Almunecar is a great base from which to explore a fascinating region. The biggest accessible attraction is undoubtedly Granada’s Alhambra Palace which is only a 50 minute drive away. Cordoba and Seville can be reached in up to three hours but an overnight stay (at least) is recommended. Other excursions from Almunecar which are nearer include Nerja Caves which are only 15 minutes away on the motorway toward Malaga. Here’s an interesting selection of recommended trips.
If you do nothing else during your time in Almunecar the one excursion not to miss is the Alhambra Palace in Granada. Commonly referred to as ‘the Jewel of Moorish Spain’ the Alhambra attracts over two million annual visitors and is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. The Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, a fortress and home of the Nasrid Dynasty (1238-1492). Together with the Mezquita (Great Mosque) of Cordoba, the Alhambra is one of the most widely known of all Islamic works of art. Getting there from Almunecar is an easy 50 minute drive. Just head east towards Motril then follow the signs for Granada. From the A44 motorway as you approach Granada city take the exit marked “Alhambra / Sierra Nevada”. You’ll soon be approaching a tunnel which you should go under in the left hand lane. Go around the roundabout shortly after the tunnel and take the exit going up the hill. Ignore anyone who tries to offer you a parking space continuing on until you reach another roundabout – the parking is the 2nd exit. P2 is usually the best bet.
If you’re relying on public transport then you can get from Almunecar bus station to Granada bus station on one of the regular services but Granada bus station isn’t well located for access to the Alhambra Palace. You’d still need to take another bus (3 or 33) into the centre then make your way up the Alhambra Hill.
If you’re planning to visit the Alhambra it’s highly recommended that you pre-book tickets in advance as there are limits on the number of visitors that are allowed to enter the Palaces each day. For detailed information on how to book them take a look at our Guide to the Alhambra Palace.
Driving west from Almunecar along the motorway you take the first exit for Nerja and follow the signs to the “Cueva de Nerja”. These spectacular caves are the town’s main tourist attraction which attract hundreds of thousands of annual visitors. The caves were only discovered in 1959 when a group of boys from the neighbouring village of Maro climbed through a small hole where they were playing and stumbled on one of Europe’s finest cave structures. Although not on public view, cave paintings have been discovered which are believed to be 20,000 years old. Every June there is a Festival Of Music and Dance held in the auditorium in the first cave which provides a magical backdrop to ballet, classical music and singing. Top names have performed there including José Carreras and Monserrat Caballé and with limited seating ticket purchase is essential. We recommend enquiring about tickets well in advance. Details are usually available at the website of the Festival de la Cueva de Nerja.
Morning: 10am to 2pm
Afternoon: 4pm to 6.30pm
In July and August they remain open in the evening until 8pm. Please note that the Nerja Caves close at lunchtime all year round from 2pm to 4pm. If you are there between these hours there’s a very nicely located bar/restaurant serving a buffet lunch with an excellent terrace offering stunning views out to sea and towards Nerja.
Marina del Este
Driving along the coast from Almunecar towards Nerja is the small marina of Marina del Este which offers over 200 moorings and is the base of a few of the local scuba diving operators. The area approaching the marina has been developed residentially over the recent past and now has a lot of accommodation on offer. It’s well worth a stop to have a wander around the boats and to let the kids feed the fish around the boats. There are a few typically overpriced restaurants in the marina itself but the Marina Playa bar/restaurant on the small Playa de los Berengueles beach at the other side of the car park is more reasonable. There’s some good snorkelling from this beach.
Peña Escrita Natural Park
This natural park is a most unexpected and remarkable place to visit. It is located high in the hills of the Sierra Almijara inland from Almunecar. To get there you’ll need to drive along the Jete/Otivar road for about 3km looking out for the left turn which is clearly marked for Peña Escrita. The road surface is good all the way to Peña Escrita but has some severe climbs and bends in parts. The scenery is quite spectacular as you climb towards the natural park but the biggest surprise comes once you’ve crossed the cattle grid which marks the beginning of the protected wildlife area. Here you’ll soon come to a series of enclosures containing bears, ostriches and hippos to name but a few. Other animals which are more at home in this environment such as mountain goats and deer roam around. There are various walking tracks around, a bar restaurant with incredible views down to the coast and a swimming pool in summer. Overnight stays in wooden huts can be arranged. See Pena Escrita Website.
Following the motorway from Almunecar towards Malaga take the exit after the Tunel de Capistrano for Nerja/Frigiliana and follow the winding road up the Sierra Tejeda for 7km to the delightful white village of Frigiliana. Although occupied by many foreign residents nowadays the village has retained its undoubted charm and is well worth a short visit. Park at the entrance to the village then take a stroll up the hill where you can sample the local wine at one of the terraces with stunning views back down to the coast.
If you fancy a drive around some more remote villages take the A44 motorway towards Granada from just beyond Salobreña as far as junction 160 signposted for “Lecrín/El Valle”. This takes you into the the unspoilt Valle de Lecrin where you’ll come across the ancient villages of Acequias, Nigüelas, Pinos del Valle, Lecrin, Melegis and Durcal.
Following the coast road towards Motril from Almunecar take the exit for Granada shortly after Salobreña. Get onto the A44 motorway as far as junction 164 which is signposted for “Béznar/Lanjarón/Pinos del Valle”. Follow the signs to Lanjarón which is the stepping stone to the Alpujarras which are a mountain range making up the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Quaint villages abound with highlights including Pampaneira, Capileira, Bubion and Orgiva. The scenery is stunning and you can spend many hours driving around the area. This is also a very popular area for a wide range of activities including mountain biking, bird watching and hiking.
Cordoba & Seville
Many visitors to the Costa Tropical fancy visiting Cordoba and Seville. Certainly they are well worth a visit but please be aware how far away these cities are and just how much there is to see in them (especially Seville).
Almunecar to Seville is 280km so a single journey by car will take you over 3 hours. Almunecar to Cordoba via Malaga is 230km which will take you over 2½ hours. Personally I prefer to drive to Granada then take the N432 road cross country to Cordoba which is even more time consuming. If you’re planning on visiting these cities then I’d strongly recommend that you arrange for an overnight there (or longer in Seville). For more information about these cities take a look at Córdoba and Seville.
Day excursions by coach from Almunecar might be advertised in local travel agency windows.