Experience the best of Almuñécar
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 at night - Almuñécar
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!
Contents on This Page
- Almuñécar Highlights - Not to Miss!
- Top 5 Sites in Almuñécar
- Best Hotels in Almuñécar - Where to Stay
- The 5 BEST Reasons to Visit Almuñécar
- Popular Trips and Tours Near Almuñécar
- 8 Must-See Sites in Almuñécar...
- Almuñécar Museums
- Aqua Tropic Water Park - Almuñécar
- Almuñécar Map
- Distances Between Almuñécar & other Towns
- Getting To Almuñécar
- 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 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.
➜ 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
➜ This 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 sheltered coves.
➜ Slow down a bit and relax with a good book in paradise!
- The Village of La Herradura - Just 5 minutes down the coastal road from Almuñécar,
is the town of La Herradura. Visit the beautiful
Marina del Este or enjoy a tapa in its beautiful bay.
➜ You can also kayak around the Cerro Gordo Point and visit the caves!
Top 5 Sites 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 5 attractions.
1. The Loro Sexi Bird Park
2. The San Miguel Castle
3. Majuelo Botanical Gardens
4. Aqua Tropic Water ParkIf you're visiting Almuñécar with your kids, don't miss the Aqua Tropic Water Park. It's a fantastic little park sitting right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, just at the end of Playa Velilla.
There are 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 entire 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 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!!
5. The Junta de los Rios
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
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 5 BEST Reasons to Visit Almuñécar!
** Views from the top of the San Miguel Castle in Almuñécar
Almuñécar is an amazing town and there are many great reasons to visit, but here are the TOP 5 reasons that make Almuñécar stand out from all the rest...
1. The Almuñécar BeachesThis may seem obvious, OF COURSE, people come to Almuñécar for its beaches... it’s a coastal town in southern Spain!
But, there are beaches along the entire Spanish coastline... What makes Almuñécar's beaches so special?
➜ The spectacular natural beauty that is created by its rugged coastline!
Most of the coast along the neighboring Costa del Sol consists of long expanses of wide-open beaches. This is of course pretty... but the beaches around Almuñécar are even prettier... What should you expect?
- The Sierra Nevada mountains that lie just behind Almuñécar extend down to the sea forming picture-perfect coves and bays.
- This stunning combination of craggy cliffs dropping off into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean is simply something that can't be missed!
- 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.
** Playa Puerta del Mar, Almuñécar Spain
➜ Almuñécar has more than 15 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 great 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 plays 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. Playa Cabria is a secluded beach, but with all the necessary services.
2. The Almuñécar CastleWho 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.
** Castillo de San Miguel, Almuñécar Spain
3. The Roman RuinsAlmuñécar is a paradise for history buffs. Believe it or not, it was more well-known during the Phoenician and Roman times than it is today.
The town of Almuñécar was once famous all over the Mediterranean for a tasty fish sauce that was produced here, called Garum. It was considered a delicacy at the time and shipped far and wide across the whole of the Roman Empire.
Also 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 here today.
** Rio Seco Aqueduct, Almuñécar Spain
- 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 from Malaga. The Roman bridge is just outside of town along the N-340.
4. The Almuñécar Old TownThe Old Town in Almuñécar is... authentically Spanish. Compared to many of the villages you 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 winding narrow streets is like a trip back in time.
** A home in the Almuñécar old town
5. Almuñécar's Perfect Location...One of the BEST things about Almuñécar is its proximity to SO many other interesting places. If you are in Andalucia for the first time, you will definitely want to visit the cities of Granada and Malaga.
Almuñécar is located just 45-minutes south of Granada and 45-minutes east of Malaga. You also have Nerja, the famous Nerja Caves, and Frigiliana within 10-minutes going west. The city of Almeria is about one-hour going to the east.
Therefore, Almuñécar is THE perfect base for anything you would like to visit in eastern Andalucia.
** One of the beautiful Almuñécar beaches, Playa Cotobro
Popular Trips and Tours Near AlmuñécarWith so much to see all around you, take advantage of some popular tours while you're in town. The MOST POPULAR tours and places to visit around Almuñécar are...
1. The Alhambra in GranadaThis is probably THE most popular destination in ALL of Spain! A definite MUST SEE while you're the area. Please book tickets AHEAD OF TIME and Skip the lines!! The Alhambra is just a 50-minute drive north from Almuñécar. Go early and tour the palace, then spend the rest of the day exploring this spectacular city!
2. The Camino del ReyEl Caminito is another amazing bucket-list experience that is fast becoming one of the most visited spots in Andalucia. This would make for a great day trip!
The walk only takes about 2-hours then you can spend the afternoon enjoying the beautiful El Chorro lake district which has become quite famous too in recent years, due to the renewed interest in the "Caminito". The Camino del Rey is just 1 hr 30 min from Almuñécar.
3. The Nerja Caves and FrigilianaJust a 10-minute drive down the coast from Almuñécar is the well-known 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, Frigiliana, recognized as one of THE prettiest villages in Spain.
4. MalagaOne of the most beautiful cities in Spain is just under an hour from Almuñécar. Spend the day wandering through its maze of bustling streets and alleys, visit the Cathedral, the Castle, and then enjoy a delicious and authentically Spanish meal in the Marina. Get your bearings with the Hop-On / Hop-Off bus, the KIDS will love it too...
8 MORE Must-See Sites in Almuñécar
El Peñon del Santo
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 views from the top of the Penon del Santo - Almuñécar, Spain
The 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 an easy stop on your way back down.
** Ancient ruins of the fish salting factory - Almuñécar, Spain
The 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. 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.
** Torrecueva Aqueduct - Almuñécar, Spain
The 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. 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.
** Incarnation Church - Almuñécar, Spain
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 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 Najarra Palace - Almuñécar, Spain
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 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.
** The Roman Bridge - Almuñécar, Spain
Other Interesting Relics in Almuñécar
Other ancient monuments in Almuñécar to see and learn more about are:
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 work created as a way to give thanks to all the people that came before us and made the area what it is today.
** The Real Fountain in the old town - Almuñécar, Spain
See if you can find some of these tributes:
- 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.
Almuñécar WatchtowersAnother 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.
** Torre Taramay - Almuñécar, Spain
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
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
** 7 Palacios Museum - Almuñécar, Spain
La HerraduraJust 5-minutes down the N-340 coastal road going west lies the town of La Herradura, a municipality of Almuñécar and another VERY popular destination in the Costa Tropical. Its bay is a favorite among paragliders, snorkelers, kayakers, divers, and swimmers. Numerous tapas bars and restaurants line its pretty beach.
Distances Between Cities and Towns
|Almuñécar||La Herradura||9 km|
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 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.
The BEST site for finding the lowest fares and booking trains (or buses) 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.
The best site for finding the cheapest bus fares is OMIO!
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.
The BEST site for finding low-cost airlines into these two cities is also now OMIO, they have added a new service lately and it's the cheapest that we have seen AND with the most reliable carriers:
Getting Around Almuñécar
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.
All bus tickets can be purchased on OMIO where you can also compare and get the best prices. Local buses require payment as you get on, usually one euro.
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 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.
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).