This month we’re stepping (four kilometres to be precise) out of the Axarquía and into… …La Herradura, so called because of its perfect horseshoe-shaped bay; herradura meaning horseshoe in Spanish.
AlthoLa Herradura – The Directory magazineugh there is evidence of the town existing as far back as the bronze-age and later a Moorish settlement including a small castle near the mouth of the river, as well as the origins of the lighthouse on the Punta de la Mona, which in the 18th century became a lookout tower, it is the story of the shipwreck from the Spanish Armada which really puts La Herradura in the history books.
In 1562 the Spanish Armada sheltered at La Herradura from a storm, on its way to Oran, a then Spanish-held city in northern Algeria. When it was thought that the storm had passed the ships attempted to set sail again. However, the wind had changed direction and tragically 25 of the 28 ships in the fleet collided with each other, hit rocks and sunk around Punta de la Mona and Playa Berenguales. It is believed that up to five thousand sailors lost their lives. A further 2000 are said to have been able to swim to shore and survive due to the fact that they were mainly slaves and therefore wearing lighter clothing and fitter than the other wealthier passengers.
The tragedy is even referred to in Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel, Don Quijote, in which he mentions the death of the daughter of Don Alonso de Maraíon, a Knight of Santiago. If you look carefully outside the San Jose church in the town, the immortal words of Cervantes are inscribed and in 1990 a monument in memory to the disaster was placed on the seafront.
La Herradura belongs to the town of Almuñécar, in the province of Granada and as Malaga province is known as the Costa del Sol, the Granada coastline calls itself the Costa Tropical.
Around two kilometres of beach stretch from Cerro Gordo in the west along to Punta de la Mona in the east. A short drive around Punto de la Mona will bring you to the picturesque Marina de Este where moored yachts bob around in the water, while cafés, bars and restaurants offer classy cocktails, fine dining and coffee with stunning views!
La Herradura’s Paseo Marítimo, or promenade, is named after one of Spain’s most famous classical guitarists; the late Andrés Segovia (born 1893, Linares). Innrecognition of his contributions to music and the arts, Segovia was given the title of Marqués de Salobreña by King Juan Carlos 1 in 1981, six years before his death in Madrid in 1987. He spent much of his retirement in his summer house in La Herradura and his legacy is still very much alive today in the town, in the form of the annual Andrés Segovia International Classical Guitar Competition, which next year, in its 32nd year, will mark the 30th anniversary of its founder’s death. The event will take place from 17th until 21st of January 2017.
La Herradura is particularly popular with divers and diving excursions, courses and other water sports including paddlesurf and kayaking can be booked through the numerous water sports centres in Marina de Este and on the Paseo Marítimo.
As well as water sports, La Herradura offers stunning views from its lighthouse at Punta de la Mona, which separates the town from Marina de Este as well as the Cerro Gordo viewpoint to the west, shared with neighbouring Maro in Malaga province. Cerro Gordo was declared a nature reserve by the Junta de Andalucía in 1989 thanks to the diversity of its maritime ecosystem, which includes the endangered ‘orange coral.’
The place really comes to life in the summer months when tourists looking for adventure sports mingle with those wanting to simply relax and enjoy this enchanting coastal town. Bars, cafés and restaurants spill out onto the paseo offering a truly idyllic atmosphere.
La Herradura has a population over just over 4,000. Although still predominantly Spanish, many foreigners have moved to the town, drawn not only by its beauty but also its artistic feel. Dutch national Jeroen Stultiens, who runs CostaMundo moved there with his family having visited on holiday previously and the extremely talented guitarist and singer, Tijs Groen, also from Holland, has been living in the town since 2014. He has become somewhat of a local celebrity as he performs regularly in many of the chiringuitos (beach bars) in the area and beyond. Another well-known foreigner in La Herradura is British Luthier, Stephen Hill, who runs his internationally renowned workshop and guitar-making courses in the town.
On a practical note the tourist office is located in La Herradura’s civic centre, Palacete de la Najarra, Avenida de Europa. www.turismoalmunecar.es and buses run daily from Nerja, Torre del Mar and Almuñécar. Visit www.alsa.es for timetables and prices.
With the dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains rising behind the town, a natural park and so many water sports, this horseshoe-shaped bay is truly a gem of a destination!
written by Jennie Rhodes