourhood has not lost any of its charm. Just in from the promenade is a small grid of quiet streets whereby bougainvillea climbs the walls of low-rise houses. At the beachfront, there is a long walkway that connects with Benalmádena and has pretty much any kind of bar and restaurant you can conceive of. A majority of establishments here are open-fronted so you can look out at the moonlit Mediterranean over a plate of pescaíto frito.
3. Jardín Botánico Molino de Inca
This park is just a few minutes into the countryside from the resort. You should pack up a picnic for this trip. Although it is surrounded by scrubland, the gardens are cool and lush, partly because they are the source of a natural spring. These spring waters feed all kinds of ornamental features such as streams, ponds and fountains. There is also a small maze in the park, at the centre of which is a 50-metre-high Norfolk Island Pine tree. This is just one of the 110 different plant species, including an olive specimen that is around 1000 years old. You should take a few minutes to walk around the restored flour mill, also powered by the spring and in full working order.
4. Parque La Batería
Just back from La Carihuela is a well-kept and spacious park next to Torremolinos’ train station. Parque La Batería has palms, fresh lawns and toparies next to regal and wide boulevards as well as a number of surprises that will keep you and the family occupied for some time. There is also a pond where you can hire a row boat for a while, a beautiful wrought iron pavilion and carousel for small kids. You can climb the mirador to look beyond the Torremolinos’ apartment blocks to the Mediterranean and back at the mountains in the hinterland. As the name may tell you, the park is on the site of the city’s former battery and its early 18th century gun positions have bene kept as memorials.
5. Crocodile Park
At the entrance, this animal attraction almost looks like a Saharan fortress, of the kind you would expect to see in Timbuktu. Within there are trails that curl through tropical vegetation next to pools that are crawling with around 300 crocodiles. In one resides Big Daddy, the largest crocodile in Europe, weighing nearly 600 kilograms. The crocodiles are mostly inactive until a handler steps into the enclosure. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to wait for the live demonstrations. Visitors who pay extra at the gate can have their photograph taken with a baby crocodile in their arms.
6. Calle San Miguel
Climbing sharply from the beachfront at Bajondillo is Torremolinos’ lively shopping area. Calle San Miguel is a pedestrian street with bars, souvenir shops, restaurants and some Spanish high-street brands such as Pull and Bear and Stradivarius. There is also a branch of the Catalan bakery chain, Granier to tempt you inside for a doughnut or croissant. If you cross Calle Casablanca and continue along Calle Santos Arcángeles, you will reach Plaza San Miguel which is a pretty square with wrought iron lanterns and the small baroque Church of San Miguel that you can enter for a quick look.
If you can swing some clubs, you would be remiss not to visit the Costa del Sol and not play at least one round of golf. Being one of the first places to attract tourism in the region, Torremolinos also got the Costa del Sol’s first golf courses. Parador de Málaga Golf is a slice of history in that respect, dating back to around 1925. This seaside course continues to get good reviews from players and has very reasonable fees, especially if you visit before 10:00 or after 16:00. Much newer and just for beginners is a nine-hold par-3 course called Miguel Ángel Jiménez Academy which should also test experts’ approach play.
8. Other Family Attractions
Torremolinos and its close neighbour, Benalmádena has more than enough things to do to make sure that all members of the family get the most out of their holiday. Next to the marina in Benalmádena is the Sea Life Aquarium where children can hold crabs and starfish and look at creatures such as rays and sharks even before they hatch their eggs. Aqualand is a water park and an excellent solution to beach fatigue with pools and 30 slides, while Tivoli World is the Costa del Sol’s premier theme park containing over 300 rides, amusements and shows.
9. Benalmádena Pueblo
Occasionally, all the activity and noise of the seaside may get a bit overwhelming and this is when you can escape to the traditional hilltop villages in the region. Benalmádena Pueblo is the closest to Torremolinos and an absolute pleasure. The houses are all white except for the terracotta roof tiles and the pavements are laid in a fetching chequered pattern. Most homes decorate their walls with mounted plant pots in which geraniums create beautiful bursts of colour. For a drink or a lunch, you can make your way to Plaza de España, which ringed with orange trees that share the restaurants’ outdoor tables.