Where to visit in Torrox Pueblo... Plaza Constitucion Casa de la Hoya Arab gateway Hermitage
A working pueblo with real charm...
Torrox, although not as pristine and geared up for tourism as its more famous neighbouring village of Frigiliana, certainly should not be missed. The village is still very much a working pueblo and its narrow shady streets have a real charm and atmosphere.
There are a number of plaques (in Spanish) around the old part of the town, which depict the history of the village and it is well worth taking a stroll around the old historic centre with its pretty flower filled streets which suddenly open out to reveal fantastic views of the mountains or the sea.
Or for a more leisurely experience check out the plaza which has a number of pavement bars where you can relax and watch the world go by.
Below is a guide to the places of interest within and just outside the village…
Plaza de la Constitucion
The main square on Torrox still has echoes to the town’s Roman origins. If you look up to the top of the buildings you will see what is described as a unique collection of Roman busts, although whether they came from the Roman ruins on Torrox Costa is difficult to discover.
The plaza is home to the town council with its impressive facade, facing a very large plaza with ornamental flower pots, orange trees and ground level water fountain feature. The plaza has a few bars and restaurants with seating on the square, very popular with tourists and local residents, and now shaded by scores of multi-coloured umbrellas!
Casa de la Hoya
Situated just below the main square is an impressive 19th century house called Casa de la Hoya, so called because it was built in a depression or hole in the land.
The Spanish King Alphonso XII stayed here in January 1885 when he was visiting the area to see the damage from a strong earthquake that had devastated much of the Axarquia. The earthquake which occurred on Christmas Day, December 1884 killed a quarter of Torrox’s residents.
There are steps down to a pretty square with a fountain and a bar which usually opens in the evening. The building itself is now home to Torrox’s law courts.
Nuesta Senora de la Encarnacion
Towering above the main square, with its warm, golden bricks contrasting against the white houses stands Torrox’s main church ‘Nuesta Senora de la Encarnacion’.
The church was built in the 16th Century over the site of an ancient mosque. Today the main parts date from the end of the 19th century as the church had to be completely rebuilt after it was damaged in a strong earthquake.
The new church was built in a Baroque style. It is a surprisingly large church for a pueblo. Constructed with 3 naves and a beautiful square tower which has semicircular arches supporting a roof with pinnacles.
Arab Tower, Casa de la Moneda and Exhibition
Situated in Calle Baja, just off the Plaza is a restored 12 century Arab tower which was once part of the Arab fortress in the village, linked to others by walls. It is currently used as the tourist information office. Torrox’s name probably orginates from this time as it is derived from the Arabic word Turrux meaning towers.
Also in Calle Baja is the Casa de la Moneda y Aduana or Mint and Custom house which is home to the Torrox in miniature exhibition. The custom house was built in the 18th century. Coins were produced there and all goods brought from America had to be declared there.
The building is also home to the Torrox in Miniature exhibition. The miniature model of the village is the lifetime work of local craftsman, Antonio Medina. There are also models of other aspects of Torrox life past and present including the traditional feria and bull ring. The model will also light up for a night-time view of the pueblo. The exhibition is normally open 10-30 to 13.30 and entrance is free.
San Roque Hermitage, San Jose Hospital and Arab Gateway
Ermita de San Roque can be found from the main square, by walking along Calle de la Baja, until you reach another small square. This eye-catching red and white chapel dates from the 16th century. It has a small single nave, apse, choir and steeple. Closed to worship. San Roque is a patron saint of Torrox. He is the venerated in both Spain and Italy (Saint Roch), as the patron saint of the sick and invalids.
This patron was probably important for Torrox’s old San Jose hospital. This can be found near the entrance to the village on the Avenida de Competa. The hospital of St. Joseph was built in the 18th century. Although mostly a ruin it still has its original facade.
At the beginning of Calle Alta, just after where it joins Calle Baja, you will find the Calle del Porton or Arab gateway. It is part of the old fortifications of the town. The restored gateway was part of a fort, with the traditional four towers and a drawbridge.
Hermitage of the Virgin de las Nieves
This pretty church and adjoining convent are a main landmark on the road up to the pueblo from Torrox Costa. The Hermitage was founded by the Minim Friars in the mid 17th century. (The Mimims were a religious order which was founded in Italy in the 15th century and later spread to Spain.)
The convent was used until 1836, when it was vacated by the Church under a law to expropriate and privatise monastic properties. It later became a storage for agricultural produce and then a police station followed by the Guardia Civil until the 1970’s. Since then there has been several development plans, including one to turn it into a hotel, but so far nothing has come to fruition.
The church did not suffer the same fate and continues today as a religious site, one that is often used for local cultural events. There are some interesting examples of the Mudejar style of the 16th century and the Baroque style of the 18th century within the church.
The chapel is also home to a sculpture in gilded wood of the Virgin de las Nieves, dating from the 17th century. The Virgin is one of Torrox’s patron saints. The cult of the Virgin de las Nieves ( Lady of the Snow) probably originates from 4th century Rome. Here legends says a Virgin appeared in a dream to a Roman patrician and asked him to build a church on a site, which would be covered in snow the following day.
Sugar Factory of San Rafael
As you drive towards the pueblo of Torrox from the Coast, you will go past the old ruins of the 19th century sugar factory.
The Moors first introduced sugar cane the area but it wasn’t until the 18th century that sugar became one of the most important industries in Torrox. Some 80 percent of the land around the village was devoted to the cultivation of the sugar cane.
The sugar factory was owned by the powerful Larios family, who still own much of the land on this part of the coast.
By the second half of the 20th century the cultivation of sugar cane began to decline and other sub-tropical fruits took its place such as the growing of avocados, tomatoes, mangoes.
Further attractions nearby Torrox
Near to the museum stands a balcony overlooking the sea shaped like a blue and white ship’s mast, made of metal and glass.
To the west there is another long sandy beach at El Morche, and in the other direction, heading towards Nerja, there are other less developed, natural beaches called Penoncillo, Mazagarrobo and Calaceite.
Right is a beautiful aerial photo taken by Carlos Castro, showing the Torrox lighthouse.
Torrox pages guide
Use the links below to explore what you can see and do in Torrox, what festivals take place through the year, and to read about the area’s fascinating history.