The province of Granada has a range of climates, from the alpine vegetation in the Sierra Nevada mountains right through to the tropical coastline of Motril, where winter temperatures average 15ºC. The Costa Tropical is a fantastic location for Water sports and also for discovering the local history which goes back at least to the Bronze age, Phoenicians, Romans and Arab settlements have left archaelogical remains in this area.

Here´s my A to Z guide to the area:

  • Avocadoes are grown locally on the Costa Tropical, you can see them along the roads, they are trees with very dark green leaves. While visiting why not try a Tropical Salad? It´s one of my favourite especially in the summer. Local oranges, wedges of avocado, lettuce and mango all mixed for a fruity refreshing starter.
  • Beaches along the coast are different beaches, some small rocky bays and other larger beaches with sand and pebbles. Calahonda, Playa Granada, Salobreña are just a few of the places that I can recommend. See the video below for more information:

  • Canyon jumping along the Rio Verde until you reach Almuñecar is a great activity if you don´t mind getting a bit wet. This is bascially hiking down a knee deep river  and jumping over waterfalls. Al Andalus Activa  The surroundings of the Sierra de la Almijara make a perfect outdoor setting. You can choose hiking routes and day out on Quad bikes too.
  • Day of the Virgen del Carmen is celebrated on July 16th in both Almuñecar & in La Herradura. A procession of the Virgen in boat and on the beach, accompanied with a firework show and other festivities such as gastronomic and musical events.
  • Espeto the typical way to enjoy fish on this part of the coast. You can see old fishing boats along the beach with ashes in. The fish are prepared on stakes on put onto this bonfire style barbecue.
  • Flying above the coastline, choose a hand gliding activity to get a birds eye view of the hills and the beaches. There are several companies who can offer these trips. Fly Almuñecar & Parapente Tropical are links to check out.

  • Golf get a round in with views of the sea at Los Moriscos Golf course just outside of Motril. It is an 18 hole course with a driving range, club house and a lovely restaurant.
  • Horseshoe Bay or La Herradura in Spanish is a great resort for windsurfing, jetski or even for a day at the beach. It´s well known for its sheltered crystal clear waters.
  • International Classic Guitar Competition and also the Andrés Segovia composition Competition. Entries are sent in each November and the competition actually takes place during the first week of the year. This annual event attracts leading classical guitarists under 35 years of age from around the world, promoting the study of guitar music and well as commemorating the Andalusian virtuoso guitarrist Andres Segovia.
  • Jazz on the Coast is another Costa Tropical music event, usually held Mid July. The Jazz concierts are held in Almuñecar´s Parque El Majuelo over several days in the summer attracting important jazz musicians to play with the stunning castle as backdrop to the stage.
  • Kids. Here are a few ideas of things they may like to see, the Aqua Tropic Almuñecar water park is sure to be a hit, especially on a hot day. (it´s on the Paseo Vellila) Also in Almunecar there is the Bird park Loro Sexi which has over a thousand birds to see, parrots, swans, ostriches… then there is the Aquarium Acuario Almuñecar  which is in the centre of the town.  A good idea when it´s too hot or too windy for the beach.
  • Leche Rizada, a refreshing milky drink with a sprinkling of cinnamon made to a recipe for the last 50 years in Motril by the Perandrés family.  Try this at their Ice cream shop in Motril on the Salobreña Avenue or in Torrenueva.
  • Motril, the 2nd largest town in Granada province has a delicous almond cake called Torta Real de Motril. Information about this sweet dessert was first recorded back in 1854 although this has been passed on through at least 5 generations. Almonds are also locally produced in Granada and the culinary use is directly inherited from the arab influence of the Costa Tropicals history.
  • Nerja, The beautiful caves named in Spanish as Cuevas de Nerja are a great day out and just a 20 minute drive from the Tropical Coast. Amazing underground caves with stalagmite formations and large chambers. They were discovered by accident in 1959 by some local boys playing in the area. In summer classical music concerts are held in this beautiful setting.
  • Olivares is an International food and drink store in Almuñecar, but there are many things on offer for the large expat community in the area. Fish & Chip shops, International book shops such as the one in Salobreña, British pubs and supermarkets can be found too. A recent shop to open in Almuñecar (opposite the Bar el Faro) is La Mariposa. (pictured below) They stock clothes from British labels such as Wallis, Marks & Spencers etc. The prices are reasonable and they have a range of sizes. 
  • Papayas, Persimmon, Mangoes, Chirimoya & Bananas are all grown locally. Mid October the locals celebrate for a week the Chirimoya harvest in the Torrecuevas part of Almuñécar. See my other post about this: Local Seasonal Fruit
  • Quisquilla de Motril, a kind of local shrimp, this and other great seafood and shellfish can be found at the markets and fishmongers around the Costa Tropical. In Granada itself the majority of restaurants also serve fish from Motril. A good seafood restaurant is Katena in Playa Granada – Motril. This is a family business running since 1960. Another good place is La Viña de Mar in Vellila. (Red pepper Salad- photo from Viña del Mar)
  • Rum from Motril, an excellent quality Ron de Motril made from sugar cane. The brand is Ron Montero, make sure you try some. Also you can see in Motril the Casa de las Palmas which was a sugar mill in the 16th century.
  • Sexi is the old name for Almuñecar, this settlement was founded by the Phoenicians. Archaelogical finds weren´t made until the 1950´s. There really are some great things to see in museums and exhibitions around the beach resorts and in the rest of Granada province. Speak to the tourist information folks in Almuñecar and they can give you maps, leaflets and information about things you might like to see.
  • Trekking on horseback along the beach or along forest paths in the Peña Escrita Park. Speak about your day trip to the British riding team at Herradura Riding Centre  
  • Underwater diving in the clear turquoise waters in this area is particularly good. The best dive sites are located around Punta de la Mona. You get info in La herradura or here Scuba Tropical there is plenty of marine life to see when you dive or snorkel and underwater caves and grottos to explore with a guide.
  • Velilla is a quiet beach cove just outside the main town of Almuñecar. There is a lovely hotel here called the Bahia Tropical which is great for families. In this bay there are also a couple a good restaurants, the Viña del Mar who do fantastic fish, I usually have their Lenguado Menuiere but the mixed fish grill is also fabulous. The highlight of visiting this place is their homemade Mango sorbet whichtastes like mashed up mangos. Yum! The Iguana playa bar next door offers greek and meditteranean food. They also some great fruit smoothies and cocktails.

  • Watchtowers all along the coast of Granada. These towers were there to prevent pirate attacks over hundreds of years. Communication along the coastline was by smoke signals which proved very effective. In 1764 the towers were reinforced and improved as Spain was defending itself from British attack at the time. The 9 watchtowers we can see today, date from 16th – 18th centuries.
  • Xalubina is the old name for the white town of Salobreña, a white coastel town topped with a 10th Century Castle. This Moorish fortress makes it well worth the hike up the hill, great views from there! In nearby Almuñecar the San Miguel Castle was established by the Phoenicians in the 7th Century. It is well conserved and is open to visitors.
  • Yachts at Marina del Este port. You can get sailing lessons there or you even have a day out on a boat Granada Sailing can arrange a private boat ride out to sea. They also offer half days too.
  •  Zen need some time to unwind? Then I can recommend two great places. Head to Sumo, a chill out beach shack at Playa Granada. (just outside Motril) They are open from midday until the early hours. You can watch the sun go down while sipping a mojito or have coffee after lunch watching the waves on the beach on a cushioned wicker chair. Another favourite haunt of mine in the Calabajio Restaurante just outside Velilla. They have a fabulous terrace overlooking the Calabajio bay and do fabulous food.