Almuñécar Things to Do

  • A few bonsai........
    A few bonsai........
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  • Tourist info office
    Tourist info office
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  • Sculpture....
    Sculpture....
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Most Recent Things to Do in Almuñécar

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    Castillo de San Miguel

    by leics Written Feb 8, 2014

    This is a pretty good castle, as castles go, and is certainly worth the trek uphill through the old town to the tip of the promontory.

    It's a very old fortified site, first created around 100BC by the Phoenicians and then expanded by the Romans during their period of control over Sexi (as it was then).

    But it was during the Moorish occupation that most of the existing castle was created. There were once forty towers, three gates and numerous buildings within the walls including a set of baths, a mosque, luxurious living quarters and...inevitably...a dungeon (basically a hole in the ground with outwardly sloping sides which prevented anyone from climbing out).

    The Moors controlled the area known as Al-Andalus from the early 700s. During much of the Nasrid dynasty, from 1232-1492, there was so little threat to the ruler's control that the castle was used as a sort of 'holiday villa' (the Nasrid rulers were based in Granada), with appropriate accommodation provided.

    Moorish occupation ended in 1489, when Christian forces seized control of Almunecar and the castle was subsequently re-fortified and, to some extent, rebuilt...and given the name 'San Miguel'.

    Sadly, many of the interior buildings were destroyed in 1812 (the Peninsular War) as a result of the British bombardment of the occupying French troops and the site became the town cemetery...and it continued to be used as the town cemetery until 1986.

    It was in 1986 that the gradual process of renovation and restoration began. It's not a speedy process but, from my visit, much excellent work has been done. New additions are very obvious...as they should be...and it is easy to see which parts of the castle are original and which are not. Major areas are labelled and there is an excellent 'holographic' discussion between a Christian, a Moor and a Roman which not only gives an overview of the castle's history but also explains basic differences in culture, religion and daily lives.

    There is a small museum on site as well, with scale models of the castle at various periods and a few artefacts on show.

    Open Tuesday to Saturday 1030-13:30 and 17:00-19:30 (closes earlier in the winter months)
    Sunday 10:30-14:00

    Entrance in January 2014 was 2.35 euro.

    Landward walls and towers Interior Moorish baths Seaward fortifications Northern walls
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    Cueva de Siete Palacios...more Roman evidence

    by leics Written Feb 2, 2014

    Although the Spanish names means 'caves of the seven palaces' this museum is not in a cave at all. It is housed in the vaulted basement of a Roman building which no longer exists. There are a series of such vaults around the base of the hill of San Miguel, now topped by the castle, and some are still inhabited. In fact, the vaults now used as a museum of Roman artefacts were themselves inhabited until fairly recent years.

    Before being opened as a museum archaeological excavations took place. They revealed settlement on the site right back to the late Bronze Age through the Phoenician period to the arrival of the Romans. You can see part of the excavations through the museum floor.

    It's not a huge museum, and much of the labelling is in Spanish only, but it does have some fascinating items. I particularly liked the loom weights and the huge amphora which had clearly long been under the seas.

    The most important item is an Egyptian urn used for cremation remains but once belonging to Pharaoh Apophis I, with hieroglyphic inscription to prove it. It's the oldest item of its type (made between 1700 and 1600 BC) found in the Mediterranean and the oldest piece of writing found in Spain. It almost certainly arrived in Spain with the Phoenicians.

    Museum entrance is just 2.35 euro.

    Open: Tuesday to Saturday 1030 to 1330 and 1700 to 1930, Sunday 1030 to 1400.

    Roman vaults at Siete Palacios Sea-shelled amphora Loom weights Egyptian urn Roman altar
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    Iglesia de la Encarnacion

    by leics Written Feb 2, 2014

    As soon as Almunecar came under Christian control (1489) a church was built...probably on the site of the largest mosque, as was usual....but little is known about it. It is possible that it did not stand where the Iglesias de la Incarnation now stands. Historical documents show that stone from the old church was taken to build the new, so perhaps they just needed a larger church on a larger site?

    Work probably began around 1557 and the church was completed in 1600. You can see that date on the building itself. The tower was completed a year later.

    The whole building was renovated in 2000, for its 400th anniversary, and is consequently (imo) rather too 'new' inside. But I was pleased to see some old frescoes on the side-chapel arches had either been uncovered or preserved.

    Worth popping in as you explore the lower part of Almunecar's old town.

    Iglesia de la Encarnacion Frescoes Domed ceiling Date and sundial Frescoes 2
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    Find the Roman baths.......

    by leics Written Feb 2, 2014

    Almunecar was an important Roman settlement and trading port, known as Sexi and later created 'Firmium Julium Sexi' in recognition of its loyalty to the Empire.

    Public baths were essential in all Roman and Romanicised settlements because they served such an important function in everyday life. The baths were where Romans went every day to meet their friends, to exercise, to gossip, to do business, to relax, to play games, to get a massage...to 'network'. All baths had separate hours for men and women but a daily visit was the norm for both genders.

    Public baths were always built outside the city limits because of the danger from fire (rooms and water were heated by numerous furnaces under the building), so when you find public baths you can pretty much tell how far the settlement extended.

    Almunecar's baths (at least, those which have been discovered and excavated) lie near the bus station and the coast road. They lie well below existing street level, which is quite usual, an you can get a good view from the pavement/sidewalk above. I suspect the site may be open to the public in the summer months, but the gate was firmly padlocked when I visited.

    Water was brought to the baths...and the rest of Roman Almunecar...by a series of aqueducts. The Romans were excellent at this type of civil engineering. They built five aqueducts in Almunecar and four are still in use for irrigation purposes....pretty impressive for structures which are almost 2000 years old!

    You can see a section of the aqueduct supplying the baths on site, along with the foundations of the various rooms of the building.

    Aqueduct ruins
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    Visit the market

    by leics Updated Feb 2, 2014

    Almunecar has a weekly 'open market on Friday, held in the Paseo Blas Infante (between the bus station and the main coast road). There's a 'flea market' there on Sundays as well. You can easily find it just by looking for the 'Arc de Triomphe' at the entrance to the park.

    The market is open from 1000 to 1400 and I must admit I was amazed by the number of stalls there on the first Friday in January, and by the number of local people who were thoroughly enjoying browsing. Visiting the market is obviously a highlight of the working week. :-)

    The Friday market is officially called 'Mercadillo Los Viernes' but it's known locally as 'Baratillo' because it's so cheap. I have to say that prices were very good indeed for many items (I bought a couple of scarves for just one euro each).

    There can be up to 200 stalls, the majority of which (when I visited) were selling clothing of one type or another. But there were also bags, sweets, household goods, pet foods, toys, honey products, flowers and shrubs, CDs..... There were very few food stalls: I imagine they are to be found in Almuncar's daily food market in the Mercato Municipal, some distance away.

    By 1100 the market was very busy indeed so, like all such places, it's sensible to take care with your valuables. Busy, crowded places all over the world always attract local pickpockets.

    If you're in Almunecar on a Friday (or a Sunday) I'd highly recommend a visit to the market. Even if you don't want to buy anything it's a fascinating insight into local culture.

    It's behind this arch! Honeycomb, bees and honey products Shoes.........
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    Explore the old town streets.

    by leics Written Jan 25, 2014

    Almuncar's old town seemed to me to be divided into two parts.

    The streets in the lower, later, parts were steep but fairly straight and wide enough for e.g. carts (and now, some, for cars). They rise to a small flattish area, where you'll find the 17th century (1600s) Iglesia de la Encarnacion and, around the small-but-pretty Plaza de la Constitucion, restaurants and shops.

    The next part of the old town, rising steeply to the castle, is quite different. Many of its streets are really alleyways, with only a couple wide enough to take cars. Many are stepped and this part is very much a typical Medieval 'maze'....clearly following a much older pattern than the lower part. It was so much of a maze that I found both the occasional sign to e.g. the castle and the otherwise-excellent streetmap from the Tourist Info office did not stop me getting slightly lost on more than one occasion.

    But that didn't matter much. Both 'old towns' are very well-maintained. Not to the extent of being twee and lacking in atmosphere, as I had encountered elsewhere...Almunecar felt very Spanish to me...but the houses were whitewashed, potted plants were on windowsills. It seemed to me a residential area more than anything else and there were certainly far fewer restaurants/cafes/bars than I'd anticipated (not a bad thing). I only saw one or two.

    If you are up for the hills and the walking, an hour or so exploring Almunecar's oldest streets is well worthwhile.

    Steps and cobbles.... Plaza de la Constitucion Cobbles and plants Old town cats enjoying the sun Multiple steps.....
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    Walk the prom (or the beach)..and find the TI.

    by leics Written Jan 25, 2014

    It wasn't my intention to visit the seaside, but I needed to find the Tourist Info office for a decent streetmap so I obviously had to have a look at Almunecar's beach.

    There's a long, wide strip of (naturally) greyish sand, boardwalks and all the requirements for a day in the sun (loungers etc). Very pleasant indeed if you are into beach holidays, though I should think it's busy in season.

    The promenade (on a couple of different levels, with a large underground car park beneath it) is long, modern, clean and also very pleasant. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the sun, not a few shady spots, fountains and sculptures to enjoy.

    The Tourist Information office is housed in a kiosk/booth of its own on the promenade. The lady inside was very helpful (I suspect I alleviated her boredom on an early January day!) and the free streetmap she gave me was both accurate and helpful. She also told me where the nearest public toilets were, which was even more helpful.

    Tourist info office Fountain..... Sculpture.... Beach
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    Visit the Jardin Museo

    by leics Written Jan 25, 2014

    I didn't visit...the museum was open in January but simply not my thing...but when I passed by I was rather intrigued by the idea of a museum devoted to bonsai trees.

    The soothing strains of Enya's music were wafting through the greenery, and I could see several bonsai displayed on stand near the entrance. I imagine it would be a shady and peaceful spot to escape the summer heat for an hour or so.

    A bit more research has told me that this museum is the second most important of its kind in Spain, with the trees displayed over 1500 square metres of winding paths on different levels.

    Opening hours vary according to time of year as well as day.

    July to September 15:
    Monday to Saturday 1030 to 1330 and 1800-2130. Sunday 1000-1400

    September 16 to end October and April 1 to end June:
    Tuesday to Saturday 1030-1400 and 1700-2030 Sunday and Monday 1000-1400

    November 1 to March 31:
    Tuesday to Saturday 1030-1400 and 1700-2030 Sunday 1030-1400

    Entrance is 2 euro, which seems fair enough given the work involved in maintaining any bonsai.

    Entrance A few bonsai........
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    Parque Majuelo & Loro Sexi bird park

    by amapola66 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Parque Mahuelo and Loro Sexy birdpark are right next to each other. El parque Majuelo has a pretty botanical garden with sub-tropical plants from around the world many from Brasil and Cuba and ruins of the fish salting 'factory' which was founded by the Phoenicians in 4th Century BC and therefore - seriously old! There are several "casitas" where you can sit in the shade and enjoy the peace and quiet of the park.

    Just 100 yards from the beach, The Loro Sexi bird park houses 180 different species of birds including doves, peacocks, parrots, cock-a-toos, macaws, swans, ducks, ostriches, etc. There is also a cactus garden. This is a loud and colourful place to visit.

    Antonio's guitar workshop - Parque Majuelo
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    Pick up a copy of COSTA LIVING MAGAZINE!

    by linheath Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is a locally written bilingual magazine with lots of useful info on places to eat, things to do and life in general in this area. Ideal holiday reading. Jokes, puzzles, useful local telephone numbers, and more. There is also a forum called Costaliving Forum. Both magazine and forum are of interest to anybody interested in this area and in particular to those who may be visiting with a view to moving to the area. Highly recommended.
    Available at El Globo Cafe Bar, also recommended, Paseo Almunecar. (above the underground car park).

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    Visit the water park

    by amapola66 Updated Aug 28, 2008

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    A fun day out for the kids without having to go far - The water park on Playa de Velilla which is easy reached on foot from the center of town.

    Featuring various swimming pools with the healthier option of purified seawater, it boasts rapids, slides and the 'black hole' and such the like, it kept our three amused all day. It is not a huge park, just enough for a chilled out days amusement. Covering an area of approximately 18.000 sq. metres, bordering on the Mediterranean on one side and the Velilla promenade on the other.

    There are plenty of 'green zones' where you can set up camp under the shade of some trees, or you can rent a sunbed around the main pool area (cost extra 2.50 euros). Main entry fees vary according to what you're after. A family ticket (2 dults/2 kids) is 36 euros (2008), but you can get a two day pass (adults 18 euros/kids 14 euros) and a weekly pass (adults 33 euros/kids 21) or just go for the afternoon from 3pm (adults 9 euros/kids 6) The park becomes a disco in the evening during summer months .

    Also at extra cost, are safety deposit boxes (3 euros) and a variety of rubber floating things.
    (Recommend you rent one for the Balck Hole or you could spend alot of time queuing).

    The usual food and beverage places can be found or you can take your own picnic (recommended). Apparently, adults can receive a massage while you're there too.

    We parked a rather large van right outside (August '05, car '06, car '08) if not, there is a free (unmade surface) beach side car park a little further up on the same side twards town.

    Aquatropic, Almunecar On the way to the Black Hole Am I really going to go down the Balck Hole?!
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    Visit the weekly market

    by amapola66 Updated Jul 29, 2008

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    Friday mornings behind the (dreaded) MacDonalds - Mostly the usual tacky market stuff, but colourful, cheap and cheerful - What more could you want with the kids in tow. You may even find the odd decent flamenco cd.

    For smaller people, the market feria dresses are much cheaper to buy here. You can also grab an array of flowers for your hair. These are not the authentic feria dresses, which are much heavier and more pricey, but these are lighter for the heat and alot of fun.

    The market also boasted a good cd stall and is much cheaper for hats than the sea front (you will need one if you are not used to the heat).

    Pretty girls with pretty dresses
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    Beach it!

    by amapola66 Updated Jul 4, 2008

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    Almunecar has 19 kms of coastline, incorporating 26 different beaches. These beaches are not white sand; most have pebbles, some have sand, but all have very clear water.

    Based on the western side of town is playa San Cristobal. Here you will find sand, chiringuitos and all facilities. The atmosphere is usually lively, although never too lively (we were there in August and it was just fine and good for the small people). This beach has been awarded the blue flag for cleanlines and facilities.

    We also took a short drive alng the coast (direction Mlaga 4kms) to La Herradura beach. A horseshoe shaped bay, sheltered from the breeze by the hills, it is very popular and yet unspoilt. Beach bars line the promenade and the village of La Herradura can be explored in the evening.

    El Muerto beach is a charming small cove boasting light, fine sand and is reached by a pathway through the rocks.

    The pretty Cotobro beach has attractive retaurants and bars.

    The largest and liveliest beach is Velillla. Popular and close to hotels and apartment blocks, this is rarely a quiet option, but a happy spot for families and fun.

    Nearly all these beaches are good for snorkling and there is an abundance of fish to spot in very shallow water.

    Boats can be hired on the busier beaches, there is a dive school at Marina del Este and La Herradura specialises in windsurfing etc

    Sadly due to global warming which is causing the sea temperature to rise, the med has seen big swarms of jellyfish in shallow waters in recent years. There is now a flag system that warns you if it is safe to swim. We had around 2 days where some of these little monsters arrived, but otherwise it wa ok. You will know when they're there as they're in their thousands! The local council has invested in sea cleaning boats which clear them up pretty quick. They cause a sting which is best treated with vinegar directly on the sting. Nothing serious, but unpleasant all the same.

    Hey, you! Have a cigar! Peace ! Get mucky without getting told off! The snorkle twins
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    Castillo de San Miguel

    by amapola66 Updated Jul 4, 2008

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    "As it has for centuries, the Castillo de San Miguel dominates the Almunecar skyline. Originally built by Romans in the 1st century BC, the Moors developed the castle into an impressive fortress whose defences included three separately walled precincts, 46 towers and turrets and three main gates".

    In the old part of town, the castle is at the top of the hill (recommend you go in the cool of the early morning/evening). In extremely 'good nic' for it's amazing age, this is a must for lovers of castles and there are some lovely views of the town and coastline, so take your camera. For those interested in archaeology, there are some extremely old artifacts in the castle museum.

    *Update* The castle turned out to be almost next door to our little house. Very nice, although you can see the modern refurbs clearly, it still has a good castle vibe ; ) Some evenings there were concerts held. These were of good quality musicianship, in a very medeival night time atmosphere and a bargain at 5 euros to get in. Recommended.

    Castillo de San Miguel - Almunecar
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    Pick up the Sentinella

    by Dramaqueen2 Updated Sep 30, 2007

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    a monthly magazine (A5 size) and free, which gives you information on what's on and where to go. We followed the guide to a Restaurant called the Blu Bar in the centre of Almunecar and it was fantastic!

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