It’s mid-October, the sun is shining, the temperature is 28 degrees and visitors, many from Britain and Scandinavia, are enjoying the beach – as Irish travel media stroll by. We are visiting Almunecar on Spain’s Costa Tropical Granada.
The weather is not surprising – the temperature in Almunecar is an average 18.5 degrees throughout the year, ranging from 10 degrees in winter to 30 degrees in summer. The town is also easy to reach, being just 40-45 minutes’ drive from Malaga or one hour from Malaga Airport, with the bus costing €8 per person or a taxi around €80 for up to four people.
There are 6,500 hotel bedrooms to choose from among the eight 4-star, six 3-star and five 2-star hotels – and if ITTN’s visit to one 3-star hotel is anything to go by you and your clients can either take those star ratings with a pinch of salt or be more than pleasantly surprised.
The 3-star Hotel Helios is a 4-star hotel in anyone’s language and, as Alicia Guerrero, Head of Reception, said: “We are a 3-star hotel providing our guests with a 4-star service”. The rooms with a view over the beach (which is just across the road) are spacious with large balconies, and there is a great roof-top terrace with jacussi and health spa.
With the weather, access, 19km of coastline, good accommodation and plenty of events and activities on offer, it is not surprising that so many Scandinavians are now visiting Almunecar, particularly senior citizens coming to soak up the winter sun, while in the summer some 85% of visitors are Spanish families. What is surprising is that Irish tour operators and travel agents have yet to promote this seaside destination, which is just 60km east of Malaga (22km further on than Nerja) and 80km from Granada and the Sierra Nevada.
The tropical climate makes Almunecar the only place in Europe where a wide range of tropical fruits grow. These include the town’s ‘speciality’ of custard apples, which are soft and creamy.
Visitors should not miss a visit to Pasteleria Mari-Trini in Baja del Mar to buy carvela mohina, made in a pottery dish of almonds, sugar, flour and a little bread and priced at €2, €5 and €10 for small, medium and large sizes.