Experience the best of Almuñécar
In the westernmost area of the Costa Tropical -- in Andalucia -- lies the town of Almuñécar, the pretty fishing village of La Herradura, and the upscale Marina del Este.
Discovered and settled by the Phoenicians over 3000 years ago, Almuñécar has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. Today, still somewhat isolated from the more commercialized areas of the Costa del Sol, it has become a magnet for those craving an authentic Spanish experience and a trip back in time on this sunny stretch of Andalucian coastline.
➜ Continue reading to find out why Almuñécar is fast becoming THE place to holiday in Southern Spain!
** Peñon de San Cristobal - Almuñécar Spain
When most people think of vacationing in sunny southern Spain, they immediately think of the 'Costa del Sol', Malaga or Nerja.
What they don't realize is that just a few kilometers down the coast lies a string of villages that are not only stunningly beautiful but are packed with fun things to do, are less crowded and much cheaper!
If you are thinking of visiting Almuñécar... continue reading for all you need to know about planning YOUR perfect vacation!
Almuñécar, Spain - Everything You Need to Know!
- Almuñécar Highlights - Not to Miss!
- Best Hotels in Almuñécar - Where to Stay
- Top 25 Things to See & Do in Almuñécar
- Top 5 Excursions from Almuñécar
- Almuñécar Beaches
- Almuñécar Museums
- Aqua Tropic Water Park - Almuñécar
- Distances Between Almuñécar & other Towns
- Getting To Almuñécar by Plane
- Getting To Almuñécar by Bus or Train
- Getting Around Almuñécar
- Additional Information about Almuñécar
Almuñécar Quick Guide
Almuñécar Highlights - Not to Miss!
- The San Miguel Castle - Visit the great Arab castle, built on old Roman fortifications, which 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 coastal views!
- The Almuñécar Old Town (Casco Antiguo) - Explore this amazing maze of narrow cobblestone streets, sprinkled with cafés, bars, and boutiques... as well as many interesting ancient relics.
- The Spanish Markets - Almuñécar's 'Friday Flea Market' is well-known and frequented by all, while the daily “farmers market” is laden with tropical fruits and veggies. The Almuñécar market is a great place to find souvenirs and gifts for friends back home...
- The Beaches - Almuñécar's coastline extends for 19 kilometers and incorporates more than 15 different gorgeous beaches and coves. So take the opportunity to slow down and relax with a good book...
- The Village of La Herradura - Just 5 minutes down the coast from Almuñécar, is the town of La Herradura. Visit the beautiful Marina del Este or enjoy a tapa in its beautiful bay. Kayaking excursions around the Cerro Gordo Point are the most popular activity!
** Views from San Miguel Castle - Almuñécar Spain
Where to Stay in Almuñécar ➜ The Best Hotels
Almuñécar is one of the larger of the Costa Tropical towns and is packed with great places to stay; from 4-star hotels, low-cost hostals, campgrounds, and numerous options for renting villas or apartments.
- See our hotel guides below for some great ideas:
- Almuñécar's EIGHT 4-Star Hotels!
- EIGHT Hotels the Kids will LOVE!
- The Best Almuñécar Hotels by Area
- The Best Hotels in La Herradura
There are so MANY great hotels in Almuñécar but these are the ones we recommend.... Remember to book ahead as this area is VERY popular during the summer months...
The Top 25 Things to See & Do in AlmuñécarAlmuñécar is FULL of fun things to do for both the adults and the kids. You will find parks, museums, an aquarium, and even a castle... to name a few!
Below are Almuñécar's TOP 25 attractions, sights, activities, and excursions....
The Almuñécar Castle
** San Miguel Castle - Almuñécar Spain
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 it's been since Phoenician times. This is definitely a must-see while you're here. The kids will love it and the views from the top are amazing.
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.
San Miguel Castle:
|Tuesday to Saturday:||10:00 - 1:30 / 16:00 - 6:30|
|Sunday:||10:00 – 1:00|
- 😎 Join a Tour:
- FREE Walking Tour of the Almuñécar Old Town
The Loro Sexi Bird Park
** Loro Sexi Bird Park - Almuñécar Spain
Enjoy the exotic Loro Sexi Bird Park with your kids... they'll love it! There are numerous loud squawking parrots, tropical birds and other small mammals to meet and learn about.
The park is located just below the castle of San Miguel and behind the great Almuñécar Peñon del Santo. Because of its small size, the visit should only take about an hour, and it's inexpensive, 4.00 euros for adults and just 2.00 euros for children. Children under 2 years old are free.
Majuelo Botanical Gardens
** Majuelo Botanical Gardens - Almuñécar Spain
This beautiful park in the center of Almuñécar has something special for everyone. You will find exotic plants and trees shipped in from countries all over the world, as well as interesting pieces of art and sculptures hidden around every corner.
The ruins of the ancient Phoenician fish salting factory are also still standing in the center of the park as well as the "Province Houses" which are there to represent the 8 different provinces of Andalucia; each house showcases different artists selling their crafts like jewelry, Spanish guitars, glass work and more. Go and have a look!
The AquaTropic Water Park
** AquaTropic Water Park - Almuñécar Spain
If you're visiting Almuñécar with the kids, don't miss AquaTropic Water Park. It's a fantastic little park right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, at the end of Playa Velilla.
There are waterslides for all ages, a wave pool, a Jacuzzi, a play area for the little ones, and restaurants for lunch. You could easily spend the whole day here... or just drop the kids off and enjoy a day to yourself. There are strict lifeguards at each slide, so the park is very safe.
The price is quite high, but you can usually find coupons at the restaurants or the tourist office in town.
The Junta de los Rios
** Junta de los Rios - Almuñécar Spain
The Junta de los Rios Nature Park is a natural park with spectacular waterfalls, turquoise pools, hiking trails and magnificent mountain views, hidden behind Almuñécar and within the Costa Tropical Valley... near the town of Otivar.
One of the most popular activities in the park is canyoning. Join a group and repel, jump, splash and swim your way down the river, past waterfalls... and through a breathtaking gorge... there's no better way to spend your day!
- 😎 Join a Tour:
- Canyoning in Andalucia: Rio Verde Canyon
The Almuñécar Beaches
** Playa Puerta del Mar - Almuñécar Spain
Why do most people come to Almuñécar? For the amazing beaches, of course! But there are beaches all along the Spanish coast... What makes the beaches of Almuñécar so special? ➜ The spectacular natural beauty created by its rugged coastline!
Most of the coastline along the neighboring Costa del Sol consists of long stretches of wide open beaches. This is beautiful, of course... but the beaches around Almuñécar are even more beautiful... The Sierra Nevada mountains, which lie just behind Almuñécar, run down to the sea, forming picturesque coves and bays. The stunning combination of rugged cliffs dropping into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean is simply too beautiful to miss!
You will begin to notice these characteristic beaches as soon as you leave the Costa del Sol and enter the Costa Tropical, just after the town of Nerja.
Here are Almuñécar's TOP 10 Beaches:
** Playa Cotobro - Almuñécar Spain
- Check Out: The Almuñécar Beach Guide
- Check Out: The La Herradura Beach Guide
The Roman Ruins
** Rio Seco Aqueduct - Almuñécar Spain
Almuñécar is a paradise for history lovers. Believe it or not, it was more well-known during the Phoenician and Roman periods than it is today.
The town of Almuñécar was once famous throughout the Mediterranean for a delicious fish sauce produced here called Garum. It was considered a delicacy in those days and was shipped all over the Roman Empire.
Also at that time, huge aqueducts were built to bring water down from the nearby mountains to support production. These and other ancient relics can still be seen here today.
- Other Roman ruins you can visit are:
- The ancient fish salting factory
- The Roman vaults of the 7 Palacios Museum - Built to raise the town around the castle
- The Roman Bridge - Part of the old Roman highway that ran down the coast from Malaga. The Roman Bridge is located just outside the city on the N-340.
Shop The Almuñécar Markets
** Shop The Markets - La Alfareria - Almuñécar Spain
Almuñécar's markets have been a vibrant part of its culture for centuries, offering a wide range of products from delicious foods and spices to unique handmade crafts.
The Friday market offers a wide selection of handicrafts, home goods and textiles, while the daily food and spice market offers fresh local produce, aromatic herbs and a variety of spices.
You will also find the Alfareria, a local pottery shop with unique and exquisitely crafted pieces, and the Province Houses, located in the Botanical Gardens, where local artists display and sell their crafts. These small, picturesque cottages, nestled among the lush gardens, serve as intimate, inspiring galleries that add even more charm to Almuñécar's already lively market scene.
The Almuñécar Old Town
** Old Town - Almuñécar Spain
The old town of Almuñécar is... authentically Spanish. Unlike many villages on the Costa del Sol, which have been overrun by foreigners and tourists in recent years, Almuñécar has managed to retain its special Spanish heritage. Walking through its winding narrow streets is like stepping back in time.
Excursions and Tours from Almuñécar
** Excursions and Tours from Almuñécar - Malaga Spain
One of the BEST things about Almuñécar is its proximity to SO many other places of interest. If you are in Andalucia for the first time, you will definitely want to visit the cities of Granada and Malaga.
Almuñécar is only 45 minutes south of Granada and 45 minutes east of Malaga. You also have Nerja, the famous Nerja Caves and Frigiliana within 10 minutes driving west. The city of Almeria is about an hour to the east.
Almuñécar is THE perfect base for everything you would like to visit in eastern Andalucia!
Here are 5 of our favorite places to visit:
Visit The Alhambra in Granada
This is probably THE most popular destination in ALL of Spain! A definite MUST SEE while you're in the area. Please book your tickets AHEAD OF TIME and skip the lines! The Alhambra Palace in Granada is just a 50 minute drive north of Almuñécar. Get there early and visit the palace, then spend the rest of the day exploring this spectacular city!
The Caminito del Rey
The Caminito del Rey is another bucket list experience that is fast becoming one of the top destinations in Andalucia, it would make a great day trip!
The hike takes about 3 hours and then you can spend the afternoon enjoying the beautiful lake district of El Chorro, which has also become quite famous in recent years due to the renewed interest in the "Caminito". (1 hour 30 minutes from Almuñécar).
Visit The Nerja Caves and Frigiliana
Just a 10 minute drive down the coast from Almuñécar is the famous white village of Nerja. Don't miss the internationally recognized Nerja Caves (listed in the Guinness Book of World Records)... visit and find out why!
And, the quaint village of Frigiliana, recognized as one of THE most beautiful villages in all of Spain.
One of the most beautiful cities in Spain is less than an hour away from Almuñécar. Spend the day wandering through its maze of bustling streets and alleyways, visiting the cathedral and castle, and then enjoying a delicious and authentic Spanish meal at the marina, 'Muelle Uno'.
Get your bearings with a walking tour of the city!
Visit La Herradura
Just a quick 5 minute drive down the coastal road heading west is the small village of La Herradura, a municipality of Almuñécar and another VERY popular destination on the Costa Tropical. Its large blue bay is a favorite among snorkelers, kayakers, divers and swimmers, and numerous tapas bars and restaurants line its pretty beaches.
The two most popular activities in La Herradura are scuba diving, it's a 5 star dive resort, and kayaking excursions past the caves and coves of the Maro Nature Reserve.
MORE ➜ Must-See Sites in Almuñécar
El Peñon del Santo
** Penon del Santo - Almuñécar Spain
Separating the two beautiful beaches of Playa San Cristobal and Playa 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.
The Phoenician Fish Salting Factory
** Ruins of the Fish Salting Factory - Almuñécar Spain
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 an easy stop on your way back down.
The Roman Aqueducts and Baths
** Torrecueva Aqueduct - Almuñécar Spain
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. The 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's located right on the opposite side of the Carbonell hardware store. You will also see the remains of what was once the town's Roman Baths in the same area.
Read more about the Roman Aqueducts in Almuñécar here and how to find them.
The Church of the Incarnation
** Incarnation Church - Almuñécar Spain
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. The Almuñécar church is famous because it was the first church of 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 tapa in the Almuñécar townhall square.
The Najarra Palace
** The Najarra Palace - Almuñécar Spain
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 needs a bit of care, but you can still see the splendor of its design and style. It has a beautiful Arabic garden in the 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 Roman Bridge - Almuñécar Spain
The new A-7 highway that runs along the whole southern coast of Spain and up to Barcelona was only just completed in the last 15 years. Before that, the curvy N-340 coastal road was used to connect the Costa Tropical towns to the rest of southern Spain.
Long before that, the Romans had built their own highway system that ran up and down the entire coast of Spain which 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 town and driving towards the village of La Herradura you will see a small sign indicating the bridge below. You must park your car at the top and walk down a short gravel road to get to it. Unfortunately, like many of Spain's ancient relics, it's not well marked.
The roman bridge is in surprisingly good shape after being used for so many, hundreds of years.
Other Interesting Relics in Almuñécar
Other ancient monuments in Almuñécar to see and learn more about are:
Tributes and Statues
** The Real Fountain in the Old Town - Almuñécar Spain
The 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 work created as a way to give thanks to all the people that came before us and made the area what it is today.
See if you can find some of these tributes to Almuñécar:
- The Statue of Abderraman I - This Prince came ashore in Almuñécar on
his way to Cordoba where he started the independent emirate which unified all of Andalucia under Muslim rule for over 800 years.
- The Blas Infante Arch - Commemorating Blas Infante, the "father of
modern Andalucia" and a tribute to the three most influential civilizations that have ruled the area.
- The Phoenician Tribute - A tribute to the people that founded the town of Almuñécar.
- The Real Fountain - Part of the ancient system that brought water to the
town of Almuñécar. If you look closely you can still see part of the old Roman water channels that connected the city with 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.
** Torre Taramay - Almuñécar Spain
Another contribution from the Romans and the Moors were the "Torres" or Watchtowers that dot our coastline. These ancient people developed an intricate communication and security system that protected the area from the danger of pirates. These important watchtowers always sat on the highest points along the coast and communicated with each other by using fire and smoke signals.
It is said that a message could be received in Barcelona from the Costa Tropical area in less than 20 minutes.
Read more about the Almuñécar Watchtowers here.
The San Miguel Castle Museum
Located within the walls of the San Miguel Castle is the 'City Museum'. There you will find full size displays of how Almuñécar looked throughout the ages; including Phoenician times, Roman times and Moorish times. The museum is not expensive, adults 2.35 euros, kids 1.60 euros, and kids under 5 are free. The price includes the San Miguel Castle and the nearby 7 Palacios Museum. The San Miguel Castle Museum
Seven Palacios Museum
** 7 Palacios Museum - Almuñécar Spain
Just around the corner from the San Miguel Castle, you will find this interesting museum. It is housed within the ancient roman vaults that were built to hold up the town around the castle. There are quite a few relics that have been found in Almuñécar and are on display here, the most important is an old Egyptian urn that was excavated in the Laurita Necropolis and dates to the 14th century BC. How it came to be here... is still a mystery. Almuñécar Seven Palacios Museum
Distances Between Cities and Towns
|Almuñécar||La Herradura||9 km|
Getting to Almuñécar
Getting to Almuñécar by Plane:Flying into the Almuñécar area 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.
Getting to Almuñécar by Train:Granada and Malaga both have great train stations and are accessible from anywhere within Spain. In general, the rail system in Spain is fantastic and runs very smoothly. You can easily and quickly travel all over the country, usually at a low cost to you.
From the Malaga or Granada train station you can get a direct bus to Almuñécar.
Getting to Almuñécar by Bus:The Spanish bus system is great. Unlike in some countries, buses are used here often, and they tend to be larger, more comfortable, and very reliable. You can find direct buses from all the larger cities to any of the Costa Tropical towns, or buses that run from each small town to another.
There are also local buses that service each town.
Almuñécar TaxisEach 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.
Rental CarsOne of the preferred ways of getting around is, of course, renting a 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.
The Almuñécar Tourist Office
Oficina de Información Turística - Palacete La Najarra, Avda Europa, 18690 Almuñécar, Spain
The Almunecar Tourist Office is located in the Najarra Palace, a beautiful neo-Arabic, Moroccan-style building, across from the Majuelo Park.
10:00 am - 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Phone: 958 631 125
Additional Information about Almuñécar
Types of Industry in Almuñécar
The industries that abound in this area are tourism, agriculture, and to a lesser extent 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 in Almuñécar 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).
- Almuñécar Guide:
- Ancient Watchtowers
- Parks and Gardens
- Fiestas and Events
- Shopping & Old Town
- Cultural Center
- Local Police
- Guardia Civil Office
- Post Office
- Tourist Office
- Town Hall