Algarrobo sits in between places that actually belong politically to Vélez-Málaga: Caleta de Vélez and part of Mezquitilla (Mezquitilla is shared between Vélez-Málaga and Algarrobo councils).
The costa part of Algarrobo is pretty much the stretch of the N340 between two roundabouts (Algarrobo and Mezquitilla). However, it is much more than the beach and various cafes, restaurants and ice-cream parlours seen from the road. Other points of interest on the costa are the two Martello towers; the 17th Century Torre Ladeada, meaning the tilted tower. If you’ve seen it you’ll know why it has this name. It’s like our very own Tower of Pisa! The 18th Century Torre Derecha (right tower), which is somewhat larger than its slanting sister, has steps leading up to it. The towers are situated quite near to each other; Torre Ladeada is near the Urbanización Centro International, which can be seen from the main N340 road and the Torre Derecha is up Avenida Torre Derecha, behind the Centro de Mayores.
The Río Algarrobo is also a point of interest mainly because of the Phoenician tombs of Trayamar, which were discovered in the mid 1960s by accident. The burial site and funerary objects, dating from the 7th Century, were uncovered while work was being done to a finca in the area. Sadly some of the discoveries were destroyed when work continued to the finca, however many were salvaged and can be seen in the Museo Arqueológico in Malaga.
Every Saturday there is a flea market (rastro) on the streets just north of the beach behind the area of the Ottawa events and celebrations hall. The costa also has services such as banks and a Lidl supermarket and is near to Caleta for Mercadona and other services.
Algarrobo Pueblo is about 3 kilometres inland and is home to the town hall and current tourist information office. However, Carolina, who works there informs us that they are looking to move it to the costa.
On the roundabout at the entrance to the village as the bronze statue of a farmer, holding what appear to be avocados – one of the locally grown produce. The village itself is set on a hillside, so it’s quite a steep climb but worth it to see the houses which all seem to be built on top of each other and for anyone after a bit of retail therapy, there is a surprising amount of clothes and shoe shops – the people of Algarrobo clearly like to dress well!
One of the climbs is up a series of steps, which take you under buildings and past houses whose façades have been painted with flowers. One could be forgiven for calling the steps (I stole this from Rob and Sue Bell) “stairway to heaven” as they lead directly up to the village cemetery and San Sebastian chapel (Ermita San Sebastian). The cemetery is also home to the San Sebastian gardens, which are worth a visit (although closed on Mondays and bank holidays), particularly for their views over the Axarquía, including La Maroma mountain and the coast. The chapel was rebuilt in 1976 to replace the original 17th Century chapel, which had become a ruin over the centuries.
Other chapels and churches in the village are the tiny Las Angustias chapel, which is really a very small shrine, at the top of the village and the main church of Saint Ana (Iglesia Santa Ana).
Algarrobo’s economy relies heavily on tropical fruit such as avocados, mangoes, kiwi and lychee. Grapes and almonds are also produced and of course the famous Tortas de Algarrobo, which have been produced in the village since Islamic times. The cakes, which are popular across Malaga province and beyond, are made with sugar, cinnamon, aniseed, flour, olive oil, almonds and yeast. Algarrobo forms part of the sun and wine route around different towns in the Axarquía (Ruta de Sol y Vino).
Ferias and festivals
Fiesta de la Quema de Algarrobo
The big event in Algarrobo will take place this year on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of September; the 5th Fiesta de la Quema de Algarrobo. The event involves a historical re-enactment of the battle between the people of Algarrobo and the French during the war of Independence during the 19th Century. There will also be street processions, performances, tastings of torta de Algarrobo, mangoes and other local products as well as a tapas route. Algarrobo’s feria takes place over the first weekend in August.
Hiking and nature
There are a number of walks that can be done in and around Algarrobo and these include a 13-kilometre route from Lagos to Algarrobo, using the pathway that connects the coastal villages of the Axarquía. A six-kilometre walk up the Río Algarrobo takes you past the Trayamar Phoenician tombs (these are signposted along the route). Another option offers a route from Algarrobo to the Castillo Bentomíz near Arenas. For more information about the routes visit the tourist information office or visit the townhall website: www.algarrobo.es
To get to Algarrobo either take the Algarrobo exit from the A7 motorway and turn right for the coast or left for the village, or the N340 from either direction and you will inevitably drive to (or even straight through if you are not careful…keep an eye on the names on roundabouts), Algarrobo Costa. Look out for signs that will take you north to the pueblo.
Photographs taken by Rob Bell Photography