Torrox Pueblo is surrounded by the Tejeda and Almijara mountain range and offers a charming contrast to its coastal sister. However, at just 145 metres above sea level, the journey up isn’t quite as dizzying as that to some of its more mountainous neighbours!
Torrox, like most of the towns and village in the Axarquía, has its origin in the Neolithic period and relics dating back from this time have been unearthed over the years, as have reminders of the town’s Roman period. The Arabic era was also hugely important for the area as the silk and sugar industries were established then.
On the 29th April 1487, after the conquest of Vélez-Málaga, Torrox was taken from Islamic rule to Christian thanks to the Catholic King & Queen who later granted Torrox the title of “very noble and very loyal villa.”
The Christmas Day earthquake in 1884 destroyed parts of Torrox and as part of his tour of Malaga to see the damage caused by the disaster King Alfonso XII visited the village.
Torrox once had one of the largest populations in the area, comprised of Moors, Christians and Jews. One of the most famous inhabitants was Luis de Torres, or ‘El Lenguas,’ an interpreter who travelled with Christopher Columbus on his trip to the Americas.
This fascinating history is still alive through a series of walking routes that are available in the town. They take in important landmarks including the two churches and the hermitage Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, with the former convent which forms part of the building. Torrox’s industrial past can also be seen, in the form of the old sugar cane factory (azucarera or ingenio) and the Antiguo Molino Pérez (mill). Ask for more information and clearly-marked maps in the tourist information office in the town.
Plaza de la Constitución is Torrox’s main meeting point for people and home to the town hall, market and other shops, bars and services. It famously has the colourful umbrellas which shelter people from the sun throughout the summer months and they stay there until after the town’s Feria in early October. On Calle Baja the Casa de la Inquisición is situated, which is said to have held the Court of the Inquisition, using the basement to torture people accused of crimes against religion. On the same road is La Casa de la Aduana, or Casa de la Moneda, which held important dances and parties for the bougeosie during the 1920s. Calle Elisa Ortigosa is also well-worth seeing as it home to an Arabic tower, part of the ancient city wall of the 17th century.
Plaza de San Roque is home to one of the two churches in Torrox. However, this one is currently closed to the public. The other is Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, which is just behind the town hall and is open at certain times.
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves is a 16th century hermitage (ermita) with the old convent behind. It provides panoramic views down to Torrox Costa. The convent is open to the public as it is home to the Axarquía’s women’s service, which provides help and advice to women across the area. The building is centred round a traditional courtyard with a series of rooms leading off from it.
Torrox starts the year with the traditional ‘Cabalgata de los Reyes,’ or Kings’ Day procession on 5th January. It also celebrates carnival, Easter Week and the May Crosses.
5th August is the day of the Virgen de las Nieves, Torrox’s patron saint. It’s a local bank holiday and the Virgin and San Roque are carried from the hermitage to the main church behind plaza de la Constitución where they stay until the procession during the Feria in October when they are returned to the hermitage.
In the second week of September Torrox celebrates Tourist Day. The event marks the end of the summer season and a moment to give thanks to visitors for choosing Torrox to spend their holidays. A guided tour of the town is given as well as a music festival.
Torrox’s Feria takes place around 4th to 8th October with four days of music, dancing and activities along with the aforementioned procession of the virgin and saint back to the hermitage. To mark the end of Feria, a fireworks display is put on at the entrance of the hermitage.
Perhaps the most well-known of all Torrox’s fiestas is ‘El Día de las Migas,’ on the Sunday before Christmas. Thousands of people visit the town to sample the local dish. Migas are essentially breadcrumbs fried in local extra virgin olive oil and mixed with garlic and bacon on chorizo. They were traditionally served to farmers after a long day in the fields. The migas are served with the local ensalada arriera (a salad made of cod, olives, onions, oranges and olive oil) and local sweet wine. Activities include verdiales concerts and a Christmas market. This celebration has been given special status by the Junta de Andalucía (Fiesta de Interés Turístico Nacional de Andalucía).Torrox Pueblo – Photos by Rob Bell Photography
It’s relatively easy to park in Torrox as there are a number of car parks in and around the town. A regular bus service leaves from the bus station in Torrox Costa.
The town has shops, banks, schools, doctor’s surgery and other facilities as well as a good number of bars and restaurants.
The tourist office is located on Avenida de Competa, on the main road into the town centre and the phone number is 952 53 81 06. The main tourist office serving both Torrox Costa and Torrox Pueblo is on Avenida Andalucía, 7 and the website is www.turismotorrox.com.
Written by Jennie Rhodes
Photographs taken by Rob Bell Photography