As one of the first destinations developed in the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos gives you all the things that attracted holidaymakers in the 50s and 60s: there are great beaches that continue in an almost continuous line for tens of kilometers, blessed with the summer season that lasts from Easter to October.
Golfers can reach the course in minutes, there are plenty of attractions that kids will love and an endless selection of restaurants to eat out. In addition to all this you can reach all kinds of interesting places by car, from typical Andalusian villages to an extraordinary karst landscape that is unparalleled in Western Europe.
Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Torremolinos:
Torremolinos alone has seven miles of coastline with six main beaches, and there are many more of them if you continue to descend to Benalmadena.
The most vibrant and colorful strip is Playa de Bajondillo, right next to the big hotels and apartment blocks of the resort and with plenty of services like restaurants, sun loungers and parasols.
If you prefer a little more serenity, head up the Paseo Maritimo towards Playamar and Los Alamos, where the resort area is starting to dwindle, but there are still amenities like beach bars and sun loungers.
2. La Carihuela
This is the former fishing district of Torremolinos, and although most of the traces of the old industry have disappeared, the neighborhood has lost nothing of its charm.
Right inside the promenade there is a small network of quiet streets where Bougainvillea climbs the walls of low houses.
On the beach you have a long walking path that connects with Benalmádena and has almost every type of restaurant and bar you can think of.
Most of the institutions here have an open façade, so you can overlook the moonlit Mediterranean Sea over a plate of pescaito perito.
3. Jardín Botánico Molino de Inca
Pack a picnic for a walk in this park in an uphill trend a few minutes to the countryside from the resort.
Although they are surrounded by shrubbery, the gardens are lush and cool, in part because they are located at the source of a natural spring.
The water of these springs feeds on all sorts of ornamental features, such as ponds, streams and fountains.
There is also a small maze in the park, in the center of which is a 50-foot-tall pine tree from Norfolk Island.
It is just one of 110 different plant species, including a 1000-year-old olive specimen.
Spend a few minutes in the pottery around the restored flour mill, also driven by the spring and in full working order.
4. La Batria Park
Just back from La Carihuela is a spacious and well-kept park near the Torremolinos train station.
La Batria Park has fresh lawns, palm trees and claws alongside wide and majestic boulevards, as well as a number of surprises that will keep you and your family busy for a short time.
There is a pool where you can rent a paddle boat for a while, an amazing wrought iron pavilion and a carousel for small children.
Climb the “Mirador” to look beyond the apartment buildings of Torremolinos to the Mediterranean and back to the mountains in the home front.
As the name might tell you, the park is on the site of the city’s former embankment, and its weapon stands from the early 18th century have been preserved as monuments.
5. Crocodile Park
At the entrance this animal attraction will look like a Sahara fortress, the kind you would expect to see in Timbuktu.
Inside there are paths that wind through tropical vegetation alongside ponds that crawl with about 300 crocodiles.
One houses Big Daddy, the largest crocodile in Europe, weighing almost 600 kilograms.
The crocodiles are quite inactive until a handler enters the compound, so it is advisable to wait for a live demonstration.
Guests who pay a little more at the gate can be photographed with a crocodile baby in their arms.
6. Casa de los Navajas
In the early 20th century, the architecture of medieval-style Mudéjar Spain returned to fashion.
For a great example of this neo-modjar design, climb the stairs to this bold mansion, which sits by the beach in Playmar and was built by wealthy local businessman Antonio Navajs: it’s like the great Gatsby meets the Alhambra.
Now, almost a century after its construction, the house has been renovated and is open to the general public.
Take a good look at the mosaics on the façade, and the furniture and accessories that blend the Spanish Renaissance with Art Deco.
The second floor of the house was designed as a balcony and a beach view with a sublime view of the Mediterranean Sea.
7. Calle San Miguel
Sharply climbing from the beach in Bajondio is the vibrant shopping area of Torremolinos.
Calle San Miguel is a pedestrian zone with restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and some Spanish street brands like Stradivarius and Pull and Bear.
There is also a branch of the Catalan bakery chain, Granier to entice you in for a croissant or donut.
If you cross Calle Casablanca and continue along Calle Santos Arcángeles you will reach San Miguel Square, a beautiful square with cast iron lanterns and the small Baroque church of San Miguel where you can enter for a quick peek.
If you can swing a club, you will not visit the Costa del Sol and will not play at least one round of golf.
As one of the first places to attract tourism in the area, Torremolinos also received the first golf courses of the Costa del Sol.
Parador de Malga Golf is a slice of history in this respect, dating back to 1925. This beach course continues to receive good reviews from players, and has a reasonable usage fee, especially if you arrive before 10:00 or after 16:00. Much newer and more suitable for beginners is the Miguel Angel Jiménez academy with nine par-3 holes that should also test the experts’ approach game.
9. Other family attractions
Torremolinos and its immediate neighbor in Nalmedana have more than enough things to do to ensure that all family members get the most out of their vacation.
Near the marina in Benalmádena is the Sea Life Aquarium, where young children can hold starfish and crabs, and watch creatures like sharks and antlers even before they hatch from their eggs.
Aqualand is a water park and the ideal solution for beach fatigue, with 30 slides and pools, while Tivoli World is the leading theme park of the Costa del Sol, boasting more than 300 rides, shows and amusements.
10. Benalmádena Pueblo
On some days all the noise and activity of the beach can be a bit overwhelming, and this is the time when you can escape to one of the traditional hilltop villages in the area.
Benalmádena Pueblo is the closest to Torremolinos and is a delight.
The houses are all white, except for the terracotta tiles, and the sidewalks are laid out in a checkered pattern.
Many homes decorate their walls with mounted pots in which geraniums create bursts of color.
For lunch or a drink, make your way to the Plaza de España, which is shrouded in orange trees that shade the restaurants’ outdoor tables.
11. Cable car in Nalmedana
A few minutes away is the cable car station that connects Benalmadena with the summit of Mount Calamoro, 771 meters above sea level.
On the way and at the summit you will be rewarded with the far-reaching landscapes of the Costa del Sol.
On clear days you can see from here all the way to North Africa.
The company that operates the cable car has also put a handful of attractions at the top.
Eagles Valley is included in your ticket and holds demonstrations with eagles, falcons and eagles.
You are also free to walk along nearly three miles of trails stretched by wild herbs like thyme, lavender and marjoram.
12. Butterfly Park
Like the Crocodile Park in Torremolinos, this attraction is in a building that looks a bit out of place on the Costa del Sol.
The Butterfly Park is housed in a Thai-style temple, with dragon statues in the foreground and authentic blue roof tiles brought all the way from Thailand.
More than 1,500 butterflies from 150 different species fly freely inside the structure, which is maintained at 80% humidity and temperatures between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius. The creatures also reproduce on site, so you will be fascinated to see their full life cycle, from egg to larva to chrysanthemum.
Just 25 minutes away the capital of the area is an easy day trip and has much more than a day of attractions and experiences.
Every visit should start with an alcaza, a sublime palace-fortress and one of the great parts of the Moorish heritage of Spain.
You should not return to sea level immediately as Gibraltarpo Castle, also Moorish, and the city’s marvelous Roman theater are both at great heights.
You can spend the rest of your time visiting a shopping spot or immersing yourself in the culture of a scholarship, following in the footsteps of the emerging Pablo Picasso, or appreciating a 20th-century design at the Museum of Automotive and Fashion.
14. Food and drink
The Costa del Sol may not be known for its wine production, but about an hour west of Malaga is the Ronda wine region, where the high altitudes create the right conditions for the prosperity of Colombard, Chardonnay, Macabao and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Crianzas and blanca joven wines they produce blend wonderfully with seafood, and especially the fried tapas (chipirons, pescaíto frito) popular in Andalusia.
Torremolinos has a restaurant mentioned in the Michelin Guide; El Botijo Carihuela serves traditional Spanish country food, with lots of grilled meat and dishes like roast suckling lamb.
15. Turkel de Antakra
Get on the AP-46 in Puerto de la Torre and in less than an hour you will be in one of the most amazing karst landscapes in Europe.
Turkel de Antakra, which stretches over 17 square kilometers, is filled with strange and wonderful soil forms of limestone that have passed through columns and are engraved in strange linear patterns.
Once you reach the visitor center you will get information about the three hiking trails in the park: the red is the most difficult but climbs up to a scenic lookout at an altitude of 1,340 meters for an amazing view.
Torcal de Antequera also has its own microclimate, allowing 30 species of orchids to bloom and attract wildlife like goats.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Torremolinos, Spain
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