Where to visit in Algarrobo... Santa Ana Park and pool Ermita Sebastian Algarrobo beach Old towers Ceregumil finca Trayamar Necropolis
Santa Ana Church
The church dates from 16th century, on the site of an old mosque.
The church has experienced several expansions, but recently underwent a major restoration that lasted two years, changing the roof, floors, walls, and lighting.
The works were paralyzed for a while after the discovery of remains under the church floor – not only archaeological, but human, as it was customary to bury the dead inside churches for centuries.
Escalerilla park and municipal pool
Near the entrance of Algarrobo, off Calle La Escarilla, there is a beautiful park called Parque de la Escalerilla, which is itself next to the village swimming pool.
Inside the park there is also a sizeable games area as well as tennis courts. The park’s name ‘Escalerilla’ comes from the attractive small stone steps that lead down into it. After a morning strolling around the village, perhaps getting hot and bothered, the park comes as a welcome break, there are several park benches well positioned in shady spots under the Jacaranda trees to relax on.
The park is also used for outdoor celebrations and there is a special permanent ‘tent’ structure constructed, the Pista Municipal Polideportiva, La Carpa, where events like the annual flamenco contest (Noche Flamenca Algarrobo) and Algarroba Rock take place.
Like the park itself, another fairly new addition to the village is the municipal swimming pool. Being outdoor means that, even on the Costa del Sol, it is only open mainly during the warmest months – June, July and August.
The pool is fairly large – 28 metres by 15 metres, with a depth of between 1.79 and 1.40 metres. However, for small children there is also a smaller pool (4 metres by 3 metres) which is only half a metres deep.
During the week the pools are open from 3.00 pm to 7.30 pm. At weekends the hours are longer – 12.00 midday to 8.00 in the evening.
Prices are extremely reasonable, from less than a euro for children less than 14 years, to 1.55 euros for those over 14 – and that’s for the whole day. Expect to pay just a little more on festive days. There are also season tickets and family discounts available as well.
For up to date information it would be best to go to the town council – Ayuntamiento de Algarrobo, C/. Antonio Ruiz Rivas 2, telephone 95 255 24 30.
Ermita San Sebastían and Gardens
The handsome Ermita (Hermitage) de San Sebastián is of recent construction, dating back to 1976, though it was built on the site of the original 17th century building, which was in ruins.
It stands atop a hill known as ‘El Egido’ and consists of a single nave on a Latin Cross ground plan. The entrance to the chapel is formed by a Roman arch flanked by pilasters on either side and crowned by a bell gable.
The interior, devoid of ornaments, is very light and airy thanks to the slender windows of the nave and at the ends of the transept. Focussed on the altar wall is a niche which houses the image of San Sebastian.
The building is surrounded by illuminated fountains, gardens and trees, known as the San Sebastian Gardens (photo, right), a very pleasant spot, set against the backdrop of the rugged mountains and the sea.
Playa de Algarrobo
The River Algarrobo separates its ‘playa’ (beach) at Algarrobo Costa with that belonging to the next village along the coast – Mezquitilla beach.
It is about 800 metres long and 20 metres wide, and located towards the centre of Algarrobo Costa. The beach is made up of sand and gravel, and enjoys moderate waves. It has a high occupancy in the season, but offers most of the services one would expect of an ‘urban’ beach. In fact, it was awarded the blue flag for its services and cleanliness in 2015.
The straight and the leaning towers
La Torrenueva the ‘new tower’ – also known as Torre Derecha, the ‘straight tower’ – was built in 1755 to replace the other, older watchtower in Algarrobo Costa, La Torre Ladeada, the ‘leaning tower’.
Both were watchtowers or lookout points used to spot invasions from the sea, especially from pirates. In case of danger a fire (ie, a beacon) would be lit at the top to signal to the other towers along the coast, all of which were built in sight of each other.
La Torre Ladeada dates back to the mid-1500’s, and was built at a time when the Spanish shores were being constantly harried by pirates from the so-called Barbary coast of North Africa.
The raids were such a problem that many residents abandoned the coastal villages and made their homes up in the hill top villages in the interior. It has been estimated that along the shores of Spain and Italy, pirates captured about 850,000 people as slaves between 1580 and 1680.
Torre Ladeada inclination of about 18 degrees is due to the fact that its shallow foundations were made on sand – it’s only 20 yards or so from the beach – and over time the action of the sea and the strong westerly winds have made it collapse on one side.
La Torrenueva on the other hand, is a far larger and more sturdy structure (and still ‘straight’), with rooms for storage as well as for soldiers stationed there. It could house 8 infantry soldiers plus 4 cavalrymen and 2 pieces of artillery.
Finca del Ceregumil
About half a kilometre up the A7206 from Algarrobo Costa is the beautiful, modernist house that was once the home of the pharmacist, Bernabé Fernández-Sanchez, who in the early 20th century invented the ‘Ceregumil’ vitamin complex.
The house is now a religious retreat owned by the Diocesis of Málaga.
Visitors are welcome, and as well as accommodation for individuals, families, or religious groups, who want to stay there.
The house, (now named ‘Casa de espiritualidad Trayamar’), can also be booked out for meetings.
For more details, see their website.
The Granada apothecary that started a multi-million euro business…
Immediately below Finca Ceregumil, there is a path towards the Trayamar Necropolis, considered to be one of the most important Phoenician tomb complexes found in the western Mediterranean, and the oldest Phoenician site in Europe.
In 1930, when a group of workers attempted to dig a pit for a pool at Ceregumil, suddenly there was a collapse and a hole in the ground appeared between large blocks of stone. Then later, from inside, Ceregumil’s owner, Bernabé Fernández-Sanchez, recovered a series of objects that he suspected were ancient and extraordinary.
Thirty-four years later, the objects were shown to members of the German Archaeological Institute of Madrid during their excavation of a nearby archaeological site at Toscanos near Vélez-Malaga. Excited members of the team corroborated the importance of the objects.
Between 1967 and 1969 archaeologists from this same Institute verified the existence of five magnificent graves at the Ceregumil site.
Later on, in 2006, there were more extensive excavations in the area of the necropolis, and remains of Punic graves were also found a little further south. Unfortunately, many of the tombs have been destroyed, so that only the so-called tomb No. 1 that was discovered in 1930 and the Phoenician grave excavated in 2006, are left. However, now that the site is being looked after by the Diocesis of Málaga, it is hopefully in good hands.
Visiting the site…
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Algarrobo pages guide
Use the links below to explore what you can see and do in Algarrobo, what festivals take place through the year, and to read about the area’s fascinating history.