The Costa Tropical
by Robert Bovington
The Costa Tropical is the coastal region of the province of Granada sandwiched between the Costa del Sol to the west and the Costa Almería in the east. It is called the Costa Tropical because of the exotic fruits that grow there. Its unique microclimate has enabled the cultivation of chirimoya, mango, kiwi, avocado and sugar cane.
There are some delightful stretches of this coastal region. In particular, Almuñecar and Salobreña are extremely attractive.
Almuñecar derives from the Arabic name Hins-al-Monacar, or fortress city. The old town is strategically positioned on the top of a hill. The town has a long history dating from Phoenician times and much evidence of its historic past can be found there – the Castillo de San Miguel being the most obvious example. There are relics of its Roman occupants – aqueducts, baths, bridges, tombs and palaces. Evidence of the Moors occupation can be seen in the streets and buildings of the old town.
Other sites are the necropolis from the 7th century BC, a 4th century fish salting plant and a number of churches dating from the Christian reconquest.
Salobreña is rather splendid especially as viewed from a distance. It has been described as the Jewel of the Tropical Coast – swathes of whitewashed houses tumble down the sides of the Gran Peñón, a rocky outcrop crowned by a Moorish castle. The old town’s narrow streets are awash with bougainvillaea. From here one can look down on orchards of sub-tropical fruit trees and sugar cane plantations as well as Salobrena’s modern development – not the ugly tower blocks of its Costa del Sol neighbours but low-rise, attractive apartments gracefully spreading out towards the shoreline and the beaches of the Costa Tropical.
The biggest town in these parts is Motril. In the 18th century it was a small fishing village. Nowadays it is primarily a fishing port. It does have some attractive beaches and it is handily placed for driving to Granada and the Alpujarras. Its only claim to fame is the fact that Boabdil, the last king of Granada, lived there.
extract from “Spanish Impressions” by Robert Bovington
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