On the road again. . . The third leg on day 5 of our family camping road trip from Spain to Poland this year, we move from Setenil de la Bodegas to start our road trip in the “Las Alpujarras”–the sunny side southern region of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. First stop: the Roman ruins of Acinipo in Spain, a mere 11 kilometers and 20 minutes away from Setenil de las Bodegas. Second stop: Playa de Maro–a slight detour for a quick dip into the Mediterranean sea, from Malaga to Granada. Here it is in pictures. . . and some road ramblings too.
If you are looking for one of the best beaches on the coastal road from Malaga to Granada, do check out this charming little 200-meter beach called Playa de Maro. This small (a little over 200 meters), clean and coarse-sand beach is surrounded by grassy hills where you can do kayaking, snorkeling & diving. All ll that we had to skip because we only stopped by to say goodbye to the Mediterranean before we headed inland and up to the “La Alpujarra”. Yup, we are finally moving again. This time to Poland after a family gap YEAR in Spain that turned into wonderful four years.
At first I thought I’d read Playa de Moro–beach of the Moros; or beach of the Christianized Muslims. But I was wrong.
The clean yet coarse sand actually hurt the feet. Combined with strong waves over 2 meters tall at about 1700h in early July, it was actually not a pleasant swim, as the waves would pull and us (and the little ones) into the sea and drag us through the sharp little stones. But that did not stop us from dipping in, even for a real quick one.
Tip for families with small children
NOT RECOMMENDED for CAMPING VANS, CARAVANS and wide cars!
Drop off your kids (or anyone else who prefers not to walk) as far down as you car can go. It’s a steep and narrow, winding hill with cars moving back and forth.
Once you get to the entrance to the beach, marked with a sign, walk a little bit further straight to the end of that pedestrian-only road (about 70 meters) but DO NOT TURN to the right onthe paved road. Instead take the not-so-visible stairs further down. It will make your trip much more pleasant.
The turn was slippery and steep on that part of the asphalt road with some patches of marbles and cement. We learned that the hard way when we took that turn and the lovely-angel-of-a-wife slipped and slid and scratched her feet and bumped her knees and elbow around that bend.
Probably dangerous for cars too because the moment you turn and slip, you’d likely just slide for a long stretch.
Parking at Playa de Maro
Get here early enough; before noon if you can. There are FREE side-road parking on the narrow, winding hilly road. Parking is a little hairy because some places go right into a tall ditch or canal on the side of the road that can really damage the underside of your car.
Still people are parking all over every single space, almost like a couple of centimeters apart and many in the wrong direction. Some haphazardly because of incoming traffic. They would just hit your car.
So it’s a little difficult to maneuver and not recommended for caravans or Big Fat American cars and if you’re car is really heavy, it may not be a problem going down the steep hill. Going back up could be tricky. So beware!
For family with young kids: drive your children, your people and the elderly all the way down because there is a little roundabout at the pedestrian-only entrance of the beach where you can turn around.
We got lucky and found a parking spot on the way back up while someone else was leaving. But it was a “hail Mary”-kind of parking experience.
About the Beach: Playa de Maro
If you are looking for one of the best beaches in Costa Tropical, on the coastal road from Malaga to Granada, do check out this charming little 200-meter beach called Playa de Maro.
There’s one small and sufficient “chiringuitto”–a beach bar that offers much -needed snacks and drinks to those who came unprepared. It’s a shack and a little bit, you know, not sanitary. Anyway, you got no option, right?
There’s bathroom and showers.
Thatch-roof beach umbrellas for rent for €5 euros. I don’t know if it’s all day, but likely all day.
The waterfalls are not visible from the beach area.
It was not packed when we got here. Mostly Spanish-speaking visitors. It’s a charming beach that most foreigners probably don’t get to visit. But, the sand is coarse (even sharp-rocky). Recommended to wear those rubber water shoes for this beach. We had them but left them in the car (which was already parked uphill). So I got cuts at the bottom of my feet.
When we got there at five o’clock in the afternoon, the waves were just wild and really strong. I got in the water up to only my waist. And the waves were much taller than me. They’d pull me right down to my knees and drag me across the painful sand. And they were doing the same to much bigger and taller men than me.
Our 5-year old, Kai, was a little scared but got in the water anyway (with me holding him tight of course). He got wet enough with the waves crashing and me drenching his head. There were a couple of runaway waves that just surprised him and he had to get out.
For those of you who are NOT used to nude beaches: well, this is not exactly a “nudist” beach. But, it’s common to see nakedity (is this a word? you know what I mean) here. Some beautiful ones too. And everybody seems to be okay with it, as should be.
That’s it. It’s basically a quick dip that we had in mind, 50 minutes to get in the water while the car rests a bit.
A little way to say goodbye to the water because this is the last time we’re going to see or swim in this part of the world for the next acouple of years. . . and definitely the last warm water we’ll swim in for a the foreseeable future.
From here on, we’re heading inland and to the mountains.
Next Stop: Camping Orgiva Review on the Road to Las Alpujarras
Then, later. . . Onwards, upwards. . . . to Andorra! Here’s the first half of our family camping road trip. . . number FOUR! 1,617-something kilometers from Jerez de la Frontera, detour to Bolonia, then Setenil de las Bodegas, the white villages of the Alpujarras, the caves of Guadix, Baeza, Ubeda, Ossa de Montiel, the hanging houses of Cuenca, Lake Caspe and finally the little country of Andorra. . . at least for the first half of this trip!
Setenil de las Bodegas--whitewashed houses tucked under the cliffside rocks, on the rocks and even in the rocks, with a hilltop Arab fortress. There’s an impressive view over the town and the countryside from the Torreon tower. There’s also a museum that exhibits the cultural and natural history of the town. Check out our review of Setenil de las Bodegas!
Thanks for checking us out!