Vélez-Málaga is a town in the province of Málaga, Spain. It is the capital of the Axarquía comarca and an important market town and supply centre for the region. Perched on a hill 4 km inland from Torre del Mar — a seaside resort on the Costa del Sol — its Moorish old town is a low-profile touristic destination.
Locally it is referred to as Vélez. The municipality of Vélez-Málaga includes the proper town of Vélez, the villages of Triana, Trapiche, Almayate Alto, Cajiz, Chilches and the coastal towns of Torre del Mar, Caleta de Vélez, Lagos, Almayate Bajo and Benajarafe.
Unlike other towns in the Costa del Sol, the town's economy is less reliant on tourism and more dependent on agriculture and fishing. Vélez-Málaga is the country's largest grower of avocados and one of the largest producers of mangos, chirimoyas and other tropical fruits. Its proximity to the city of Málaga is slowly transforming Vélez into a dormitory town.
Buses to Málaga, Granada, Torrox, Nerja, Periana and other villages in the area operated by ALSA run from the 1 Estación de Autobuses de Vélez-Málaga (C/ Explanada de la Estación, s/n) and the 2 Estación de Autobuses de Torre del Mar (C/ Pintor Cipriano Maldonado, 7, ☏ 952559100 ). Both stations have a waiting hall and info panels.
The city is well connected to Málaga and the rest of the region via the A-7 highway and the N-340a, which goes directly along the coast. The A-356 runs from Vélez-Málaga to the north, providing an alternative and scenic route from Granada and Antequera.
The journey from Málaga Airport to Vélez-Málaga has a fixed price of €69.22. A taxi from Málaga city to Vélez will cost around €45.
The city has a bus network with four lines running between Vélez and Torre del Mar and Almayate and Caleta de Vélez (map). Single tickets cost €1,30 and can be purchased directly from the driver. A list of schedules can be found here.
In addition to buses, the city had a tram line between Vélez and Torre del Mar which was shut down in 2012. Its reopening has been announced several times but still has no date.
Car is the preferred means of transportation for locals and tourists. This leads to frequent traffic jams and parking problems, specially in the summer season. Parking in the street is always free unless indicated. There are public underground car parkings for a fee, like the 3 Aparcamiento de la Plaza del Carmen or the 4 Aparcamiento del Mercado de San Francisco.
Taxis in Vélez-Málaga are fitted with mileometers and have fixed rates for long journeys. They can be taken in taxi stops or called in (☏ 951204445).
There are segregated bike lines along the promenade and through the Avenida Rey Juan Carlos, connecting Vélez-Málaga and Torre del Mar.
The main sight of Vélez-Málaga is its old quarter (La Villa), a typical Andalusian neighbourhood of Moorish origin, with whitewashed houses, labyrinthine streets and viewpoints. Outside of the city walls, in what corresponds to the development from the 16th century, there are multiple examples of Mudéjar and baroque architecture, with palaces, residential buildings, churches and convents around of which the urban fabric was conformed.
- 1 La Fortaleza. M-Su 08:00-22:00. A 10th-century fortification with walls and a tower, on top of a hill dominating the old part of the town. Together with the so-called Puerta de Antequera, it was almost completely destroyed during the French invasion and its remains used as quarry. The Torre del Homenaje was rebuilt in the 1970s and it surroundings were improved. It has views over Vélez and the Mediterranean sea and is sometimes used as a venue for concerts. Free.
- 2 Plaza de las Carmelitas. This pedestrian square is the centrepiece of the local life. It is lined by the city hall and the Baroque-style Convento de las Carmelitas. A few cafés and terraces can be found here.
- 3 Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, C/ Escalerilla de San Juan, 2. A 15th-century church built on the remains of a mosque and modified in the 19th century. The tower and the roofs are Mudejar while the façade is neoclassical.
- 4 Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor. A 15th-century church in Gothic-Mudejar style, built on the remains of an old Arab mosque, as shown by the minaret turned into a bell tower. It has a Reinassance-style altarpiece. It hosts the Museo de la Semana Santa (Museum of the Holy Week).
- 5 Ermita de la Virgen de los Remedios. Tu-Su 09:30-13:00 and 15:30-18:00. Small church decorated with naïve-style frescoes, located on top of a hill with a garden and a viewpoint. Free.
- 6 Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, Pza. de San Francisco, 2, ☏ 952500497 . A 16th-century Mudejar-Renaissance-style church and former convent, founded by the Catholic Monarchs. It was part of the Real Convent of Santiago, which disappeared on the occasion of the confiscation of 1836 and of which only the church has remained.
- 7 Casa Cervantes, C/ San Francisco, 22, ☏ 952559100 . M-F 09:00-20:00; Sa 09:00-13:00; Su closed.. So called because Miguel de Cervantes stayed in it while working as tax collector in the city, although this fact is not confirmed. The façade has large balconies of forge and the cover, Gothic elements. It emphasizes its interior patio with gallery of semicircular arches and columns of brick.
- 8 Antiguo Pósito, Pza. de la Constitución. A 18th-century building consisting of two floors, one used as a barn and the other as a fish market. Nowadays, it holds art exhibitions and other cultural events.
- 9 Museo de la Ciudad de Vélez-Málaga, C/ Dr. Jiménez Poey, 1, ☏ 647212750 . Tu-Sa 09:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00; Su 10:00-14:00; M closed. Located in the former Hospital de San Juan de Dios —a 15th-century Mudéjar-style building. It has a permanent collection of over 800 pieces related to the history of La Axarquía, ranging from prehistory to the 20th century. Free.
- 1 Teatro del Carmen, C/ Pancho López, 1. Largest theatre of the town, located in an old church. Holds plays, concerts and conferences.
- 2 Peña Flamenca Niño de Vélez, C/ Tejeda, 10, ☏ 606510329 . Main venue for the flamenco circle Flamenco Abierto, an organisation that puts on regular performances across the Axarquía region.
- Real Feria de San Miguel. End of September and beginning of October. It is the most important event of the year, celebrated with parades and concerts.
- Semana Santa (Holy Week). A number of processions tour the city commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The most important commercial axis of Vélez-Málaga is consolidated around the Plaza de las Carmelitas and the Camino Viejo de Málaga, a pedestrian area where lifelong shops selling clothes, shoes, furniture, jewelry, handcrafts or pastries can be found.
Given that Vélez-Málaga is not as touristy as other towns in the Costa del Sol, prices are generally lower and restaurants are not as dedicated to foreign tourists. Nonetheless, communication should not be a problem, as most waiters can understand some English and menus are normally offered in several languages. Spaniards usually have lunch at around 15:00 and dinner at 22:00, so most restaurants will start serving meals no earlier than 13:00 and 20:00 in the evening.
- 1 Marisquería Mani, Urb. Puerto Caleta, 177 (Caleta de Vélez), ☏ 952550400 . Seafood and fried fish restaurant next to the Port of Caleta.
- 2 Restaurante La Bohemia, C/ Montera, 2, ☏ 622689671 . Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisine, with a terrace in a pedestrian street
- 3 Restaurante La Gamba Dorada, C/ Pintor Antonio de Vélez, 4, ☏ 952501469 . Popular seafood restaurant.
- 4 Restaurante-Asador La Sastería, Pza. de la Constitución, 2, ☏ 952549164 . Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, specialised in meat.
Although most hotels are next to the coast in Torre del Mar and Caleta, hotels and hostels have opened in Vélez-Málaga old town.
- 1 La Casa de las Titas, C/ Magdalena, 2, ☏ 952502061 . 2-star bed and breakfast in an 18th-century building near the old town.
- 2 Hotel Dila, Av. Vivar Téllez, 3, ☏ 952503900 . €65.
- 3 Hotel Palacio Blanco, C/ Félix Lomas, 4, ☏ 952549174 . 3-star hotel in an 18th-century restored palace next to the old town. €105.
Vélez-Málaga can be a hub for day-trips to small villages in the Axarquía region. These journeys can be within the day but in most cases public transport is not reliable, so renting a car or an organized tour is highly advisable. Outside of the coastline, roads are very sinuous and narrow, but are always in good condition and tend not to be dangerous.
- Comares is a small village of whitewashed houses with Moorish ruins and a castle. It is located on top of a mountain and has views of the Vélez valley and the Mediterranean Sea.
- Frigiliana is a very touristy village 30 km away from Vélez. It has narrow whitewashed streets and has been recognised multiple times as the most beautiful village of Andalusia.
|Routes through Vélez-Málaga|
|Algeciras ← Málaga ←||W E||→ Almería → Barcelona|