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.

WOW! THAT’S PRETTY FUNKY!

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.

WHY?

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!

El Torcal: Welcome to Jurassic Park – Andalucían style

El Torcal Nature Reserve, Antequera If you thought that this part of Spain was all about white villages, a visit to Andalucia’s very own Jurassic Park – El Torcal Nature Reserve near Antequera, will soon change your mind.

Situated around thirty kilometres north of the city of Málaga, and near the geographical centre of Málaga province, El Torcal is one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in Spain. Limestone rock formations at El Torcal, Antequera The area is well-known for its unusual limestone rock formations which had their origin under the sea around 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. In time, immense pressure caused by movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates forced the seabed to rise to an altitude of more than 1300 metres, forming one of the most striking karst landscapes in the whole of Europe.

The grey limestone has been shaped by a peculiar erosive process known as karstic moulding, which is the name given to the chemical reaction on the soluble limestone rock by carbon dioxide in rainwater and ice. El Tornillo rock formation at El Torcal, Spain But you don’t need to be a geologist to appreciate that El Torcal offers a wonderland of limestone structures, rock towers and cliffs with caves, galleries and alleys thrown in.  Even the road up to the Nature Reserve makes for an impressive ride, but nothing can prepare you for your first sight of El Torcal.

You might think that because of the altitude there would be little vegetation, but nature lovers will be in their element. Unsurprisingly there are many types of rock plant, which flourish in the cracks between the rocks, but there are many other interesting plant species including numerous varieties of wild orchid, saxifrage, peonies, wild lilies and roses.

If wildlife is your thing, then look out for geckos, lizards, snakes, wild goats, cattle and many small mammals such as moles, dormice or rabbits. Don’t forget to keep scanning the skies for golden eagles, griffon vultures and kestrels circling overhead. Limestone rock formations at El Torcal Entry is free to El Torcal Nature Reserve and, with no specific opening or closing hours, the park is open to the public anytime. The visitor centre has regular limited opening hours, depending on the time of year, and facilities which include a cafe, gift shop, information desk, exhibition/film area, clean toilets and plenty of free parking.

Even if you have reduced mobility, the road to El Torcal is worth the ride. There is a ramp up to the visitor centre and the viewpoint, “Mirador Las Ventanillas” is only 100 metres away and has level access.  From here you can enjoy a stunning view of the town of Villanueva de la Concepción, the Río Campanillas area, Málaga and, on clear days, you can see the mountains of Morocco, on the African continent. Rock formation at El Torcal From the visitor centre there is a circular, self-guided route, marked with wooden posts which will take you about an hour to complete. For longer routes you need to hire the services of an experienced guide, which can be arranged through the visitor centre.

The paths are not made up, but are simply worn by the feet of humans and animals. You’ll need to pick your way carefully between the rocks or risk a sprained ankle, especially if it has been raining and the rocks are slippery. Sturdy footwear is required and, although you don’t need hiking boots, flip-flops are not suitable.

It’s advisable not to deviate from the paths as it’s easy to get disorientated. Landscape at El Torcal In the summer months the rocks get very hot, radiating their heat so you should take sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water.  During the rest of year, the weather at El Torcal can be cold (well, it is more than 1300 metres) so it’s best to take an extra layer of clothing for warmth.

There’s no doubt that the weather conditions will determine your experience, so you might have to be prepared to return on another day.

As you might imagine, the area can get very crowded during the daytime with coaches full of tourists, so if you are a photographer, an early morning or evening visit away from the well-trodden path makes for magical photographs.

We took a 3-4 hour guided tour in the Nature Reserve with David, a knowledgeable local guide with SenderoSurAventura, who skipped along the paths like a mountain goat. He pointed out many Ammonite fossils (hard-shelled sea creatures that lived more than 200 million years ago) along the way, as well as leading us to areas and enigmatic formations that we would never have found for ourselves.

Popular imagination has defined many of the strange shapes, which have been given such names as El Tornillo (the Screw), Los Cuchillos (The Knives), La Mano (the Hand) and El Sombrerillo (the Little Hat). El Sombrerillo (the Little Hat) at Torcal Early humans and neanderthals inhabited this area for thousands of years and there is evidence that they lived in some of the caves within El Torcal. But this should come as no surprise given the proximity to the ancient dolmens in Antequera and the best-preserved remains of Neanderthal man ever found in Western Europe, in a cave near to the Zafarraya Pass.

My advice: Take a picnic, don’t forget your camera – OH and watch out for dinosaurs!