On a route around East Málaga: fishing tradition, beaches and seafood gastronomy
Málaga has some features that make it unique. One of them are its neighborhoods, each one with its singularities, its history, its culture and its customs. The eastern part of the city is one of these places with a special charm: a traditional fishing quarter, full of traditions, special beaches and a delicious seafood gastronomy.
We propose a tour of the most emblematic places in the eastern area: from the Baños del Carmen to La Araña, passing through Pedregalejo and El Palo.
The beaches of eastern Málaga
Following the path that goes from La Malagueta - the beach closest to the center of Málaga - towards the east, you can enjoy several kilometers of promenade until you reach the enclave of the Baños del Carmen. Its name comes from an old spa built in 1918 that welcomed the high society of the time. Today you can enjoy its beach, park area, a restaurant and, above all, one of the best sunsets in the city.
A few meters further on we find the district of Pedregalejo, another area born out of the boom of the 19th century. The landscape is characterized by small, secluded coves and old fishermen's houses, as well as by its atmosphere and varied gastronomic offer, from traditional restaurants to others where you can enjoy a cocktail overlooking the sea.
Then, separated by the Jaboneros stream, we come to the traditional neighbourhood of El Palo. Its seafaring spirit is still alive in every corner. It is easy to find "jábegas" (boats of Phoenician origin) beached on the sand and even sailing in front of the old fishermen's "casa mata". The authenticity and simplicity of life linked to the sea is still very present in this enclave of Málaga.
Behind El Palo we find the neighborhood of La Araña, with its own marina, and the Peñón del Cuervo, a large rock in the middle of the sea that divides the beach of the same name. In the Peñón we find a protected biological enclave that is home to the Málaga 'siempreviva' (in English ‘always alive’) and is surrounded by rocky cliffs. It is one of the few diving areas where you can still see the sunfish.
Another of the characteristics that distinguish the eastern part of the capital is the fish - or, as we say in Málaga, pescaíto -. It can be tasted in the restaurants and beach bars that are scattered along the seafront promenades. The espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers) take center stage here, as do the pescaíto frito (fried fish) dishes.
The uniqueness of the espeto de sardinas lies in its preparation, which consists of stringing the fish on reeds and grilling it over a wood fire on the sand of the beach, normally contained in a small boat. A handful of salt, turn and turn, and the dish is ready to serve.
Other tourist attractions: From Pedregalejo to La Araña
The eastern part of the city has other focal points of attraction. Firstly, between Pedregalejo beach and the beach of Acacias, the Nereo Shipyard, a shipyard converted into an eco-museum dedicated to shipbuilding. Here you can see how Málaga's seines are made and it is one of the 100 elements of Spain's Historical Industrial Heritage.
Equally, there is a seine school in Pedregalejo, one of the vestiges of the maritime-fishing tradition of the city. Here you can learn about the history of the boat and its cultural importance, and learn to row as a team to spread the nets or as a sporting activity.
In the area of El Palo, we find another point of interest in the Avenida Juan Sebastián Elcano. Here we find an important sculptural element: the tram, the only witness of what was this public transport in the city between 1891 and 1961, which linked the areas of El Limonar and El Palo with the city center.
The Cuevas de la Araña (Caves of the Spider) are another of the attractions in this area of the city. Open on a sea cliff made up of Jurassic limestone, there is a set of caves with interior karst aquifers that have been a Site of Cultural Interest since 2013. Here it is possible to visit the Centro de Interpretación Cuevas de La Araña (Cuevas de La Araña Interpretation Centre), whose aim is to share with the visitor activities in the different fields they develop, whether they be research, visits, maintenance or conferences.
The watchtower of Las Palomas, dating from the time of Philip II, is located on the cape of Las Palomas, on the edge of Málaga. It forms part of the network of Andalusian watchtowers and is located, to a large extent, on the Roman route that forded the coast of Málaga.
From El Palo you can climb Monte San Antón, a hill of pilgrimage and from where there are views of the city and the bay of Málaga that will not leave you indifferent.
We could not finish without mentioning one of the most characteristic sights of the eastern part of Málaga: the festivities in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, which include the maritime-terrestrial procession in which the Virgen del Carmen is carried by boat. This takes place in mid-July, around her feast day on the 16th of the same month.