THEY sound like a bunch of mafia hoods, but, in fact, they’re the main towns on the Costa Tropical in Granada province. And if you’re looking for a short (or long) winter break, this could be just the place to go.
Almuñécar is a town of around 12,000 permanent inhabitants set between two bays. Although there are several high rise hotels on the seafront, they’re not terribly offensive. Overall, the town has a gentle, clean-looking feel. It boasts a delightful park with the remains of Roman salazones (salted fish stores), a modern aquarium with 19 tanks swarming with remarkable looking fish and other sea creatures, a rum factory, a fascinating sugar museum and a sumptuous spa, which is open to the public.
Round the corner to the west is Herradura with its exclusive yacht harbour, and the land round about is stuffed full with tropical fruits, such as avocado, mango and chirimoya, the main agricultural crops round here.
Salobreña, the smaller of the three main towns on this coast, is set inland on a rocky outcrop, in the middle of fertile farmland. There is a small tourist development behind the beach, but it doesn’t trouble the eye too much.
The castle at the top of the old town is worth a visit. It’s well preserved and the views are marvellous in all directions. The narrow streets meander around the hill and small old inns and taverns beckon.
Motril is the largest town around here with 28,000 inhabitants. The original settlement was set well back from the sea as a defence against sea-going marauders. Nowadays, Motril is a thriving, bustling centre, whose industry is based on fishing and agriculture. There is no beach and little tourism here. Visits to the wholesale fish market and a fruit packing factory are both fascinating.
So, if you fancy an escape from the cold weather at the moment, a trip to this sub-tropical micro-climate (average winter daytime temperature 18oC) could be just what the doctor ordered.