In the westernmost area of the Costa Tropical -- in Andalucia -- lies the town of Almuñécar, the little fishing village... La Herradura, the well-known area of Punta de la Mona and the upscale Marina del Este.
Discovered and settled by the Phoenicians over 3000 years ago, it has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans and Arabs. Today, still somewhat isolated from the more commercialized areas of the Costa del Sol, Almuñécar has become a magnet for those craving an authentic Spanish experience and a trip back in time on this sunny stretch of andalucian coastline.
If you have never visited this area of Andalucia... now is the time!
Continue reading to find out why Almuñécar is fast becoming THE place to holiday in Southern Spain!
Almuñécar Travel Guide
What to see and do in Almuñécar
Almuñécar Highlights - Must Do Items!
- The Castillo de
San Miguel - an Arab castle, built on old Roman fortifications, still stands today overlooking the
town and sea – reminding us all of Almuñécar´s prolific historical past.
Climb to the top and check out the incredible views!
- The Old Town
(or Casco Antiguo in Spanish) - an amazing
maze of narrow cobblestone streets, sprinkled with
cafés, bars and boutiques, as well as many interesting ancient relics.
Get lost in this historical labyrinth!
- The Spanish Markets - Almuñécar's Friday Flea
Market is well-known and
frequented by all, while the daily “farmers market” is laden with local tropical fruits and
A great place to find souvenirs and gifts for friends back home...
- Almuñécar's Beaches - Its coastline extends for 19 kilometers and
incorporates 26 different types of beaches – rocky, sandy, and / or sheltered coves.
Slow down a bit and relax with a good book in paradise!
- The village of La Herradura - Drive just 5 minutes down the coastal road and you will come to La Herradura. Visit the Marina del Este in the Punta de la Mona urbanization.
TOP HOTELS - ALMUNECAR
There are so MANY great hotels in Almuñécar but these are the ones we recommend FIRST.... Remember to book ahead as this area is VERY popular during the summer months...
Important Almuñécar Links
On This Page
Top 4 Sites to See in Almuñecar
1. Loro Sexi Bird Park
Enjoy the Exotic Loro Sexi Bird Park with your kids... they will love it! There are numerous raucously squawking parrots and other birds to meet and learn about. It's located just under the San Miguel Castle, so you can visit the park on your way back down to the beach... Loro Sexi Bird Park
2. San Miguel Castle
Almuñécar’s top site... other than its beautiful beaches. The castle is still in great condition and is something fun to do for the whole family. There is a museum inside as well explaining how it came to be and how it has changed over the years; from Phoenician times, Roman, Moorish and finally the Christians. The views of the coastline and Marina del Este in the distance are fantastic. San Miguel Castle
3. The Almuñécar Aquarium
Located just across the street (and underground) from the local food market, you will find this little gem. This is yet another fun thing to do with the kids to escape the heat of the day and teach them a thing or two. Almuñécar Aquarium
4. Majuelo Botanical Gardens
This pretty little park in the middle of Almuñécar has something for everyone. You will find exotic plants and trees shipped in from all over the world and interesting pieces of art and sculpture hidden around every corner. The ancient Phoenician fish salting ruins are also still standing right in the center of the park as well as the Province Houses which are there to represent each of the different provinces of Spain; each having a little something special inside. Go take a look! Majuelo Botanical Gardens
Popular Trips and Tours near Almuñécar
- The Alhambra (Granada) - Probably THE most popular destination in ALL of Spain! This is a MUST SEE while in the area. Please book tickets AHEAD OF TIME and Skip the lines!! (just a 50 min drive from Almuñécar)
- Camino del Rey - An amazing bucket-list experience that is fact becoming one of the most visited spots in Andalucia. (1 hr 30 min from Almuñécar - perfect for a day trip)
- Nerja Caves and Frigiliana - Just a 10 minute drive down the coast don't miss the internationally recognized Nerja Caves (listed in the Guinness Book of World Records... visit and find out why...) and Frigiliana is recognized as one of the prettiest villages in Spain.
- Malaga - One of the most beautiful cities in Spain, under an hour from Almuñécar. Get your bearings with the Hop On Hop Off bus...
The 5 BEST Reasons to Visit Almuñécar
Almuñécar is an amazing town and there are many great reasons to visit but here are the top 5 reasons that make it so special and stand out from all the rest.
1. Almuñécar's Beaches
This may seem obvious, of course people come here to go to the beaches... it’s a coastal town in southern Spain! BUT... there are beaches that stretch all the way down the Spanish coast in both directions... WHAT makes Almuñécar beaches so special?
The spectacular beauty that is created by its rugged coastline!
Most of the coast along the Costa del Sol consists of long expanses of wide-open beaches. That is pretty... but the beaches around Almuñécar are even prettier... What should you expect?
- The Sierra Nevada mountains that lie just behind Almuñécar extend all the way down to the sea forming picture perfect little coves and bays.
- This stunning combination of the craggy cliffs dropping off into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean is simply something you can't miss!
- You will start to notice these characteristic beaches just after leaving the Costa del Sol and entering the Costa Tropical, just after the town of Nerja.
Almuñécar has more than 10 beaches. The three beaches we recommend for families are Playa Puerta del Mar, Playa Tesorillo and Playa Cabria.
- Playa Puerta del Mar lies right below the Peñon San Cristobal.
- Playa Tesorillo is great because of its small size, lively atmosphere and family friendly ranking. It has two restaurants right on the beach, one playing live music during the summer months.
- Playa Cabria is another good choice. It is accessed from the opposite end of Almuñécar through a dry riverbed and has a rustic, bohemian feel to it. Playa Cabria is a very secluded beach, but with all the necessary services.
2. The Almuñécar Castle
Who doesn’t love a castle? Many of the old Spanish towns still have castles at their center but the Almuñécar Castle is pretty impressive. It’s in great condition, still standing proudly at the highest point in the old town where is has been since Phoenician times. This is definitely a must see while you are here. The kids will love it and the views from the top are amazing.
3. The Roman Ruins
This area is a paradise for history buffs. Believe it or not Almuñécar was more well-known during the Phoenician and Roman times than it is today.
The town was once famous all over the Mediterranean for the tasty fish sauce that was produced here, called Garum. It was considered a delicacy at the time and was shipped far and wide across the whole of the Roman Empire.
At the time, huge Aqueducts were constructed to bring water down from nearby mountains to aid in production. These among other ancient relics can still be seen today.
Other Roman ruins you can visit are:
- The Old Fish Salting Factory
- The Roman Vaults at the 7 Palacios Museum - built to elevate the town around the castle
- The Roman Bridge - a part of the old roman highway that ran down the coast. The Roman bridge is just outside of town along the N-340.
4. The Almuñécar Old Town
The Old Town in Almuñécar is authentically Spanish. Compared to a lot of villages you will find on the Costa del Sol, which in recent years have been inundated with foreigners and tourists, Almuñécar has been able to hold on to its special Spanish heritage. Walking through its narrow winding streets is like a trip back in time.
5. It's Perfect Location
One of the great things about Almuñécar is its proximity to SO many other interesting places to visit. If you are in Andalucia for the first time you will definitely want to visit the cities of Granada and Malaga.
Almuñécar is located 45 minutes directly to the South of Granada and 45 minutes to the East of Malaga. You also have Nerja and Frigiliana within 15 minutes going west, and Almeria is under an hour going east.
Almuñécar would be the perfect base for anything you would want to see on the eastern coastal part of Andalucia.
More Must See Sites in Almuñécar
El Peñon del Santo
Separating the two beautiful beaches of San Cristobal and Puerta del Mar is the historic natural landmark, El Peñon del Santo. It consists of one great rock and two smaller ones that jut out into the Mediterranean Sea right below the casco antiguo or old town. A giant cross was placed at the top in the early 1900's commemorating the defeat and expulsion of the Arabs in 1489.
Climb to the top and enjoy the breathtaking views of Almuñécar and its coastline.
Phoenician Fish Salting Factory
This ancient monument has survived thousands of years and is still intact and waiting to be enjoyed in the Majuelo Botanical Gardens. It was discovered in 1970 and a lot has been learned about it since then. The Phoenicians were the first to build and run this Fish Salting Factory that was later taken on and improved by the Romans. They shipped their famous fish sauce delicacy far and wide over the whole of the Roman Empire.
Take a stroll through the Majuelo Gardens and you will find this ancient gem right at its center. It's located right under the Almuñécar castle so it would be very easy to see on your way back down.
Roman Aqueducts and Baths
These Roman Aqueducts are some of the finest and most well-maintained aqueducts you will find in southern Spain. There are three all together with the largest having 3 separate parts, spread out through the valley. These aqueducts were used during Roman times to bring water from the valley into town where the fish salting factory was in full swing.
The Aqueduct in the center of town is the easiest to see. It is located right on the opposite side of the Carbonell hardware store. You will also see the remains of what was once the roman baths for the town in the same area.
Read more about the Roman Aqueducts in Almuñécar here and how to find them.
Church of the Incarnation
All the ancient Spanish villages have their cathedral, but this church was designed by a famous architect who built most of the cathedrals in Granada at that time. It was the first church at its time, in the whole of the Granada Province, to be built in the new Baroque style.
After visiting the aqueducts in town, head up the hill towards the Incarnation Cathedral. It has been beautifully maintained and is worth seeing. From there head back down the hill on the other side and enjoy a tapas in the Almuñécar townhall square.
The Najarra Palace
Just in the center of Almuñécar, close to the San Cristobal beach is the Najarra Palace. It was built in the 19th century by a wealthy Moroccan man as a summer home. Today it is in need of a bit of care, but you can still see the splendor of its design and style. It has a beautiful Arabic garden in back.
The local tourist office is usually housed in the palace but is currently residing in the office above the Aquarium while reformations take place.
The Old Roman Bridge
The new A-7 highway that runs along the whole southern coast of Spain and up to Barcelona was only just completed in the Costa Tropical area over the last 10 years. Before then the curvy N-340 coastal road was used to connect the Costa Tropical towns.
Long before that the Romans had built their own highway system that ran up and down the entire coast of Spain that was an intricate system of cobblestone roads and bridges. Part of that highway can still be seen today just on the outskirts of Almuñécar.
Leaving the town and driving towards La Herradura you will see a small sign indicating the bridge below. You must park at the top and walk down a short gravel road to get to it. The roman bridge is in surprisingly good shape after being used for so many, hundreds of years.
Other ancient monuments in Almuñécar to see or learn about are: The Torre Monje, La Albina, The Laurita Necropolis, The Roman Arch and The Noy Bridge.
Tributes and StatuesThe history of this area is vast. Most of what you see here today was influenced and created by the many different civilizations that occupied and ruled the area over the last 3000 years, starting with the Phoenicians, then the Romans then the Moors.
While visiting Almuñécar you will come across many statues and other pieces of artwork created as a way to give thanks to all the people before us that made the area what it is today.
See if you can find these tributes:
- The Statue of Abderraman I - The Prince that came ashore in Almuñécar on his way to Cordoba where he started an independent emirate and unified Andalucia under muslim rule.
- The Blas Infante Arch - Commememorating Blas Infante, the "father of modern Andalucia" and a tribute to the three most influential civilizations that have ruled this area.
- The Phonician Tribute - A tribute to the people that founded the town of Almuñécar.
- The Real Fountain - Part of the anicent aqueduct system that brought water into the town of Almuñécar. If you look closely you can still see part of the roman water channels that connected to the aqueducts.
- The Water Monument - During ancient times, life was hard and water was scarce. This is a tribute to the town obtaining its own water supply.
Almuñécar WatchtowersAnother contribution from the Romans and the Moors were the "Torres" or Watchtowers that dot our coastline. They had developed an intricate security system that shielded the area from the danger of pirates. The Torres always sat at the highest points along the coast and communicated with each other with fire and smoke signals.
It is said that a message could be received in Barcelona from the Costa Tropical in less than 20 minutes.
A small but interesting little museum that the kids might enjoy. It doesn't cost much, Adults are 2.00 euros, kids 1.00 euro and kids under 5 are free. There is a great selection of intricate little bonsai trees, a Moorish fountain and a stocked koi pond inside. Bonsai Museum
Seven Palacios Museum
Just around the corner from the San Miguel Castle you will find this little museum. It is housed within the ancient roman vaults that were built to hold up the town. There are quite a few relics that have been excavated in the area that you can see here. One of the most important is an old Egyptian urn that was found in the Laurita Necropolis that dates to the 14th century BC, no one knows how it came to be here. Almuñécar Seven Palacios Museum
Aqua Tropic Water Park
This is not to miss if you are visiting Almuñécar with the kids! Aqua Tropic is a fantastic little water park sitting right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, located at the end of Playa Velilla. It has water slides for all ages, a wave pool, jacuzzi, play area for small children and restaurants and bars for a mid-day snack. You could easily spend the day here, or drop your kids off for the day as there are strict lifeguards at each slide.
The price is pretty steep but you can usually find coupons at the restaurants or tourist office in town.
Read our full Review of the Aqua Tropic Water Park here.
If you are planning on going to the water park for the day... buy tickets in advance! The lines are LONG and VERY SLOW!!
Another 5 minutes down the N-340 coastal road going west lies La Herradura, a municipality of Almuñécar and another very popular destination in the Costa Tropical. It's long stretch of beach and bay are favorites among paragliders, snorkelers, divers and swimmers. Numerous tapas bars and restaurants line the beach.
Where to find Almuñécar
Planning your trip to the Costa Tropical...
Distances Between Cities and Towns
Where to Stay in Almuñécar
Almuñécar is one of the larger of the Costa Tropical towns and so is packed with literally hundereds of places to stay, from 4-star hotels, low cost pensiones and numerous options for renting villas or apartments. See our guides below:
Getting To Almuñécar
Getting to Almuñécar by Train:
Granada and Malaga both have great train stations and are accessible from anywhere within Spain. In general, the rail station in Spain is great and runs very smoothly. You can travel all over the country easily and quickly and usually at a low cost to you.
The best site for finding the lowest fares and booking trains is OMIO:
Look for rates and times for trains in Spain.
From each of the train stations (Malaga & Granada) you can get a direct bus to Almuñécar. Best site for finding the cheapest bus fares is OMIO!
Getting to Almuñécar by Plane:
Flying into the Costa Tropical is also easily done. Both Malaga and Granada have airports that service all of Spain. Malaga's airport is international with direct flights coming in from all over the world. The best site for finding low cost airlines into these two cities is: Skyscanner.es
Getting Around Almuñécar
The Spanish bus system is great. Unlike in some countries, buses are very often used here and depended on so they tend to be large, comfortable, and reliable. You can get direct buses from the larger cities to any of the Costa Tropical towns or buses that run from small town to town. There are also local buses that take you around each town. You can purchase bus tickets on the same website where train tickets are sold and compare the prices of each. You have to pay for local buses as you get on. Best site for finding the cheapest bus fares is OMIO!
Each town has a taxi stand where taxis are always present. You can either go down to the stand or call one up and have them come to you. There are also several private taxi services with larger vehicles that will take you to and from the bigger cities and airports. More about Taxis in Almuñécar.
One of the preferred ways of getting around is of course renting your own car. Car rentals in Spain tend to be very reasonable. You can either pick up a car in Granada or Malaga (at the airport) or pick up a car in town. More about car rentals in Almuñécar.
Additional Information about Almuñécar
Types of Industry in Almuñécar
The industries that abound in this area are a combination of tourism, agriculture and, lesser today than in earlier times, fishing.
Due to the growing influx of foreign visitors, agriculture is becoming a secondary focus even though the majority of food that is grown locally is exported nationally and internationally. Chirimoyo, avocado, almonds, mango, and nispola are just some of the tropical fruits for which this area is well known.
Popular Foods in Almuñécar
As a former predominantly fishing community, the Almuñequeros have a penchant for seafood. Some typical local foods are:
- Boquerones (tiny sardines) are cooked on skewers over hot coals at many chiringuitos (beachside restaurants)
- Embutidos (sausages) such as morcilla, longaniza and chorizo come in a variety of sizes and tastes and can be either served as a main dish or tapas
- Gambas al pil-pil (prawns in garlic and chili)
- Bacalao and Rape (different types of fish)
- Pulpo (squid cooked in its own ink)
A few other popular foods are ensalada mixta de aguacate (tossed salad with local avocado), jamon Serrano (a specially cured ham from the Alpujarra region), paella (seafood and rice), sopa de ajo (garlic soup), queso Manchego (Manchego cheese), calamares a la plancha (grilled squid) and Manzanilla aceitunas (marinated olives).
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