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Almuñecar

Located in a small enclave with a privileged climate, near a tropical valley and cozy beaches between the provinces of Granada and Málaga, Almuñecar has been transformed into an appealing destination for a large number of tourists who come to enjoy its enchanting natural envioronment, its rich gastronomy and its bountiful historical monuments.

Near the capital of the province Almuñecar offers the province Almuñecar offers the possibility of enjoying a ski trip to the Sierra Nevada, a visit to the Alhambra and an evening of relaxation next to the Mediterranean in this jewel of the Costa Tropical – all in the same day!.

The term Costa Tropical is not given lightly, since Almuñecar´s micro climate transforms the area with an annual average temperature of 18º so that a stay here is a very attractive experience indeed!

There are more than twenty beaches here including Playa Cabria, el Pozuelo, Velilla, Puerta del Mar, San Cristobal, La Herradura, and Cantarriján (a paradise for nudists).These, in combination with the many small sandy coves, the breathtakingly beautiful sheer cliffs and the natural parks of Cerro Gordo and Punta de la Mona along the water’s edge, make a perfect destination for the fulfilment of your dream vacation.

Further, the splendid scenery provides a background for the culinary delights of the numerous seaside restaurants and chiringuitos or barbecue specialists; for the practice of many exciting water and land sports such as diving, sailing, parasailing, hang gliding, rock climbing and hiking; and for participating in one of the many cultural offerings in Almuñecar and La Herradura.

La Herradura is especially noteworthy for having, from all the wealth of the abovementioned deaches, one which stands out for its singular beauty – the Playa Naturista de Cantarriján, within the Cerro Gordo Nature Park.

ALMUNECAR – BEACHES

Almuñécar has a total of 19 kms. of coastline. It has beaches for all tastes and all sectors of the public. Urban beaches, coves between cliffs, gravel beaches, beaches with black and grey sand, nudist beaches. The beaches situated near the core of the towns of La Herradura, Almuñécar, Velilla and Taramay, all have health and life guarding services on offer. Some of them, on numerous occasions, have been awarded the distinctive blue flag.

There are also lots of beaches between small cliffs, far from the centre of town with easy access on foot. Other beaches are delightful coves which are in demand by the visitors. All of them can be swun in at any time of the year. There are 26 beaches along the coastline of Almuñécar. Here are some of them.

ALMUNECAR – HISTORY

Due to its privileged climate, with mild temperaturas throughout the year, as well as being situated at the foot of a fertile Tropical valley which is surrounded by the sierras in Granada and overlooking the mediterranean, Almuñecar, one of the most visited destinations in the Andalusian coast, has been a much sought alter place by numerous people throughout history.

Called Ex by its first settlers, the Phoenicians, it later became known as the thriving city of Firmum Lulium Sexi during the Roman period when salted fish anda the much in demand ‘garum’ were exported all over the Empire.

The Phoenician-Punic period has left the Necropolis Laurita and the Puente de Noy, while from the Roman Sexi period there are monuments like the impressive Aqueduct, the Torre del Monje and Albina columbaria, the Salazones factory or the Cueva de siete palacios museum, which houses the Archaeological museum.

However it was without a doubt the Arabs who left a mark impossible to rub out. Within the narrow streets of the historical quartes, with their white washed houses, the andalusi essence can still be breathed. Trese inhabitantswere witness to Abd al Rahman I, the founder of the Omeyan Emirate, who came ashore in the year 755.

The watchtowers which mark out the sexitano coast and the San Miguel castle which overlooks the town form part of the legacy, which over 700 years of Moorish occupation has provided. The Cristians built the church Iglesia de la Encarnación, the fountain in the Calle Real, the Najarra palace and the sculptures that make the town beautiful like the Abderraman I, the monument dedicated to the Phoenicians or the Arch in honour of Blas Infante, the father of Andalusia.

ALMUNECAR – MONUMENTS AND LANDMARKS

A part from the San Miguel castle, which is of great importante for Almuñecar, there are many monuments on offer to tourists through which history is recreated. Setting off from this strategically placed fort which was used by diverse civilization, it is very easy to ges lost in the traditional, cobbled streets, full of small squares, in which the remains of the Roman-punic fish salting factory from the 4 th century B.C can be found. Authors like Marcial or Estrabón make reference to this industry whch, during centuries, exclusively supported the town`s economi. It was an Empire which left signs of beauty in their town-planning, the Cueva de Siete Palacios being a prime example, which is made up of domes that now house the town`s Archaeological museum.

The magnificent remains of what was one of the most powerful civilizations in history can be contemplated by looking at the San Miguel, an ewceptional landmark in Almuñecar.

FISH SALTING FACTORY

Situated next to the best side of the San Miguel Cerro is the El Majelo fish salting factory. It is from the Phoenician Punic period dating from the 4 th century B.C, although it acquired its splendour during the Roman period where this industry continued flourishing until the beginning of the 4 th century A.D. This industry contributed enormously to the economy in Almuñécar, It was often cited in the ancient writngs of the classics, where its many products were considered of a high quality and thus praised. In particular the famous “Garum” was renowned, it was a type of fish paste made from fish entrails. The existence of this factory first came to light in 1970, where an excavation dig was being carried out by Manuel de Sotomayor and Enrique Pareja. Once the importance of thius find was acknowledged, a further archaeological excavation went underway by a team of specialists headed by the twun archaeologist Federico Molina Fajardo. They went on to unearth practically the whole site which today is known as the beautiful El Majuelo park, an important place in Almuñecar.

ROMAN AQUEDUCT

As drinking water was hended for the fish salting industry, the Romans wanted to leave venid a display of their engineering skills, so in the 1st century A.D, they built an aqueduct covering 7 Kms, which was divided in various sections which are combined with other registers.

Buit in slate masonary, it was made up of different sections, some of which are still use in the traditional irrigationsystem. They can be found on the road to the Suspiro del Moro; the one that most stands out is the one that passes over the río river bed, on the same altitude as the Torrecuevas neighbourhood, the highest with a length of 130

Meters, and the sections found in río seco and the one enclosed in the Santa Cruz are also worth a visit.

The last of these sections was found at the end of the 199os, whilst carrying out excavations in Plaza Mayor, next to the Carrera de la Concepción, archaeological works which also brought to the light some hot baths from that period too.

SAN MIGUEL CASTLE

Situated in the San Miguel cerro and overlookingthe town of Almuñecar, this foro ocupéis the space that the Phoenicians and Romans had already made use of, as can be seen by the different fountains and structures that the Romans built. Without a doubt the structure of the castle is from the Moorish period, it was used as the recreational palace of the Nasrid dynasty in the 13 th century. Towards the end of the reingn Fernando the Catholic King, in the 16th century the trench was dug and a drawbridge and the impressive front entrance with its four circular turrets was put in place. During the Independence war against the French, it suffered bombardment by the English troops,leaving it in a state of ruin, it was to be used as a Christian cemetery until the middle of the 20th century.

Aa pavilion in a Neo-classical style stands out, which does not appear to be connected to the actual structure of the castle. It was constructed in the 16th century, and that has become the seat of the Museum of the City.

20th CENTURY PUERTA DE ALMUÑECAR

This is a monument in formo f a triumphant arch, built to commemorate Blas Infante, father of Andalucía. Its three cultures that have had a strong influence in Almuñécar (Roman, Muslim and Christian).

19th CENTURY PALACETE DE LA NAJARRA

It is a Neo-Arabic style building inspired by the Arabic house-garden tradition. It was constructed in the middle of the 19th century next to a sugar producing factoruy which is not around today. The design is eye catching with tiled panelling and the interior walls are decorated with interesting frescos and mocarabics. Its cared for garden which is full of Cypress trees and Palm trees stand out.

Today it houses the main touris office in Almuñécar.

LA HERRADURA

La Herradura is the second village settlement in Almuñécar whose natural characteristrics, like its natural port which forms its bay, has converted it into a strategic place for the passing throughou history for different civilizations.

MARINA DEL ESTE

In the luxurious complex of Marina del Este, situated in the most beaufiful corner of the Costa Tropical, between Almuñécar and La Herradura is the Puerto Deportivo (sporting port) of the town, It can be reached by the N-340 road, being only an hour from Malaga and Granada airport.

With 227 boats and yachts docked in its port, amongst its facilities are nautical service companies which offer circuits and boat trips around Cerro Gordo and the hidden coves along the coastline. There is also a tennis club, diving school, a golf course only 15 kms. Away, cafeterias, restaurants, boutiques, supermarket, laundry and a rent-a-car.

PEÑA ESCRITA

The excepcional environmental setting that Almuñécar enjoys makes it one of the most. In demand towns for those keen on active sport tourism. It consists of two nature reserves which on their own attract tourists: Sierra Tejeda, Amijara and Alhama and Peña Escrita Nature Park. These are areas where you can enjoy unspoilt landscapes, with the presence of animals so emblematic like the mountain goat.
Just 40 minutes from Almuñécar is Peña Escrita Nature park, it is a touristical complex ideal for nature lovers and those keen on active sports tourism.

It is the meeting point of different geographical dimensions: the spurs in Sierra Nevada, the Alpujarra landscape and the Tropical valley. In this landscape full of contrasts, the visitors can breathe in the sweet aroma of thyme and rosemary, enjou the typical meditaerranean vegetation and observe beautiful animals roaming free like the deers or mountain goats.

Over the original layout of old roads that used to join the coast to Granada, paths have been built that permit first hand contact with the environment. You can also fly over the park para-gliding or cycle through it on mountain bikes.

The complex is complete with a wide variety of accommodation: cortijos wooden houses and camping facilities as well as a great variety of animals like mountain goats, deers, bucks, hippo, bears, monkeys, kangaroos etc.

HIKING TRAILS

HIKING TRAIL RIO VERDE
Route: Round trip
Distance: Length 7.35 km.
Difficulty: medium
Estimated duration: 3h 15m
Main features: panaramic views. Waterfalls, variety of endemic plants, significant population of wild goats.
Recommendations: Wear mountain a 4×4 vehicle it is possible to go down the Cabrerizas trail as far as the end of the foot path.
Description: This footpth follows a descending route through moderately high mountain territory in the east of the Almijara mountain range leading to streams and karst canyons which form the spring of the river called Río Verde. Panaramic views, streams, goats and endemic plant varieties await the visitor on this trais.

Getting there: The trail starts on the Cabra Montés road (Granada-Otivar-Almuñécar), on the stretch between the petrol station and the only tunnel on this read. A concrete milestone indicating road kilometer 28.7 s marks the trail´s a parking area nearby.

Route: After going up a stairway the path leads further up a hill called Cerro de Martos. The impressive limestone cliffs to the northwest are called “Los Pollos del Pescado” and constitute one of the stations on the trade route used in antiquity for the transport of fish on mules and donkeys from the coast to Granada. Going downhill towards the gorge named Barranco de los Chortales with the so-called petrified trees – here the lime from the water in the cascades has fossilized ancient trunks. Here the path continues from the foot of the waterfall going downhill on the right hand side of the Cabrerizas stream. Canyoning es a popular activity here, although a special permission from the Environmental Section of the Andalucian Provincial Government has to be obtained beforehand.

Finish: The proposed route ends at the junction of the trail with another forest path. It is possible to continue the footpath until arriving at the Madronales gorge that marks the confuence of the Cabrizas and Nacimiento rivers which together form the Río Verde, the Green River, named after the colour of its water.

This river provides the water to irrigate the suvtropical plantations in the localities of Otívar, Lentejí and Almuñécar.

In order to find back to the starting point of the route one has to take the Cabrerizas forest path that leads back to the Cabra Montés road. Here, along a stretch of 2.6 km. the hiker can see Mediterranean shrublands and pine groves, until finally getting back to the road. The starting point of the trail is already reached after a distance of 1.5 km.

HIKING TRAIL CERRO GORDOLength: 3 km.
Duratión: 2 hours
Difficulty: Médium
Special features: watchtower, Mediterranean shrub lanas, panoramic views, sighting of wild goats, cliffs on shoreline.
Recommendations: wear comfortable footwear, long trousers, caps or hats and have sufficient quantities of water you.
Description: This hiking trail is located within the natural reserve of Maro Cerro Gordo, sonsisting of a 12 mile stretch running parallel to the coastline. The national road N-340 is the northern boundary of this area which thrusts 1 mile into the sea of Alborán in the south. Steep cliffs of up to 75 meters and numerous coves formed by erosion mark the last offshoots of the Sierra de la Almijara mountain range between Almuñécar and Nerja. The natural reserve es a place of great environmental value due to both its geologic formation and the biodiversity found within this terrain an the surrounding seabeds. On the proposed footpath we can see rockrose varieties, wild olive trees called acebuche as well as rocks covered with lichen, the trail ends on the beach of Calaiza.

Getting there: In order to get to the trail’s starting point, drive on the national road N-340 from Almuñécar in direction Málaga and take the exit “Cerro Gordo”. Having gone past the village of La Herradura, the exit is located some metres before entering the Cerro Gordo tunnel. Once you arrive at the restaurant in Cerro Gordo the car can be left there. A sign indicates the beginning of the trail with the ascent to the watchtower.

Route: The first section goes uphill, with a little bit of inclination, but easy enough to get you quickly to the tower. The viewpoint at the upper part of the hill has a wooden railing to provide safety to the visitor when enjoying the vistas. Upon arriving at the very well preserved Cerro Gordo watchtower marvelous views of the entire area wait as a treat. Here we have reached the eastermmost part of the natural area.

The trail continues to the left of the tower which leads us to a descending footpath which is very well signoposted. Soon the sight of the sea can be taken in. Following the trail we get to a group of pine trees where the way continues to the left without descending any more. From here the hiker can also see the cape of Punta de la Mona, on the other side of La Herradura Bay, a steep cliff of up tp 50 metres. From here one takes the path on the left going inland, in a northernly direction.

Through a small dense forest one gets to an area where we find specimen of the European fan palm. At the next junction one has to take the descending path. We get to a forest path perpendicular to our trail, there we take a left so that we have the sea on our right when approaching Calaiza beach. Diving is a great thing to do in the seabeds found inside the natural park.