Area guide to Alhaurín el Grande
Alhaurín el Grande is a town in Málaga province. It has a population of just under 25,000 people and sits on the northern slopes of the Sierra de Mijas as well as the plain of the Guadalhorce river, making it a perfect place for growing citrus fruits and other orchard crops, for which it is well known.
The town’s name comes from the Moors, who called it simply ‘Alhaurín’, meaning ‘Garden of Allah’, but following the Catholic reconquest of Spain, ‘el Grande’ was added to distinguish it from its neighbour Alhaurín de la Torre.
Although it is off the coast, Alhaurín is only a 30-minute drive from Málaga International Airport, and there are new roads connecting it with the bustling coastal town of Fuengirola, which has reduced that journey to only 20 minutes, as well as to Marbella, making for an easy commute. It’s a great location for those who want an escape to the country and value for money, while also being able to access the coast and its beaches.
Like many parts of Málaga province, a number of civilisations have settled in Alhaurín el Grande in the past. Archaeologists have found remains of Phoenicians, Greeks and Visigoths, as well as those of the Romans and Moors. The agricultural growth of the area is largely the work of the Greeks who left behind a method of growing fruits and olive trees. Interestingly, when the Romans arrived they called it ‘Lauro Nova’, a reference to the fertile land and the temperate climate. The Romans built several villas in the area and the remains of some of these can still be seen in the hills around Alhaurín, suggesting it has always been a popular residential location for the well heeled.
There is an absolute wealth of landmarks around Alhaurín el Grande, some of more importance than others. There is a Museo del Pan (Bread Museum), a public library, the Teatro Antonio Gala and several hermitages and churches. The most noteworthy sights are the Arcos de Cobertizo, which is a 12th century Moorish archway, and the Roman columns in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
The town has a fantastic sports centre with an indoor pool, tennis and padel courts, basketball courts, a general use sports hall, children’s play areas and more. There are also private gyms and sports clubs in the town and the local football team, Los Alhaurinos, is enthusiastically supported by residents from all the various communities.
Alhaurín el Grande has an up to date public run health centre with GPS and an A& E department. There are also a number of private medical and dental services in the town and the Guadalhorce hospital is not far away.
The town has a large number of public schools covering all age groups., It does not have any private international schools, however, there are several options nearby including Sunland International School, St, Anthony’s College, El Pinar and MIT Málaga. Furthermore, most of the private schools offer a transport service, so there is no need to drive children to and from school every day.
There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Alhaurín, or nearby villages. In the ‘new town’ part of Alhaurín, there is something resembling a ‘food street’ with a strip of tapas bars, restaurants and even a couple of nightclubs. It is a lively area, but not excessively noisy. Residents can enjoy everything from an Indian curry to traditional Spanish dishes and an English or Irish breakfast here, while in the older part of the town there are the more traditional Spanish cafés and shops.
Considering its size, Alhaurín has a good number of supermarkets as well as butchers, bakers and fruit and vegetable shops. There is a large Mercadona supermarket in the centre of the town, and the nearby town of Coín has a Lidl and Aldi. A visit to Málaga, Fuengirola or Marbella will satisfy all the clothes, shoes and other types of shopping needs.