La Herradura, Spain
Many people have often said that there is an unusual gravitational pull to the little seaside village of La Herradura that seems to draw people here whose interests lie in the arts, wellness and mystic sciences. Nonetheless, its history is shared with that of the other neighboring towns and its natural harbor was a strategic port location for the Phoenicians and the Romans.
- The Best Hotels in La Herradura -- Hotel Guide
- Almuñécar Travel Guide
- Almuñécar Beach Guide
- La Herradura Beach Guide
La Herradura Travel Guide
What to see and do...
La Herradura Highlights
- La Herradura is a municipality of Almuñécar which lies 20 kilometers to its east, about a 10 minute drive, 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 the two points of Punta de la Mona and Cerro Gordo. Each point is capped with an ancient Roman tower that were once used for the 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.
Top 4 Sites to See in La Herradura
1. La Herradura Castle
Protected by towers to the east and to the west and nestled among the fruit trees behind La Herradura beach you will find the 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 and keeping vigilant against pirates in the area. More about La Herradura Castle
2. Torre Cerro Gordo
Not many people know that you can walk out to the tip of the Cerro Gordo point, all the way to the Roman tower. From there you will enjoy the most fantastic views of the coast in both directions.
The walk to the top is a bit rugged but only takes 10-15 minutes. The path starts 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) that attracts visitors from all over Spain. It resides in the protected national park of Los Acantilados de Cerro Gordo which makes it off the beaten track and naturally beautiful and well-maintained. It is listed as one of the prettiest beaches on the Spanish coast. 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.
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, not only for tourist but also full-time residents, as evidenced by the 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 well-known for its year-round, outdoor sports-oriented activities. Along the waterfront portion of the town, the rich marine life, relatively calm waters and 2 km. long beachfront are attractive to scuba divers, swimmers, boaters, sunseekers, and hang gliders – and on occasion, windsurfers as well.
Moving 10 minutes inland across the highway, there are wonderful hiking trails, hillside villas, and panoramic views of the coastline. 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 both of the Roman towers is well worth it, mostly because the views from each one are some of the best you'll find along the coast.
One particularly breathtaking view is the sunset from the Cerro Gordo road above the town, as colors range from majestic lavenders and purples to deep oranges, depending on the season.
The 4 Best Things to do in La Herradura
La Herradura is the perfect place to holiday and it caters to all types, those who want to get physically active and those who just want to relax... Here are the top 4 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 really good Scuba companies that will help you with all of your scuba and snorkeling needs. They rent out all the equipment you will need, help you attain the proper certifications and take you to 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 runs 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 along the beach that rent out various types of boats all day 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 cave. 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 in to your right.
This entire area is part of the protected reserves and remains relatively un-touched. 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. Most days you will see them grazing on the cliffs and jumping from rock to rock. It truly is a sight to see.
Playa Cantarriján lies just on the opposite side of the Cerro Gordo Point. It's a Playa Naturalista or nudist beach. This is 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 / bar that sits 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 tapas 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 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.
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 to feed 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
Punta de la Mona was once home to the world-renown guitarist Andrés Segovia and today boasts a 4-star luxury hotel and numerous residences. It is one of the most sought-after areas in southern Spain for luxury second homes.
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 is typical of this part of the coast – small, whitewashed homes whose doorways open onto tiny streets, neighbors sitting on park benches exchanging the news of the day, and local fishermen often reveling in their catch. The 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 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
San Jose Church
Once a hermitage but designated as the local parish church in 1907, this church 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
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. 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 is 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 and 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 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 of apartments or villas. La Aldea
** Community pool with Mediterranean views
Planning your trip to the Costa Tropical...
Where to Stay in La Herradura
La Herradura is just a small fising village in the Costa Tropical but still has many fabulous places to stay. from two 4-star hotels, low cost pensiones, campgrounds and numerous options for renting villas or apartments, you won't have a difficult time finding nice accomodations. See our guides below:
- Read our The Best Hotels in La Herradura -- Hotel Guide
- See our List of La Herradura Hotels
- See our List of Almunecar Hotels
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: Skyscanner.es
Getting Around La herradura
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.