If you’re looking for a tourist destination on the Costa del Sol that offers both history and sun and beach, Vélez-Málaga is the perfect choice. Located in the region of Axarquía, this Malaga municipality offers a great variety of tourist and cultural attractions that will not leave you indifferent.

From its historical legacy, through its beaches and gastronomy, to its hiking trails, Vélez-Málaga is a place you cannot miss.

History of Vélez-Málaga

The history of Vélez-Málaga dates back to the Phoenician era, when this area was an important commercial port. Later, it was occupied by the Romans, the Visigoths, and the Arabs, who left an important architectural and cultural legacy in the city during the Iron Age.

During the 13th and 15th centuries, it was one of the most important centers of the Nasrid kingdom, after this period there was a great increase in population. This caused different neighborhoods of Vélez-Málaga to be applied, such as the Arroyo de San Sebastián neighborhood and the Constitution Square, which still exist today.

Historical fortress of the Alcazaba on the top of the hill
Historical fortress of the Alcazaba on the top of the hill | andalucia.org

After the Christian conquest in 1487, Vélez-Málaga became an important commercial and cultural city in the Renaissance era. They maintained the agricultural customs created by the Muslims that specialized in nuts and silk, among others.

Currently, its historical and cultural legacy can be appreciated in its streets and monuments, such as the Alcazaba Fortress or the Santa María la Mayor Church.

What to See and Do in Vélez-Málaga

What to See in Vélez-Málaga

If you visit Vélez-Málaga, you cannot miss the following places of tourist interest:

The Vélez-Málaga Fortress

This impressive Arab-origin fortification dates back to the 10th century and was a key aspect for military control in case of attacks. Centuries later, the structure was rebuilt.

Currently, it is a place of interest that does not go unnoticed. It is located at the highest point of the town center on a hill, and you can climb the tower and contemplate the wonderful views of the mountain range.

  • Address: C. Palafranero Sebastián Sáncez, 28, Vélez-Málaga, Málaga
  • Opening hours: 8:00-22:00
  • Price: Free access
  • Phone: 952 55 86 40

Church of Santa Maria la Mayor

Another building worth seeing is the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor, popularly known as the Church of Santa Maria de la Encarnación. It is a Gothic-Mudéjar style construction dating from the 16th century located in the historic center of the town and was built on the foundations of an ancient mosque.

Façade of the church of Santa María
Façade of the church of Santa María | turismo.velezmalaga.es

For art lovers, Vélez-Málaga has different museums where you can see unique works of art:

Francisco Hernández Contemporary Art Center

One of the most outstanding museums is the Francisco Hernández Contemporary Art Center, located in the center of the town. This center refers to the painter Francisco Hernández, considered one of the most important contemporary painters as he tackles different artistic styles.

  • Address: C. Félix Lomas, 27, 29700 Vélez-Málaga, Málaga
  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00. Sunday, 10:00-14:00
  • Price: Free access
  • Phone: 952 50 43 49

MVVEL Museum of Vélez-Málaga

This museum was built on the site of the old San Juan de Dios Hospital, of which it currently maintains the chapel. If you have the opportunity to visit this museum, you can learn firsthand about the history of the Axarquía of Malaga, from prehistory to the present day. It has over 800 Phoenician and Roman pieces that were found in antiquity.

  • Address: Calle Dr. Jiménez Poey, 1, 29700 Vélez-Málaga, Málaga
  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00. Sunday, 10:00-14:00
  • Price: Free access
  • Phone: 647 21 27 50

Nature and hiking

Vélez-Málaga also has numerous natural spaces of great beauty, such as the Natural Park of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama.

Cerro Beas Route

The Cerro Beas route has a total of 6 kilometers of moderate difficulty. It starts at the parking lot of kilometer 2.1, following the asphalted path you will reach the junction of indications that you must continue on the one that heads towards Cerro Beas.

After 2 kilometers, the asphalted section ends and following the indications, you will arrive at the top of Cerro Beas. From there, you can contemplate the wonderful views of the coast and the mountains. The route ends with the way back.

Indications of hiking routes
Indications of hiking routes | velezmalaga.es

Route to Benthomiz Castle

This route of 11 kilometers starts in the area of the Fernando Hierro sports center, following the Camino de Algarrobo in a southeast direction. Along the trail, you will find the ruins of Molino de los Pérez, and continuing on it, you will find the signs for the “Benthomiz Castle Route”.

From here, you will have to climb some slopes following the signs to C. Maroma and, finally, you will reach the ruins of the castle where you can contemplate wonderful views of the sea.

Extreme caution is recommended on slippery descents that you may encounter on the way down.

Beach and sun

10 minutes by car from the town center is the Caleta de Vélez. This coastal area belongs to the municipality and is a great tourist attraction, featuring the beach of Caleta de Vélez, a wide urban beach perfect for spending a day with family. The beach stands out for its golden sand and crystal-clear waters.

Wide beaches with views in Caleta de Vélez
Wide beaches with views in Caleta de Vélez | velezmalaga.es

You also have the option of visiting the beaches of neighboring towns such as the Torre del Mar beach, the Almayate beach, and the Benajarafe beach, as they are the most outstanding in the area. They all have tourist services such as beach bars, umbrellas and hammocks, showers, etc., and are ideal for enjoying the sun and the sea.

Popular festivals and gastronomy

Vélez-Málaga has several popular festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Romería de la Virgen de los Remedios, which takes place in mid-May. It is one of the most visited festivals by tourists and visitors.

In this festival, a Eucharist is celebrated in the Hermitage of Cerro, and subsequently, pilgrims and carts gather in honor of their patron saint, the Virgen de los Remedios. In addition, tastings and equestrian competitions are held.

One of the festivals that you cannot miss is the San Miguel Fair, held at the end of September. During the festival days, you can find performances of verdiales dances, Rociero choirs, tastings, and different activities for children.

Tour of the village during the Romería Virgen de los Remedios
Tour of the village during the Romería Virgen de los Remedios | velezmalaga.es

Regarding its gastronomy, dishes such as fried pumpkin with black pudding accompanied by a fried egg, are one of the most traditional tapas in the Axarquía area.

Another unique dish in the area that you have to try is Ajobacalao, traditionally prepared during Holy Week and according to tradition, it was offered to the horquilleros to regain strength after carrying the procession floats.

If you prefer something sweeter, Vélez-Málaga offers its traditional tortas de aceite. They are mainly made with olive oil, sugar, and anise essence, but each region has its variations.

How to get to Vélez-Málaga

How to get there by bus

To get to Vélez-Málaga by bus from the center of Malaga, the best option is to take the direct ALSA Mal-Vel bus from the Manuel Heredia station towards Vélez-Málaga. The trip takes about 45 minutes and costs around 3 euros per trip.

How to get there by car

Our recommendation is that you have a vehicle to get around the province. To get to Vélez-Málaga by car from Malaga airport, the way is very simple. You have to take the A-7 motorway towards Motril. Then, take exit 953 towards the A-356 and follow the signs towards the town.

You also have the possibility to rent a 7-seater car at Malaga airport, which allows greater freedom and flexibility when traveling around the area and discovering its neighboring towns such as Torrox, Nerja, or Canillas de Aceituno.

Map of Vélez-Málaga

In conclusion, Vélez-Málaga is a destination full of activities, things to do, and places to visit that will give you a beautiful memory of your trip to Malaga. Below is a map with the most relevant points of interest in Vélez-Málaga and its surroundings:

Relevant information

Best time of year to visit: Spring-Summer

Can’t miss: One of the places you must visit is the Fortress of Vélez-Málaga, stroll through its white streets and along the promenade of Caleta de Vélez.

Nearby places to eat: Vélez-Málaga has a unique cuisine that you can try at renowned restaurants such as Mesón La Bohemia, Restaurante El Convento, and Marisquería La Gamba Dorada.

For more information, please visit the website of the Vélez-Málaga City Council: https://www.velezmalaga.es/

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