As we have already mentioned, just over half an hour’s drive from Almuñécar, we find the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada, where we can discover the roof of the Iberian Peninsula (Mulhacén at 3,479 metres above sea level), with a series of peaks over 3,000 metres high. After the Alps, it is the highest mountain massif in Europe.
Moreover, since 1986 it has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and three years later it was declared a Natural Park and in 1999 a National Park. Also on the slopes of Pico Veleta (3,396 metres above sea level) is the most southerly ski resort in Europe.
In addition to skiing for almost six months of the year for both professionals and amateurs, in this Natural Park you can enjoy hundreds of nature activities throughout the year, such as:
- Studying its biodiversity
- Many car brands test their vehicle prototypes here.
- It is a common mountain pass on the route of the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Andalusia;
It is also the place chosen by many elite and international athletes to train for the Olympics and other international sporting events in its High Performance Centre (CAR de Sierra Nevada), since its facilities have a total of 22,000 square meters, we find among others an impressive 50m Olympic swimming pool, an outdoor athletics track of 400m, the indoor athletics module, and various multipurpose pavilions; there are hundreds of hiking trails of all levels, with stunning views and landscapes; climbing…
Within the Sierra Nevada Natural Park, there is also the famous region of the Alpujarra, which is a historic region that straddles the provinces of Granada and Almeria, and includes the foothills of the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, as well as the sierras of Lújar, La Contraviesa and Gádor.
The various villages and small towns that make up this comarca lie between a series of valleys and ravines that run down the southern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, their main axis being the great valley of the river Guadalfeo on its way to the Mediterranean Sea on the Granada side, and the river Andarax on the Almería side of the province.
The region is well known for its enormous scenic beauty, its history including the Moorish rebellion of the 16th century, its mineral waters and spas (the village of Lanjarón is famous for its water and its population is one of the longest-lived in Europe due to the mineral water of its springs).
We can say that the Alpujarra is one of the corners with a special charm of Andalusia, for its high altitude landscapes, its curious history, its gastronomy, from Discover Almuñécar we invite you to taste the famous “plato alpujarreño”, and the hams of Trevélez, famous worldwide.
In addition, its valleys and hillsides, where we can easily see mountain goats and other animals, are very fertile but difficult to access for modern machinery, so it has managed to maintain the charm of the farming techniques of yesteryear.
A little further north, about 45 minutes drive from Almuñécar is the city of Granada, capital of the province to which Almuñécar and La Herradura belong, a city that needs no introduction, as it is home to Spain’s most famous and most visited monument, the Alhambra.
But in Granada there is not only the Alhambra, since in front of this imposing medieval citadel, we find the neighbourhoods of the Albaicín which is a World Heritage Site since 1984, and the Sacromonte neighbourhood which is one of the places where it is presumed that Flamenco was born, and where we find the famous Abadía del Sacromonte, with its catacombs and raised in because there is where they found the relics of the bones of San Cecilio (disciple of the apostle Santiago), patron saint of the city; and the third historic quarter of the city, the old Jewish quarter, the Realejo.
Not forgetting the historic centre of the city and its cathedral, where you can visit the crypt of the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile), their daughter Juana la Loca and her husband Felipe el Hermoso, buried in the Royal Chapel at the express wish of the Queen.
But Granada is not only about history, as it is also the seat of one of the most prestigious and traditional universities in Europe, which is why it is a lively city always full of university students, with the first buildings that were built in the 16th century by order of Charles V to house his great University, to which students from all over Spain and part of Europe flock every year, still in use.
And on the other hand, the Parque de las Ciencias, which is an interactive museum of all fields of science.
For all this, and many more attractions that you can discover, don’t forget to visit and get to know Almuñécar: the Sierra Nevada Nature Reserve, the Alpujarra region, or the city of Granada. Because all this is within reach if you spend a few days in Almuñécar or La Herradura.