Málaga, lying on the Mediterranean coast east of the mouth of the Guadalmedina, is Phoenician in origin, and contains many Roman and Arab remains, some of which have been recently excavated. The blast furnaces of this town are now inactive, but there are factories for the making of chemicals, soap, cotton goods, metal goods, flour, sugar, spirits and wines of international repute. The major exports are wines, fruits and nuts. Close to Málaga is the small tourist resort of Torremolinos, which possesses a stretch of fine sand almost 4 miles long, and is one of the bestknown holiday centres of this 'Costa del Sol'. Málaga is also an important route centre; it contains the most southerly of the Spanish airports, and controls the coast roads as well as those leading north to Antequera and Loja. It is, in addition, linked to Córdoba and eventually to Madrid by a railway which follows the tortuous valley of the Guadalhorce.
Almería serves the eastern end of the Sierra Nevada range, and manufactures cord, esparto goods and azulejos. The magnificent site of its port, sheltered by the Gulf of Almería, is wasted because of the limited hinterland and difficulty of communications with the interior. Exports include grapes, esparto goods, almonds, salt (evaporated from nearby saltings), and lead mined in the hills to the north. Like Málaga, it has a railway link with Granada and eventually with Madrid, but this line is not so well served by fast and well-equipped trains as is that from Málaga. Towns between Málaga and Almería have to rely solely on road transport, and roads are not good, since irregular terrain makes their construction difficult.
La Linea is an important town, of recent growth, opposite Gibraltar. Originally an agricultural centre, its proximity to Gibraltar has greatly increased its commercial activity, and many of its inhabitants work in the canning factories and naval dockyards of Gibraltar.
Algeciras is an important port for fishing and for trade with North Africa, as well as being the terminus of the trans-Iberian railway. It is an active market and commercial centre, and manufactures corks and earthenware. The extreme warmth of the town in winter has given rise to an out-of-season tourist industry.
Estepona is a centre for the fertile land around it, where grapes, oranges and lemons are particularly important. Furniture, wooden boxes and crates are manufactured from timber obtained from the fine woods of pinsapo pine that clothe the slopes of the Sierra Nevada to the north of the town. Further along the coast lead is smelted and exported from Adra.