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Sightseeing in Torre del Mar
Torre del Mar, a small village on the Costa del Sol, in the south of Spain, had escaped my attention until now. As far as I knew the town’s only claim to fame was the yearly summer influx of German tourists. If it weren’t for an Irish friend (thanks Derry) who suggested I visit the sugar factory, I would have spent my remaining time on earth in blissful ignorance of Torre del Mar’s attractions.
Ignoring Torre del Mar would have been a small injustice to the town of 20.000 inhabitants. After all it is only 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital, therefore easily accessible from my home by bike or car from Malaga. Torre del Mar has, for such a small town, a surprising variety of international restaurants, a beautiful beach and several interesting buildings like the lighthouse and the sugar factory.
The former sugar factory, the Fábrica de Azúcar is an industrial heritage site. The building was reopened as an exhibition and conference centre in 2014 after a 1,5 million euro renovation. During the facelift, the architects were afraid that the old wooden roof structure was affected by mold. Luckily the white film was found to be evaporated sugar. After a thorough cleaning the structure is now as good as new.
The result of the renovation is stunning. Apart from the wooden roof structure the spacious building has large windows and sturdy iron pillars.
The ground floor is now used as an educational centre. Panels with images and text explain the industrial heritage of the area. Unfortunately the commentary is in Spanish only. However, the enormous machinery on display gives a good impression of how the local sugar industry once looked.
The second floor is used for conferences and the third floor is an exhibition space.
The current exhibition on the third floor of the building, falls in the category ‘weird but wonderful’. The exposition is called “planchas del mundo”, or “irons of the world”. These belong to a Frenchman, Pierre Lachnowicz, who collected more than two thousand pieces, some of which date back to the 16th century. Pierre, a former businessman and a long-term resident of the municipality of Velez-Malaga, incidentally, does not know how to iron and does not have any urge to learn this (source).
Address sugar factory
Edificio Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Antigua Fábrica de Azúcar)
Calle Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Torre del Mar
Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 hours and 17:00 to 20:00 pm and on Sunday from 11:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00 pm.
Opposite the sugar factory (within walking distance of the sea) are well regarded tourist apartments, the Apartamentos Narvaez.
For those who desire something other than the eternal tapas, opposite the factory is a Mexican restaurant. On the beach are several beach bars and a few blocks inside you’ll find Thai and Indian food. Check out the Indian restaurant Indialucia on the Paseo Maritimo for some good food.