TORRE del Mar, very much part of the Axarquia’s sun and avocado route, has an interesting industrial history thanks to the sugar cane.
The Muslims introduced sugar cane to the area back in the 10th century, building the first factory on the site of an old mill.
The factory (Ingenio Azucarero) is still standing today and can be seen in the middle of the town.
There are a few sugar cane fields leading down from the coast road to the sea shore, although most of today’s farmers find mangoes and avocadoes are much more economically friendly.
One of the few remaining Osborne Bulls looms over the town from above the naturist beach at Almayate, where the river divides the two towns and spews water onto the beach after heavy rainfall.
If you love peace and quiet, the two days of the year to avoid visiting this bustling town are its main festivals.
On July 15, the eve of the feast of the Virgin del Carmen is when everyone camps out on the beaches, lighting bonfires and jumping over them three times to cleanse and purify their souls before dipping into the sea at midnight.
This is said to bring good luck for the coming year and wash away any lurking evil spirits.
On July 26 the feast day of the town’s patron saints, Santiago and Santa Ana, takes place.
Interestingly, Torre del Mar dates back to the Carthaginians, Phoenician, and Roman times and was used as a main port in the 10th century.
In the 15th century there was a castle that defended attacks from pirates and foreigners.
It takes its name, ‘Tower of the Sea’, from the many watchtowers that stood guard all along its coastline during Roman and Moorish times.