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Torremolinos  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Costa del Sol Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Torremolinos is a town on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. It is approximately 12 km south of Malaga located between Malaga Bay and the Mijas Mountains.

Understand

Torremolinos was originally a fishing village back in the 1920s, but has been rapidly overtaken by tourism. Its nominal population is around 43,000 but this can rise to 250,000 during the tourist season.

Tourists will be most familiar with the beaches of Torremolinos and the pedestrian-only Calle San Miguel, which is lined with shops, and runs from the center of town down to the beach. The lower half is a winding stair-stepped path, and is fun to descend and fortifying to climb!

Beginning in the late 1980s, Torremolinos developed a well-deserved reputation among tourists as being the armpit of the Costa del Sol. An angry, tourism-dependent community affected some changes at Town Hall, and new priorities were put in place. Today, Torremolinos is once again an attractive, clean, safe haven for northern Europeans escaping the fiercer climes for the sunniest spot in Europe. It is also one of the most popular resorts for Spanish tourists, with some of the districts (especially La Carihuela) having as much of a Spanish feel as an international tourist one.

Torremolinos is made up of several distinct districts stretching either side of the Town Centre: El Bajondillo is the beach area closest to the town, east of here are the commercial tourist area of Playamar (home of the infamous high-rise hotels from the 60s and 70s) and then the pleasant beach-side district of Los Alamos. West of the Town Centre lie La Carihuela – the old fishing village, of which some architecture survives, and then Montemar which adjoins the neighbouring municipality of Benalmádena.

La Carihuela is famous throughout Spain as a major centre of Andalucian cuisine, with the emphasis being heavily on seafood of all kinds. The old fishing village has been pedestrianised and runs parallel to one of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol. It is in La Carihuela that the tourist boom began in the 1950s with the arrival of the jet set, including Frank Sinatra and friends.

While summer is the peak season for visiting, winters here are also mild by European standards, with temperatures rarely falling below 10°C. For those who want peace and quiet, winter is a good time to visit as Torremolinos turns into a ghost town, but with temperatures comfortable enough to offer respite from the bitter winters in the rest of Europe.

Gay Life

Since the beginning of its tourism surge in the late 1950s, Torremolinos has been a safe haven for Europe’s gay and lesbian holiday makers. Even under Franco, while gay people elsewhere in Spain were being brutalized, imprisoned and executed, the value of the solid currencies that the so called vacationing “deviants” brought into Spain’s faltering economy trumped whatever personal feelings Franco had about same sex relationships and kept Torremolinos a gay Mecca, long before the word “gay” evolved into common usage.

Today, gay life in Torremolinos centers around the Nogalera complex in the very center of town where there is a gay bar to suit just about every taste one can imagine. The complex itself is very mixed, with gay and family restaurants, bars and shops, all jumbled together, making for a nice, comfortable ambiance. Given the “macho” reputation of Spanish culture, many first-time lgbt visitors are surprised to discover the general indifference of the locals to sexual orientation. Check out Torremolinos Gay Community pages   for current agenda.

Get in

There is a regular train service connecting Torremolinos to Malaga and Malaga Airport to the north of it and south to Fuengirola. The journey to Malaga takes about 30 minutes.

Get around

There is a regular local bus service that serves most of Torremolinos allowing you to get to the town centre from the outlying parts which can be up to 2 km away. Buses are approximately every 40 minutes and cost around €1.25. The Portillo Bus Company operates routes out of the Torremolinos Bus Station that connect to just about anywhere you’d want to go on the Costa del Sol. Detailed schedules are available here:  .

What to see and do

  • La Carihuelafishermans quarter
  • La Carihuelabeach
  • Crocodile parkC/ Cuba, 14 ,   .
  • Municipal Auditorium Principe de AsturiasC/ Pedro Navarro Bruna s/nIt is one of the biggest auditoriums in Andalucia. Used mainly for classical concerts, ballet, theater and all types of cultural events.
  • Parque de la BateríaRamal del CarmeloInside the park is tower Torre Mirador, from which is a good view towards the sea/town.

Monuments

  • Parish church of San Miguel Arcángel.
  • Torre de Pimentel.
  • Casa de los Navaja.

What to do

  • Aqualand – A water park claims to be the biggest in Andalucia. It is located about 10 min. from the town center.
  • Windsurfing
  • Kitesurfing
  • Water skiing
  • Pedal boats
  • Boat trips – These can include dolphin watching and tend to depart from Benalmádena marina

Events and Festivals

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week) the week before Easter Sunday. Processions through Torremolinos on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Torremolinos is a good base for visiting the spectacular daily Semana Santa processions in nearby Malaga (the largest outside Seville) as the frequent train service means avoiding the traffic-chaos in central Málaga.
  • Fried Fish Day (Dia del Pescaito) takes place every year on the first Thursday in June. It takes place on La Carihuela Beach on the south western side of the resort.
  • Festival of the Virgen del Carmen de La Carihuela on July 16th every year. The climax to the Feria de La Carihuela this includes the procession of the image of the Virgen from the small church in La Carihuela through the streets and down to the seafront, from where she tours the other beaches of Torremolinos.
  • Festival of San Miguel Arcángel. Last week in September, culminating on St Michael’s Day, September 29th. A very busy week-long festival of processions, parades and events. San Miguel is the patron saint of Torremolinos.

Buy

The revitalised Torremolinos Town Centre is now home to many national and international chain stores as well as the usual tourist shops. It’s increasing popularity with Spanish tourists means that many of the old ‘tat-shops’ have now been replaced with designer boutiques. A surprisingly good variety of shopping is available if you explore the little side streets and alleys off Calle San Miguel, the main shopping street.

Eat

  • There is a huge range of restaurants, especially in the La Carihuela district.
  • Fresh pescaíto frito stands can be found along the beaches

Torremolinos Restaurant Guide provides lots of reviews of the restaurants within Torremolinos

Drink

As a major Spanish and international tourism destination Torremolinos has cafés, bars and café-bars to suit all tastes. It is also the home of the famous ‘chiringuitos’ – beach café-bars which offer beach-side drinks and meals throughout the year. The best of these are to be found in the district of La Carihuela.

Sample the local vino de Málaga, a fortified wine similar to sherry.

  • La CervezatecaCalle Casablanca 22 (Opposite Pueblo Blanco). 6PM-2AMAn oasis in the Spanish Beer Desert. More than 100 beers from around the world, including 6 trappist beers.

Where to stay in Torremolinos

A major 10 year programme of hotel upgrading funded by the EU, the Junta de Andalucía and Torremolinos Council is nearing completion. This was designed to rid Torremolinos of it’s old ‘cheap package’ image and its success can be seen by the fact that Torremolinos now has one of the highest hotel occupancy rates in Europe (well over 80%) and the highest on the Costa del Sol.

There are a wide range of hotels available on all the usual websites. Torremolinos also has many small hostal/pensions and a wide range of self-catering apartments and houses available to rent, many of them owned by British or Dutch ex-pats.

  • Hotel ManantialesRio Salazar 2 Clean and small basic hotel. The room contains air-conditioner and own bathroom. Breakfast is included in price. Double room: 35e-65e / night (depends on season).
  • Hotel Puente RealPASEO MARÍTIMO 79 ,   One of the biggest and luxury 4 star hotels in Torremolinos, situated in front of the Alamos Beach. depends on season.
  • Apartments BuensolC/ Salvador Allende, 35 29620 Torremolinos (Málaga) ,   Turistic Complex of Apartments, situated in front of the Carihuela Beach. depends on season.
  • Hotel Ms AmaraguaC/ Los Nidos, 23 ,   Nice 4 star hotel in front of the Carihuela Beach. depends on season.
  • Hotel TropicanaC/ Trópico, 6 ,   Great 4-Star hotel near the beach with swimming pool and spa services. depends on season.
  • Hotel ZenC/ Fresnos, 9 ,   Nice and quiet hotel in a residential area just a few minutes away from the beach and centre of Torremolinos. depends on season.
  • Hotel ManantialesRio Salazar 2 Clean and small basic hotel. The room contains air-conditioner and own bathroom. Breakfast is included in price. Double room: 35e-65e / night (depends on season).
  • Hotel Essence By Don PaquitoAvda del Lido S/N.  Nice 3-star hotel in front of the beach (Playamar).

Go next

Torremolinos is well-placed as a base for visiting the various sights of Andalucía, connected by efficient public transport to much of the Costa de Sol. There are many excursion shops offering ‘all-in’ day trips too.

  • The mountain village of Mijas -famous for its white-washed houses.
  • The city of Malaga with its Moorish Castle, Picasso Museum etc.
  • Marbella with its famous Old Town and chic shopping.
  • The marina at Benalmádena with yacht-hire, fishing trips etc.
  • Seville, Granada, and Córdoba are all easily reached by connecting train from Málaga

Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.

Menorca

An Introduction to Menorca Island on the Balearic Islands

Wolfgang Holzem

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menorca

The harbour at Maó, the island capital, is the second largest natural deep water port in the world – the largest being Pearl Harbour. The whole island is a European Biological Reserve and Unesco Biosphere Reserve aiming to preserve environmental areas. More than a 75% of the territory is protected. You can watch some of the last turtles of the Mediterranean, birds and protected species.

With a population of around 92,000, the island is dominated by tourists, particularly during the summer tourist season of May – October. Due to its unspoiled beauty, it allows the more adventurous the opportunity to discover new charms and experiences. Despite its smaller size among other Spanish islands, being just around 30 miles long and around 10 miles wide, the number of beaches that Menorca has equals the number of beaches that can be found in Mallorca and Ibiza combined.

An identifying sign of Menorca is its fascination with horses. All things centre around horses and the people love them. Menorca has its own race of black horses. In all the festivities the horses and their “caixers” (riders) are the centrepieces. The “Cami de Cavalls” is a pathway surrounding the island for horse riding and it was used in the past for defense of the coast by horse, literally translating to horse path.

If you do take time to explore the interior you will discover a wealth of interesting and historic landmarks from El Toro (the highest point on the island) to the most significant prehistoric sites at Trepucó and Torre d’en Galmés.

To this day no one is certain of the significance of these prehistoric monuments in the form of Taules, T-shaped stone formations thought to be spiritual sanctuaries; Talayots which are stone towers that local people believe were once used as look-out points. There is little evidence to support these theories about Menorca’s prehistoric past nor the original function of these breathtaking creations . Taules are named after the Menorquí word for table. (Menorquí is the local dialect of Catalan which is widely spoken on the Island). Menorca is by far the richest place in Europe for sites of prehistoric settlements, mostly dating from the Talaiotic Period, which was the period of civilisation between 2000 and 1000 BC. The term Talayot is believed to originate from the Arabic atalaya meaning “watch tower”.

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Spain

La Aldea de San Nicolás Agaete Roque Bormejo Coronavirus outbreak

Wolfgang Holzem

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The western part of Gran Canaria is mostly a destination for nature lovers.

Get in

Use the roads or port  Puerto de las Nieves in Agaete.

Towns

La Aldea de San Nicolás

  • CactualdeaOpen daily from 10 am to 6 pmA cactus park located about 2 km south of San Nicolás near the small town of Tocodomán. In addition to these South and Central American plants, there are also numerous other succulents from all over the world such as Euphorbia, Agave and Aloe. Next to a shop there is a wine cellar (with cactus liqueur) and a restaurant. Admission €7, incl. Menu €13.
  • Mirador del BalcónA lookout point on the coastal road GC-200 with parking. Good view to Puerto de las Nieves at Agaete and to the southwest side of the neighboring Tenerife island.
  • Los AzulejosStrange colored rock formations. There are smaller parking spaces at some points of interest, and a bar at the most beautiful spot.

Agaete

  • Iglesia de La ConcepciónA church from the year 1874.
  • Virgen de las NievesA small church with a Triptych by a 16th-century Flemish painter.

Other destinations

  • Tamadaba RangeThe only real mountain range on the island, covered with forests of Canarian pines. The range is a natural park, thus hiking is limited to the marked paths. The cliffs allow for sport climbing activities too.
  • Roque BormejoA small tuff mountain with a sanctuary of the pre-hispanic inhabitants to be found on its summit.
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Menorca

Historical Facts of the Island of Menorca

Wolfgang Holzem

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menorca

Since prehistoric times, the Island has been controlled by the Romans, Moors, Catalans, Spanish, French and English. All these nations have left their mark on the Island and monuments to visit from Sanisera, the archaeological site close the port of Sanitja on the north coast of the island to the ruins of the 5th century Bascilica on the beach at Son Bou.

During the 18th century, Menorca was a bone of contention among the British, French and Spanish powers. This was due to the Port of Maó, the finest natural harbour in the Mediterranean, and one of the best in the world, which could protect the largest fleets of the time in their entirety.

The Utrecht Treaty, signed in 1713, gave place to the first British presence on Menorca, which lasted until 1755. The first British Governor was John Campbell (Argyll) nominated by the Queen Anne.

Richard Kane, from County Antrim in Ireland, the second British Governor, is still fondly remembered for his effective support of agriculture on the island; he introduced the cultivation of the apple, promoted cattle breeding and built roads and reservoirs which are still in use today. The Scottish Col.Patrick Mackellar (Argyll) was the chief engineer of Menorca and responsible for the main constructions of the British legacy. The main contribution of Mackellar was the design and construction of Georgestown (Es Castell) near to Sant Felip fortress at the entry of Mahon harbour.

There were two later periods of British presence on Menorca, from 1763 till 1781 and 1798 to 1808. The British left more than their earthworks and ramparts behind. Things as varied as the growth of Maó, which enthusiastically accepted the opportunities for trade and the abolition of the Inquisition, the traditional woodworking and boat building techniques and designs and Menorca’s most popular drink, gin.

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