The Costal Tropical is located on the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain, also commonly referred to as the Costa Granada, and is mostly associated with the town that sits at its center, Almuñécar.
The beauty of the mountains meeting the coast, the deep blue waters, the sunshine and a rewarding climate that never gets too hot nor too cold, the relatively limited development and proximity to raw nature, the abundant year-round outdoor sporting activities, the low cost of living, the proximity to the large, culturally rich cities of Granada and Malaga and their convenient airports, the friendliness and relaxed pace of life, and the art and architecture. More about the Costa Tropical…
The other important cities and towns that make up the Costa Tropical are Motril, Salobreña and Almunecar’s more picturesque appendage and La Herradura.
A Complete Guide about “La Costa Tropical”, Here
Explore the Costa Tropical Towns
Almuñécar: On the westernmost area of the Costa Tropical lies the town of Almuñécar and its appendages, La Herradura, Punta de la Mona and Marina del Este. Discovered and settled by the Phoenicians 3000 years ago, it has also been occupied by the Greeks, Romans and Arabs.
The Castillo de San Miguel, an Arab castle, built on old Roman fortifications, still stands overlooking the town and sea – reminding all of this area´s prolific historical past. Its old town (Casco Antiguo) is an amazing maze of narrow cobblestone streets, now sprinkled with café-bars, stores, and other types of businesses. The Friday flea market is well known and frequented by all, while the daily “farmers market” is laden with local tropical fruits and vegetables. Its coastline extends for 19 kilometers and incorporates 26 different types of beaches – rocky, sandy, sheltered coves.
Marina del Este and Punta de la Mona are part of Almuñécar and lie just 10 minutes west of the town. The Marina is a quiet, secluded port with berths for just over 200 boats. Diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, jetskiing, sailing and swimming are enjoyed during the warm summer months, as well as long moonlit after-dinner walks. Punta de la Mona was home to world-reknown guitarist Andrés Segovia and today boasts a 4-star luxury hotel and numerous residences.
Another 5 minutes down the hill from the Punta de la Mona lies La Herradura. The long stretch of beach invites paragliders, snorkelers, divers and swimmers. Numerous tapa bars and restaurants can satisfy any appetite – both resident and visitor.
The industries that abound in this area are a combination of tourism, agriculture and, lesser today than in earlier times, fishing. Due to the growing influx of foreign visitors, agriculture is becoming a secondary focus even though the majority of what is grown locally is exported nationally and internationally. Chirimoyo, avocado, almonds, mango, and nispola are just some of the tropical fruits for which this area is well known.
As a former predominantly fishing community, the Almuñequeros have a penchant for seafood. Some typically local foods are: boquerones (tiny sardines) are cooked on skewers over hot coals at many chiringuitos (beachside restaurants) during warm weather months, embutidos (sausages) such as morcilla, longaniza and chorizo come in a variety of sizes and tastes to be either cooked or served as tapas; gambas al pil-pil (prawns in garlic and chili), bacalao and rape (different types of fish), and pulpo (squid cooked in its own ink). Other popular foods are ensalada mixta de aguacate (tossed salad with local avocado), jamon Serrano (specially cured ham from the Alpujarra region), paella (seafood and rice), sopa de ajo (garlic soup), queso Manchego (Manchego cheese), calamares a la plancha (grilled squid) and Manzanilla aceitunas (olives marinated in different ways).
La Herradura: This seaside town is an appendage of Almuñécar which lies to its east, about 10 minutes away and its over 3000 inhabitants are keen service providers to the tourist industry in the area. La Herradura (which means “horseshoe”) was given its name thanks to the shape of its lovely bay.
Many people have often said that there is an unusual gravitational pull in this area and seems to draw people here whose interests lie in the arts, wellness and mystic sciences. Nonetheless, its history is shared with that of the other neighboring towns and its natural harbor was a strategic port location for the Phoenicians and Romans.
On the waterfront portion of the town, the rich marine life, relatively calm waters and 2 km. long beach front are attractive to scuba divers, swimmers, boaters, sunseekers, and hanggliders – and on occasion, windsurfers as well. Moving 10 minutes inland across the highway, there are wonderful hiking trails, hillside villas, and panoramic views of the coastline. One particularly breathtaking view is the sunset as colors range from majestic lavenders and purples to deep oranges, depending on the season.
Salobreña: Salobreña is one of the most attractive of the small towns on the entire Spanish Mediterranean coast. It is prettier than its neighboring towns although offers fewer amenities than its larger neighbors, Almuñécar and Motril.
Salobreña is located less than an hour from Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains, 15 minutes from Almuñécar, and just over an hour from the Malaga airport. It is a classic whitewashed village that climbs up the face of a mountain overlooking the sea, crowned by an imposing Moorish castle. Salobreña is relatively untouched with a population of 10,500. The town is surrounded by sugar cane plantations and groves of sub-tropical fruit trees.
Settlement of the town dates back 6,000 years. The old, historic Moorish area of the town is built high on the mountain and underneath the castle that sits guard on top, with newer developments spread out in the valley below running towards the east along the coast. From the top of the old town there are spectacular views of the Sierra del Chaparral mountain range to the north and the Mediterranean coastline to the south, east, and west.
Salobreña has 8 kilometers of pretty beaches and, to the west, many little coves and smaller beaches. An artificial reef was created off of the Peñon rock where snorkeling and diving is permitted. There is an 18-hole golf course located 5 only kilometers to the east.
Salobreña must-sees include:
– Moorish Castle, situated at the top of the town, built in the 10th century.
– 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.
– Town Museum, housed in the former town hall in the old town.
– Parque de la Fuente, a shady park beside the coast.
– El Peñon, a large rock jutting out into sea that served as a prison in the 1st and 2nd centuries and then later 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.
Motril: The commercial city of Motril is situated 69 km directly south of Granada the capital city of Granada province. Recent statistics report that its population numbers over 51,000 inhabitants – and it is still growing.
Motril’s historical past is one shared by many other towns along the Costa Tropical – having been inhabited by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Moors. During Moorish times, Boabdil, the last king of Granada, spent time here where his mother had her residence. The area’s economic boom came in the 19th century with its growth and production of sugar cane. In later times, however, farming of tropical fruits and vegetables became a stronger economic force, thanks to Motril’s temperate sub-tropical climate. Chirimoyo, avocado, mango, nispola and many other exotic fruits are farmed here and shipped internationally.
But the year-round temperate climate, proximity to the Alpujarra and Sierra Nevada mountains, mild sea breezes and many beaches have increased travelers’ curiosity so all types of tourism have increased substantially in recent years. Weekly cruise ships now dock at the port of Motril; golf courses, shopping centers, parks and museums, hotels, recreational facilities, and new access roads are all in progress. Now Motril is not just an important commercial center with a busy fishing port, but a touristic destination as well. Rural tourism has been on the rise, and Motril is a jumping off point for travelers to the breathtaking Alpujarra and Sierra Nevada regions as well as to the Lecrín Valley