The Tiny Village of La Caleta and the Old Sugar Mill...La Caleta is a small picturesque village perched on a hill on the western side of Salobreña's fertile plain with views of the Mediterranean sea and the stunning castle in the distance.
There is also a charming fishing port at the foot of the village.
The area around La Caleta is quite sweet, it was built around the Guadalfeo Sugar Mill that opened in 1861. The factory workers began building their small homes around the mill not long after it opened, and the area expanded over the 150 years that the factory was in business.
A Little History...Around 711 AD the Iberian Peninsula was invaded from the South by a tribal group that we now refer to as the Moors. They defeated the Romans, that controlled Spain at that time, and went on to build a rich and powerful society.
Among many of the things that were introduced to early Europe by the Muslims was sugar cane production. Because of the warm tropical climate and access to water, this area was perfect for sugar cane cultivation.
The Moors created sugar plantations up and down the now Costa de Sol and Costa Tropical that were very successful. They produced products such as sugar, dark and light honeys and rum.
Until more recently, sugar cane production was a very important part of the local economy, as it had been for over the last 1000 years. Sugar, during the time of the Moors, was a delicacy, therefore it was highly taxed and made the Kingdom of Granada very rich.
The Guadalfeo Sugar Cane FactoryLike in the rest of the Costa Tropical, the production of sugar cane had been a thriving business in Salobreña for hundreds of years. In 1860, a local businessman from Granada bought an old farm house near the village of Salobreña and proceded to open the Guadalfeo Sugar Cane Factory.
When the factory finally closed its doors in 2005, it had been the last sugar mill operating in Spain. With its closure, the ancient cultivation and production of sugar cane in Spain unfortunately came to an end.
The Guadalfeo Factory still stands today in the La Caleta area. It has been given a cultural designation by the Spanish government and is protected due to the interest in its old machinery. It is currently closed to the public.
Molasses and the Local CuisineLocally made molasses is still used today in several dishes served in Salobreña. Two that you should try are the goat cheese salad drizzled with molasses and the fried eggplant and molasses… yummmm...
Lavadero SquareToday La Caleta is a nice place to take a stroll. You can park near the sugar mill and walk down towards the sea. Follow the signs to Lavadero Square and you will end up on a small plaza overlooking the old mill and out to the Salobreña Peñon.
If you have the time, stop at one of cafes that line the street going down to Lavadero Square.
Mediterranean Coastal Path & Caleton CoveThere is a great little stone pathway that starts at the opposite end of Lavadero plaza, wrapping around the rocks leading to Caleton Cove. It's just a quick 15-20 minute walk but the breathtaking views back towards Salobreña are worth it.
The kids will enjoy playing in the small pools created by the incoming waves. But be careful, on a windy day the waves can get quite high and you will find yourself scrambling back to safety.
Once around the last bend you will find the tiny Caleton Cove where you can take a rest and soak up the rays.
Scuba diving and snorkeling is also very popular here because the water is clear and there is an abundance of interesting fish species.
Not Too Small to Party...La Caleta may be small but they can throw a big party! In honor of the Virgen del Carmen (the patron saint of fishermen), a fiery fiesta is held every year in this small village.
Local fishermen decorate their boats with colorful garlands of flowers and flags and set sail from La Caleta to the Peñon in an explosion of fireworks.
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Where to Stay in La CaletaThere are no hotels in La Caleta, but we recommend Hotel Miba as it is located just off the highway and has easy access to all areas of Salobreña. It sits just between Salobreña and La Caleta with amazing views of both, as well as the surrounding farmland and the sea.
Where is La Caleta?La Caleta, in the Costa Tropical, is located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain in the Andalucia (Andalus) region. It lies just a few minutes west of Salobreña and east of the cities of Motril and Almuñécar along the N-340 highway. It is just an hour drive from the cities of Granada and Malaga.
La Caleta is easily accessible by the main A-7 highway or the N-340 coastal road. It is a municipality of the town of Salobreña.
Getting to La Caleta by Car
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Getting to La Caleta by Train & Bus:
Granada and Malaga both have great train stations and are accessible from anywhere within Spain.
In general, the railway system 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.
From each of the train stations (Malaga & Granada), you can get a bus to Salobreña (closest coastal town) and from their take a local bus to La Caleta.