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Almayate is an important Axarquia settlement, comprising of Almayate pueblo, Almayate Bajo, El Hornillo and Valle Niza. On this page you’ll find plenty of information to help start plan your trip here.
Apart from a little information on the areas that make up Almayate, there is a map which will give you directions on how to get here (from wherever you’re starting from!). Also worth checking out is our handy guide which links not only to all of our Almayate pages, but to all of the fascinating places to visit here.
Lastly, there is an interactive map showing many of the great places you can visit elsewhere in the Axarquia.
Almayate is a coastal community situated 28 kilometres from Malaga, between Benajarafe and Torre del Mar. It is in the municipality of Vélez-Málaga, right in the centre of the Axarquía.
There are three distinct areas to Almayate (four if one counts Valle-Niza, which was formerly part of it). There is ‘El Hornillo’, comprising of a few houses, huts and bar-restaurants lining the beach, mostly hidden from view by sugar cane; Almayate Pueblo or Bajo, the main population centre, half a kilometre inland on the other side of the old N340 coast road. Then, higher up still, is the Moorish Almayate – Almayate Alto – now a hamlet with a few outlining farm houses and villas.
The high rocky outcrop that the large black figure of the Osborne bull sits on was originally a promontory sticking out into the sea. However, two thousand years of silt being washed down by the River Vélez from the hills above, created the delta we can see spreading out beneath the old sandstone headland.
Thus, few coastal farming areas of Málaga are as extensive and productive thanks to this mineral-rich delta. In Moorish times it was the main farming area based on irrigation in the Vélez-Málaga area, from which the name of Almayate meaning ‘The Waters’ is derived. At the Sant Pitar quarry at Valle Niza, man-made cavities were discovered which are believed to have been created and actually lived in by a community of hermits in the 8th to 11th centuries. It is believed that they were Mozarabic monks, and a small ‘cave church’ that was possibly used by them has also been identified.
However, the story of Almayate goes back much further than the Moors. Over two and a half thousand years ago the area around Almayate Bajo was settled by the ancient Phoenicians, then afterwards by the Romans. In fact the ancient Phoenician settlement of Toscanos is an extremely important part of the history not only of the local area, but in the origins of Spain itself.
Both the original Phoenician and Moorish settlements have long disappeared, but in the 19th century the area became more popular and Almayate Bajo was founded, leaving just a few scattered houses on the coast and up at Almayate Alto.
The onset of tourism, including residential tourism, has brought changes here of course. There has been an encroachment of new buildings on the land in recent years, both around the villages and the new urbanisations in Valle-Niza.
But while tourism is now an important source of income, along with a limited amount of fishing that is still carried out, agriculture is still by far the most important, especially since the introduction of new crops such as the avocado. Indeed, the fields are still tilled with the help of a breed of bull (photo above) that is indigenous to the Axarquía, and is still reared in Almayate.
This special animal also features in Almayate’s famous romería in late April, which has the largest gathering of bull teams in the Axarquía, (photo, left). Another standout feria to look out for is Almayate’s living nativity scene at Christmas, one of the most anticipated events during the Axarquian Christmas.
Unlike some of the more developed coastal areas, Almayate’s beach side – called El Hornillo – still consists of just a few houses, though there are a few bar-restaurants. Traditionally, the area has been popular with artists and eccentrics, and there are a number of interesting sculptures and rock paintings, but the local council is trying to update the area with more facilities for visitors, including a new car park.
The beach, Playa Almayate Bajamar, is 2.8 kilometres long and has been described as one of the last unspoilt, practically ‘virgin’ stretches of coastline left in the province. Certainly, it is one of the few left that has fertile fields behind it, not rows of apartment blocks or villas.
Further along, at the eastern end of the beach towards Torre del Mar, there is also a popular nudist section – apparently one of the three most important in Spain.
Valle-Niza is a small settlement on the coast between Almayate and Benajarafe. Originally it belonged to Almayate Alto, which is about a 10 minute drive north of it, but in the early 20th century it changed its name.
Although Valle-Niza is a settlement now in its own right, we have decided to include it with Almayate, as it only doesn’t yet have all of the facilities of a major urban settlement.
While tourism is of growing importance, especially during the summer when the beach is quite popular with foreign visitors, the main economic activity around Valle-Niza is still farming. While some keep to the traditional ways, keeping livestock such as chickens, pigs, and goats, and growing tomatoes and gourds, etc, there are large plantations of the new crop along the south coast – avocados and mangos.
Valle Niza’s beach is located between Almayate’s and Benajarafe’s. It’s beach is typically not very busy, as it can only be reached by car.
There are a couple of important monuments around Valle Niza, one is the Castillo del Marqués dating back to 1513, and the other is the Archaeological Complex of San Pitar. The site here has been a quarry for millennia, and not only has the stone been used in the construction of some fine buildings in the province, but at times the quarry itself has also been the home to masons – and even to monks!
Directions for Almayate
Almayate pages guide
Use the links below to explore what you can see and do in Almayate, what festivals take place through the year, and to read about the area’s fascinating history.
Almayate is a great base for exploring all of the Axarquía. From beautiful beaches, stunning countryside, pretty little villages, and a wealth of things to do, eastern Málaga has something for everyone – take a look below at all the places you can visit!
Just click on the map icons to find out more information, or get driving directions.