Salobreña is a beautiful, classic white-washed village that sits atop a giant rock, capped with an ancient Moorish castle and surrounded by a blanket of lush farmland. It's one of the most attractive towns on the entire Spanish Mediterranean coast.
With a population of just over 12,000, Salobreña is much smaller than the neighboring towns of Almuñécar and Motril... but far prettier, and is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in Southern Spain.
Continue reading to find out why...
Salobreña, The Jewel of the Costa Tropical
Some people refer to Salobreña as the "Jewel of the Costa Tropical"... and they wouldn't be wrong. Spend one day exploring the winding streets of this pretty little village and you will understand why it's one of Andalucia's best kept secrets.
As you approach Salobreña for the first time, it truly is a sight to be seen. The old, Moorish part of town is built high upon a giant rock, underneath an ancient castle, its narrow streets covered in bright pink and purple flowers.
**View of Salobreña and the Sierra del Chaparral Mountains from a distance
From the old town you will enjoy spectacular views of the Sierra del Chaparral mountain range behind the village and the Mediterranean Sea just below.
Salobreña Travel Guide
What to See and Do in Salobreña
Salobreña - Everything You Need to Know!
Contents on This Page
- Salobreña Highlights - Not to Miss!
- Best Hotels in Salobreña - Where to Stay
- Where is Salobreña & How to Get There
- Top Recommended Tours Around Salobreña
- 10 Awesome Things to do in Salobreña
- A Self-Guided Tour of Old Town Salobreña
- Other Important Sites to Visit in Salobreña
- Salobreña Village Information
- Salobreña Map
- Distances Between Salobreña & Other Towns
- The History of Salobreña
Salobreña Highlights - Not to Miss!
- The Moorish Castle - Situated at the
top of the town and built in the 10th century. Salobreña's TOP Site!
- The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario - A 16th century Mudejar church built on the
remains of an old mosque near the top of the town.
- The Town Museum - Housed in the former town hall in the old town and containing
important relics dating back to Neolithic times.
- El Peñon - The large rock jutting out to sea that served as a prison in the 1st and
2nd centuries and then later as a Christian burial site.
- The Sugar Factory - The last working sugar factory in Europe lies just to the
west of Salobreña, in the small neighboring village of La Caleta.
- Los Moriscos Golf Course - There is also
an 18-hole golf course located only 5 kilometers to the east of Salobreña,
adding to the town's growing popularity.
Where to Stay in Salobreña?
Salobreña is a small village in the Costa Tropical, so it doesn't have as many hotels and amenities as some of the larger towns. However, there are several nice places to stay that we highly recommend.
Remember, if you can't find what you're looking for in Salobreña, make sure to check out the options in Almuñécar, La Herradura and Motril... they are SO close by.
See our guides below for some great ideas:
These are the TOP hotels we recommend in Salobreña
Where is Salobreña?
Salobreña is a village in the eastern part of Andalucia, along the coast. It sits right at the center of the Costa Tropical in the Province of Granada.
Salobreña is perfectly located, less than an hour south of the city of Granada, only 15-minutes to the east of Almuñécar, and just over an hour east of the beautiful port city of Malaga.
Nerja, the Nerja Caves and the "prettiest village in Spain" (Frigiliana) are just a quick 15-minute drive down the coast.
And, How do You Get There?
From Malaga: Take the A-7 going east just over an hour. Just past the town of Almunecar start looking for the Salobreña exit signs. Once off the highway follow the signs to the old town.
From Granada: Take the A-44 going south for 55-minutes until you reach the town of Motril. From there, get on the A-7 going west towards Salobreña. Once off the highway follow the signs to the old town.
You can also arrive in Salobreña on the old N-340 coastal road from Almuñécar going east. This is the most scenic route. The views of the Salobreña castle as you get closer to town are stunning!
Getting to Salobreña by Train & Bus:
Granada and Malaga both have great train stations and are accessible from anywhere within Spain.
From each of the train stations (Malaga & Granada) you can get a bus to Salobreña.
- The best site for finding the lowest fares and booking trains is OMIO: I love how you can compare prices between trains, buses or flights!
- Best site for finding the cheapest bus fares is also OMIO!
10 Awesome Things to do in Salobreña
1. Follow our Self-Guided Tour Through the Old TownThis is a MUST-DO while in Salobreña! The most interesting and historic sites are found in the old town as well as great restaurants, miradors with breathtaking views and beautiful flower-laden streets that you will only find in a classic Andalusian village.
Start the Salobreña Old Town Tour.
**Salobreña Old Town
2. Visit the Small Village of La CaletaJust 5-minutes to the west of Salobreña is a small fishing village called La Caleta. It's an area that grew up around the old sugarcane factory which at the time was the pride of Salobreña. The factory has since closed its doors, but the little town is still a great place to visit.
**La Caleta, a small village near Salobreña
Take a walk through its winding streets and grab a cold drink and tapa at one of its charming cafes. Afterwards, make your way to Lavadero Square where you will find a pretty stone pathway that takes you around the cliffs to Caletón Cove, a small cove and beach with amazing views of Salobreña and the Peñon!
3. Spend the Day at One of the Salobreña Beaches
Salobreña is known for its long, wide sandy beaches, there are at least six... Playa Guardia, Playa Peñon, Playa Molino, Playa Salomar, Playa Mayorazgo and Playa Punta del Rio.
You will also find other smaller coves and bays to explore along the coastline between the cliffs... Cambrón Cove, Pargo Cove and Caletón Cove.
For more information about the Salobreña beaches, read our guide.
**The Peñon Beach / Cove in Salobreña
4. Take a Walk Through the Countryside or Tropical ValleySalobreña is surrounded on all sides by sugarcane farms and fruit plantations. There are several interesting walks that take you through these areas where you can learn more about the tropical fruits and other products that are grown here. Because the land is flat the walks are easy and very relaxing...
5. Rent Bicycles and Cycle Down the Salobreña Promenade
In recent years, Salobreña has done a lot in terms of modernizing and updating its beachfront promenades and bike paths. A completely new promenade has been added to the western end of the beach while new bike paths have been installed around the main Salobreña crag. These new paths connect to the existing paths along the beachfront going east. This is a fabulous area to cycle around and it's the perfect way to explore!
There are several local companies that specialize in bike rentals.
6. Enjoy Some Tapas and Drinks at a Seaside Chiringuito
In Salobreña, like in most of the Costa Tropical towns, delishish chiringuitos line the beaches. These are a great option for a mid-day snack or a long leisurely lunch with friends.
One of the best and most festive areas to enjoy a good Spanish meal is right by the great Salobreña Peñon, between Playa Guardia and Playa Molino. There you will find three great chiringuitos; Sunem Playa, La Bahía and El Peñon.
El Peñon is built right into the front of the giant rock and has beautiful views of the Peñon bay and the castle in the distance.
7. Visit the Cueva del Capitan Outside LobresIf you're a history buff, you might enjoy seeing the cave where the first human remains were discovered, dating back 6000 years ago. The cave lies just behind the small town of Lobres, to the west of Salobreña.
For more information on the cave and the town of Lobres, read our guide.
**Village of Lobres, 5-minute drive from Salobreña
8. Take a Stroll Through the Salobreña Market
Everyone loves a market! Markets have always been a big part of life in Andalucía. Even though the larger grocery chains are gaining in favor, the locals still prefer to do their shopping in the specialty markets each morning, where the produce is fresh, and the faces are familiar.
While in Salobreña, take a stroll through one of its many markets, from the daily farmers market to the monthly craft and specialty markets. You will find a schedule of all the Salobreña Markets here.
9. Get Sporty!
Kayaking, scuba diving and parapente are just a few of the sports that are popular in the Costa Tropical. Salobreña, like the other nearby towns, has its fair share of companies that will cater to all of your sporting needs.
**Kayaking near Salobreña
10. Visit the Neighboring Villages of Almuñécar and La Herradura
Just 5-minutes to the west of Salobreña are the beautiful Andalucian towns of Almuñécar and La Herradura. both have gorgeous beaches, traditional Andalusian restaurants and plenty of other interesting and historic sites to see.
If you have the time, enjoy a drive down the N-340 coastal road and visit these two charming villages. Then continue on through the breathtaking Maro / Cerro Gordo National park and then to visit Nerja and Frigiliana.
A Self-Guided Tour of the Salobreña Old Town
The Old Town of Salobreña is a maze of Bougainvillea laden streets and alleys that steadily weave upwards towards the old Moorish castle. It can be quite a climb, but once at the top you will be rewarded with incredible views...
Imagine the Sierra del Chaparral mountain range behind you, blanketed in snow, the lush farmland surrounding the village fanning out to meet the sea and the small town of La Caleta gently rising out of the sugarcane fields... winding upwards around the neighboring hillside. It is a sight not to be missed!
So, let's go!
**Salobreña Old Town
Follow our guide below to the most important sights in the Salobreña Old Town...But before you begin:
1. Paseo de las Flores
This beautiful terrace was once home to Salobreña's earliest settlers. We know this because many important artifacts have been found in this area that date back to 3000 - 2000 BC.
The patio is adorned with a colorful garden of flowers and shrubs, tall exploding palms and even a small sanctuary where candles are lit each morning.
Today, take a stroll around the super-sized patio and enjoy the incredible views of the sea and impressive castle that towers above you.
** View of houses upon the Salobreña Crag from the Paseo de las Flores
2. Mirador "El Postigo"
From the Paseo de las Flores, go back out to the main road and walk across to the other side. Just in front of you, you will see the "Mirador El Postigo" with a plaque denoting its location on the wall to the left.
Where today you will find a mirador or observation deck with incredible views of the Sierra del Chaparral mountains behind Salobreña, during the middle ages this would have been a secondary gate to the village.
At that time, it was called "Postigo del Mar", which meant "Door to the Sea". It was given this name because the gate led from the village center to the port and beaches.
** View from El Mirador Postigo
3. Stop for a quick drink
From the Mirador "El Postigo", make your way down the street away from the Paseo de las Flores. As you round the corner there will be a quant little cafe on your right. This is a great place to stop and have a snack and a cool drink. The area around the cafe is beautiful.
**Salobreña Old Town
4. Salobreña Castle
Once you've cooled off, keep heading down the same street in the same direction. Take your first right just after the cafe and walk up the hill. You will come to a gorgeous little street on your right, bursting with pink Bougainvillea. There is a gallery on the left and signs pointing up towards the Arabic Castle. Climb to the top of this street / stairway and you will find the entrance to the castle.
The Salobreña castle was built by the Moorish people who inhabited this area back in the 10th century. It was later reformed by the Christians who took back the city. The castle has been used as a prison, a military defense structure and as a palace for Muslim nobility.
Read the Salobreña Castle Guide for more information.
** View of the Salobreña castle from the Paseo de las Flores
5. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
When you are done visiting the castle, come back down the same stairway that you went up. At the bottom, take a right. You will come across the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario on your left.
This Mudéjar style church was built on what was once the town's only mosque. Mudéjar style refers to a style of ornamentation and decoration in post-Islamic Christian Spain that was strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship.
The square in front of the church was used as a cemetery until 1789. In 1821, much of the church's roof was destroyed in a fire but was later rebuilt.
Walk around the church and enjoy the beautiful views from the terrace towards the sea. From there, walk along the side of the church and down the steps, take a right and you will find the next site on our tour, "La Boveda".
** Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Salobreña
6. La Boveda / The Vault
The tunnel vault or "La Boveda" was built in the 16th century using the existing fortified wall of the town. It is thought that the vault was built to create more space for the church and its atrium above. It was built at the same time that the new Rosary Church was constructed on top of the existing Muslim mosque.
La Boveda was once a passageway that connected the Muslim living area or "Albaicín" to the commercial area of town or "Medina". The doorway on the left-hand side would have been the only secondary entrance into the fortified town. This is where supplies would have been brought in.
Explore this area and then head back to the beginning of the tunnel, take a right and you will find yourself in the old town square. This is a good place to stop for a bite to eat.
** La Boveda
7. The History Museum in the Plaza del Antiguo Ayutamiento
Now that you have found the Old Town Hall Plaza, you can do a quick tour of the History Museum located in the building in front of you (the former Town Hall or Ayutamiento).
The History Museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts that have been found all over Salobreña, dating from Neolithic times. Here you will see the oldest human remains found in the Cueva del Capitan, ceramic urns, ancient coins and much more.
There are also miniature models of the castle, church and its tower.
Under the building, you can also tour the old town jail that was built in the 16th century.
** Plaza del Antiguo Ayutamiento
This is where our tour ends, but there is still much more to see... Continue reading below to learn about other important sites in Salobreña and where to find them.
Other Important Sites to Visit in Salobreña
1. The Mirador "Enrique Morente"
The Mirador "Enrique Morente" can be found just below the Paseo de las Flores. From the top, climb down the steps at the far end of the terrace.
The Mirador is 98 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. A monument to one of the 20th centuries most important Spanish musicians "Enrique Morente" is the focal point.
** Mirador "Enrique Morente"
2. The Calle Mas Estrecha or Narrowest Street
Another fun little site to see in the old town is the "narrowest street" in Salobreña. At 60 cm wide, there is just enough room to squeeze your shoulders through this tight little alley.
This narrow street connects the "La Fuente" neighborhood with the rest of the old town.
** La Calle Mas Estrecha
3. La Casa Roja
The Casa Roja was once the exquisite home to the wealthy owner of the sugarcane factory in La Caleta. It was built in 1905 and the interior has been carefully maintained in the original style.
Today the building houses a foundation honoring a famous Spanish playwright and author that was born and lived in the town of Salobreña.
4. Parque "La Fuente"
Just at the bottom of the Salobreña crag, you will find this quaint little park. It lies on both sides of the main road that connects the town with its beaches.
The park has at its center, and derives its name from, a beautiful fountain that resembles the lion head fountain found in the nearby Alhambra Castle in Granada. There is also a small children's park, refreshment stand and a small pond with interesting wildlife.
** Fountain in Parque La Fuente in Salobreña
5. El Peñon
The giant rock that juts out into the sea and divides the main Salobreña beaches is called El Peñon. At one time in history this rock was completely surrounded by water and was known as the "Island of the Rock".
Over the years, it has been used for fishing, as a cemetery and as a sanctuary to the goddess Tanit.
Today, one of the best chiringuitos is built on top of the Peñon. During the summer you will find many holiday goers jumping from its rocks, feeding the fish within its coves and enjoying the spectacular views of the castle from the top.
**El Peñon in Salobreña
Salobreña Village Information
|# of inhabitants:||~ 11,750|
|Distance to Granada:||68 km|
Salobreña Tourist Office
Oficina de Información Turística - Plaza de Goya, s/n, 18680, Salobreña, Spain
10:00 am - 2:00 pm &
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 2:00 pm &
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Salobreña Map & Planning
Be sure to plan a visit to the small, picturesque village of Salobreña on your next trip to Andalucia. It's the perfect place to stop between a visit to Malaga and Granada. The entire Costa Tropical area is not to miss!
Where to find Salobreña
Distances Between Cities and Towns
The History of Salobreña
The history of Salobreña, like most of the towns in the Costa Tropical, dates back to Neolithic times when this area was populated with semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. Remains of these people and their culture have been found in the nearby cave, La Cueva del Capitan, in Lobres. If you are interested, you can still visit this cave today.
The oldest human remains that have been found in the area, date back 6000 years.
Since that time the area has been inhabited and influenced by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Moors. They have all left their special mark on the town of Salobreña and as a result it is a fascinating place to visit.
Salobreña, A Major Geographical Transformation
Geographically, Salobreña has transformed over the years as well...
- From Neolithic times and well into the Roman era, the area around Salobreña was a bay.
- The Peñon, the rock that today divides the main Salobreña beaches, was at that time an island. A giant rock jutting out from the sea.
- The rocky promontory, where the castle and town currently reside, was also surrounded by water. There was only a tiny sliver of land connecting it to the mainland. It was essentially a peninsula, looking out towards the Peñon or “Island of the Rock”, as they called it.
- Over thousands of years, the Guadalfeo River, that runs south from Granada, deposited sand and silt into the Salobreña basin. This buildup gradually created a large area of flat land, that was perfectly suited for agriculture.
- This process continued well into Roman times and beyond, where only in more modern times was the process complete. Today Salobreña sits atop a fertile plain of sugar cane plantations and groves of sub-tropical fruit trees.
The Phoenicians created small settlements in Salobreña, dating back to the 8th century BC. Remains of their existence have been found in the ancient necropolis, which was located on what is now the great Salobreña rock. At that time, Salobreña was known as Selambina.
Salobreña joined the Roman Empire in 206 BC. During the Roman period, El Peñon (which was an island at the time) was used for fishing, as a cemetery and as a sanctuary. A temple was built on the rock to honor the goddess Tanit (a Punic and Phoenician goddess that was later worshipped by the Romans).
The first written records of Muslim presence in Salobreña date to the 10th century. It is the Moors, who are believed, to have built the Salobreña Castle. They also introduced the cultivation of sugarcane, which became a very important part of the local economy and made Salobreña very important to the Kingdom of Granada. In 1489, Salobreña (and the rest of coastal Granada) came under the rule of the Christians, after the Moors were defeated in a battle in Almeria.
The Christian population in Salobreña lived in the old quarter where the current town hall is located and around the area of the church of Our Lady of the Rosary. The cultivation of sugarcane in the sixteenth century continued to be an important part of the local economy.
Modern Day Salobreña
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the final remains of the old town’s walls were destroyed. The town was experiencing a boom in sugar cane production and as a result needed to expand.
It wasn’t until the 70’s and 80’s that the town expanded into the plain below, where today you will see many modern buildings, parks, hotels and restaurants by the sea.