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Torremolinos: More popular than ever

Torremolinos paseo. The town has long sandy beaches. Image courtesy of Diputacion de Malaga

Torremolinos became the place to holiday in the 1950s as film stars and the well-heeled flocked to its shores. After a lull in popularity during the 1990s, the town is back on the map and in demand for holidays, both beach and cultural.

In the 1950s, the French introduced the “Petit Tour,” a challenging overland route by train to Málaga and then along the picturesque Costabella, as the Costa del Sol was then known, passing through Torremolinos, Marbella, and Gibraltar to Tangier and perhaps Marrakesh.

However, thanks to coverage in the celebrity press, affluent Americans began exploring Torremolinos as part of their European travels. In the 50s, it emerged as a hotspot for stars seeking an alternative to the Côte d’Azur. Visits from icons like Rita Hayworth, Graham Greene, and Ava Gardner helped transform the rustic Andalusian fishing village into a notable destination.

During this period, the striking modernist hotel, El Pez Espada, was constructed on the beach, attracting more celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot. French visitors introduced bikinis and topless sunbathing, solidifying Torremolinos’ reputation.

By 1962, when two Londoners launched Tony’s, Spain’s first gay bar, the town became a haven for the queer community, despite homosexuality being illegal under Franco’s regime.

Despite initial tolerance from authorities as money poured in from the Costa del Sol, Franco eventually cracked down on what he deemed “degenerate” behaviour. In 1971, Tony’s was raided, leading to its closure and the deportation of foreign residents deemed “undesirable.”

Torremolinos reinventing itself again

However, Torremolinos is no stranger to reinvention. With a multimillion-euro regeneration plan, the town aims to follow in the footsteps of Málaga, Lanzarote, and Magaluf. Embracing its ‘decadent’ past and popularity among LGBTQ+ tourists, Torremolinos seeks to become a symbol of Spain’s gay rights movement.

As such, this colourful seaside town is a fantastic destination from which to explore the wonders of Andalucia.

Let’s not forget Torremolinos has plenty to offer on its own doorstep…

Top 5 Things to Do in Torremolinos

La Casa de los Navajas is one of the top cultural things to do in Torremolinos. Image courtesy of Diputacion de Malaga

  1. La Casa de los Navajas

In the heart of the Bajondillo area, this mansion is a coveted destination for admirers of Neo-Mudejar architecture, which can be found in numerous historical structures across Andalucia.

Once the residence of an affluent family, Torremolinos was their chosen retreat, adding to the allure of this majestic estate.

  1. Torremolinos Old Town

As well as shopping in Calle San Miguel, wander Torremolinos Old Town. You’ll find other monuments from Torremolinos’s history such as Torre Pimentel. A tower situated between Calle San Miguel and Cuesta del Tajo, built approximately in 1300, and its aim was to defend the town during the Nasrid period in Andalusia.

  1. Explore the Jardín Botánico Molino de Inca

Any hortoculturalists among you will enjoy the botanical garden located on Camino de Los Pinares. Just a short distance from the town centre, it has nearly a thousand plant species featuring Japanese gardens and picturesque lakes.

This is part of the Toma & Coe Gardens of Andalucia Tour.

  1. Take in the street art

Pasaje Begoña was a refuge for the LGBTQ+ community, and the street art here reflects this part of the town’s history.

Two of the most famous murals – Brigitte Bardot by Guillermo Paz (Nesui SRC) and Frank Sinatra – can be found in Plaza Costa del Sol and La Carihuela respectively.

  1. Hit the beach (and chiringuitos)

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches and beach bars/restaurants (chiringuitos) in Torremolinos. Playa La Carihuela, Playa los Alamos and Playa El Bajondillo are the top three beaches in the town.

Discover Andalucia from Torremolinos

With Toma & Coe, you can head off from Torremolinos to experience the Spain you never knew: to an olive farm tucked in the heart of Andalucia, the mesmerising cities of Cordoba, Granada and Seville, sample the wines at a local bodega or hike along part of the Camino Mozarabe for an afternoon of reflection and intriguing landscapes.

Contact us for more information on how we can make your holiday in Spain perfect for you.

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