As seen here on the side of my beach-loving sister’s suitcase parked up in La Herradura a couple of years ago, the real saying goes…
“If you are lucky enough to live at the beach, you are lucky enough!”
And in 2020, if you don’t live at or near the beach then you will indeed be lucky to get there this year.
Sadly, the GranadaSpain team will not make it this summer, not until the autumn perhaps. It will be the first time for over a decade that we haven’t made it onto some sunny Mediterranean beach and into the sea. And I realise how lucky we’ve been and how much we humans actually need to be by the water.
It is said that we have a deep biological connection with water and that just being by the sea can trigger a chemical response in our brains. The beach can indeed induce a sense of calm and well being. How often have you sat watching the tide, the sun sparkling on the water, felt the sand between your toes, and lost yourself for a moment, or moments, to the sounds of the waves?
So, while I daydream of the beach and long lunches with friends and family at my favourite chirringuito, for those of you who are ‘lucky enough’, here are some recommendations.
"If you are lucky enough to live at the beach, you are lucky enough"
My Granada beach bucket list for 2020
1. La Herradura
My favourite place on the Granada coast. Named for its horseshoe shape, La Herradura is a long, spacious urban beach with all the amenities and beautiful clear waters. If you get there early enough there is plenty of free on-street parking at the western end, which gives way to pay and display at the eastern end.
Popular with the locals, La Herradura is a great family beach with access to shops and cafes as well as a number of playgrounds to keep the little ones amused. There are also plenty of other activities such as kayaking, paragliding and scuba diving.
Sunbeds and umbrellas are available for hire all along the beach, but you’ll also find plenty of spots to set up your own beach camp near your favourite chirringuito.
A favourite spot at La Herradura is La Playilla, a small cove at the far eastern end. It can be accessed direct from the shoreline or from the road just as it starts to wind up to the headland of Punta de la Mona. This is a great spot for swimming especially in the morning before it gets too busy.
Herradura sunset | GranadaSpain
2. Lunch on the beach
Over the years, my family and I have tirelessly devoted ourselves to the task of discovering the best chirringitos on the Granada coast. And La Herradura has always come up trumps when it comes to lunch on the beach.
Several bars and restaurant can be found on the Paseo Marítimo, but for us, it normally comes down to a choice between Chirringuito Bueno, La Sardina or El Bambú. I’m glad to report that all three re-opened in June and are back in business for the summer.
These places all offer similar menus specialising in seafood and quality meat a la plancha. My dream lunch would involve a steaming bowl of almejas – clams – or gambas a la plancha – grilled prawns – and a cold glass of white wine.
At the far eastern end, nearest to La Playilla is El chambao de Joaquin, another good spot for lunch or a late afternoon cocktail or icecream treat.
Almejas al vapor | GranadaSpain
3. La Cabria and Curumbico
No holiday on the coast is complete without a day trip to another favourite beach. La Cabria is a relatively quiet natural beach that is popular with families and locals.
Situated east of Almuñécar, it is accessed from the coast road by a dirt track that runs along the dry river bed. Parking is free down by the beach, although you might want to arrive early to get a good spot.
La Cabria is a beautiful beach and one of its attractions is the path that you can take at its eastern end to access another more remote and unspoiled beach. Play Curumbico is a secluded cove which offers a finer grade of sand and so easier access into the sea for wonderful swimming in clear, calm waters.
There are no amenities on Curumbico, but La Cabria itself has two chirringuitos Tito Yayo and Casa Antonio where I have spent many happy hours sitting in the dappled shade eating, drinking and enjoying the view of the sea.
It’s a good idea to book for lunch as soon as you arrive on the beach to make sure you get a table.
Gambas at Casa Antonio | GranadaSpain
4. La Charca and El Peñon
La Charca/Solmar, is my favourite of the Salobreña beaches. It was the first beach on the Costa Tropical that I set foot on when we moved to Spain because it’s one of the first beaches that you come to if you drive in a straight line from Granada, which is exactly what we did.
Apart from nostalgia, it won’t surprise you to read that one of the main attractions of this beach for me is lunch. Here there is one winner hands-down and that is El Peñon. This restaurant is found on the beach right at the foot of the rocky outcrop known as El Peñon that separates the La Charca from the smaller beach of La Guardia. The food here is exceptional and you should definitely book ahead if you want to be sure of a table.
If you don’t make it here for lunch then it’s definitely worth the trip in the evening to have dinner on the sand while the sun goes down over La Guardia beach. You may even catch some live music or flamenco dancing in the evening.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb El Peñon for great views of La Guardia playa to the west and La Charca to the east. Another attraction of this beach for children is the river outlet at the western end. Cold water from the mountains reaches the sea here and offers some freshwater paddling right on the beach.
Sunset at El Peñon | GranadaSpain
5. Dinner at Marina del Este
If we’re not having dinner on the beach at La Herradura or El Peñon, the next favourite spot is the slightly more up-market Marina del Este.
Located between Almuñécar and La Herradura, on the eastern side of Punta de la Mona, this quiet marina offers boutiques and restaurants as well as sailing trips, dive trips and moorings for boats and yachts.
You can sit at a table out on the street right at the water’s edge and admire all the super boats in the harbour (and throw bread to the fish). As you walk down the street past the restaurants the waiters will come out to greet you and attempt to entice you into their establishments.
We usually go to Restaurant David ‘Chema’, which is the last place you pass on the left, but I can also recommend Salazón and Altamar for seafood and pizzas, which keep the kids happy. While we’re pushing the boat out, it’s here that I might treat myself to chulettas de cordero – lamb chops – and french fries.
Looking east from Punta de la Mona | GranadaSpain
And the list goes on…
So there you have it. These are the places I would go if I were lucky enough to make it to the beach for summer 2020. I’m so glad to know that my favourite chirringuitos are back in business after lockdown, even if I won’t be able to visit until next year.
Of course, there are many more beautiful beaches to visit and places to stay. Also worth mentioning as you travel east along the coast you’ll find picturesque Playa Cotobro, family favourite Calahonda and the secluded natural beach Playa Rijana.
What’s on your beach bucket list?
If you’d like to share your experiences on the Costa Tropical or your favourite beach destination, please leave us a comment below.
Find our bucket list beaches on the map below
|Paseo Andrés Segovia, 17, 18697 La Herradura, Granada, Spain|
La Herradura is a fabulous, popular beach
Sheltered La Herradura Bay, so named after its horseshoe shape, is the place to go for water sports and also boasts and variety of restaurants along the seafront. It is very popular with locals.
|Calle Ctra. de la Playa, 49, 18690 Almuñécar, Granada, Spain|
A sheltered cove tucked in to the rocks at the eastern end of La Herradura Playa.
Cabria & Curumbico
|Calle Barranco Cabría, 7, 18690 Almuñécar, Granada, Spain|
A great family beach
One of our favourites. Easy to access, ideal for families, with two great restaurants and sunbeds and umbrellas to hire.
La Charca & El Peñon
|Playa de la Charca/Salomar, 18680, Granada, Spain|
A popular urban beach
Another favourite. A wide, open beach with easy access and plenty of parking and chirringuitos.
Marina del Este
|Calle Mar Menor, 4, 18690 Almuñécar, Granada, Spain|
Quiet marina with great restaurants
Located between Almuñécar and La Herradura, on the eastern side of Punta de la Mona, this quiet marina offers boutiques and restaurants as well as sailing trips, diving and moorings for boats and yachts.