Tolox is a charming village in Malaga. You might want to visit it if you love nature, history and culture. Tolox lies in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. It is a mountain range with great ecological and scenic importance. UNESCO has declared it a Biosphere Reserve. The park is part of the Serranía de Ronda, a natural region. It covers several municipalities in Málaga.
Tolox is a village with a long and fascinating history. It started as a settlement in the late Roman times, as some bricks with Christian symbols show. They are from the 2nd century AD and they are some of the oldest remains found in the village.
There is also a legend that says that a king called Wamba was born and lived in Tolox. He was a Visigoth, a people who ruled Spain after the Romans. He was chosen to be king in Tolox, according to the legend.
But Tolox became a real village in the Islamic times, when many towns appeared in the Genal Valley. The name of Tolox comes from an Arabic word that means “the high place”. Tolox was a strong fortress that belonged to Omar ben Hafsun, a rebel leader who fought against the rulers of Cordoba.
In 1485, the Christians conquered Ronda and the Serranía, and Tolox changed its population. The Muslims left and the Christians came. They were old Christians, who had lived in Spain before the Muslims.
In the 16th century, Tolox joined the Moorish rebellion, but it failed. The rebels were punished, expelled and their properties were taken away. Tolox suffered a lot because of this.
In the 19th century, Tolox was an important place for travelling between Ronda, the Serranía and the Costa del Sol. It was a place of passage in the communications between these areas.
Tourist attractions and activities
Tolox also has many tourist attractions and activities that make it an interesting place to visit. One of them is the spa of “Fuente Amargosa”, which was discovered in 1867 and is on the main peridote massif in the world. Peridote is a green mineral that is believed to have healing properties. The waters of the spa have a high mineral content and have a beneficial effect on health, making it a natural sanatorium. Another attraction is the Parish Church of San Miguel Arcángel, which was built in the 16th century on the site of an old mosque. It has a Mudejar style tower and a Baroque altarpiece inside.
Tolox also offers many opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling or horse riding. There are several hiking routes that allow you to enjoy its natural environment and its landscapes. Some examples are: The Route of Los Pinsapos, which takes you through a forest of Spanish firs, a rare and endangered species; The Route of La Cueva de la Tinaja, where you can see Neolithic remains and cave paintings; or The Route of El Castillejo, where you can admire the ruins of an ancient castle.
Recommended places to visit
- Spa of Fuente Amargosa: It is a medical spa that is located a short distance from the village, in the Sierra de Tolox, part of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. Its waters have a high mineral content and are believed to help cure respiratory diseases. The spa was discovered in 1867 and declared of public utility. You can enjoy its treatments, its facilities and its natural environment. (Map)
- Parish Church of San Miguel Arcangel: It is the church of the village, built in the 16th century on the site of an old mosque. It has a Mudejar style tower and a Baroque altarpiece inside. It is dedicated to the patron saint of Tolox, San Miguel Arcángel, whose feast day is celebrated on September 29th with processions and music. (Map)
- Popular Customs Museum: It is a small museum that recreates the typical life of the village in the late 19th century, with furniture, tools and photographs of people and streets. It is located in the House of Culture, next to the library. (Map)
Tolox has several hiking routes that allow you to enjoy its natural environment and its landscapes. Some examples are: The Route of Los Pinsapos, which takes you through a forest of Spanish firs, a rare and endangered species; The Route of La Cueva de la Tinaja, where you can see Neolithic remains and cave paintings; The Route of El Castillejo, where you can admire the ruins of an ancient castle; or The Route of El Tajo de la Caína, where you can see two points of interest: The Mirador de la Caína and The Pilar de Tolox.
- The Viewpoint de la Caína: It is a natural viewpoint that is located on the edge of El Tajo de la Caína, an impressive rock wall that rises above the valley of Río Grande. From here you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the sierra, the village of Tolox and El Peñón de los Enamorados, a mountain with a heart shape that according to legend was the scene of a tragic love story between a Christian and a Moor. The viewpoint is also an ideal place to observe birds of prey that live in the area, such as golden eagles, griffon vultures or peregrine falcons. (Map)
- The Pilar de Tolox: It is a natural fountain that is located on La Colada del Tejo, a path that connects Yunquera and Tolox. The fountain consists of a stone pillar with a spout where fresh and clear water flows from El Tejo spring. The fountain is very appreciated by hikers and locals, who use it to cool off, drink or fill their bottles. The fountain is also a meeting and socialising point, where picnics, parties or pilgrimages are often held. (Map)
Tolox area has a great ecological and scenic importance, and it is home to many species of flora and fauna, as well as water sources that form natural pools. Some of the natural pools that you can find in Tolox are:
- Dique de Las Niñas: It is a dam that made a large reservoir. It is good for swimming, kayaking or fishing. It has a picnic area and a camping site. (Map)
- Dique La Laja: It is another dam that made a reservoir. It is good for swimming and bathing. It has turquoise waters and green surroundings. It has a viewpoint that shows the sierra and the village. (Map)
- Cascada Horcajuelo: It is a waterfall that falls into a deep pool. It is good for diving and cooling off. It is surrounded by chestnut trees and ferns. (Map)
- Charco del Pontón Alto: It is a pool that is near an old bridge. It is good for children and families. It is next to an old mill that is now a rural house. (Map)
- Charco La Bañera: It is a pool that is near the waterfall. It is wide and deep, with clear and fresh water. It is good for swimming and relaxing. It has the shape of a bathtub, with a stone edge. (Map)
Tolox is a village with a rich cultural heritage and a festive spirit. Tolox celebrates several festivals throughout the year, some of them with a religious origin and others with a secular or traditional character. Some of the local festivals in Tolox are:
Dia de las Mozas (Day of the Girls)
Do you want to experience a unique and fun festival that celebrates a historical event that happened in Tolox? Then you should not miss the Día de las Mozas, a traditional festival that takes place every December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Día de las Mozas commemorates a brave act of two women, one Christian and one Moorish, who defended their village from the Moors in 1539. They started a fight over who would bake their sweets first in the oven, and they asked for help from the neighbouring village. The villagers came playing shells and cowbells, making such a noise that the Moors thought they were an army and ran away.
In memory of that day, the villagers go around the village making cowbells sound, as well as wearing costumes and singing and dancing. You can join them and have a great time, as well as taste the typical products of the pueblo, such as sweets, breads and wines.
You can also enjoy a parade of Moors and Christians, where you can see the costumes and weapons of both sides. And if you want to learn more about the history and legends of Tolox, you can join a guided tour through the old town, where you will see live scenes that represent the battle from the oven to the cowbells.
The Día de las Mozas is a festival that combines tradition, culture and fun. It is a festival that has been declared of Provincial Tourist Interest, and that attracts many visitors every year.
Date: December 8th
A typical tradition of every Tolox resident is the patron saint festival that takes place during the month of August in honour of San Roque, the patron saint of the town. During these days, the streets of the town are filled with noise and excitement as both the locals and the visitors go out to have fun and honour the saint.
The second weekend of August, a pilgrimage is held in honour of San Roque, with the transfer of his image from the temple to his hermitage, where the faithful and pilgrims accompany him clapping their hands.
But without a doubt, the day that arouses more interest in this traditional festival is August 16th, as on this day the procession of the saint takes place, which as soon as it leaves the temple is accompanied by numerous devotees who make the route through the narrow streets of the town. As the patron saint passes by, the faithful launch thousands of rockets into the sky, symbolizing the traditional Cohetá, in which the image of San Roque is escorted throughout its journey through the streets of the village.
The festival takes place every year from August 14th to August 18th.
One of the most beautiful and traditional events in Tolox is the pilgrimage of the Virgen de las Nieves, which takes place every May. The inhabitants of this small town honour their patroness by carrying her in a pure white carriage pulled by mules along the path that leads to her hermitage. They make small stops to rest and shake off the dust of the road.
The rest of the year, the Virgin stays in her hermitage, waiting for visitors and pilgrims to come and see her. The pilgrimage is one of the most awaited days by the people of Tolox, as they accompany the image for two days in her hermitage, celebrating her festival with guitars, clapping and joyful voices that accompany the saint.
If you want to witness this amazing spectacle of faith and devotion, you can join the pilgrimage and enjoy the hospitality and warmth of the Tolox people. You can also explore the natural beauty and history of this charming town, located in the heart of the Sierra de las Nieves
A great way to enjoy the natural beauty and diversity of Tolox is to join the Horse Riding Route “Sierra de las Nieves”, where hundreds of riders gather for a day of fellowship and adventure. You will ride your horse through some of the most scenic spots of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that boasts stunning landscapes, rich flora and fauna, and cultural heritage.
Share your passion for horses and nature, and make new friends along the way. The Horse Riding Route “Sierra de las Nieves” is a unique and unforgettable experience that you don’t want to miss. It takes place on a Saturday in March, but the exact date may vary each year. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the beauty of Tolox and its surroundings.
Canival and Powder’s Day
The Carnival of Tolox is one of the oldest in our province. It dates back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when the Church tried to ban some of the carnival activities.
The highlight of this local festival is the Tuesday of Carnival, known as the “Day of the Powders”. On this day, the young men who wanted to woo the young women had to powder them with dust, which they obtained from the lime stones in the area. They had to use all kinds of tricks and strategies to powder their beloved, who sometimes had more than one suitor. They would break into their houses through windows, yards, roofs and terraces. Nothing and no one could stop them from achieving their feat. This was a declaration of love.
Meanwhile, the young women waited in their houses or in their friends’ houses, resisting and not coming out until after 12:00 pm on Tuesday of Carnival, when they came out to dance the popular dances.
Today, the “Day of the Powders” is celebrated in the Plaza Alta of the town and in the streets of the old town, mainly. Nowadays, on the “Day of the Powders” children, men and women powder each other to the rhythm of music and popular carnival dances. There are still many who express their love by “powdering”, but it has also become a practice of friendship. The Tuesday of Carnival in Tolox, that is, the “Day of the Powders”, has been chosen for many years as a local holiday of the town.
If you want to experience a unique and fun carnival in Andalusia, you should visit Tolox on this special day and join its people in their celebration. The carnival takes place every year on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Other festivals in Tolox
Here is a list of other local festivals of interest in Tolox that you might want to check out:
- Corpus Christi: A festival where people honour the Blessed Sacrament with a procession. They also decorate the streets with flower carpets and altars. It is a religious and artistic celebration.
- Fair of Carmen: A summer fair that honours the Virgin of Carmen, the patroness of the fishermen. There are stalls, rides, games, concerts and a procession of the Virgin by sea.
- National Folklore Festival Villa de Tolox: A cultural event that showcases the folklore and traditions of different regions of Spain, with performances, exhibitions and workshops.
- Cultural Week: A week full of cultural activities and events, such as lectures, exhibitions, concerts, theatre, cinema and workshops.
- Holy Week: A solemn and moving celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, with processions, images and music.
Tolox is a small town that offers a rich and varied gastronomy, based on the products of the land and the seasons. You can taste the traditional and typical dishes of a town that has a long and proud culinary history. Here are some of the dishes that you should not miss:
- Bolo: a kind of tomato soup, with eggs, oil, onion, salt and lemon.
- Samandoña casserole: with garlic and almond.
- Empanadillas: pastries filled with different ingredients, such as meat, cheese or vegetables.
- Gazpacho: a cold soup made with garlic, bread crumbs, oil, water, vinegar, tomato and salt, with or without pepper and cucumber.
- Maimones: a local variety of garlic soup. Made with water, garlic, parsley, salt, oil and bread.
- Fig bread “pintao”: a pastry product whose main ingredient is the fig, a fruit of the town (photograph).
- Roscos: ring-shaped pastries, usually glazed or sprinkled with sugar.
- Sopeao: made with tomato, pepper, garlic, bread and lemon or vinegar.
- Oil cakes: pastries made with flour, oil and sugar.
- And also you can find: fried pumpkin, goat stew, sausages, pickled fish with chopped orange, must (grape juice), fresh cheese, cod salmorejo (a thick cold soup), tolita soup and fried cakes.
If you are a food lover, you will enjoy the delicious and authentic cuisine of Tolox.
How to get to Tolox
If you want to visit Tolox from the Malaga airport, you have several options to get there. One of them is to go by car, which will take you about 54 minutes and 50.5 km. You can follow these directions:
- Follow N-348.
- Take Av. Portales del Peñón to A-7052 in El Peñón.
- Follow A-7052. Take A-357, A-355 and A-366 to A-7250.
- Follow A-7250 to C. Hondillo in Tolox.
- Turn left onto A-7250
- Turn right onto C. Hondillo
If you need to rent a car in Malaga, you can do it from our website, where you will find the best deals and offers for your trip.
Another option is to take a bus from Malaga airport to the city centre, and then take another bus to Tolox. The bus journey will take you about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
You can also take a taxi from Malaga airport to Tolox, but this will be more expensive than renting a car or taking a bus.