Is Torremolinos Tacky? Answer from a Local [2024]

Is Torremolinos Tacky? Answer from a Local [2024]

Is Torremolinos tacky?

If you’ve been asking yourself this question before booking your trip, you came to the right place!

I personally think Torremolinos is tacky, and that comes from my experience of living on Costa del Sol and having seen lots of other places, so I know how it compares to other resort towns.

I haven’t just been there on holiday, I actually live next to Torremolinos and visit a few times per year, so I know what it looks like in the main season but also off season.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right destination for you.

Read on to find out why!

Torremolinos old town on Costa del Sol, Southern Spain

Is Torremolinos Tacky? Yes!

So let’s first establish what I mean by tacky:  cheap, flashy, garish, gaudy, loud, tawdry, or trashy.

Would I use those words to describe Torremolinos? That’s an easy yes.

There are plenty of people who would disagree with me, and that’s completely fine, it’s a matter of opinion.

In this article I will offer a short deep-dive into what’s Torremolinos like and what can you expect if you book a trip here.

Torremolinos: Tacky or Terrific?

That depends on who you ask!

Torremolinos offers a vivid mix of old charm and recently also a new look. It’s not everybody’s taste, and there are plenty of people who love it just because it offers the traditional Costa del Sol experience with everything that comes with it.

The town is trying to challenge any preconceived notions of being just another tacky destination on Costa del Sol, and even though the Times said it’s gone from tacky to arty, I think there is a long way to go for those words to ring true.

Humble Beginnings

Torremolinos has evolved from a small fishing village to a vibrant coastal area.

Its name which translates to Tower Mills, hints at a long-standing heritage, further enriched by landmarks like the Casa de los Navajas.

Torremolinos has gone through a development boom, just like other places along the coastline, mainly in the 70s and 80s, and unfortunately, much of the original architecture is still in place today.

In Torremolinos, you will see a brand new modern hotel right next to crumbling buildings, trashy bars and pubs in the old town, and places where the time stood still.

A case in point: I visited Torremolinos for my first-ever trip to Spain back in 2010, and after coming back 10 years later, I felt like not much had changed.

Torremolinos Old Town

The old town of Torremolinos, especially the quaint fishing village of La Carihuela, retains its traditional charm with narrow streets lined with traditional bars and seafood restaurants. Just a short walk north of the main road lies El Calvario, a quieter urban zone that offers a respite from the high-season hustle.

The old town is probably one of the most ‘tacky’ parts of the city, but things improve a bit if you move towards the coastline.

Along the main beach promenade, you will find more tourist traps, but also a decent selection of good-quality hotels.

Nightlife and Parties

If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife, you will find that Torremolinos caters to a variety of different tastes, with everything from Irish pubs, drag bars, gay clubs and nightclubs.

Dubbed the ‘gay capital of Costa del Sol‘, visiting in the summer months will make you feel like you attended a never-ending Pride month party.

If the beach and parties are exactly what you’re looking for, then Torremolinos is a great option for you – otherwise, there isn’t much to do in the city itself.

Torremolinos old town

The New Face of Torremolinos?

As I mentioned the town is trying to shake up its old reputation and refresh some urban space with art and upgrades.

One of the most recent ones is the shaded walking path in the picture above, possibly the prettiest part of the old town.

In other cases, the efforts fall short.

You will see a sculpture that looks like it’s entirely out of place, with a backdrop of ugly apartment blocks and crumbling buildings – see below.

I think part of the problem is that the city has no urban planning, things are just all over the place, and many buildings are neglected.

Considering how much the city makes from tourism, you would think that the money is reinvested in the upgrades, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Some sculptures are not going to shake things up too much, and there is a long way to go for Torremolinos – but I guess it’s a start!

Sculture on a square in Torremolinos old town, Costa del Sol.

What’s Good About Torremolinos?

A few things!

The beaches are pretty spectacular – wide, long, with sand and plenty of space and facilities. Even the local chiringuitos (beach restaurants) are a bit stuck in time but in a charmingly old-fashioned way.

Torremolinos is also very close to Malaga airport, so if you want a good location with decent beaches, it ticks many boxes.

And, you can walk to Benalmadena alongside the coastline!

Torremolinos is also one of the most affordable destinations on Costa del Sol – my very first holiday in Spain was to Torremolinos because I got a great deal on an all-inclusive hotel stay.

Final Thoughts

Torremolinos is a town caught between its past as a small fishing village and its present as a popular beach destination.

Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway close to Malaga City or an extended summer retreat, and don’t mind the shabby and tacky parts of the city, then Torremolinos might tick a lot of the boxes!

LOVE it? SAVE it for Later!

Explore everything Torremolinos has to offer and save ideas for your trip directly from my Pinterest board!

pinterest image showing the old town of Torremolinos, with a headline that reads: torremolinos is it a tacky place, complete expert guide, Southern Spain travel tips
pinterest image showing the old town of Torremolinos, with a headline that reads: torremolinos is it a tacky place, complete expert guide, Southern Spain travel tips
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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

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