Baños del Carmen is undoubtedly a great place to visit in Malaga. Known by everyone as Baños del Carmen or El Balneario. “Balneario” roughly translates as “beach spa”. It was built in 1918 as a resort for high class people. It was the first beach spa in Malaga where ladies and gentlemen could spend time together in the same space (yes, before that they had to go to the beach separately!)
Baños del Carmen comprised a central pavilion with a small pier, a beach-swimming area, a restaurant and a tennis court. It is said that it had a huge dance floor of over 2000 m², where rich people used to mingle in between concerts, ballet and summer festivals. Its tennis court hosted the first tennis championship in Malaga. Sadly, over the years the beach spa has been neglected, nowadays even looking somewhat derelict, which is a complete shame.
However, there is something magical in this place. You can still feel that atmosphere left by years of glory, wealthy visitors, toasts and exclusive parties… like a forgotten kingdom.
It is open to the public and even in its semi-derelict condition it is quite popular. It has two small beach areas, a terrace bar called Natural&Mente, a large green camping area and two tennis courts in operation (but pretty sloppy). It is quite hippy in style, let’s say!
The bar/restaurant located inside Baños del Carmen is always changing management. There is a new one this summer and they have called the restaurant Natural&Mente. Do not expect something fancy (neither outstanding service I must say), as this is a chill-out style beach bar that serves typical beach food like pescaito (fried fish), salads and espetos (grilled sardines). It has a really nice chill-out bar upstairs in the terrace. In my opinion, just a drink on the terrace enjoying the sunset view will be worth the visit.
El Mercadillo de Baños del Carmen or the little market takes place every first Sunday of the month: it is a place where talented people get together to share, cooperate and exhibit their work made with passion and love. There you can find a bit of everything, from food to clothes, chosen with great taste and at affordable prices. Perfect for some shopping before visiting the beach and then sitting down for a beer or some tapas.
WHERE & HOW TO GET THERE?
Calle Bolivia 26, 29017 Malaga, Spain
Public buses from the city centre (Alameda Principal) and Malagueta: 11, 33, 34 (number 11 is the fastest)