La Herradura - Everything You Need to Know!
Contents on This Page
- La Herradura Highlights - Not to Miss!
- Best Hotels in La Herradura - Where to Stay
- Top 4 Sites in La Herradura
- La Herradura Today
- La Herradura - A Nature Lovers Paradise
- The 4 Best Things to do in La Herradura
- More Must See Sites in La Herradura
- Getting to La Herradura
- Getting Around La Herradura
La Herradura Highlights
- La Herradura is a municipality of Almuñécar which lies 20 kilometers to the east and its over 3000 inhabitants are keen service providers to the tourist industry.
- The word La Herradura means “horseshoe” in Spanish, the town was given its name because of the horseshoe-like shape of its lovely bay.
- The little fishing village is surrounded on both sides by two points, Punta de la Mona and Maro - Cerro Gordo. Each point is capped with an ancient Roman tower that were once used for protection against pirates coming from Africa.
- The renowned Punta de la Mona urbanization was once home to Andrés Segovia. Segovia was the virtuoso classical Spanish guitarist who is thought of as the father of the modern classical guitar movement. He is well-known all over Spain. La Herradura's main beachfront road was named in honor of the much beloved musician.
Where to Stay in La Herradura
La Herradura is just a small fishing village in the Costa Tropical but there are many fabulous places for you to stay. From 4-star hotels, low cost pensiones, two campgrounds and numerous options for renting villas or apartments, you won't have a difficult time finding great accomodations in La Herradura. See our guides below:
- Read: The Best Hotels in La Herradura
- Read: The Best Hotels in Almunecar
- Read: The Best Hotels in the Costa Tropical
The TOP four hotels that we recommed in town are:
La Herradura Tourist Office
Top 4 Sites to See in La Herradura
1. La Herradura Castle
Protected by two towers to the east and west and nestled among the fruit trees behind the La Herradura beach you will find this historic castle by the same name.
The La Herradura castle was built to communicate with the two towers (Punta de la Mona and Cerro Gordo) that sit on the top of each point in the bay, keeping vigilant against pirates that threatened the area. More about La Herradura Castle
2. Torre Cerro Gordo
Not many people know that there is a great path that takes you to the tip of the Cerro Gordo point... all the way to the Roman tower. From there you will enjoy fantastic views of the coastline in both directions.
The walk is a bit rugged but only takes about 10-15 minutes. You will find the path just to the left and behind the Mirador restaurant on the old Cerro Gordo road. More about Torre Cerro Gordo
3. Playa Cantarriján
One of the most popular beaches in La Herradura is Playa Cantarriján, a playa naturalista (or nudist beach). It resides just inside the protected national park "Los Acantilados de Maro / Cerro Gordo", an area which is completely undeveloped, hidden within the natural coves of the La Herradura coastline and always a spectacular spot to spend the day.
Playa Cantarriján is also always listed as one of the prettiest beaches on the Spanish coast and it attracts visitors every summer from all over Spain. More about Playa Cantarriján
4. Monument to the Shipwrecked Sailors
This monument was created to commemorate the tragic loss of lives in 1562 when the Spanish Armada sailed into the La Herradura bay for protection from a storm. Unfortunately, the storm and winds were too strong and took the lives of over 5000 people that day… Read the whole story of what happened to the Shipwrecked Sailors here and visit the monument when you are in town.
La Herradura Today
In recent years La Herradura has seen an influx of people of many different nationalities. Northern Europeans especially are flocking to this area because of its perfect year-round climate, with mild winters and very little rain.
The little town, once unknown, is growing and fast becoming a top destination along the Southern Coast of Andalucia, not only for tourist but also full-time residents, as evidenced by new construction, new hotels and additional tourist services.
La Herradura´s geographical location is also ideal (for a visit or for a permanent stay) – its proximity to the sea, to bustling Almuñécar, and easy access from the new highway make for a pleasant existence on the Costa Tropical.
La Herradura - A Nature Lovers Paradise
La Herradura is also well-known for its year-round, outdoor sports-oriented activities. Along the waterfront portion of town the rich marine life, relatively calm waters and 2 km. long beach are attractive to scuba divers, swimmers, boaters, sunseekers, and hang gliders – and on occasion, windsurfers as well.
Moving inland, across the highway, you can also find wonderful hiking trails, hillside villas, and panoramic views of the coastline. These wonderful trails can also be found on both sides of the bay and especially in the area around the Cerro Gordo National Park.
** Trail from Playa Cantarriján along the coast
A visit to each of the Roman towers is well worth your time, mostly because the views from the top are some of the best you will find along the entire coastline.
One particularly breathtaking view is of the sunset from the Maro - Cerro Gordo road above town, as the colors range from majestic lavenders and purples to deep oranges, depending on the season.
The 4 Best Things to do in La Herradura
1. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is one of the most popular sports you will find in La Herradura. People come from all over Spain and the rest of Europe just to scuba in these waters. Because of this, there are a number of great Scuba companies that can help you with all of your scuba and snorkeling needs. They will supply you with your equipment, help you attain the proper certifications and take you to some really incredible spots to "see the sights"... underwater sights that is.
The Western end of La Herradura is part of the 'Paraje de los Acantilados de Maro & Cerro Gordo', this is a Nationally protected park that runs between the towns of Maro and La Herradura. Because a large portion of the park remains below sea level, there is a huge variety of interesting sea life to observe. Some of the cliff caves are also favored locations for scuba.
** Popular area for diving - around the Cerro Gordo rocky coastline
Another very popular activity in La Herradura is Kayaking. There are numerous kayaking companies that operate along the beach and rent out various types of boats and paddel boards during the summer months. This is such a desired sport here because the shape of the bay creates an excellent environment for exploration. The bay is protected by its two points so that the waves remain relatively small and there is minimum wind.
With the kayaks you can easily paddle around the Cerro Gordo point, going west, and explore the caves. On a calm day, a kayaking trip heading west along the coast is just breathtaking.
** Kayaking through the rocky coastline near Cerro Gordo
3. Hike the Cliffs around Cerro Gordo
Another fun thing to do in La Herradura is to climb out to the Roman tower on top of the Cerro Gordo Point. The walk is easy and will only take you about 20 minutes, but the incredible views are worth it. Drive up to the top and park in front of the Mirador restaurant. There is a path to the left of the restaurant that will take you all the way out to the tower. There is also a second look-out further to your right.
This entire area is part of the protected national park and remains relatively un-touched. You should also take a walk down the Cerro Gordo road where you will enjoy views all the way down the coast to Malaga.
Cerro Gordo is also home to the protected Iberian Ibex, which is basically a wild goat. On most days you will see them grazing together on the cliffs and jumping playfully from rock to rock. It truly is a sight to be seen.
just on the opposite side of the Cerro Gordo Point is the well-known Playa Cantarriján. It's a Playa Naturalista or nudist beach and one of the favorite beaches in the area.
** The Cerro Gordo Point - with a Roman tower on top
4. Enjoy a Drink at a Chiringuito at Sunset
A Chiringuito is a typical Spanish restaurant and bar serving fresh seafood and typical andalucian dishes that usually sit right on the beach. One of the nicest things to do in La Herradura is to just... relax... sit down, take in the beauty of the bay, enjoy a cocktail and tapa and watch the sun set behind the majestic Cerro Gordo point. It really doesn't get any better than this...
More Must See Sites in La Herradura
Marina del Este
The Marina is a quiet, secluded port with berths for just over 200 boats; one of the only up-scale marinas on the southern Spanish coast. Diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing and swimming are all enjoyed here during the warm summer months, as well as long moonlit after-dinner walks along the water.
This is a wonderful place to visit where you can stroll through the Marina shops and enjoy a delicious meal right on the water. The kids will love feeding the fish that swim up for a mid-day snack!
Renting a boat for the day is also a very popular activity here. Read our Marina del Este Guide.
Punta de la Mona
The Punta de la Mona was once home to the world-renown guitarist Andrés Segovia and today boasts a 4-star luxury hotel and numerous high-end residences. It is one of the most sought-after areas in southern Spain for luxury second homes and vacation rentals.
Read reviews and see prices for the Hotel Best Alcazar, only 4-star hotel in the Punta.
** Cliff-top homes in the Punta
La Herradura Old Town
The existing old town in La Herradura is typical for this part of the coast – here you will find small, whitewashed homes with doorways opening onto tiny streets, neighbors sitting on park benches exchanging the news of the day, and local fishermen often reveling in their catch. Its pretty streets are tiled, and the walls are adorned with hundreds of colorful pots spilling over with red and pink Geraniums.
La Herradura's old town mostly consists of Spanish families that have lived here for centuries. It hasn't changed much over time and fortunately still retains its authentic Spanish feel.
The La Herradura Beaches
La Herradura has been blessed with astounding beauty, and its beaches are the reason why. There are 4 wonderful beaches in town, most with all the amenities; restaurants, bars, shops, kayaking, paddle boarding and more.
Calaiza beach, the only beach with no services, can be accessed by kayak and is a wonderful little place to visit.
Read the La Herradura Beach Guide for more information on all the La Herradura beaches.
** Cove on the Eastern end of La Herradura Beach
The San Jose Church
Once a hermitage but later designated as the local parish church in 1907, it derives its name from the patron saint of La Herradura, San Jose. It has a tall white bell tower and is used today for the town’s local church services and weddings. There is a small shaded patio off to one side with a prayer area for giving thanks. Candles are lit daily. More about the San Jose Church
Sitting in the middle of the Pine forest atop the Punta de la Mona urbanization you will find this little gem. The Ermita De San Jose & Santa Rita is a small church with fantastic views of Almuñécar to the east. The area surrounding the ermita is also very beautiful and a nice place for walking. You can even climb up to the Tower above for more amazing views. More about La Ermita
The Punta de la Mona Lighthouse
Sitting atop the Punta de la Mona urbanization is another Arab watchtower, this one is from the 18th century. It overlooks the Marina del Este below and has views to Almuñécar and Cerro Gordo.
You can access the tower from the stone staircase just above the Ermita or you can drive all the way to the top through the La Aldea neighborhood. A stroll through La Aldea is also recommended. Torre Punta de la Mona.
** Views towards Almunecar from the top
Los Acantilados de Maro & Cerro Gordo
Running from the town of Maro (Nerja) all the way to La Herradura is the National park of Los Acantilados (the cliffs). This is one of the most picturesque stretches of the whole of the Southern Spanish coastline. It is protected by the Spanish government, so it's completely natural and untouched.
One of the most recommended drives in the Costa Tropical is the 15-minute drive from Maro to La Herradura on the old, curvy N-340 coastal road where you will see long stretches of beaches, mountains and cliffs jutting out into the sea, dotted with old Arab and Roman watchtowers.
There are many areas to stop along the way to take photos and enjoy the views.
Read more about the Los Acantilados de Maro / Cerro Gordo National Park here.
** Views towards Malaga from the Costa Tropical
One of the most beautiful neighborhoods in La Herradura and located within the Punta de la Mona urbanization is La Aldea. It was designed by famous architect Jesus Del Valle, who once lived there.
It is also one of the most sought-after areas for summer rentals, apartments or villas. La Aldea
** Community pool with Mediterranean views
Planning your trip to the Costa Tropical...
Getting To La Herradura
Getting Here 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 La Herradura. Best site for finding the cheapest bus fares is OMIO!
Getting Here 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 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 La herradura
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 individual 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 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.