Almunecar has a fascinating historical past. This is very much in evidence in the Old Town, an attractive mix of typical Andalusian houses, bars, shops and al fresco restaurants among its small squares and steep, winding lanes. Founded by the Phoenicians who set up a fish curing industry here, it has a working Roman aqueduct, the medieval Castle of San Miguel, an architectural museum in a cave house; a Columbarium (a family pantheon) and the remains of a Phoenician fish salting factory.
Situated on a hill between two rivers and backed by the glorious Sierra Nevada mountains, the town is short on flat building land, so there are no large apartment blocks like those one the Spanish coast. Combine that with the pale grey, shingle-sanded beaches, you get a different type of tourist. The rocky outcrops, small coves and headlands are popular with divers, the cliffs of Maro Cerro Gordo are popular with hikers and the river Rio Verde is great for canoeing. You can ski in the winter and bathe in the waters of Playa de San Cristobal in the summer.
There’s an alternative vibe to some of the beach bars that thrum with life long into the summer nights and thriving art galleries in the mostly pedestrianised town.
The subtropical climate and verdant valleys are home to a cache of tropical crops from mangos to avocados and kiwis to figs. Many of which feature in the local cuisine, with cactus ice cream and almond desserts regional specialities. Keen readers might recognise Almunecar’s literary pedigree — it serves as the setting in two of British author, Laurie Lee’s works.
There is an established expat community in Almunecar; a mix of mostly British and Scandinavians. Although the high season is abuzz with tourists, the town significantly quietens down from October to April.
This is a town for lovers of traditional, whitewashed villas. Great value apartments are available in nearby urbanisations like the Costa Banana, which is only 10 minutes walk to the centre of town and 15 minutes walk to the beach of San Cristobal.
There is a post office and police station in town and plenty of choices of banks, gyms, playgrounds and supermarkets. Olivares on Calle Mariana Pineda stocks international supermarket brands and the indoor municipal market sells local produce between 9am and 2pm Monday to Saturday.
Málaga airport is closer than Granada airport but both are about a 90 minute drive. Both towns and airports are accessible by bus to and from Almunecar town centre.
The seasonal nature of the tourist trade in Almunecar and the distance to major cities makes finding regular work tricky. People tend to have online or service industry jobs (such as child care, teaching English, translating or sales).
Centro de Salud de Almunecar Medical and Health Center and Centro de Salud La Herradura are the Health Centre options. There is a 24-hour emergency service at Intermedical Suarez Saavedra Almunecar. You’ll find bilingual doctors at the Vithas Salud Almunecar private clinic.
There are several schools in Almunecar covering infant through to Bachillerato years (the equivalent of A-Levels). There is a fee-paying British school – Almunecar International – that serves the whole of this coast.
Produce is in abundance here, so eating out and purchasing groceries is much cheaper than Northern Europe. Housing, food and personal care (pharmacies, hairdressing, cosmetics etc.) are even better value than Málaga or Marbella, for example.