Forty minutes’ drive from Órgiva is a traditional seaside town with palm tree-lined streets, overlooked by a spectacular castle high on a rock. Traditional, whitewashed houses tumble down the side.
A steep walk through the narrow streets with their quirky houses lead up to the tenth century Moorish castle – El Castillo de Salobreña. It reminded us of walking up to the castle in Lisbon.
A €2.75 ticket includes an audio tour handset. It’s a lovely stroll through the grounds with spectacular 360 degree views of the coast, the mountains – including, of course, the Sierra Nevada – and the sugar cane fields.
The geography is similar to Gibraltar – in Neolithic times, Salobreña was once an island. The first settlements were in 3,000 BC.
Half way back down we bought some crisps and a coke in a supermarket which was like an old fashioned grocery shop from the 1950s. It was patronised by a gaggle of Spanish grannies all talking at the same time (a national sport in Spain it seems!). The elderly shopkeeper dashed from counter to counter to weigh vegetables, rummage in the freezer section for customers, and do the till. Like everyone we meet here, there’s always a smile.
The huge beach is a few minutes’ walk from the centre. A profusion of restaurants, bars and ice-cream kiosks line the seafront and vendors selling trinkets roam the front. Prices seem reasonable – a menu del dia being typically around €9. There are some very decent looking restaurants too, overlooking the Mediterranean.
We think the shale beach to the right of El Peñon (The Rock) facing the sea, has the nicest aspect. Settling in for a day with an umbrella and two sun loungers will set you back €10. The pedalos these days have built-in slides (€15 per hour). They brought back lovely memories of hiring them on family holidays in Menorca, Ibiza and Mallorca in the 70s and 80s.
Salobreña is a great spot for a traditional day at the seaside: parking is easy, the castle is spectacular and the beach is vast. We’ve been told there are other lovely beaches a few miles down the coast which we’ll explore another time.
We’ll be back to Salobreña for sure.