Torremolinos was originally a fishing village back in the 1920s, but has been rapidly overtaken by tourism. Its nominal population is around 43,000 but this can rise to 250,000 during the tourist season.
Tourists will be most familiar with the beaches of Torremolinos and the pedestrian-only Calle San Miguel, which is lined with shops, and runs from the center of town down to the beach. The lower half is a winding stair-stepped path, and is fun to descend and fortifying to climb!
Beginning in the late 1980s, Torremolinos developed a well-deserved reputation among tourists as being the armpit of the Costa del Sol. An angry, tourism-dependent community affected some changes at Town Hall, and new priorities were put in place. Today, Torremolinos is once again an attractive, clean, safe haven for northern Europeans escaping the fiercer climes for the sunniest spot in Europe. It is also one of the most popular resorts for Spanish tourists, with some of the districts (especially La Carihuela) having as much of a Spanish feel as an international tourist one.
Torremolinos is made up of several distinct districts stretching either side of the Town Centre: El Bajondillo is the beach area closest to the town, east of here are the commercial tourist area of Playamar (home of the infamous high-rise hotels from the 60s and 70s) and then the pleasant beach-side district of Los Alamos. West of the Town Centre lie La Carihuela - the old fishing village, of which some architecture survives, and then Montemar which adjoins the neighbouring municipality of Benalmádena.
La Carihuela is famous throughout Spain as a major centre of Andalucian cuisine, with the emphasis being heavily on seafood of all kinds. The old fishing village has been pedestrianised and runs parallel to one of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol. It is in La Carihuela that the tourist boom began in the 1950s with the arrival of the jet set, including Frank Sinatra and friends.
While summer is the peak season for visiting, winters here are also mild by European standards, with temperatures rarely falling below 10°C. For those who want peace and quiet, winter is a good time to visit as Torremolinos turns into a ghost town, but with temperatures comfortable enough to offer respite from the bitter winters in the rest of Europe.
Since the beginning of its tourism surge in the late 1950s, Torremolinos has been a safe haven for Europe's gay and lesbian holiday makers. Even under Franco, while gay people elsewhere in Spain were being brutalized, imprisoned and executed, the value of the solid currencies that the so called vacationing "deviants" brought into Spain's faltering economy trumped whatever personal feelings Franco had about same sex relationships and kept Torremolinos a gay Mecca, long before the word "gay" evolved into common usage.
Today, gay life in Torremolinos centers around the 'La Nogalera' complex in the very center of town where there is a gay bar to suit just about every taste one can imagine. The complex itself is very mixed, with gay and family restaurants, bars and shops, all jumbled together. However, given the influence of the so called 'pink-pound', visitors to La Nogalera will be surprised at the decrepit and shabby appearance of the area. The presence of male prostitutes, who 'work' its darkened interior (even during daytime) further detract from its appearance. Given the "macho" reputation of Spanish culture, many first-time lgbt visitors are surprised to discover the general indifference of the locals to sexual orientation. Check out Torremolinos Gay Community pages  for current agenda.
There is a regular train service connecting Torremolinos to Malaga and Malaga Airport to the north of it and south to Fuengirola. The journey to Malaga takes about 30 minutes. An interactive map of this train line is available at the Renfe Web site: 
There is a regular local bus service that serves most of Torremolinos allowing you to get to the town centre from the outlying parts which can be up to 2 km away. Buses are approximately every 40 minutes and cost around €1.25. The Portillo Bus Company operates routes out of the Torremolinos Bus Station that connect to just about anywhere you'd want to go on the Costa del Sol. Detailed schedules are available here: .
Events and Festivals
The revitalised Torremolinos Town Centre is now home to many national and international chain stores as well as the usual tourist shops. It's increasing popularity with Spanish tourists means that many of the old 'tat-shops' have now been replaced with designer boutiques. A surprisingly good variety of shopping is available if you explore the little side streets and alleys off Calle San Miguel, the main shopping street.
As a major Spanish and international tourist destination Torremolinos has cafés, bars and café-bars to suit all tastes. It is also the home of the famous 'chiringuitos' - beach café-bars which offer beach-side drinks and meals throughout the year. The best of these are to be found in the district of La Carihuela.
Sample the local vino de Málaga, a fortified wine similar to sherry.
A major 10 year programme of hotel upgrading funded by the EU, the Junta de Andalucía and Torremolinos Council is nearing completion. This was designed to rid Torremolinos of it's old 'cheap package' image and its success can be seen by the fact that Torremolinos now has one of the highest hotel occupancy rates in Europe (well over 80%) and the highest on the Costa del Sol.
There are a wide range of hotels available on all the usual websites. Torremolinos also has many small hostal/pensions and a wide range of self-catering apartments and houses available to rent, many of them owned by British or Dutch ex-pats.
Torremolinos is well-placed as a base for visiting the various sights of Andalucía, connected by efficient public transport to much of the Costa de Sol. There are many excursion shops offering 'all-in' day trips too.