Almunecar lies on the coast of Granada some 90km east of Malaga Airport and 80km south of Granada on a small stretch of coastline known as the Costa Tropical. The nearest well known place is Nerja which is just 20km along the coast towards Malaga. The town of just 30,000 residents maintains its Moorish legacy and remains very much a summer destination for Spanish tourism whilst attracting a fair number of northern European visitors during the winter months.
From a tourism point of view it is the magnificent subtropical climate which has put the town on the map with over 300 days of sunshine per year and average temperatures averaging around 18C in winter and rarely reaching single figures. If ever you look at the European weather map during the winter it’s a reasonable assumption that the place with the most sunshine is the Costa Tropical.
History of Almuñécar
Historically Almunecar dates back to Phoenician times when it was called “Sexi”, this has led to some unfortunate names today such as “Sexi Loro”, the town’s impressive parrot park. The town became an important port centred largely on its fish salting industry which was heavily developed under Roman rule. Today the excavation of the fish salting plant which produced a fish paste for Rome is available for all to see in the Majuelo Botanical Gardens. Another historical site worth looking out for is the Roman aqueduct in the car park of the Carbonell DIY shop in town which is most impressive about 2km out of town following the valley of the Rio Seco. The castle of San Miguel which overlooks the main town beach is another major historical sight in Almunecar.
The Moorish influence on Almunecar dates back to the arrival of Abd-ar-Rahman I in 755 whose boat stands outside the Casablanca hotel in town. He would go on to create the Emirate of Cordoba and the city’s Great Mosque (Mezquita). Under the Moors sugar cane was introduced which became the staple industry of the area until modern times. Today the local agricultural industry produces avocados, mangos, chirimoyas and other tropical fruits that aren’t grown anywhere else in western Europe.
Getting There From Malaga Airport
Almunecar lies 90km east of Malaga airport. Transfers are available by taxis on arrival or by pre-booked private cars. There are no train services in this direction and although buses are quite frequent they leave from Malaga’s central bus station so you’d need to get yourself into the city first. Most arrivals book a rental car before travelling as there are plenty good deals to be had these days.
Private Transfers to Almunecar
You can pre-book transfers to Almunecar from Malaga Airport and have a driver waiting for you on arrival.
Taxis to Almunecar
If you take a taxi from one of the many waiting outside the arrivals terminal you can expect to pay an official single fare to Almunecar of over €100 though we’ve heard of Malaga taxis asking for more than this on arrival.
Buses to Almunecar
There’s a single bus service from Malaga Airport every day otherwise you’ll have to take a bus from the airport to Malaga bus station and meet a connecting service. The journey takes around 1½ hours and times are shown on the Alsa Bus Website.
Trains are not an Option: There are no trains running east from Malaga so the only way you might decide to use the airport train service is to get into Malaga city and walk to the nearby bus station for the bus to Almunecar. Realistically not many people will choose the bus option as it’s quite a hassle, especially with luggage, and on arrival you’ll still probably need to get a taxi from the Almunecar bus station to your accommodation.
Malaga Airport Car Hire
The majority of visitors to Almunecar choose to rent a car at Malaga airport then drive the 90km along the A7 motorway. Discover Cars offer good car hire rates from Malaga Airport.
Where to Stay in Almunecar
Local tourism is very much geared towards the Spanish market so Almunecar hotels are generally quite small compared with the enormous structures that dominate the skyline of the Costa del Sol. Below is a selection of some of the main properties that you can book online.
Almunecar 4 Star Hotels
Hotel Playacálida (Urb. Torre Galera)
Overlooking the beaches of Playa Cabria and Playa Calabajio (aka Galera) this hotel has a fabulous infinity pool looking out to sea. Nice, chilled out bar/restaurants on Cabria beach are ideal for a quiet night out from the hotel.
Hotel Almuñécar Playa (Paseo San Cristobal)
Located at the town end of Playa San Cristobal this hotel is in an ideal position to give you access to one of Almunecar’s main beaches and you are a short walk to the old centre. It is well equipped with a restaurant and an excellent outdoor swimming pool.
Hotel Albayzín del Mar (Avenida Costa del Sol, 23)
This elaborately decorated hotel is on one of the main entrance roads into town. Easy access to Almunecar’s main attractions but a little sterile for a hotel in a beach location. Okay for a short stay.
Almunecar 3 Star Hotels
Hotel La Najarra (Guadix, 12)
Simple little hotel only a couple of minutes from the beach which is fine for a short stay. Shame Montse and José are no longer at the reception.
Paseo San Cristóbal 3
Well located along San Cristobal beach to the west of Almunecar with lovely walks along the seafront into town.
Almunecar 2 Star Hotels
Plaza San Cristóbal, 4
Long established hotel just below the castle to the east of Playa San Cristobal this is a place of character which would be fine for a stay of a couple of nights.
Holiday Apartments in Almuñécar
Amongst all the adverts for holiday apartments and villas for rent in Almunecar on the property rental websites you’re likely to come across villas for rent in five main areas:
Fuentes de Almunecar: This residential zone located high above the long established district of Taramay. There are some beautiful properties there with stunning views out to sea from its elevated position. Architecturally it has been stylishly developed with palm trees and fountains whilst its main attraction is the shared infinity pool which provides a stunning Mediterranean panorama. The big negative of the zone is that there are no facilities at all in terms of shops, bars or restaurants and you’ll need a car to get anywhere.
Taramay: Below Fuentes is the residential zone of Taramay which is an all year round living community. There are a few properties available for rent in the area from which you can easily walk to the beach and access numerous bars, restaurants and shops on foot. Driving to the centre of Almunecar along the quiet coast road takes about 5 minutes and there’s a regular local bus between Taramay and the town centre.
Los Pinos: This is a well established neighbourhood overlooking Playa Velilla or the town itself depending on which property you rent. Although there’s a fine selection of impressive properties in this residential part of town the majority are up a very steep hill beyond the Almunecar International School so a car is crucial to get to the beach or to any restaurants or bars. If you do take the car out at night don’t even think about drinking and driving as local police often set up spot checks in various places around Almunecar.
Cotobro: At the opposite end of town is Cotobro which is home to a limited number of stylish villas. There’s a nice rocky beach at the seafront of Cotobro but nothing in the way of facilities. It’s a very pleasant walk into the town centre but this will take about 30 minutes from the beach.
Marina del Este: There has been enormous development of residential properties around Marina del Este in recent times and you’re likely to find plenty rental options there. Many properties are set back a little from the marina offering great views across the bay towards Almunecar which lies about 10 minutes away by car. There’s a nice beach with a bar/restaurant just west of the marina whilst Marina del Este itself has a small selection of bars and restaurants at marina prices!
Holidays in Almunecar
Almunecar is a chilled destination for a holiday. There’s plenty of nice accommodation for rent and the pleasant Almunecar beaches are ideal if you’re looking to get away from it all. The town has a good selection of tapas bars and there are enough local restaurants for you to enjoy the local cuisine during your stay. The town is particularly suitable for families with young children and for retired people. It does not offer the wild nightlife of the Costa del Sol so young people looking for an action packed holiday would be best booking elsewhere.
Things to do in Almuñécar
There are plenty options locally for taking part in activities such as watersports and hillwalking whilst there’s a good selection of golf courses in the area. Less energetic visitors will happily spend their mornings wandering around the old centre of town and visiting the Friday market where there are interesting shopping opportunities.
Excursions From Almuñécar
Almunecar has a lot to offer in terms of location with easy proximity to the great Moorish cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Granada is home to the magnificent Alhambra Palace and is an easy day excursion, the other two cities would be better visited as at least overnight stays as there is so much to see there.