An old charmer
Torremolinos is a bit of a dab hand when it comes to holidays – and it’s got 3.5 million yearly visitors to prove it. This is one of the oldest and best-loved holiday places on the Costa del Sol, with a pedigree going back to the early Fifties. Back then, it was a haunt of Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Nowadays things still revolve around the sandy beach, but there’s party nightlife and great shopping in the mix, too.
Blue Flag beach
The beach is the big star in Torremolinos – all 9 kilometres’ worth. The main stretch is called Playa La Carihuela, right in front of the town centre, and it’s fully stocked with beach bars, sunbeds and jet-skiis for hire. The Blue Flag means it’s really clean, too. Montemar Beach, 10 minutes’ walk away, has got grassy areas for a change from the sand.
The town centre’s split into 2 parts here. After dark, Benalmadena – joined-at-the-hip with the centre by a pretty marina – is the main party district. It’s filled with Brit pubs, cocktail bars and clubs that keep going ’til 6am. Back in the heart of town, it’s as Spanish as it gets – you’ll find mostly tapas bars and flamenco dancing after dark.
You’re just 20 minutes away from Malaga, AKA Picasso’s birthplace. There’s a mix of up-to-date and historic here, with museums, churches and an old harbour cheek-by-jowl with shopping malls. Or, a 2-hour drive through the Andalusian mountains lands you at Granada, Seville or Ronda. They’ve got world-class architecture and galleries enough between them – but it’s the famous Alhambra Palace that gets Granada the popular vote.