Torremolinos History - since 1980s

Torremolinos History

Torremolinos finding its way since the 1980’s.

by Chris Chaplow

.........continued from   The tourism growth of the  1960's and 1970's


In the 1980s Torremolinos experienced a new wave of pop culture driven by dance clubs in London and the UK and Germany. It was called "Movida Malagueña". Nightclubs like Tiffany's, Joy and Piper's drove the new wave. However, the younger clubbers now saw Ibiza as the new "in place", much to Torremolinos's loss.   

The lout culture of some segments of British visitors and the reputation of football hooligans did nothing to enhance the town's reputation. Some tourists chose other destinations to avoid the "lager louts".

In September 1988, Torremolinos was segregated from Málaga and became a town again in its own right. Relations with Málaga in the early years were difficult as they "lost" one of Spain's best-known tourist brands. However, this made little difference to the tourists.

At the end of the decade there was another property crisis and things seemed to stagnate again.


When the new Pablo Ruiz Picasso terminal opened in 1991 ahead of Expo92 in Sevilla, there were 1.5 million passenger movements at Málaga airport. 

The two biggest changes in the 1990s were the growth of the internet and the introduction of low-cost airlines and electronic ticketing. Actually, before low-cost it was possible to obtain a seat on a charter airline from Malaga to the UK for £25. It was just that you had to buy if from one of a handful of "bucket shops".

Spain's full membership of the EU (since 1986) had made it easier for British and northern Europeans to open bars and many of the least expensive on the Coast were in Torremolinos. However, too many of these were not Spanish bars with a foreign flavour but foreign bars without charm. The Black Pussy Cat re-opened as Durty Nellys


From 2000 on the town has worked hard to clean up its image and attract a more up-market tourist. In the town centre area it is difficult not to notice the ageing and flaking concrete. The town's tourism has become more Spanish as the British influence has tended to move west down the coast. More than one British national newspaper has run curiosity stories in the travel section on the "village life" of La Carihuela and Torremolinos - which still survives if you look for it.  

The beach area of Los Alamos is thriving and vibrant, and 20,000 danced the night away at the first Los Alamos Beach Dance festival in 2015.

Some places mentioned above can still be seen today, not just the main hotels such as the carefully restored Pez Espada and developments such as La Nogalera and Playamar but also the bars... Bar El Toro on Calle San Miguel, Pour Quoi Pas? in La Nogalera, The Galloping Major in Calle Maria Barrabino, run by Manual Vega Trigo who worked there as a barman when it opened in 1964, Tina's and Figaro's, now called Happy Days but basically the same.

In 2016 there were over 16 million passenger movements at Málaga airport.


Further reading:


Part 1 - Pre history

Torremolinos Pre-history, Moors, Catholic Re-conquest, and 20th Century. More >

Part 2: 1950s

Torremolinos the ‘in place’ of the 1950’s and the Hotel Pez Espada More >

Part 3: 1960s 1970s

Torremolinos tourism growth of the 1960’s and 1970’s More >

Part 4: since 1980s

Torremolinos finding its way since the 1980’s More >





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