At 28 km east of Málaga you will find this charming sea-side resort that is part of the scenic Axarquía route of sun and avocado. The main crop of this area used to be sugar cane and the few fields that still lead down from the coast road to the sea shore are testament to this. However, in this ever changing and financially material world we live in, the farmers find that crops such as mangoes and avocadoes are much more economically friendly. One of the few remaining Osborne Bulls looms over the town from its high position above the naturist beach at Almayate where the river divides the two towns and spews water and other things onto the beach after heavy rainfall.
Sugar cane was introduced to the area in the 10th century by the Muslims and a Coruña Zagra named Ramon built the first industrial manufacture of sugar cane in Torre del Mar on the site of an old mill. The factory (Ingenio Azucarero) named Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Torre del Mar was active in 1991 and went through several owners. The chimneys and sugar mill are still standing today and can be seen in the middle of the town.
If you love peace and quiet the two days of the year to avoid visiting this bustling town are its main festivals where the place is heaving. These are July 26th for the feast day of its patron saints, Santiago and Santa Ana and the eve of the feast of the Virgin del Carmen on July 15th when everyone camps out on the beaches, lighting bonfires and jumping over them three times to cleanse and purify their souls before dipping into the sea at midnight to bring good luck for the coming year and wash away any lurking evil spirits.
Like many areas in the Axarquía, Torre del Mar dates back to the Carthaginians, Phoenician, and Roman times and was used as a main port inthe 10th century when the town was called Miraya Ballis. In the 15th century, there was a castle that defended attacks from pirates and foreigners. It takes its new name, Tower of the Sea, from the many watchtowers that were all along its coastline during Roman and Moorish times. In the 19th century it was made up of four distinct barrios or quarters, Barrio del Castillo, Barrio de la Viña, Barrio de la Parroquia and Casas Nuevas. In the beginning of the 20th century it had a train station and a few spas and the town rather than defending against foreigners actively sought them out but it wasn't until the 1960s that tourism really came to town, when beach promenades and large avenues were built to accommodate them and infrastructures like hotels were built to keep them staying on.
There is an area called El Copo which is a 500 m stretch of bars and discotheques open until 6:00 am in summer and at weekends during winter. On the other side of the road during summer is a street market open every day until 3:00 am. It’s a fun place for old and young alike with plenty of ice-cream parlours to tempt even the most jaded of pallets.