Axarquía leads the way for adapted beach access in Málaga

Torre del Mar's wide promenade and adjacent seafront gardens

Torre del Mar’s wide promenade and adjacent seafront gardens

Who doesn’t love to head down to the beach to feel the warm sand between their toes, or to take a dip in the water?  I know I do!

Clearly this is harder to achieve if your mobility is impaired, and is especially difficult for wheelchair users.

The seaside town of Torre del Mar which sits midway along the coast of the Axarquía region is leading the way in the provision of adapted beach access for residents and visitors with reduced mobility.

Not only does Torre del Mar have a beautiful wide promenade and attractive, accessible seaside gardens, the local council has put considerable effort into upgrading their adapted beach access.

Around 200 metres west of the Sailing Club and known as “Playa Adaptada 1.0”, the scheme provides a denominated circular concrete parking area and ramp access to concrete pathways – one of which extends to the water’s edge.

There is also a large wooden structure providing a shaded picnic area with tables and benches, changing facilities and wheelchair storage, toilets, lowered signage (also written in braille), seated showers and drinking fountain, special wheelchairs and floatation equipment for use in the water, as well as support staff during the bathing season.

Various other adapted access points can be found along the length of the promenade at Torre del Mar, all with concrete paths and showers, and all of which extend as far as the Sendero Litoral (a hard, compacted sand pathway used by walkers and runners, but which would also be usable by wheelchair users), thus giving access to pretty much the full length of the town’s beach.

Adapted access point, Torre del Mar, Spain

Adapted access point

Other towns to the east of Málaga with adapted beach access (though not necessarily with all the facilities described above) include: Nerja, Torrox Costa, Caleta de Vélez, Benejarafe, Rincón de la Victoria, Cala del Moral.  You can see a PDF (in Spanish) from the Town Hall here, showing all the facilities (with photos).

That’s great news for residents and visitors to La Axarquía (as well as families with pushchairs)!

 

What’s the adapted beach access like where YOU live?

 

Related articles:

49 COOL reasons to visit the Axarquía this winter

The King and I on the Balcón de Europa, Nerja

 

 

49 COOL reasons to visit the Axarquía (Málaga) this winter

49 COOL REASONS

For those of you who don’t know, the Axarquía means “land to the east” (of Málaga city) – hence the name of this blog, East of Málaga.

La Axarquía is roughly a wedge-shape of land extending along the coast as far east as Maro, with a northern edge close to Antequera, and bounded by mountains on each side.

Acknowledged as having one of the best climates in Europe, the weather rarely gets too cold in this part of Spain, even in January and February. You’ll still need to bring a jacket, but you’ll probably be able to cast it off when you sit eating your lunch in the sunshine.

White arches on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

Of course, it’s always a great time to visit Málaga province with the Festival of San Isidro in May , the Passion play at Riogordo and the amazing parades during Semana Santa (Easter week) or the San Juan fireworks and festivities to welcome the longest day in June.  But, when the skies are grey and the weather wet and wild in northern Europe – here are forty-nine COOL reasons to visit the east of Málaga this winter:

1.   Beautiful clean beaches which you might not get all to yourself – but in many places you will.
2.  Sunrise and sunsets are particularly spectacular during the winter months.
3.  Walk down the streets and there are oranges on the trees – how cool is that?
4.  We have some of the prettiest white villages in Spain, and here are just three – Frigiliana, Comares and Cómpeta
5.  Ski-ing in the Sierra Nevada snowy mountains is only one and a half hours away, now that there’s motorway all the way to final turn off.   You really can ski in the morning and sunbathe on the beach in the afternoon.

Frigiliana, Spain

The white mountain village of Frigiliana

6.  Eating fresh fish on the beach – the local delicacy is espetos (or fish-on-a-stick!)
7.  Forget your stereo-typical image of the Costa del Sol.  This is authentic Spain.
8.  Cost of living is low compared with many places around the world (and Europe) meaning your holiday money will go much further.
9.  There are flowers in bloom all year round, with beautiful Birds of Paradise, hibiscus and bougainvillaea to brighten up the place.
10. If you fancy a fiesta, we have them in December and January, too.
11.  Gaze at the boats in the Marinas in Málaga, Caleta de Vélez and further east along the coast at Marina del Este.

Bird of Paradise flower

The Bird of Paradise is in flower, right now

12. You can see snow on the mountains whilst you are basking in sunshine.
13. Buy a ticket for the biggest lottery in the world – El Gordo (in December) and El Niño (in January) – you never know your luck!
14. It’s usual to be given a free tapas with each drink you buy.
15. We have almond blossom in January and February.
16. There are loads of places to visit for day trips including El Torcal, the Dolmens, Granada, and Málaga.

El Tornillo rock formation at El Torcal, Spain

El Tornillo rock formation at El Torcal

17.  Málaga was founded by the Phoenicians almost 3000 years ago, and later settled by the Romans and the Moors – and we have some of the architecture to prove it!
18.  It’s family friendly (and safe) – you’ll see all the generations out together taking their evening stroll.
19.  We have some amazing food markets and street markets.
20.  You can try some delicious local wines, which are very good value.
21. Climb to the top of the highest mountain in Málaga province. La Maroma stands 2066m and looks majestically over the Axarquía.
22. Enjoy a walk around the scenic Lake Viñuela or up Rio Chillar.

Rio Chillar views, Nerja, Spain

Enjoy a scenic walk along the Rio Chillar in Nerja

23. Visit the Buddhist stupa near Vélez-Málaga – you didn’t expect to see one of those, did you?
24. We have some great hiking routes offering stunning views.
25. If cycling is your thing, we have steep mountain roads and La Vuelta de España visits Málaga each summer.
26. You’ll probably encounter a herd of goats on the road as you drive near some of the white villages.
27. There are fewer tourists around at this time of year.

Fancy walking through this archway in Canillas de Aceituno?

Fancy walking through this archway in Canillas de Aceituno?

28. See the hand-built wooden jabegas (traditional local fishing boats) on the beach.
29. Walk along the gorgeous pebbled streets – with each village having their own unique design.
30. Meet up on the Balcón de Europa in Nerja, with views across the Mediterranean Sea.
31. See the traditional farming methods still used here – with oxen and mules.
32. Count the old men sitting on benches under the shady trees, watching the world go by.
33. See the hillsides terraced with vines, almond and olive trees.

El Acebuchal

Mountains and hillsides of La Axarquia

34. There are rugged cliffs and secret coves.
35. Stunning natural park areas, both inland near the mountains and even extending out into sea.
36. Every town and village has their own Christmas lights, but the display in Málaga each December just gets better and better.
37. There are around 320 sunny days every year.
38. There are hot-chestnut sellers on street corners.

Malaga's gothic Christmas lights 2014

Malaga’s gothic Christmas lights 2014

39. If you love star-gazing then the countryside around the Axarquía is the perfect place.
40. On clear winter evenings, as the sun sets we can sometimes see another continent –  yes, the Rif mountains in Morroco, Africa.
41. For all you culture-vultures, there are many world-class museums in Málaga including the Centre Pompidou, the Russian museum and, of course Málaga’s most famous son – Picasso.
42. Gorgeous, long promenades along the coastline to stroll along in the winter sunshine.
43. The sales (rebajas) start in the shops on January 7th, where you’ll find leather shoes and bags made in Spain, and cheaper prices in Mango, H&M and Zara than anywhere else in Europe.

East of Malaga: Making paella

Making paella on the beach

44. Eat paella on the beach.
45. If you enjoy watching football, Málaga CF are in the top Spanish league, La Liga.  Buy some tickets to experience match-day or at very least watch the match on TV for free in one of the bars.
47. There are usually special offers on budget flights such as Easyjet, Ryanair, Monarch and many more airlines.
48. Sit outside on a sunny terrace, to have a drink or meal, without your coat on!
49.  It’s the perfect place to base yourself for a tour of classic AndalucíaCórdoba, Granada, Seville, Jerez, and Ronda are all on the doorstep with good road and rail links.

REMEMBER: Before somewhere becomes your favourite place, it’s a place you’ve never been before.

What are you waiting for?  When will YOU be visiting Málaga?

It’s Almond Blossom time in Andalucía!

First Almond blossom

It’s always exciting when the first almond blossom appears on the trees in the garden, but when that day is also New Year’s Day, it’s even more special.

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

If you liked this post, you’ll LOVE these:

Wildflowers in the Spring

Wildflowers of Andalucía: Dutchman’s Pipe

Just the King and I on the Balcón de Europa, Nerja

Tree lined promenade on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

The Balcón de Europa (the Balcony of Europe) is a well-known landmark in the coastal town of Nerja.

Leading to the semi-circular viewing point with a circular marble, geometric patterned platform overlooking the sea is a lovely palm-tree lined promenade, often packed with visitors strolling along enjoying an ice-cream.

Balcon de Europa, Nerja

Viewing point on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

I was particularly fortunate the other day, when I was visiting Nerja and popped along to gaze over the railings of the Balcón, to pretty much have it all to myself.

Well, other than the King, of course!

King Alfonso XII stands on the Balcón de Europa, Nerja

A bronze statue of King Alfonso XII stands leaning on the railings near the end of the Balcón de Europa, commemorating his visit to the town in January, 1885.    The King came to see the damage caused by an earthquake that devastated the region on Christmas Day, 1884.

He was captivated by the beauty of the area and legend has it that he was responsible for naming it “Balcón de Europa”.

It’s not true, of course!

One of the old cannons on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

There are two old cannons on the Balcón, near to the statue of the King, which serve as a reminder of the strategic importance of the Balcón in days gone by.

Monument to the 5 boys who discovered the Nerja caves

I was particularly drawn to this monument to the five boys (Francisco Navas Montesinos, José Torres Cárdenas, Miguel Muñoz Zorrilla, José Luis Barbero de Miguel and Manuel Muñoz Zorrilla) who discovered the Nerja caves in January 1959.  

The town is so proud of them that their names are also written on a plaque at the entrance to the caves, where there is a much bigger monument to honour them.

White arches on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

Looking through the arches on the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

To one side of the Balcón is this white arched structure, covered with pots of plants which is the perfect place to shade from the hot sun on a summer’s day and admire the view of the east of Málaga.  

I’ve seen newly-married couples having their bridal photos taken here, too – but not on that particular day!  A perfect spot, don’t you think?

How lucky was I to get the Balcón de Europa to myself?  Have YOU ever seen it so quiet?

 

Whilst you’re here, you might enjoy reading:

Orange Trumpet Vine heralds warmer weather

Glass and Crystal Museum, Málaga

 

OH Come, all ye Faithful

Belén at Torre del Mar

Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
Oh come ye, Oh come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
Oh come, let us adore Him, 
Oh come, let us adore Him,
Oh come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yesterday I went to see the Christmas nativity scene (known as a Belén) at the council offices in Torre del Mar.  When I first arrived, I could hear the excited chatter of school children as I approached the Tenencia de Alcaldía offices, opposite to the National Police Station on Calle Andalucía.  

Just through the entrance door of the council chambers is an exhibition room, where the nativity scene can be found.  The children were just finishing their visit and were all excited to be receiving some sweets as they left the building – which gave me a perfect opportunity to have a look around, before the next group of children arrived.

As I entered the exhibition room, the first thing I noticed was that the walls were covered with children’s drawings, showing their perceptions of Torre del Mar.  As you can see, the lighthouse features in many of the pictures.

Creator of the Belén

The creator of the nativity scene, Antonio Fortes Calderón, was on hand to explain that the display covers thirty square metres and consists of 60 individual pieces – many of which were made of papier-mâché.

Antonio was keen to show me around the delightful Belén, pointing out various areas of the display which were representative of the area in general, but also very specific pieces that were instantly recognisable to me as parts the town.

I absolutely LOVE the revolving light on the lighthouse!

Belén at Torre del Mar

Here’s the very distinctive blue-and-white lighthouse and the beach, complete with the running track (Sendero Litoral), together with a model of the old church of Torre del Mar (now replaced with a more modern church).

Belén at Torre del Mar

Two of the (three) old chimneys of the Azucarera (sugar mill) are depicted, along with the old railway station (now the bus station).

Belén at Torre del Mar

And this photo shows the bandstand and the old lighthouse, which is now hidden amongst the buildings, just off the promenade.

Belén at Torre del Mar

Torre del Mar means Tower of the Sea, but that particular tower, after which the town is named, is no longer standing.  Antonio has included a model to show how it would have looked, back in the day.

Belén at Torre del Mar

If you’ve a spare half an hour, pop along and have a look at all the pictures the children have drawn, and as you walk around this magnificent Nativity scene, see how many buildings from the town you can spot.

You never know, you might bump into Antonio whilst you’re there!

Do YOU like to visit a nativity scene, to get you in the mood for Christmas?