The coast in Granada
The Costa Tropical is on the southern coast of Spain, at the eastern end of the better-known Costa del Sol.
This stretch of coastline takes its name from the sub-tropical climate which allows the cultivation of exotic fruits and crops such as avocadoes, mangoes, bananas and sugar cane, oranges, lemons, custard apples, avocadoes, mangoes and bananas.
With warm winters and long hot summers giving an average year round temperature of 20C, this area is a magnet for Spanish and foreign visitors alike.
There are three main resort towns on the Tropical Coast – Almuñecar, Salobreña and Motril.
Motril is the biggest town on the Costa with a thriving commercial, fishing and leisure port.
Situated an hour and a half’s drive east of Malaga International Airport and within easy reach of the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range, Motril is an ideal base for exploring the many delights of the Andalucian coastline and hinterland.
You’ll find Motril midway between the resorts of Malaga to the west and Almeria to the east. Nestling at the foothills of the Sierra Lujar mountains, Motril lies at the heart of the Costa Tropical which is one of the most lush and productive agricultural areas of Spain.
Motril is the Costa’s main shopping centre with a hypermarket on the outskirts of the town and many supermarkets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in and around the town centre. The marina provides a wealth of water sports and boat excursions including trips over to Morocco.
The town’s coastal strip includes two main beaches – the busiest being Playa Poniente, which is well served with tourist facilities, and the quieter Playa Granada. There are also many sheltered coves, rocky inlets and impressive cliff faces along this stretch of coastline making it popular with divers, snorkellers and sailors.
For golfers there’s the nine-hole Los Moriscos course eight kilometres west of the town, set amid the exotic fruit plantations and well equipped with a putting green, driving range and good leisure facilities.
Other sports available in the area include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fly surfing and mountain biking.
The town is ideally placed for exploring the historic city of Granada (just 40 minutes drive away) with its Generalife Gardens and fabulous Alhambra Palace. The Sierra Nevada mountain range, at 3,000 metres, is a paradise for ski-ing, snowboarding and mountaineering and is near enough for you to be ski-ing in the morning and sunbathing back at the beaches in Motril in the afternoon.
Motril is only a short drive to the fringes of the Alpujarras, one of Spain’s most spectacular regions where ancient villages cling to mountainsides on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. You’d be hard pushed to find a more fascinating day excursion than a trip into the Alpujarras, made famous by former Genesis guitarist Chris Stewart who chronicled his escape from the rat race here in his best-selling “Driving Over Lemons”.
You can’t miss it as you drive along the N340 coastal road. Travellers bound for other destinations find themselves compelled to take a detour into Salobreña when they spot this appealing whitewashed town clinging to the sides of an imposing rocky outcrop, crowned by a magnificent medieval castle.
The curious simply can’t resist the temptation of entering those narrow, winding streets and making their way up the cobbled steps towards the 10th century Moorish stronghold.
What little breath you have left at the end of this uphill climb will be taken away by the spectacular views of the Mediterranean, the mountains and the sugar plantations which proliferate around the town.
Salobreña is fast becoming a favoured holiday spot due to its inherent beauty and charm combined with a perfect location for exploring the treasures of Andalucia. The town is just an hour’s drive from Malaga International Airport and 45 minutes from the historic city of Granada with its fabulous Alhambra Palace.
The area’s clement climate and the wealth of things to do and places to visit in and around the town make this a popular holiday destination all year round.
The town is set against the backdrop of the Sierra Chaparral mountain range, looking out to sea across lush fields of exotic sub-tropical fruits and sugar cane.
It was once practically an island until the river deposited its sediment to form a fertile delta where avocados, mangoes and bananas flourish.
Like much of Spain, Salobreña was once part of the Moorish empire and was ruled by the Arab invaders for several hundred years until the Christians recaptured the town in 1489. The town’s defence walls were later pulled down to allow its expansion and development as a major producer of sugar cane, which was Salobreña´s principal source of income until well into the 20th century. In the small village of Caleta to the west of the town you’ll find Europe’s last remaining sugar factory.
Of course tourism is now replacing agriculture as the biggest source of revenue and there’s much to appeal here to Spanish visitors and foreign holidaymakers alike.
The town’s narrow streets are packed with traditional Spanish tapas bars, there’s a lively nightlife here and a wealth of sporting, leisure and cultural activities.
Almuñecar is one of the most natural Spanish resorts on the southern coast, having escaped the concrete developments which predominate further west on the Costa del Sol.
It’s a favoured holiday haunt of the Spanish from Granada and is becoming increasingly popular with foreign visitors. The resort provides excellent leisure facilities but has not been tainted by the trappings of mass tourism.
The town’s location – 75 kilometres east of Málaga International Airport and just 40 minutes drive from the historic city of Granada – makes it both easily accessible and ideally placed for exploring one of the most fascinating regions of Spain.
Almuñecar’s rich past stretches back more than 3,000 years – the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors have all held sway here and left their various legacies in the form of ruins, monuments and important archaeological finds.
The town’s old quarter is a charming maze of narrow, cobbled streets crowned by the remains of the Moorish castle of San Miguel. Its delightful street markets reflect the lushness of the surrounding plains with stalls laden with mangoes, avocadoes, lychees and the local “chirimoyo” custard apples.
The coastline stretches for 19 kilometres with no less than 26 different beaches which include wide expanses of sand, sheltered coves and small rocky bays only accessible by steep tracks.
There’s a bustling marina to the west of the town at La Herradura with a wealth of watersports and moorings for 227 boats.
Both Herradura and the main town of Almuñecar are well served with traditional Spanish tapas bars and restaurants as well as international cuisine to satisfy an ever-increasing number of expatriate residents and foreign visitors.
Summer nights here are lively with bars and clubs staying open until the small hours and there’s a good range of leisure activities available by day. Almuñecar has its own water park, botanical gardens and ornithological park. Sports available locally include golf, tennis, horse riding, rock climbing, paragliding and diving.
It is just 75 kilometres away with its fabulous Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. Drive for an hour and a half and you’ll be in Europe’s most southerly ski resort – Sol y Nieve in the peaks of the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range. Head south of the Sierra and you’ll find yourself in the Alpujarras, one of the most spectacular mountainous regions of Spain.