Well, it’s all been decided other than putting my actual signature on a lease. I’ll be living in the picturesque Mediterranean coastal city of Almuñécar in Spain! Ever since I received my teaching placement at the primary school in Almuñécar I’ve been researching and trying to decide whether I’d live in Malaga, Granada, or Almuñécar. Now that I’ve decided where I’ll be living I thought I’d highlight some interesting facts I found out about the city while researching it.
Autonomous Community: Andalusia
Comarca: Costa Tropical
Almuñécar is just a 60 minute drive to both the cities of Malaga and Granada. Surrounding Mediterranean cities include Motril, Salobreña, and Nerja.
Population: 26,000 swelling to about 150,000 during the summer months.
Coastline: 19km or 11.8 miles of pristine Mediterranean coastline
Founded: about 800 BC
Average Summer Temperature: 35°C or 95°F
Average Winter Temperature: 15°C or 59°F
Number of Sunny Days per Year: over 300
Almuñécar is the heart of the Costa Tropical. It was originally called Sexi by the Phoenicians, who were the first inhabitants. People living in Almuñécar still often refer to themselves as Sexitanos instead of almuñequeros. Later, the Romans conquered the city and turned it into a rather prosperous fishing village. Ruins of Roman times can still be seen in and around Almuñécar. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths ran the city, and the fishing industry the Roman’s had built declined.
In 711 AD, the Moorish invasion came from north Africa and overtook Almuñécar. The Moors did a lot to improve upon the city, which the Visigoths did not. Most notably, the fishing industry was revived and improved, while they brought over new agriculture techniques that included growing sugar cane. Much of the old town as it is today was designed by the Moors with it’s twisted, tight streets similar to that of the Albayzín in Granada.
After years of Arab rule, the Christians reconquered Almuñécar in 1489 AD. This is marked by the large cross on a rock at the entrance to the harbor: Peñon del Santo. They rebuilt and upgraded the aging castle and renamed it San Miguel. Over the years, the castle had been attacked and defended, which ruined a tower and much of the interior. Today it’s being kept up and restored.
I’ve only been to Almuñécar once before, and it was just for a short day trip to the beach from Granada when I was studying abroad, so while I can do all the research in the world, there’s still a ton I need to do, see, and explore there. There are a few of the main sites in Almuñécar, which I am planning on seeing and elaborating on in further posts, but they are:
Parque Majuelo & Loro Sexi Bird Park
The Parque holds a botanical garden and the Bird park has, you guessed it, birds! Both have respective species from all over the world.
Castillo de San Miguel
The Castillo – or castle – is the aforementioned castle, which sits atop a hill near old town Almuñécar and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and entire city.
Roman and Phoenician Ruins
The ruins can be found throughout the city and outside the city. There are remains of the fishing curing factories as well as an ancient Roman aqueduct.
Why yes, the beach. The thing that probably the majority of visitors come for. Almuñécar has roughly 11.8 miles of coast line.
I’m someone who loves the outdoors: hiking, adventure sports, and basically anything that’s outside and active. Almuñécar has plenty of natural surroundings which I’m sure I will end up exploring at some point over the next year.
Aquatropic Water Park
This water park has attractions for everyone from young children to older adults. I’ll admit that this probably won’t be the first thing I’ll go check out, but it is something I will probably end up visiting at least once so I can at least compare it to my home state’s World’s Largest Waterpark. Yes, who would have thought that would located in Wisconsin?
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The Costa Tropical, and Almuñécar in particular, is said to have some of the best snorkeling in all of Europe. I have limited snorkeling experience and no scuba experience, but hopefully this opportunity will be taken advantage of because if the underwater adventure is this good and this close, why wouldn’t I take advantage of it?
Almuñécar, while smaller than many cities in Spain, is a city that I am definitely excited to live in. Everyone I have discussed this with has been supportive of my decision too. It was difficult for me to look away from Granada since I love that city, but I truly believe that this is the best decision for me. Plus, I may be able to score private lessons easier! Once I arrive I’ll be immersing myself into the culture and community and be reporting back on all of these things to do in Almuñécar.
Oh, and one more interesting fact: The Almuñécar coat of arms showing the floating heads of three Berber pirates because the city held back a Berber pirate raid.
Have you been to Almuñécar? Which of these things would you recommend or not recommend? Is there anything else you would add to this list?