Almuñecar is an historic town situated on the Costa Tropical in southern Spain. The resort is popular with Spanish holidaymakers, although an increasing number of foreign residents have made this town their home in recent years. Almuñecar's history dates back to the 8th century BC when the Phoenicians established a trading post here. After the end of the Roman occupation, the town became an important Moorish stronghold before finally being taken by the Christians in the late 15th century.
Almuñecar's beachfront is divided in two by a large rocky outcrop known as the Penon del Santo. The best beach, Playa de San Cristobal, stretches westwards from this rock, while the Playa Puerta del Mar is located to the east. Close to the Penon del Santo is the Lori Sexi ornothological park which is home to over 1,000 birds. The many species include peacocks, doves, parrots, ostriches and water birds.
Almuñecar's most dominant tourist attraction is the Castillo de San Miguel which overlooks the town. Most of what we see today was built after the Christians recaptured Almuñecar from the Moors in 1489, although there had been a fortification on this site since Roman times. After the Peninsular Wars of the early 19th century, the castle fell into disrepair and used as a cemetery. It was eventually restored in the 1980's and opened to the public. Attached to the castle is a small visitor centre which houses various artifacts excavated from the site. There are more local finds in the Archaeological Museum, including an ancient Egyptian amphora that is thought to be around 3,500 years old.
The castle complex is home to the Alfareria del Castillo pottery, which produces objects inspired by archaeological finds. A short distance from here is the beautiful botanic gardens of the Majuelo park. These gardens contain Europe's biggest collection of sub-tropical plants. In the centre of the park are the remains of a fish-salting workshop that dates back to Phoenician times.
Another important historical attraction is the Roman aqueduct, built during the 1st century AD. Parts of the aqueduct are in excellent condition, including an impressive 70-metre long section with two tiers of arches, located just outside the town.
Almuñecar's nightlife, which comes to life during the summer months, is centred on the old town's Plaza Kelibia and the bars along Playa Puerta del Mar. There are several good restaurants along the seafront, including Restaurante Calabre, which specialises in seafood, and La Galeria, known for its innovative cuisine.
Around 4 miles (7km) to the west of Almuñecar is the little resort of La Herradura, popular for its seafood restaurants, pretty bay and choice of water sports. The warm breezes which rise up in to the hills surrounding the town mean this area is also a magnet for paragliders.
Almuñecar bus station is on the Avenida Juan Carlos I. There are buses from here to Almeria, Granada, Malaga, Nerja and nearby La Herradura. The town's friendly tourist office, which can provide information and maps, is situated near the Parque del Majuelo.