Situated between the towns of Motril and La Herradura, at the eastern end of the Costa del Sol, with some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in Spain, views of lush sugarcane, olive and almond groves, fruit plantations, rugged snow-capped mountains, coves and beaches, pine forests.
Motril is reached by crossing 6km of lush vegetation and is the nerve centre of the whole area. With a population of 65,000 this city exists in a constant state of development thanks to its commercial port as well as the growth of tropical fruits and the flower trade. Motril is a typical market town and the capital port town of the province of Granada. A thriving commercial centre with good "tapa" bars, shops, restaurants, banks, modern hospital, market and a yacht club and marina at the nearby PORT OF MOTRIL. Within the city there are areas with small squares and residential townhouses.
The history of Motril is that of the region - Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs inhabited these lands and left their marks. Among its main monuments are:
The Church of Carmen which was built in the Baroque style in the 16th century. It was originally the hermitage of San Roque, built as a memorial to the victims of the plague so that the promontory on which it stands is in fact a mass grave.
A 16th century church "Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion" built in the Mudejar style with later Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque modifications was used as a church and fortress and therefore it is bare of ornamentation. It is located next to the Plaza de España where the statue of Cardinal Belluga from Motril stands.
The town hall, built in 1631 in the Baroque style, has as its main attraction its Mudejar-coffered ceiling found in its main entrance and assembly hall.
The sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, standing on a hill overlooking the Park of the People of America, is a Baroque shrine built on the former Arabic palace of Aixa, mother of Boabdil. The wood carving of the Virgin of Corinth is in an oriental style and according to the legend a storm which caught the Portuguese sailors that were carrying it by surprise made them promise to build a hermitage wherever they were to land safely and this happened to be Motril.
Casa de la Palma is a 16th century Moorish sugar mill. Excavations at the back of this building have revealed valuable remains of the only sugar mill of its type in Europe.
Since early African man crossed into Europe southern Spain has been a melting pot of developing cultures and the area around Almuñecar was no different. Palaeolithic, neolithic and bronze age man made his home in the surrounding hills but it was not until about 3,000 years ago that the modern history of the town began. Phoenician seafarers, in their endless search for new trading points and possibilities, discovered a virtual paradise in Almuñecar. Friendly local tribes, abundant water supplies, hills rich in copper and silver along with superb fishing grounds were very attractive but what made this spot so special was its natural harbour. It is unclear exactly where the Phoenician settlement of Ex or Sexi was located though the discovery of two important Phoenician-Punic burial sites in the hills above San Cristobal give a strong indication of the area.
The Romans fortified and developed what they called Sexi Firmun Julium. Great importance was attached to the old Phoenician fishing and salting industry. Today's visitor can see remains of the salazones or salting pits in the Majuelo Park just below the castle.
Little seems to be known of Almuñecar's role during the succeeding 3 or 4 centuries. Renamed Al-Munekkab or Hinsal-Monacar, it is clear to see the derivation of the modern name, Almuñecar. Under Moorish occupation the town once more rose to a position of importance with a flourishing economy and population.
During the latter years of the Christian Reconquest the kings of Granada paid much attention to Almuñecar. Strategically located as a stepping stone to North Africa it jealously guarded the Moorish treasures and was one of the last places to fall to Catholic forces, before the city of Granada, on December 30, 1489 after 25 days of fighting the town surrendered. Further expulsions of Moors during the 16th century coupled with pestilence, war and continual attacks by coastal pirates, undermined and finally almost destroyed the local economies.
Almuñecar quietly slipped from the history books to take its place as a small, unassuming, agricultural and fishing community. It is not until after the Civil War with the advent of serious commercial agriculture and modern-day tourism that the town's economy has recovered. It is the centre of the province of Granada's coastal tourist industry offering a variety of entertainment including an aqua park, shops, restaurants, open-air discos and well-kept beaches. There is an Ornithological Park with an impressive variety of colourful and exotic species. West of Almuñecar is MARINA DEL ESTE with a diving centre, tennis and boat hire, beach, plus numerous bars and restaurants.
It is the capital city of the province of Granada, is less than an hour's drive north from Salobreña on the N323, with excellent shops, restaurants, cathedral, the famous Alhambra Palace and the gardens of the Generalife. This very cosmopolitan city deserves a thorough visit.
The Sierra Nevada range of mountains, rising to 11,400 feet (3.47km) is situated some 20 miles inland from the coast, a short drive from the city of Granada. The international ski resort of "Sol y Nieve" has an average snowfall of 8 feet (2.4m). It is the sunniest resort in Europe and skiing is usually available from early December to mid-May. At its peak (Mulhacen) the Sierra Nevadas are 3481m high. This is 80m (approx) higher than the Pyrenees. The ski resort, Sol y Nieve, is normally open for skiing from 1st Dec to 30th Apr depending on snow conditions. The cable cars however run all year long for those wishing to walk in the mountains during the warmer months. It takes approximately 1:30 to 2 hours to reach the ski resort from Salobrena. For those wishing to ski, to find out about the weather conditions, contact Infonieve.es.
Pradollano is the village at the centre of the skiing area with hotels, restaurants, ski hire shops and the Spanish flair for style and colour is all around you. Remember as always in the mountains to fill up with petrol as there is no petrol station in the village. If the signs on the Sierra Nevada road as you leave Granada indicate that "cadenas" (chains) are necessary these can be bought at the petrol station just as you are leaving Granada and heading for the ski station.
For the young and active there is also snowboarding and surfing with instruction at all levels for both skiing and snow boarding.
There is a road which runs from Capileira to Granada over the mountains and past the ski resort. This road is only passable in high summer as it is normally covered in snow. Not recommended for cars with poor suspensions.
The most frequent injury here is eye damage as you are much nearer the equator than usual and 10,000 feet up so there is a high ultraviolet level in the sunlight. This is great for tanning but very hard on the eyes so always wear proper eye protection.
There are many varied walks throughout this region and the Sierra Lujar that overlooks Orgiva is renowned for its natural history. There are also a number of horse riding centres where you can enjoy anything from 1/2 hour's ride to a full day trek through the Alpujarras.A pleasant day's drive through the Alpujarras would be to take the Ruta Turistica from the main Granada N323 road right up to Trevelez and then drop down to Cadiar at which point you can take the road straight down to the coast at La Rabita then follow the coast road back to Salobreña or alternatively following the mountain road to Torvizcon (some interesting caves to be seen here) carrying on to Los Tablones and back on to the Ruta Turistica to the main Granada road or dropping down via Rubite to the coast at Castillo de Baños.
A very pretty valley (called the “valley of happiness” by the Moors) located to the west of the N323 Granada highway with small villages surrounded by orange and olive orchards - worth visiting to sample a relatively unspoilt part of Spain. A scenic route to take is from the Granada N323.
Take the turning at Los Güajares - this takes you on to the old Granada road. There is a very good restaurant in Güajar Alta “Bar Carmen” which specialises in roast lamb, rabbit and kid (little baby goat). Parada 8. Tel. 958620006.
In Melegis, near Lecrin, the restaurant “Los Naranjos” has a vine covered terrace overlooking the orchards.
Outside Durcal there is the “Bio Durcal” which is an old mill transformed into a hotel and restaurant. Sites to see: Beznar Dam (Presa de Beznar), castle ruins in Mondujar, Murchas, excavated Roman baths in Talara, hot springs in Durcal (Baños de Urquizar - 3km from village entrance beside Rio Durcal),
Situated 52km east of Malaga, Nerja lies at the foot of the Sierra Almijara. (Note parking in the centre of Nerja is difficult any time of the year). Agriculture and more recently tourism are the main two industries of the area. Enjoy the mountain views whilst lazing on the beautiful beaches of Burriana, El Torrecillo, El Salon, Caletilla, El Playazo and Calahonda.
The old quarter of the town preserves the Andalucian architecture with the advantages of a small town. Don't miss a visit to the exciting landmark of Nerja Caves. These caves are known as the most beautiful in Europe.
Enjoy the views of the "Balcon de Europa" whilst meandering through the typical Spanish streets. Market Day is Tuesday and the market is well worth a visit. There is a lovely walkway from the west end of Burriana Beach which takes you through the surrounding rocks to the Balcon de Europa. The Arab village "Naricha" was situated in what is today known as "Castillo Alto" or the "Balcon de Europa".
The Christians from Castilla and Leon rebuilt the town after having reclaimed the area from the Arabs in 1487. In 1567 Nerja, together with Competa and Frigiliana, was involved in the Moorish rebellion.
In the 16th century "La Ermita de Ntra Sra de las Angustias" (a sanctuary dedicated to the patron of the town) was built. This small temple contains a magnificent work of art, the painting covering the inside of the dome which are attributed to the works of the great master, Alonso Cano.
In 1655 the population reached 400 inhabitants. In 1660 the "Torre de los Guardas" (today the Balcon de Europa) was built. Napoleonic occupation was felt in July 1810 and in October of the same year the British troops arrived, allied with the Spanish under the command of Lord Brayner, who dismantled the castle and its guns.
On 25th December 1884 an enormous earthquake spread horror throughout the village - it lasted 13 seconds and the most serious damage was caused in "del Mar" where today you find "El Cairo". Despite the bloodiness and tragedy of these times the first half of the 19th century was the most prosperous for this village since its foundation. Nerja became one of the most important trading places on the Malagueñan coast, due to the agricultural products of the area and the sugar mill. The population increased to 7500 inhabitants. The decline set in towards the end of the century due to "oidium and filoxera" that put an end to the raisin and wine trade, the carelessness with which the pine trees were cut down, the disappearance of the sugar cane and the events leading up to the civil war. At the beginning of this century less than 7000 people inhabited Nerja and this figure continued to decrease as people emigrated to South America and other parts of Spain.
In 1901 an epidemic of "epizootia" and in 1902 strong frost and a plague of locusts further decimated the population as did cholera in 1910 and typhoid between 1912-1920. Water was rationed because of persistent drought. From 1958 onwards the new recovery of the town began and the discovery of the caves by Francisco Navas Montesinos and his friends was the symbol of this with tourism bringing prosperity to the area and changing the social aspect of the town.
A small Andalucian village, the setting for the Nerja Caves and overlooking the Mediterranean, was the main area for the manufacture of sugar in the 19th century and to this day there are remains of the old factory. The caves have been declared an artistic and historic monument.
A beautiful Andalucian village set amongst the mountains of Sierra Almijara, yet only a short drive from Nerja. This is probably one of the most photographed white villages of the Costa del Sol and from the Garden Bar (verify opening hours. Tel 952 533 185. Website) at the very top of the village you can eat in pleasant surroundings and enjoy the view. Park your car and stroll through cobbled streets with whitewashed houses covered with Spanish flowers and hidden corners lush with tropical greenery. Taste the delicious "vino del terrano" (sweet wine) and "choto".
Situated between two ranges, the Subbetica and the Penibetica, the areas of Gaudix, Baza and Castril form a high plain of 1000m altitude which is flanked by the Sierra de Cazorla to the north and the Sierra Nevada to the south. The whole area formed the heart of a communications network from ancient times being a necessary passageway between eastern and western Andalucia.
The Natural Parks of Las Sierras de Castril and Baza ARE LOCATED IN THIS AREA, which containS a wide variety of typical Mediterranean plant species of mountain zones and animal species such as the Royal Eagle, the vulture, fox, mountain cat and wildcat.
Guadix is one of the oldest human settlements in Spain. Cave dwelling is highly developed being characteristic in areas such as Las Ermitas or De Las Cuevas. It is particularly rich in Mudejar art in its religious buildings. Of interest are the Muslim remains of the town which together with many other monuments and archaeological finds THAT make up the monumental legacy of the town. Take the main Granada road (N323) then follow the N342 and signs for Gaudix.
It's located in the natural park, La Sierra de Grazalena, about 1/2 hour from Ronda (approx driving time from Salobreña - 3 hrs).
Built on a hillside above a fertile green valley of olive groves, vineyards and sunflower fields, steep winding streets cutting between whitewashed cottages still echo to the hooves of the donkeys ambling lazily with their owners who are going about their daily chores. Overnight stay recommended.
Both very beautiful cities with many monuments to visit. Driving time from Salobreña: Cordoba 3-4 hours Seville - 4-5 hours (depending on time of year and traffic). Overnight stay recommended.
Sea life (dolphins, sea lions etc) open every day including fiestas. Exit motorway at Benalmádena-Arroyo de la Miel, follow A7 to Avenida Antonio Machado.
At Benalmádena Port. Website.
The park is based on an African safari park with MANY animals housed in semi-wild conditions. A7 (N340) km 162.5, between Marbella and Estepona. Open year round. closing hours vary according to season.
A western town where many spaghetti westerns were filmed - follow N340 east to Km 464 Tabernas, Almeria, then signs for Mini Hollywood. There is a children’s playground and a zoo, and western shows.