Torre del Mar is a working seaside town and a popular, busy summer beach resort on the Costa del Sol and boasts one of the longest (4 kilometres), and certainly one of the widest, beaches along the coast.
Torre del Mar forms part of the municipality of Vélez-Málaga in the Axarquia district of Málaga province in the autonomous region of Andalucia. If you ever wondered why Spain is so bureaucratic and things seem to take forever, each of these divisions has its own political administration. Say no more.
Running parallel to the beach is the splendid promenade (paseo marítimo), a wide walking area which also includes cycle lanes, numerous grassy areas with plenty of seating, play areas for children and, of course, numerous chiringuitos and other watering holes.
Also along the promenade is a very nice bandstand and, at the western end, a lighthouse.
The palm trees along the promenade are home to colonies of wild Monk Parakeets, their dulcet tones filling the air as they serenade the world. Well, maybe more like ‘squawk like mad at 300 decibels’, but they probably think it is melodious!
There are also numerous chiringuitos on the edge of the beach itself, very relaxing places to have a snack or a meal. Most have BBQ options, often using sand-filled boats to house the coals, or wood in the majority of cases. Sardines on a stick (espetos de sardinas) are one of the specialities.
During Roman times, the town was known as ‘Maenoba’ and during the XI century, there are references to the town under the name ‘Mariyyat Ballis’. During the Middle Ages, Torre del Mar served both as a Customs area centre and as a monitoring station to guard against attacks by pirates. A castle was built in the area, the ruins of which still exist today.
Away from the excellent beach there is a labyrinth of small streets to explore, statues to admire and eateries to try and it is all on the flat! Being a working town with an excellent seaside element, as opposed to a purely tourist resort, the town has plenty to offer. In (very) nearby Vélez-Málaga (Torre del Mar is part of Vélez-Málaga) you have a large shopping mall (El Ingenio), a bowling alley, cinemas, a water park, the (Axarquia) district hospital….In general, the town does not strike you as ‘turisty’, which is a good thing in my view.
Torre del Mar enjoyed a brief period as an independent municipality between 1842 and 1848, but financial difficulties led to its reunion with Vélez-Málaga.
The start of the XX century saw Torre del Mar become a spa town, the authorities trying to attract tourists to the area, but it wasn’t really until 1960 and an urban boom that it really took off as an important tourist resort for both Spanish and foreign visitors.