Spotlight on Velez-Malaga

Explore the charm of Vélez-Málaga Image: Shutterstock/ Caron Badkin

WITH its population of 85,377 residents, Velez-Malaga is the third-largest municipality in the province of Malaga, following closely behind Málaga itself and Marbella. Spanning an area of 158 km², it sprawls across the Vega del Río Vélez and the surrounding mountains, opening up towards the Mediterranean to the south.

The town’s economy thrives primarily on tourism, closely followed by agriculture, notably in the cultivation of subtropical crops such as mangoes, cherimoyas, loquats, and above all, avocados, making it Spain’s largest producer of the fruit. Additionally, Caleta de Vélez harbours the largest fishing fleet in the province.

The historic centre of Vélez-Málaga boasts a rich architectural heritage, with a blend of Mudéjar and Baroque styles evident in its palaces, churches, and convents nestled among picturesque streets. Archaeological sites in Vélez-Málaga provide evidence of Phoenician and Roman settlements in the area, though the main urban nucleus was established around the 10th century by the Moors.

The microclimate of Vélez-Málaga is influenced by the sea and the geographical location of the Vélez-Málaga River basin. With its 25 kilometres of coastline, Vélez-Málaga boasts nine beaches of varying nature.

The area boasts a rich gastronomic tradition, especially during Easter, where meatless dishes like salted cod were traditionally consumed during the Lenten period. Signature dishes include ‘ropa vieja,’ a stew of various vegetables and meat, ‘ajoblanco,’ a cold soup made from almonds, garlic, and bread, and ‘tortas de bacalao con miel,’ cod cakes with honey.

Hiking Hotspots

HIKING enthusiasts seeking adventure among stunning landscapes will find Velez-Malaga a haven of scenic trails catering to various difficulty levels. From leisurely strolls to moderate treks, there’s something for everyone.

For an easy walk, the circular route from Torre del Mar encompassing Playa de Torre del Mar and Puerto de la Caleta offers serene coastal views. Meanwhile, those craving a bit more challenge can opt for the moderate-level circular trail from Caleta de Vélez, passing through Faro de Torre del Mar and Playa de Torre del Mar.

History buffs will delight in the 7.27 km historical route through the old town of Velez-Malaga, a designated Cultural Heritage Site boasting historical buildings and monuments, and a leisurely walk through its charming streets.

For the more adventurous, the GR-249 Gran Senda de Málaga Stage 03 beckons with an 18.46 km journey from Velez-Malaga to Torrox, showcasing the rugged beauty of the region. It’s an ideal choice for avid hikers seeking a longer and more challenging trek along the Gran Senda de Málaga.

Velez Malaga’s Hiking Treasures Image: Shutterstock/ Zenytal

Cultural Landmark

THE Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, located in Vélez-Málaga, stands as a testament to historical and artistic significance, showcasing various evolutions over time. Originally built in 1487 in the Gothic-Mudejar style, the church underwent significant renovations in the same century. Between 1541 and 1564, the church saw further expansion, including the construction of its tower.

Noteworthy transformations occurred during the Baroque period, with some elements still preserved, and in the late 18th century, when the sacristy was decorated—an exceptional piece attributed to José Martín de Aldehuela, was built in 1789. The Iglesia de San Juan Bautista is not only a religious site but also a cultural heritage icon, attracting visitors interested in both its architectural beauty and historical significance. Alongside its architectural features, the church houses notable artworks, such as paintings, sculptures, and religious artifacts, contributing to its status.

Beyond its religious functions, the church serves as a focal point for community gatherings and events. It also plays a role in local tourism, drawing visitors from around the world to admire it.

Vélez-Málaga’s historic church Image: Shutterstock/ BAHDANOVICH ALENA

Local News

Museum Day

VELEZ-MALAGA is gearing up to celebrate International Museum Day on May 18 with open doors and free guided tours at its cultural venues. Led by Councilwoman Alicia Ramírez, the Cultural Department aims to raise awareness and encourage more people to visit the city’s museums.

Ramírez highlighted the variety of events and activities arranged for this international event, including guided tours, puppet shows for children, documentary screenings, and even a theatricalised visit by Cervantes himself.

Museums like MUVEL, the Francisco Hernández Contemporary Art Centre, the Semana Santa Museum, and Sala Cervantes will all participate, offering visitors a chance to dive into the city’s rich cultural heritage. Registration for specific activities is required via email, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all.

The Night of the Museums event is a global phenomenon celebrated in various cities around the world. Originating in Berlin in 1997, where museums opened their doors late into the night, the concept has since spread internationally, promoting cultural awareness and engagement. For more information see

Vélez-Málaga to Celebrate International Museum Day Image:

Tree Trek

GENA-Ecologistas en Acción, with support from local associations, is leading a campaign to protect urban trees in Torre del Mar. They organised a botanical tour along the promenade on May 11, which was open to the public.

Biologist Rafael Yus guided the tour, starting from the Copo parking lot to Toré Toré Avenue. The initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of green spaces, providing cultural, aesthetic, and ecosystem benefits.

Despite Torre del Mar’s rapid growth, efforts are being made to use coastal zones for green development. During the tour, about 100 tree and shrub species were identified, emphasising their significance and challenges. Participants were encouraged to actively engage in learning about the value of urban trees.

Torre del Mar’s green soul Image: Shutterstock/ BAHDANOVICH ALENA

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!


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