Sailing off the coast of the Axarquía, east of Málaga

Dark objects out to sea off Torre del Mar

If you’re anything like me, you might have noticed four dark objects out to sea off the coast of Caleta and Torre del Mar, and wondered what they were.  Well, after taking a boat trip with Cruceros Axarquía from the Marina at Caleta de Vélez, I finally discovered what they were – but more about that later!

Muelle B at Caleta de Velez

Entry point to the sailing boat, La Pinta, is via Dock B (Muelle B), next to the Marina and opposite El Camarote restaurant. There is usually an umbrella up to shade the girl selling tickets and giving out leaflets, so it’s easy to spot.

If I’m honest, the information could have been a little bit more obvious. The first time we went was when they were only sailing at weekends and, as it was a weekday we sat there for a while before we realised our mistake. During the height of the summer season though, La Pinta sails daily at various times of day, beginning at 12 noon. You need to check first though, as trips can be cancelled at short notice, depending on weather and sea conditions, of course.

The cruise takes one hour and the boat travels from the harbour at Caleta, west along the coast of the Axarquía towards the delta of the River Vélez, where it turns back home.

La Pinta - sailing from Caleta

We took two trips during August, the first was a 12 noon cruise when the sun was shining. We cruised past the many pleasure boats in the inner harbour and then alongside the fishing boats moored there. It was surprising just how many large fishing boats were there.

The smaller fishing boats have lots of lights on them to attract the fish and squid which are then caught by the bigger boats.  I’ve always been an early riser, and from my terrace at home, as I look down towards the Mediterranean Sea, the lights of these fishing boats look like stars floating on the water. Very pretty.

Fishing boats in Caleta harbour

Anyway, back to the boat trip. Like I said, it was a hot sunny day and there were only about 14 people on this particular trip (I guess the boat can hold 60 people – but don’t quote me on that because I’m not a very good guesser).  Most people rushed up to the front of the boat where there were mattresses and cushions for them to sit on. There is wire mesh around the front to ensure everyone’s safety and the folk up at the front have to remain seated at all times.

That was perfect, as it left the rest of the boat “people free” for me to take photos! Yaay!

La Maroma, the largest mountain in the Axarquía region, looked resplendent from the clear blue water on this beautiful day. There was a slight swell, but nothing to worry about – and I DO worry about that, as I’m definitely a “fair-weather” sailor.

It was good to get a fresh perspective from the sea, of Caleta and Torre del Mar. Because I know the towns so well, it was easy to spot landmarks like the sailing club and the lighthouse. The beaches were busy and lined with multi-coloured umbrellas.

I was hoping we might see some dolphins, but it wasn’t to be.

Once we had turned back to head for Caleta harbour, we headed a little further out to sea, towards those dark objects off the coast. So, what are they I hear you cry? Well, wonder no more – they are mussel beds.

I got chatting to one of the crew members during the trip, and he was happy to tell us about the best “mejillones en España” (mussels in Spain). If I understood him correctly, each of the four wooden mussel beds are anchored in 23 metres of water, with the mussels growing up to eight metres below them. They are harvested after four months growth.

Sunset over Torre del Mar

We enjoyed our little jaunt so much we decided to return again a few weeks later with some friends, but this time we took the sunset cruise. This second trip was during the last couple of days of August and, with sailing time still on the summer schedule at 8.30pm, we had only left the harbour a few minutes when the sun was disappearing behind the mountains, which was a bit disappointing for a sunset cruise.  I felt that the time should have been brought forward half an hour or so.  Of course, Cruceros Axarquía announced their revised sailing times from September 1st, a couple of days after our trip, which means that the sunset cruise now leaves Muelle B at 19.45, which is much better for a sunset cruise.

I guess it wont be long until they are just sailing at weekends again – now that it’s officially autumn!

La Pinta is a lovely boat, nicely painted and comfortable. The crew were friendly and happy to help people step on and off the boat (if they wanted help). You can buy drinks on board, and there is a toilet, in case you’re wondering. Cost is 7 euros for adults and 5 euros for children.

You would be best off checking Cruceros Axarquia’s website (or their Facebook page) for weather conditions, sailing days and times before heading to Caleta.

I was a full, fare-paying passenger on board both of these trips.

Do YOU enjoy boat trips? Where’s your favourite place to sail?

Other articles you might enjoy:

Torrox: Let me take you to “funky town”

River walk up the River Chillar from Nerja

10 interesting facts about Málaga’s new Ferris wheel

As if the city isn’t exciting enough, Málaga has a new attraction on it’s skyline – a giant observation wheel.  The giant ferris wheel is located at the entrance to the port, parallel to Muelle de Heredia.

Here are ten facts about the ride you probably don’t know, but might be interested to find out:

Malaga's new ferris wheel

1.   La Noria de Málaga (as it will be known) stands 70 metres tall – that’s just short of 230 feet.

2.   Weighing in at 600 tons, the Mirador Princess ferris wheel is Europe’s largest transportable attraction – yes, it’s moveable!

3.   There are 42 air-conditioned cabins, each accommodating up to eight people.

4.   Each cabin offers 360 degree panoramic views across the city, port and Mediterranean Sea and, on a clear day, vistas of up to 30 kilometres.

Cabins on Malaga's Ferris wheel

5.   Maximum capacity is 1000 visitors per hour.

6.   An operating licence has been granted for an initial period of eight months.

7.   The wheel is LED illuminated, offering a stunning after-dark show.

8.   La Noria de Málaga is suitable for disabled passengers

Malaga's new ferris wheel at Muelle de Heredia

9.    A full turn of the wheel takes four minutes.

10.  It takes 25 special trailers to transport the wheel between sites, and 25 men working for two weeks to put it together on arrival, with a little help from a 300 ton crane.


If you’re inspired to ride on La Noria de Málaga, the observation wheel is open daily from 11am to 11pm (1am at weekends).


While you’re here, you might also be interested in:

My detailed “Cost of Living in Málaga” report

Jurassic Park: Andalucían style


Malaga hosts the Spanish cycle race – La Vuelta

Riders in La Vuelta, Spain

Málaga province has been experiencing the passion, emotion and excitement of La Vuelta a España (the Spanish equivalent of the Tour de France) during the first four days of the famous cycle race, before it moves on to other parts of Spain.

The time trials began last Saturday in Marbella, before the race pushed off with Stage 2 from Alhaurin de la Torre, finishing the day at the world’s most infamous walkway, the Caminito del Rey.

Stage 3 brought La Vuelta riders to the east of Málaga, yesterday, through spectacular mountains before heading down to the coast and turning west towards the finishing line in Málaga city.

Road closures meant spectators being in position more than an hour before the riders came through, but fold-up chairs, beach umbrellas offering shade from the hot sun and a cool-box full of cold drinks made the wait all the more pleasant.

Looking towards Torre del Mar

Having decided to watch the race pass by at the start of the sprint section, just west of Torre del Mar, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, riding for Team Sky.

We had stunning views of the mountains and the road back towards Torre del Mar.

First sight of La Vuelta riders

Soon enough, motorcycle outriders started appearing and roaring past, first one then another. Surely they must be coming by now? The time of the riders’ scheduled arrival came and went, when suddenly, a helicopter appeared.

They’re here!

The first six riders sprint towards Malaga

The leading group consisted of just six riders and the few people standing outside the Go Karting track on the N340a near to Almayate, started waving chequered flags, clapping and cheering.

Only just over a minute later came the main body of cyclists known as “the peloton”.

Would I be able to spot Chris Froome?

HAwatch my video and have a guess!! (HINT: it takes 50 seconds)

The support vehicles follow closely behind

The peloton streamed by and, it was all over in moments.

Following closely behind were the many support vehicles vying for position and pipping their horns.  At one stage, I thought I might end up filming a pile-up of vehicles!

All that was left was to collect the water bottles that had been discarded by the riders as they passed.

Did you notice one come whizzing my way (at 11 seconds) during the video? Yes, it hit me on the ankle!

Discarded water bottles from La Vuelta riders

Anyone want a used water bottle?

Torrox: Let me take you to Funky Town

Umbrellas in Torrox pueblo

You might not think of one of Andalucía’s famous white villages as being “FUNKY”, and neither did I, until yesterday morning when I went into Plaza de la Constitución in Torrox pueblo on an errand.


A passing plane as seen through the Torrox umbrellas

Shadows from the umbrellas in Torrox, Andalucia

There are hundreds of umbrellas, in six different colours, hanging from discreet wires all around the square.


To give much needed shade, as well as making the town (even more) attractive to visitors!

Amused by the Torrox umbrellas

Multi-coloured umbrellas in Torrox pueblo, Andalucia, Spain

They certain made ME smile :)

How cool/funky/quirky is this, huh?  Let me know what YOU think ….

Baños de Vilo: The Incredible Moorish Baths at Periana

Around three kilometres from the village of Periana is the old Moorish pool in the little hamlet of Baños de Vilo (Baths of Vilo).

During the 18th and 19th centuries this pool was considered one of the most important in Andalucía, so much so that in 1892 its waters were declared “medicinal mineral”. The magnesium, calcium and nitrogen found within the waters offered healing and therapeutic properties to those with skin complaints, and people flocked for miles around to bathe in the sulphurous-smelling pool.

Despite it’s popularity, there was much squabbling over ownership of the pool and even though some improvements were made, the facility was wrecked in 1907 when a huge storm ripped through it. Subsequently, the baths fell into disrepair.

The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) of Periana acquired the property in the 1990s and restoration work began to recover the Baños de Vilo for tourism purposes.

Where to find Los Baños de Vilo:

Soon after you leave the village of Periana, heading north-west on the A7204, there is a split in the road. Stay on the A7204 towards Riogordo and Colmenar. A few hundred metres after the 10km road marking, look out for a tiled sign on the right-hand side of the road.   Turn here and after about 100 metres you will cross a narrow bridge over the river Vilo.

Continue up the road for a further two hundred metres, until you see a sign on a white wall on the left. I parked my car here.

It isn’t obvious where to go, but you should head through the large iron double gates into a patio area, which looks like you are going into someone’s garden – but you’re not!

Ahead of you to the right is a path covered with flowers growing over an archway. Walk through the flowering arch and you will see a little stone bridge leading you across the river, with a small construction of walls and a stone tower on the far side.

Here you will see the turquoise water shimmering in the sunlight and you’ll probably also notice the smell of the sulphur, normally associated with natural thermal pools.

Here’s a cool video of Los Baños de Vilo

It’s time to roll your trousers up!