Sitting on the Dock of the Bay: Marina del Este

Mackerel Rock at Marina del Este

Mackerel Rock at Marina del Este

Just a few miles to the east of Maro and Nerja, situated between the towns of La Herradura and Almuñecar lies one of the few marinas along the southern coastline of Spain, Marina del Este.  

The Marina (also known as Puerto Deportivo Punta de la Mona) was developed in the 1980s around a large natural rock formation known as Peñón de las Caballas (Mackerel Rock) and features a small attractive harbour protected by the pine-clad promontory of the Punta de la Mona.  

Marina del Este on Google Earth

Google Earth view of the Marina

Located in a privileged setting where the peaks of the Sierra de Almijara finally slope into the sea, this area is known for the exceptional quality of its seabed, immersed within the Parque Natural de los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo (a Natural and Marine Reserve) which has been declared of important ecological value by UNESCO.  

The Reserve follows a narrow twelve kilometre coastal strip and extends into the Alboran Sea (covering 395 land and 1,415 sea hectares), spanning the provinces of Málaga and Granada.  

A ban on fishing within the Marine Reserve provides the perfect place for snorkelling and scuba-diving in the crystal-clear waters.

View across La Herradura Bay

View across La Herradura Bay

How to get to Marina del Este

Do yourself a favour and take the old N-340 coastal road from Nerja to the Marina (rather than the motorway) for the spectacular views across the horseshoe-shaped bay of La Herradura whilst passing the unique and dramatic coastline created by the steep cliffs (acantilados) along the way.  If you have time, you might consider calling in at one of the few sheltered coves between the soaring cliffs, where you will need to take a staircase or steep track down to the beach.

As you might expect, Marina del Este is not directly off the road and can be a bit tricky to find by car. To access it you need to turn off the N-340 just after Km 309 (signed for Pto. Deportivo Marina del Este) and bear right into the Punta de la Mona urbanisation.   Follow the road downhill until you see a sign ahead pointing left towards the Marina.  Turn left here past the 4* Hotel Best Alcazar and continue down the hill all the way to the bottom, where there is a free car park.

If all the free parking spots are taken, there is an official car park to the right of the entrance of the Marina, where it costs just €3.50 to park for 24 hours.

Entrance to Marina del Este

Entrance to Marina del Este

As you enter the Marina, turn to the right just past the barrier and follow the promenade towards Mackerel Rock, past all the beautiful boats.

I usually bring a loaf of bread with me to feed to the fishes here.  They are always so hungry and entertaining, as they climb over one another to get to the food!

Feeding frenzy at Marina del Este

Feeding frenzy

Once you’ve walked past Mackerel Rock there are some steps up onto the harbour wall, which is a great place for “watching the ships roll in, and then watch ‘em roll away again”.

As you walk along the harbour wall you get an elevated view over the boats and spectacular views across to Almuñecar and, as you near the end of the wall, you will see the Blue Flag (currently for 2014/2015) flying near to the entrance of the harbour.

If you are interested in chartering a boat for a few days, this is the best place to look.  Or, maybe you just want to take a boat excursion for an hour or two around the Cerro Gordo Marine Reserve and to the hidden coves along the coastline, which can also be arranged.

There are several diving clubs based at Marina del Este and good snorkelling from the adjoining Playa de los Berengueles, near to the car park.

For boat owners, there are 227 berths within the marina (to a maximum length of 35 metres), and all the services you would expect, including a fuel berth, boat hoist (up to 6m), chandlers, mechanics, hardstanding etc.   More information from Marinas del Mediterráneo.

However, if like me, you just want to stroll around the harbour drooling over the beautiful boats, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and the great views across to Almuñecar, then Marina del Este is a great place to while away a few hours, both during the daytime or in an evening.

There is an art gallery, shops and a great selection of bars and restaurants all with outdoor seating, where you can enjoy a cool drink, tapas or a meal.

Yes, I’m pretty sure that even Otis Redding would enjoy sitting on the dock of this particular bay! 

 

Summer Sunshine Salad

Sunshine salad

It’s that time of year when it’s often too hot to eat anything heavy, so this lovely salad not only looks good, but is quick to prepare and really tasty, too.

SUMMER SUNSHINE SALAD

As with most of my recipes,  feel free to use more of the ingredients that you like, and substitute the ones you don’t.

Put three eggs in their shells into a pan of water and bring to the boil.  Allow the eggs to boil for 5-6 minutes, then plunge the boiled eggs into cold water.  Once they are completely cool, remove them from their shells and cut into quarters.

Whilst the eggs are boiling, chop some carrot, red pepper, green pepper and red onion into small pieces.  Place all the ingredients into a dish and add salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice, to your taste.  Mix together.

I also added some freshly chopped coriander or cilantro (though you could just as easily use flat-leaf parsley if you prefer), a small jar of ready-prepared red kidney beans and a tin of  tuna.

All I had to do then was arrange my boiled eggs in a circle to complete my Summer Sunshine Salad.  :)

Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled, white wine.

What could be nicer on a hot summer’s day?

 

 

Game of Thrones, Series 5 WILL BE filmed in Andalucía, Spain

Alcazar, Seville, Spain

IT’S OFFICIAL!

The eagerly anticipated announcement that Game of Thrones fans have been awaiting has been made.  The United States Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, has confirmed that Series 5 of the popular TV series will be filmed in Andalucía, Spain.

The Royal Alcázars in Seville (Reales Alcázares de Sevilla), which is the oldest Royal palace in Europe, has been chosen as the main venue for the filming of Series 5 of the Game of Thrones.  The Alcázar, originally a Moorish fortress, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and the palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture.  (Filming will take place from 14th – 22nd October 2014).

Mercury's Pool in the Alcazar gardens, Seville

Mercury’s Pool in the Alcazar gardens, Seville.

 

Gold ceiling of the Ambassador's Hall, Seville Alcazar

Gold ceiling of the Ambassador’s Hall, inside the Alcazar of Seville.

It has also been confirmed that filming will take place within the historic town of Osuna, in Seville province – the origins of which date back three thousand years.

Whilst the exact locations of all filming within Andalucía for the Water Gardens of Dorne is still being kept secret, it’s understood that the Alcázar of Córdoba, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Alcázar of Málaga have yet to be completely ruled out.

This is good news for Andalucía with a boost to the economy in the region of €80 million euros, creating around 900 permanent and 5000 temporary jobs, as well as a growth in tourism to the area.

EDITED TO ADD: The Spanish producer chosen by US TV network, HBO, for the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, has just issued a casting call for Series 5.   Interested persons should register with the following email address:

castingjuegodetronos@gmail.com

At this stage, specific characteristics for actors have not been announced – but hey – GO FOR IT! 

Which location would be your choice?  Would you like to be an extra in Game of Thrones?