La Herradura is a municipality of Almuñécar which lies 20 kilometers to the east and its over 3000 inhabitants are keen service providers to the tourist industry.
The little fishing village is surrounded on both sides by two points, Punta de la Mona and Maro – Cerro Gordo. Each point is capped with an ancient Roman tower that were once used for protection against pirates coming from Africa.
The renowned Punta de la Mona urbanization was once home to Andrés Segovia. Segovia was the virtuoso classical Spanish guitarist who is thought of as the father of the modern classical guitar movement. He is well-known all over Spain. La Herradura’s main beachfront road was named in honor of the much beloved musician.
La Herradura is full of fun things to do for the adults and the kids. There are parks, amazing beaches, great hiking trails, tons of water activities and even a castle to explore.
- La Herradura Castle – Protected by two towers to the east and west and nestled among the fruit trees behind the La Herradura beach you will find this historic castle by the same name. This castle was built to communicate with the two towers (Punta de la Mona and Cerro Gordo) that sit on the top of each point in the bay, keeping vigilant against pirates that threatened the area. The monument was built in the 18th century during the reign of Carlos III. It was built around 1768 as part of the coastal vigilance and defense strategy of the time, along with the towers of Cerro Gordo and Punta de la Mona. At night bonfires were lit as a warning and smoke signals were used during the daylight hours. The towers and castle were in a strategic position to defend the important city of Granada as well. During that time the castle would have sat beach front. Today, with the changes in sea levels, it sits further back from the coast. During the war of Independence, the castle was attacked. It was taken over by the French until the brave Mayor of Otivar recaptured it with help from his guerilla soldiers. In time the structure was abandoned and was later used to store livestock. More recently it was used by the Guardia Civil. Today you can’t go inside because it is being renovated in hopes of being used as a cultural center or other government office.
- Sitting on top of the great Cerro Gordo Point is an ancient 16th century Arab watchtower. It lies within the eastern end of the Natural reserve of Cerro Gordo & Marro. It was once used as a defence tower guarding against pirates and corsairs that were constantly attacking within the La Herradura area. It was also part of a very elaborate communication system designed by the moors to signal when boats were approaching. This particular tower would signal to the La Herradura castle below and also to the Punta de la Mona tower across the bay which in turn could alert the town of neighboring Almuñecar. The tower itself is in relatively good condition and you can walk right up to it via a dirt path that runs behind the restaurant ‘El Mirador’. The path is a bit precarious in places so watch your step. The views from here are breathtaking and will not be forgotten, it is said to have the most incredible views along the coast. You are able to see past Motril to the east and almost to Malaga to the west.
- Located along the main beach road at the corner of Andrés Segovia and Paseo Marítimo (the intersection where you exit town) is the monument dedicated to the Shipwrecked Sailors. The statue is surrounded by a cluster of palm trees, rocks and park benches and has become a popular gathering place for the locals. This monument is a tribute to one of Spain’s greatest naval tragedies; to the sailors that lost their lives in this very bay. It was a tragic shipwreck that the Spanish Armada suffered the 19th of October 1562. It took place during the reign of Felipe II when the aim was to stop Turkish expansion along the Mediterranean and specifically the Spanish coast. The story goes, that on the 18th of October, under the command of Don Juan de Mendoza, 28 galleys (ships) set sail along the coast of Spain. The ships departed from the port of Malaga full of supplies and with the wives and families of the soldiers on board. A strong storm took the fleet by surprise so they decided to hide out in La Herradura Bay for cover. In the morning the storm returned again unexpectedly, keeping the fleet trapped within the bay. The ships crashed into each other wildly which ended with the sinking of 25 of the 28 galleys. Five thousand (5000) people lost their lives that day. The remains of the shipwreck lie somewhere beneath the waters nearby, still waiting to be found.
- Marina Del Este: 10-minutes west of the town of Almuñécar are the well-known and most popular areas to stay in La Herradura, the Marina del Este and the Punta de la Mona. The Marina is a quiet, secluded port with berths for just over 200 boats; one of the only up-scale marinas on the southern Spanish coast. Diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing and swimming are all enjoyed here during the warm summer months, as well as long moonlit after-dinner walks along the water. This is a wonderful place to visit where you can stroll through the Marina shops and enjoy a delicious meal right on the water. The kids will love feeding the fish that swim up for a mid-day snack! Renting a boat for the day is also a very popular activity here.
- Punta De La Mona: Covered in Pine trees and colorful Bougainville, the Punta de la Mona was once home to the famous flamenco guitarist, Andrés Segovia, and today boasts a 4-star luxury hotel and numerous high-end residences. It’s one of the most sought-after areas in southern Spain for luxury second homes and vacation rentals.
- The existing old town in La Herradura is typical for this part of the coast – here you will find small, whitewashed homes with doorways opening onto tiny streets, neighbors sitting on park benches exchanging the news of the day, and local fishermen reveling in their catch. Its pretty streets are tiled, and the walls are adorned with hundreds of colorful pots… spilling over with red and pink Geraniums. La Herradura’s old town consists mostly of Spanish families that have lived here for centuries, and it hasn’t changed much over the years…fortunately it still retains its authentic Spanish feel.
- La Herradura has been blessed with astounding beauty, and its beaches are the reason why. There are 4 wonderful beaches in town, most with all the amenities; restaurants, bars, shops, kayaking, paddle boarding and more.
- Once a hermitage but later designated as the local parish church in 1907, it derives its name from the patron saint of La Herradura, San Jose. It has a tall white bell tower and is used today for the town’s local church services and weddings. There is a small shaded patio off to one side with a prayer area for giving thanks. Candles are lit daily.
- Sitting in the middle of the Pine forest atop the Punta de la Mona urbanization you will find this little gem. The Ermita De San Jose & Santa Rita is a small church with fantastic views of Almuñécar to the east. The area surrounding the ermita is also very beautiful and a nice place for walking. You can even climb up to the Tower above for more amazing views.
- Sitting atop the Punta de la Mona urbanization is another Arab watchtower, this one is from the 18th century. It overlooks the Marina del Este below and has views to Almuñécar and Cerro Gordo. You can access the tower from the stone staircase just above the Ermita or you can drive all the way to the top through the La Aldea neighborhood.
- La Herradura is also well-known for its year-round, outdoor sports-oriented activities. Along the waterfront portion of town the rich marine life, relatively calm waters and 2 km. long beach are attractive to scuba divers, swimmers, boaters, sunseekers, and hang gliders – and on occasion, windsurfers as well. Moving inland, across the highway, you can also find wonderful hiking trails, hillside villas, and panoramic views of the coastline. These wonderful trails can also be found on both sides of the bay and especially in the area around the Cerro Gordo National Park. A visit to each of the Roman towers is well worth your time, mostly because the views from the top are some of the best you will find along the entire coastline. One particularly breathtaking view is of the sunset from the Maro – Cerro Gordo road above town, as the colors range from majestic lavenders and purples to deep oranges, depending on the season.