Almuñécar is a small coastal city in Granada province that lies between Salobreña to the east and Nerja to the west. A once-laid back fishing town, it has become a resort for Northern Europeans and North Americans to escape from the frigid winters at home. With the expansion of the European Union, more Eastern Europeans have been drawn here too by the sub-tropical climate where the sun shines at least 320 days of the year.
The municipality includes the villages and neighbourhoods of La Herradura, Cotobro, Taramay and Velilla and has an approximate population of 26,000 inhabitants (2018). This number varies as during the summer months the number of people can be multiplied by 5 times.
Since 1975, the town has become one of the most important tourist towns in Granada province and on the Costa Tropical; it has good transport connections and a football (soccer) stadium.
Almuñécar is an important setting in Laurie Lee's account of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, and referred to as "Castillo" to disguise people's identities.
The local bus transportation is quite good, but alas there is no train service - yet.
The sights include ancient Phoenician and Roman ruins, castle, gastronomic museum, and an expansive stretch of inviting beaches. For the sportsminded, all types of water sports are possible, as well as rural walks into the surrounding hills (where the panoramic views are amazing), horseback riding, paragliding and mountain biking. During the warm summer months, "tapa" bars are bursting with life well into the wee hours of the morning.
The area surrounding Almuñécar features some outstanding geography, making it a good spot for extreme sports. Climbing, canyoning, mountain biking and parapenting are popular in the area. Due to its proximity to the coast there is also scuba diving and snorkelling to kayaking and kitesurfing. The Alpujarra mountain area nearby is known for its serene natural environment and ski resort.
Almuñécar's gastronomy focuses mainly on fresh fish and tropical fruit. Monkfish (rape), red sea bream (besugo), squids (calamares), grouper (mero), croaker (corvina), and shellfish paella are typical examples of local seafood. There are several restaurants next to the beach where meals featuring these can be eaten al fresco (at tables outside) in the sea breezes. Pub crawls with stops at several bars to try different tapas are also popular.
The soil in the area is very fertile, and due to the semi-tropical climate, tropical fruits can be grown here. The most notable are mangos, avocados, loquats, and cherimoyas, but it is also easy to find papayas, guavas, lychees, kiwis, figs and even prickly pears, the fruit of the Opuntia ficus-indica cactus, which are used to make ice cream and jams sold in several local coffee shops.
Some typical dessert cakes still made locally include:
- Cazuela Mohína: an almond-based cake made with brown sugar, sesame and aniseed.
- Torta de Alhajú: an almond cake wrapped in wafers and honey.
- Merengazo: a sponge cake topped with egg white meringue.
There are several 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels, campsites and rural lodgings (called "cortijos") in the area.
- Hotel Arrayanes Playa, Paseo de Cotobro Beach, 5, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Bahia de Almuñecar, Avenida Juan Carlos I nº 9 (next to the bus station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- APAL Chinasol Almuñécar (Chinasol Apartments), Av. Del Mediterráneo, 51, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tourist apartments on the beachfront, on the promenade of San Cristóbal beach.