Mural route in Torremolinos

Mural route in Torremolinos

by Tony Bryant

In its bid to become a serious cultural destination, Torremolinos introduced a new Ruta del Murales in 2022, a route intended to recover its history and heritage through a series of spectacular murals. Since the transformation of the Plaza Costa del Sol in 2018, the town has focused on becoming a destination for the cultural seeker, and this project was introduced to help Torremolinos resurface as a benchmark for modernity, nonconformity, tolerance and creativity.

Along with Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot and Ava Gardner (who have an association with Torremolinos) , the new route boasts colourful murals of some of the most renowned national and international celebrities. Spanish artists, such as Picasso and Salvador Dalí; flamenco legends Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía, along with actors such as Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L Jackson and Anthony Hopkins, are among the familiar faces that visitors can discover on the walls and buildings in the town.

The French actress, Brigitte Bardot, who stayed in the town in 1957 while filming The Night Heaven Fell, is painted on the facade of Adriano Hotel in Plaza Costa del Sol. The mural has caused some confusion among the Spanish community, as many of them at first believed it to be Spanish singer and actress Marisol.

There is no mistaking the face of Sinatra in Calle de los Perros in La Carihuela (painted to celebrate the 55th anniversary of his controversial visit to the town in 1964), or that of his wife Ava Gardner, in Calle de Las Mercedes, both of which were painted by local artists Pablo Sánchez and Sergio Jiménez.

The town's gay-friendly standpoint is further endorsed in Pasaje Begoña, with a large mural recording the raid of 1971, when police cracked down on the liberal nightlife scene for which the area was famed.

In Pasaje Begoña, a visitor will also find an image of former Beatle John Lennon, who visited the town with Brian Epstein in the 1960s.   Lennon’s association with the town, of which little documented evidence survives, is also endorsed with another mural painted on the wall of Clock Tower live music venue in Plaza Costa del Sol.

From here, one should head to the Plaza de España, where some of the most impressive work of Nesui SRC can be found. These include a large mural dedicated to Gypsy singer Camarón de la Isla and his long-time guitarist Paco de Lucía, who were regular performers at the celebrated El Jaleo flamenco tablao (now Pepe López) in Torremolinos during the 1970s.

Others in this part of the town include life-like images of actors Laurence Fishburne and Samuel L Jackson, as well as one dedicated to the rap culture.

Unbeknown to many visitors to the town, and also to some of the residents, the Pablo Picasso Cultural Centre boasts a large mural depicting well-known local characters like the flamenco dancer El Carrete, singer Miguel Molina and essayist and philosopherMaría Zambrano.

Another spectacular work of art is the mural, ‘An oasis in Torremolinos’, in the El Calvario neighbourhood, a 14-metre-high graffiti painting by Ana Cortés that illustrates the freedom and diversity that the municipality represents.

Others include Vision de una Realidad, a depicition of Salvador Dali’s Cristo de San Juan de la Cruz painted by the artist Padilla; and another by Nesui SRC in Avenida Carlota Alessandri in Montemar. This piece highlights the culture, gastronomy and diversity of the town and includes images of Picasso, Dali, Anthony Hopkins and Spike Lee, along with those highlighting the town's long fishing tradition and the LGBT community.

All the famous names mentioned in the murals above, have a connection with the history of Torremolinos. Read about their role in this history.