Day 2, and after a leisurely breakfast at Orlando, 7 VTers met up in the Reception of Bajondillo Apartments, and set off in the direction of the old town, where we were looking forward to lunch at a Tapas Bar, that had been recommended by one of the receptionists.
We could have walked all of the way uphill, but this Lift wasn't far from our apartment,(it's on Plaza de los Tajillos), and it would take us straight to Plaza del Panoramo, and the nearby Matahambre Taberna for tapas.
It costs just 50 cents for a one way trip - A man appeared and issued us with a yellow ticket, before we boarded the lift.
I understand this operates from 09.00 - 21.00 hours, but I'm not sure if there are different opening times winter/summer. Also I've read of children not being charged-I'm not sure if this is the rule, or at the 'conductors' discretion.
The metal cage in pic 2 isn't the lift, but a stair case, though again, I'm not sure if this is in use.
The lift is enclosed, and takes a few seconds to reach the destination. There is room for anyone in a wheelchair or with a pram etc.
Pl. de Panorama is off Calle de las Mercedes, (at the Calle San Miguel end of this road)
From the beach, it may be a bit difficult to find Plaza de los Tajillos and the lift entrance, although it is signposted. I think this is the way:-
From Bajondillo Apartments exit through the car park (to the Left side of the Apartments if viewing from the sea) onto C/ del Bajondillo , turn Left, walk forward for a few metres and look for the green garage and signs on the right side. Ascend the few steps to Plaza de los Tajillos and the lift.
(For more Info about Orlando and Matahambre Taberna, Please see my restaurant tips for more information)
Leaving Avenida Jesus Santos Rein, we wandered into this square, which I think was Plaza de Andalucia, due to the attractive blue tiled seats, which had crests of the towns of this region. (If I'm incorrect, please let me know)
This is another of the towns pleasant Plazas, with open spaces creating a thoroughfare for those passing through, shopping , meeting up with friends or just sitting enjoying the activities going on around.
I was quite amused to see a group of boys playing football a few feet away from a sign prohibiting ball games (pic 3)
I would pass through this square again a few days later on the way to the bus station.
Descending from the old town via Avenida del Lido, we arrived back to Paseo Maritimo, and Bajondillo. On the roundabout, is this striking statue, which is sometimes known as the Picasso statue (not to be confused with the statue of this local artist (He was born in Malaga), which is in one of the squares in the town)
During the 1920's Picasso painted one of his most famous works-"Two Ladies Running on the Beach", and this striking sculpture is an homage to this painting. The proportions of the figures, and their sense of fun reminded me initially of the Beryl Cook characters, but viewed from the front, they appeared almost warrior like. I liked the way that viewed from different sides, it conveyed a different movement and emotion of the figures.
The work is by Salvador Garcia, and was created in 2004, and titled
"Mujeres corriendo por la playa" Two Ladies running to the Beach"
At night time the statue is illuminated, but I'm afraid that I didn't get to see this view.
This 12 metre high, adobe tower is one of the few landmarks in Torremolinos, and dates back to the time when Spain was under the rule of The Moors. It also inspired the name of this town
The Moors had a particular affinity with water. They recognised the potential for using the water that flowed in a stream to the coast from Los Manantiales. Mills were constructed along its banks.
Torre de Pimental was constructed in the early14th Century (by Nasrid rulers from Granada) as a Watch Tower, to help the defence of the area against attack from the sea. North African pirates tried their chances a few times upto the 18th Century. Admiral George Rooke led an Anglo-Dutch attack here during the War of Spanish Succession, which almost destroyed the town. In the 15th century it was used as a mill.
The first resident of Torremolinos whose name appears in any official document was Alonso Martín, who was contracted as a tower guard, responsible for warning of invasions from the sea.
During the period that it was used as a mill, it was named Torre de los Molinos.
Tower (Torre) of the Mills (Molinos)!!
Eventually the water supply dwindled, and the mills closed. During the early 20th Century, the town was rebuilt, along with the mills. By the 1920's they once again fell into a decline.
The tower was later renamed to honour Don Rodrigo de Pimentel, who donated 2000 horses and nearly 5,000 soldiers to help the Catholic Kings in their conquest of Malaga and Granada.
It looked as if this Tower was just abandoned, but I've read that it is open daily and Entrance is Free! The tower has two floors, and from the top you can enjoy panoramic views.
This is one of best known landmarks in the town. It stands near the foot of Calle San Miguel, just up from the beach. It was built in the early 14th century as a defensive lookout, and is 12 metres high, with two floors. Part of its purpose was to protect the many mills in the area at that time, so it acquired the name, Torre de los Molinos, and from that came the town’s name, naturally. Later the tower was renamed in honour of Don Rodrigo de Pimentel, Conde de Benavente. He helped the Catholic Kings in their conquest of Malaga and Granada by giving them 2,000 horses and 4,999 soldiers. The tower was constructed with adobe and earth and is not in the best of conditions; nevertheless it can be climbed, offering panoramic views of the coastline from the top. I only discovered this after our return home however, so will have to remember to do that on another visit to Torremolinos.
Exiting half way along Calle San Miguel, we turned Left into this broad pedestrianized street. (Calle San Miguel continues to Plaza Costa del Sol)
This is where the Torremolinos Train Station is located - I was surprised to come across this, it looked more like a Metro station than a mainline train station. Well at least I now know that the train from Malaga deposits passengers to Torremolinos in a central destination, and not on the outskirts. (We had a complimentary shuttle service from the airport to Bonjadillo Appartments (and return) but this is worth knowing about if I was to stop elsewhere)
Train info to be added soon...
This Avenida had some attractive features-Sculptures, ironwork lamp posts and a fountain, plus the shiny stone inserts between the paving stones.
From The Avenida Jesus Santos Rein, we head straight into Plaza de la Europea...
Plaza San Miguel was renovated last year to create this pleasant Square.
It is named after the nearby Church, which is dedicated to Saint Michael (San Miguel - the Patron Saint of Torremolinos) It was closed at this visit, but I returned later, when it was open
This Plaza is the site for the annual Feria/ Fair to honour San Miguel held Wednesday until Saturday during the last week of September. The festivities involve sampling local food and drink (Including the local beer named after this Saint whose brewery is near to Malaga Airport)
Musicians, Flamenco Dancing, Childrens Fun Fair, puppet Shows and culminates in Bull Fighting on the Sunday at the Towns Bull Ring - Plaza de Torros to the North of the Town.
On the Wednesday, a Procession leaves San Miguel Arcángel church in Plaza de la Independencia, following an offering of flowers, and proceeds to San Miguel Plaza, then the festivities move to the El Pozuelo Fair grounds at night, which I think is near the Bull Ring
The Square is surrounded by attractive canopied shops, white washed or painted buildings, ornate ironwork lamp posts - especially the one in pic 3, with its 8 lamps, and tiled base.
The plaza floor is tiled with small terracotta and decorative tiles.
Leading off the Plazza in different directions are the streets of ;
* Calle Cuesto del Tajo, which exits near the Tower, and leads down to the Bajondillo Apartments (I'll cover this later)
* Calle Santos Archangel Which leads to the Carmen de la Playa and the steps to the beach
*Calle San Miguel - The main shopping street of Torremolinos, which is where we exit....
After checking in at Apartment Bajondillo, there was time to unpack, then head out to explore Torremolinos.
My Things to Do tips will be in chronological order, so here goes.....
Leaving the Apartment, we were straight onto the Paseo Maritimo-the promenade that edges the coastal beaches. The beaches of Torremolinos stretch for about 7km (4.5 miles)!
Facing out to sea, the Paseo winds its way along the coast from Playamar to the left, all the way past La Carihuela, as far as Benalmádena Marina to the right!
As part of the towns face-lift, Paseo Maritimo was transformed into this pleasant paved area, where holiday makers and residents can enjoy the sea views, beaches, rock formations, gardens and seating areas etc The promenade is also lined with many restaurants, bars and shops.
From the tourist Information office, towards Malaga, the beaches are Playa De Playamar and Playa De Los Alamos.
In front of our apartments, the beach is known as Playa Del Bajondillo. There were a few sun loungers laid out, and I did spot a few hardy souls enjoying the January sun!
This sandy beach is popular with families and locals. It stretches for 1,050 metres / 3,444 feet. In the summer there is a play area for children (- There is a mini Golf and amusements across the road from the beach nearby)
swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, wind surfing and beach volleyball
We headed in the direction of Belalmadina, passing by many bars and cafes where people were sat enjoying a drink and the warm sun. At this time of year many of the people holidaying here are 'Senior Citizens' and the Paseo is ideal for walking along, or for those requiring wheel chairs/ electric scooters, as it is flat and traffic free. There are plenty of places to stop and sit down. Also for families with young children it is a safe place to wander.
At the end of Bajondillo Beach, the Paseo Maritimo curves around a rock projectory known as La Roca.
I try to visit the local T I Office when I arrive in a new place, to get a street map, and to find out if there is anything of interest happening in the area. Also to pick up free local information.
Information about Torremolinos was limited in my Spain LP guide!
I've recently found that often, these are the cheapest places for post-cards.
There are four Information offices in Torremolinos -Two on the Seafront-
- The main one is on the Paseo Maritimo, near the 'Picasso Statue' (Plaza de las Comunidades Autónomas),
Winter opening times: Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:30.
Summer opening times: Daily (including Sundays and Bank Holidays) from 10:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00
-Another is further along the Paseo Maritimo at La Carihuela ( near Plaza del Remo) (pic 3)
This was closed, when we passed by anotice stated it was open 09.30-14.30 - These might just be the Winter hours. There were maps, information and timetables displayed in the windows and door though
Two in the town
- Tourist Office/ Resident Office
Plaza de la Independencia, s/n
Tel.: 952 37 42 31
Open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00.
- Tourism Department
The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) at Plaza Blas Infante 1 29620 Torremolinos
Tel.: 952 379 511 / 12 - Fax: 952 379 551
Open from Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 13:30.
The TI Office near the 'Picasso Statue' was open. They didn't sell post cards, but I got a town map, and local English Language newspapers. Along with local and regional information, they provide a hotel booking service.
This map (pic 2) was on our apartment reception desk - Most hotel staff are a useful source for local information, and can recommend places to eat, Things to see etc.
This view was taken as we were almost at the pass leading to Ventas de Zaffarayus, just through the gap. What caught my eye were the old-style concrete blocks used for guardrails along this stretch of highway. They reminded me of rectangular stone ones we had seen in northern Portugal five years earlier on a drive near the Spanish border - except several of those ones had been knocked over by collisions!
If you look more closely at the photo, you can barely make out a narrow track running across both sides of the gorge. The 2nd photo shows a closer look at the right side of the gorge as we drove through - the path appears to be an old track of some sort but I don't really know what it was used for. With this area having been settled since before Roman times, it is no surprise that relics of human activity like these still survive on these mountain slopes, at a height of about 2800-ft above sea level at this location.
When we finally did pull into Ventas de Zaffarayus, there was not much going on in the small community, so we kept on driving. However, we were then in a broad valley with rolling hills of olive groves as we continued onward.
One of our absolutely best things to do in Torremolinos was to walk along the PROMENADE (or Paseo as it is known in Spanish). If you are taking a walk along the promenade, it is worth exploring the streets between it and the main Benalmadena to Torrremolinos road as these are full of little bars, restaurants and shops.
Walking is absolutely the best way to get around Torremolinos. Do be careful though when crossing the street. There are many pedestrian crosswalks. Do use them with care. Drivers are obligated to stop for you, but that doesn't mean they always will. I always use extreme caution when crossing them and I make sure they are slowing down before I continue.
On New Year's Day, we each had a fresh orange for breakfast and were packed up and on the road before 10 AM. The weather forecasts for the coast did not look good (and, by this second visit to Torremolinos, we had been on the coast for a few days anyway), so we decided that Torremolinos would make a perfect departure point for a scenic drive into the inland mountain ranges.
There was virtually no traffic on New Year's Day as we cruised along on the coastal highway to Vélez-Málaga, 55-km to the east. It was there that we branched off to the north on highway A-356/402 as we headed inland to explore the small town of Alhama de Granada - reputed to have views almost as good as those at Ronda! With the excellent highways of Spain, it is possible to make it a round-trip day drive if you want a change of scenery like we did. This is the view we had as we began to leave the flat plain of the river that flows beside Vélez-Málaga.
Now, this might not be "a thing to do" in Torremolinos, but I place it here as I would not want to place it under a general tip as my favourite thing to do in Torremolinos ;)
I got burnt by a jelly-fish on the beach in Torremolinos in 2007, when they just came out of nowhere, so to speak, and a lot of people swimming in the sea got burnt. This happened in the Bajondillo area and fortunately there is a small "clinic" there on the beach where I went and got my burn attended to - they put oinment on my burn which made the pain go away instantly. Fortunately I did not have to pull a Joey and Monica on it ;) By the way nobody spoke any English there.
Now, if you get ill, like we did, cathcing the swine flu, you might have to go to the emergency room in Torremolinos. It is up-town in the Spanish residential area of Torremolinos. I will not describe how to get there as being ill one will be taking a taxi there. But by foot it is ca a 20-25 minutes walk from the beach. Be prepared to wait a lot, for hours, but that is normal anywhere I guess. I include photos from the emergency room which is called "urgencias" in Spanish. Best to know that word so you can explain to the taxi driver where you want to go.
Aqualand is the biggest water park in Costa del Sol and very popular with the kids. We meant to go there in August when the water would be warm, but then we got the pig-flu and couldn't make it. But I walked by it many times and it was crowded in August, not so much though during other months. But in August the Spanish go there as this is their holiday month (the beaches are crowded as well). Bear that in mind while visting and have a look at my photos, it is way too crowded. My friend came for a visit in June with her family and they went to Aqualand and liked it very much.
The prices are a bit steep 21,50 euros for adults and 15,50 euros for kids, but there are some discounts to be had if you bring a discount-advertisement, which you can find at the hotels and at the bus-station.
It is great visiting the Crocodile park in Torremolinos. You get a guided tour around the park and the guard jumps into the pit where the crocodiles are and "plays" with them and explains how they live and their features. There were so many different species of crocodiles from all over the world in the park and all in all 300 species, one of which was giant. Note that the guided tours are only at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30 (we were there at 17:30 and got a guided tour though).
After the guided tour you get to hold a baby crocodile and get your photo taken with it. It was strange holding a crocodile and feeling its bones.
In the park there are also incubators for breeding crocodiles where you could see a lot of baby crocodiles. There was also a crocodile musem and a gift shop and a restaurant. And some goats which gave me allergies so I had to get out of there, or I would have stayed for longer. It was a challenge going there as I have been afraid of crocodiles and almost went there on a dare ;)
The park is open from 10-19 in the summer time (we visited the park in August) but closes earlier when it is not high-season. Admittance fee was 11 euros, but you can get a discount ticket at the hotels and bus-terminal 1,5 euros off the price.
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