You might be surprised to hear that before I hopped on a plane for my latest trip, I had absolutely no intention of blogging about it and I definitely didn’t think I would end up writing 7 reasons to visit Almuñécar. For the past 2 years I have travelled almost every month for my blog, but this trip to Almuñécar was my first personal holiday in well over a year. Almuñécar is located on the southern Andalucian coast of Spain and is 1 hour’s drive from Malaga Airport.
Although it was only for 4 days, I was looking forward to travelling without the pressures of having to photograph every inch of my room before unpacking or think about how many tweets I had done that day. I knew that would come as refreshing change.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore travelling as a travel blogger and all of the quirks that come with it, but every once in a while it feels liberating to holiday just like everyone else. I love photography so still took plenty of photos, but didn’t feel the need to excessively post my every movement on social media or take a photo of every meal I ate.
So why did I go to Almuñécar? It was to join my family on their 2-week holiday where they were staying in a beautiful private villa.
And why did I change my mind and decide to blog about it in the end? Because this trip made me fall in love with Spain again. It opened my eyes to the fact that the South coast of Spain is still scattered with quaint, authentically Andalucian coastal towns that make for the perfect European hideaway. Almuñécar is one of them, and the experience was too good not to share.
Here are 7 reasons to visit Almuñécar…
- It actually feels authentically Spanish
It goes without saying that ‘Sunny Spain’ has been a firm holiday destination for Brits for decades. So much so that lots of the Costa del Sol has developed an unfortunate stereotype of being overrun with Irish pubs, greasy spoons and lager lout Brits. Almuñécar couldn’t be further from this stereotype. The seafront promenade is scattered with quaint seafood restaurants and tapas bars which feel like an authentic slice of Spain. The vast majority of the people in Almuñécar are Spanish, with a few French and only a handful of Brits. This is another thing I loved about it.
- It’s perfectly located for exploring nearby towns
As well as being 1 hour from Malaga, Almuñécar is close to a selection of other well-known Spanish towns. If you want to explore more of Andalucia during your trip, hire a car and use Almuñécar as your base to make day trips to other cities. We made a day trip to Granada to visit The Alhambra during our holiday, which I am going to write about in a separate blog post. Here are some proximities to nearby towns;
Nerja – 15 minutes
Granada – 1 hour
Marbella – 1hour 50 minutes
Almeria – 2 hours 10 minutes
Seville – 3 hours 15 minutes
- The surrounding coastline is beautiful
One of the best things to do in Almuñécar is to explore the surrounding coastline on a boat trip. We had an amazing afternoon with Sail and Stay on their catamaran yacht ‘The Optimist of London’, which is docked in the Marina Del Esta in nearby Herradura. Because there was 6 of us, we had the whole yacht to ourselves and were looked after by 2 staff during the cruise, the skipper and the mate. We spent a blissful 3 hours sailing down the coast to undiscovered coves and sunbathing on the catamaran netting. We dropped the anchor for lunch and all dived into the clear blue ocean, which really reminded of my Greek Sailing experience.
The cruise included a welcome glass of cava (which stayed free flowing throughout the sail) unlimited drinks, a delicious buffet lunch on board, donut rides for every guest, snorkelling equipment and an excursion to a smugglers cave and snorkleling bay. At 60 euros per person, the cruise was incredible value and I can’t recommend this experience enough.
- It’s SO Cheap
Everything in Almuñécar is incredible value. I was utterly gobsmacked at the price of things including drinks, restaurants and even clothes shops (if you live in London you will be even more surprised by the prices). Lots of the restaurants have a menu of the day, which includes a 3 course lunch / dinner with a glass or wine or beer for 10-15 euros each. A couple can go out and eat like kings for less than 30 euros in total. And if you’re going self-catered, the supermarkets are incredibly cheap too. If you’re on a budget, Almuñécar is half the price of the surrounding coastal spots such as Marbella and Malaga.
- You can eat Churros and Chocolate on tap
Almuñécar is worth visiting just for the Churros alone. They’re traditionally served for breakfast with coffee, but you can order them any time of day. For those of you that haven’t had churros, they’re like long deep fried donuts that are dunked in a warm and thick chocolate sauce. Utterly indulgent and divine. There are a string of Churro cafes along the Playa San Cristobal which you simply cannot walk past without picking up a bag of freshly made sticks of doughy heaven!
- The Playa San Cristobal
The Playa San Cristobal is the name of Almuñécar’s main beach. Clusters of sunbeds attached to the waterfront restaurants mean you can comfortably lie out on the beach all day close to plenty of amenities. One word of warning I must give is that you shouldn’t expect a white sandy beach. It’s more of a brownish hue with more shingle than sand, but don’t let that put you off. The water is crystal clear and beautifully clean.
On the tip of the Playa is the Penon de San Cristobal, a tall rugged cliff face with a huge crucifix on top. The crucifix can be seen from miles away and is a reminder that Almuñécar is home to a strong catholic community. Think of it as Almuñécar’s statue of liberty. The rocky surroundings are dramatically beautiful and the bright blue waters are stunning. Be sure to take the short climb up the Penon for spectacular views.
- The Old Town is super quaint and charming
Almuñécar’s old town is a charming labyrinth of winding alleyways that are filled with shops, coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and eateries. There are, of course, some touristy shops here, but everything feels wonderfully Spanish and buzzing with locals. The alleyways and winding streets are all connected by quaint piazzas that are full of al fresco cafes, perfect for sitting in and watching the world go by. Allow at least half a day to explore the Old Town and get lost amongst the side streets.
Almuñécar Restaurant Recommendations:
Pepes – A fantastic seafood restaurant right on the beach. Great value (Playa de San Cristobal)
Los Geranios – My favourite restaurant in Almuñécar. Absolutely delicious Spanish food, very friendly service in a buzzing and intimate setting (Almuñécar Old Town)
La Ventura – A cosy and authentic Spanish restaurant that holds a Flamenco show with live music, singing and dancing every Saturday night (Almuñécar Old Town)
What did you think of my 7 reasons to visit Almuñécar? Have you visited Almuñécar or are you thinking or can you think of more reasons to visit Almuñécar? If you enjoyed this post, please leave me a comment below! x
Janet Briant says
I have just flown back from Almunecar yesterday 8th October 2019 visiting a friend who owns a delightful small townhouse in the old town of Almunecar. This was my third visit and this place just grows on me more with each visit. The weather was hot and sunny bright blue skies. I like the fact that it is an old colonial Spanish town with much history and has kept its very Spanish feel. I will definitely be visiting again!
Christine ANderson says
HI! I plan on going to Malaga in August, and I am flying into Madrid. DO you know the cheapest type of travel to get from Madrid to Almuñécar?
Totally agree with all your comments about Almuñécar. Hotel Helios is a great place to stay. El Cortijillo is a lovely restaurant .
Jess Gibson says
Love the rooftop bar at Hotel Helios! And I’ll definitely try El Cortijilo next time I visit.
Timothy Andrew Mckeon says
Thanks for the great balanced insight to Almunecar! My partnet and I are off to there next Sunday the 7th April for a week self catering found a lovely small apartment in the Old Town and yet near the beach very cheap!! We both like cooking in turns and my favourite is any type of fish!! We hope to see a Flamenco show with live music, singing and dancing without being over touristi!!! Small tipp for your travels!!! suggest you check out a visit to Sarande, Albania via Corfu port fast boat connection!!! simply very chaep, very friendly with lovely people and places!!!! Greetings from Ireland!! Andrew
I was considering visiting almuñecar for a week next year and your blog has just totally convinced me. We too are a family that avoid the usual spots if we can and we like to stay where the locals frequent.
Thanks for helping me decide !
MacDonald Jackie says
Thank you for your lovely description. My friend is moving to Benharafe (just along the coast from Almunecar) in a couple of weeks & I’m coming with her for a couple of weeks to help her settle in! We will be exploring the area & we will definatly visit Almunecar! Lovely travel blog! Jackie x
Lorraine Starkey says
Brilliant! Having a month in La Herradurra during November and the information and pics are absolutely invaluable, a big thank you!! Really feeling excited about visiting places, beaches and restaurants you recommend. Love living in the Yorkshire Dales but the winter time can be rubbish!!
Jess Gibson says
Oh fantastic! It’s such a great area. I love La Herradura as well. You can do a great coastal walk from La Herradura to Almunecar (via the Nudist beach!). Enjoy your time away x
Antonio Vaquero says
Thank you for your post! I am originally from Almunecar but I have been living in the UK for 7 years now. It makes me feel very proud to see that someone as well travelled as you are, appreciate the singularities of our beautiful town. It is definitely a charming beautiful coastal town, not spoilt as other places of the Costa del Sol might be. There you can truly live the real andalusian lifestyle, mix with the locals, enjoy the food and the rich culture at a slow pace 🙂
Jess Gibson says
Thank you for your comment! I love Almunecar so much and go back every year as my parents now have a holiday home there. Its a vert special place and unique on the Costa del Sol x
Josephine Cunningham says
Sounds fabulous..just getting on a bus at the moment from frigilana to nerja and wondering where to visit next time. Got the name on the side of the bus and found your blog. Next holiday sorted..I have to agree the spanish run places are far nicer. Thank you!
Thank you very much for this article, Im from almuñecar
Ed Welter says
It was fun to read this, as we have been living here for almost 2 years now for many of the reasons you listed (and more) having come from the West Coast of the USA. There is a terrific local market with stalls of fresh fruits, meats, fish and bakery items. There is weekly outdoor clothes market and then a flea market. There are lots of small hidden gems here too like the multitude of Roman aqueducts or the old Roman bridge that has had no attention given it but is neat to discover (and the same goes with a two thousand year old Phoenician cemetery). The firework celebration they do in mid-August is jaw-dropping…the best I have every seen anywhere in the world. As to restaurants, Pepe’s wouldn’t be on my list at all but “De la Flor”, “Arbo Blanco” and “Francisco II” would be. There are also known restaurants for great filling tapas where for the price of a couple of drinks, you will get full just on the great tapas (places like Antonias). This list goes on an on…
Hi I am also going to move to from the West Coast. I am interested in talking to you about what knowledge or help you may be able to give me.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess Gibson says
Hi Valerie! Feel free to email me email@example.com 🙂
Margaret Messinger says
I have read a lot of posts about Almuñécar, but yours has resonated with me.
I have a place secured there for 10 months. Looking forward to my Sea view from my terrace. I arrive September 2023 until June 30th.
Cannot wait to walk or cycle along the Paseo, or further.
Don’t mind if it is quiet during the winter. I think there will be plenty to explore. The weather will be fine. I’m not interested in beach colour or whether it is sandy or shingled. I just want to have the Med. near.
If you are still around…do get in touch.
Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) says
Love this! We are actually family travel bloggers with our home base in Almuñécar. It is great to see you fell in love with it too and all for the same reasons.
Can’t wait to visit in two weeks, thanks for the recommendation and great write up on it!
Thanks Michael! I’m sure the villa will treat you well 🙂
Czesława Kopaczka says
Cudowny opis i zdjęcia. Byłam w Motril i Almunecar i masz rację – małe hiszpańskie miasteczka są cudowne !!! Pozdrawiam serdecznie.
not happy with you 😉
Why give away this beautifull spot? at least you didn’t mention Playa Canuello, our favourite beach in the
natural parc Maro-Cerrogordo.
If you want you can visit my website about Almuñécar, but don’t tell anybody!
Absolutely what a hidden gem!
Lovely photos, Jess and a nice summary of the lovely Spanish town of Almuñecar. The eastern Costa del Sol (to the east of Málaga city) gets tarred with the same brush as the western Costa del Sol – but they are SO different. The eastern side is much more authentic with fewer tourists too.
Happy travels 🙂
Hi Marianne. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. You’re so right about how the East is perceived. To be honest, I had these preconceptions myself before I went, and I was so pleasantly surprised when I got there. I can’t wait to go back! Happy travels and Happy New Year x
Hey Jess, I’m taking a 2 week holiday to Spain in February. What was your family’s exact itinerary of this trip?
You had me at churros and chocolate! Looks gorgeous. Love the white and black bikini too!
Thanks Rebecca! The churros were to die for, and the bikini is from River Island 🙂
Catherine Lux* (@luxlifeblog) says
It looks so beautiful! I love the buildings, they’re just gorgeous. I haven’t been to Spain for years but would love to go back next summer.
C x | Lux Life
Thanks for your comment lovely! It was my first trip to main land spain for yonks, so worth it! I think the smaller towns are totally overlooked 🙂 x
emily grace says
wow 🙂 I lived on the east coast of Spain for three months, and this makes me really miss the old town areas of large cities… so beautiful!
Thanks for stopping by Emily 🙂 It’s such a beautiful part of the world. You’re lucky you got to stay there for 3 months.x
Wow! Every photo has so much life. I can only imagine that you have a perfect year round tan 🙂
Ah thanks so much Janiece! I love photography, and I am always working on the tan 😉 x
Fantastic, what a gorgeous place! I am going!