Mojacar is a small, picture-perfect ancient town in the south of Spain, on the Costa de Almeria in Andalusia. Mojacar will charm the pants off you and make you want to live there and never leave (or at least visit Mojacar again).
I know this because I spent 13 months living there over two full summer seasons, becoming besotted with its beauty, scenery, history, Flamenco and food. I believe it is one of Andalusia’s lesser-known beauties with a lot to offer visitors, whatever their tastes.
Read on to find out my insider tips for how to explore and enjoy this wonderful off-the-beaten path gem. Whether you’re visiting as part of a cruise excursion or a backpacker looking to travel Europe cheaply, this Ultimate Guide to Mojacar covers the best things to do in Mojacar, what to see in Mojacar, where to stay, eat, and drink, and more. So bookmark this page and let me guide you through the best that Mojacar has to offer!
There’s a lot of information in this Mojacar travel guide, so use this Table of Contents to jump around:
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Mojacar, which has been an artist’s colony since the 1950s is a tourist destination, but unlike many of Spain’s southern coastal destinations, it has managed to avoid the worst effects of overtourism by British tourists who wish to turn it into a facsimile “Britain but sunny”, like other destinations on Spain’s cost.
Mojacar is made up of two parts: Mojacar Pueblo – The 9 century old traditional village of typically Spanish white-washed houses and tiny winding streets on top of the hill – the pueblo – or village. And the other, Mojacar Playa – The more modern beach or playa area, which is a 17 km stretch of pristine white sand beaches lined with beach bars, hotels and restaurants.
The old town offers tiny winding streets to explore, centuries old houses, churches, quirky stores, tattoo parlors, tiny rowdy bars, and numerous delicious tapas joints as well as the vibrant main town square with its frequent community events, and a gorgeous vista along the coast. The beach area is where you find most of the hotels, bars, restaurants, watersports, activities, all scattered along the sweeping soft beachfront.
In short, Mojacar is an awesome off-the-beaten path destination in Europe.
In my opinion, the old town, or locally simply known as the ‘pueblo’, is the most unique and interesting part of Mojacar to visit. This stunning example of Moorish and Spanish architecture is perched on top of the hill as it has been for almost a millennia. There are quirky shops, tiny tapas joints, funky reggae and rock bars and more than its fair share of tattoo parlors a-plenty, alongside the gorgeous ancient residencies and vibrant flowers, which waft their scent throughout.
In the words of Nikki Minaj, “Let’s go to the beach, beach, let’s get away!” I’m sure if she visited here, she’d specify that the gorgeous Mojacar Playa was the one she was talking about.
Mojacar’s Playa stretches for 17km from the Torre Bahia all the way along to the next town of Garrucha (more on that in #10). It caters to every type of beach lover, from the sun worshiper with sections that are empty for peaceful book reading and sunbathing, sections with many beach bars or chiringuitos (Spanish beach bar) or for an even more sociable party vibe, you can hang out at MAUI Beach, or try some water-sports at Samoa Surf.
Tapas is one of the main reasons I am in love with Spain, and I had my first, and still best, examples of it in Mojacar.
There are numerous tiny tapas establishments in Mojacar in the Pueblo and along the Playa. Up in the old town, you’ll just stumble across them as you wander and you can’t really go wrong for which place to pick. Along the beach, tucked in a nook in the center small commercial center along Paseo de Mediterraneo, Los Arcos is a great casual spot for trying various tapas, while many Spanish restaurants, such as La Gaviota and Meson Felipe San Barnabe also offer a tapas selection.
Samoa Surf on Mojacar Playa (just opposite the Pueblo Indalo Hotel) is the place to go for water-sports. You can try your hand at wind surfing, rent snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, or if you’re feeling brave, a banana boat!
You can take lessons to advance in any of the sports available, or just rent a lounger and sip a cold drink from their chiringuita. The extremely hospitable and knowledgeable Dutch owners Annika and Martin are always on hand with their friendly team to answer questions and make you feel welcome. You can find Somoa Surf at: Paseo Mediterráneo, 30, 04638 Mojácar.
Mojacar Beach is lined with beach bars, both touristic British and Irish themed ones (like the Irish Rover), and more authentically Spanish ones such as El Cid and Mandala Beach. These are known as chiringuitos. The vibe in these is more chilled out than the British or Irish Bars, with less official entertainment programs apart from the occasional local rock band playing, and more big comfy chair beds and bean bags on the floor with chill out lounge music covers playing, and generally open until around 2am.
Flamenco dance is also something I have always admired, and Mojacar is a wonderful place to see it. Award winning locally famous flamenco dancers Francesca Girone and Paco Fernandez lead up the gypsy Flamenco performances in Mojacar performance troupe as the best act around. Performances can be found throughout Mojacar.
The Sunday flea market around the “La Fuente’ (fountain) area at the bottom of the Pueblo is a fun place to check out. This where you can find something really random to buy.
The Wednesday street market at Plaza del Rey Alábez” is the best spot to buy produce directly from the farmers; fruit, vegetables, fresh nuts, olives, and local art peddled by the artists themselves.
Wednesday street Market can be found at Plaza del Rey Alabez. The Sunday Flea Market is at Centro de Usos Multiples.
The main shopping area of Mojacar is situated in the Parque Comercial – the Commercial Centre, or mall, which is situated almost exactly halfway from the old town and new town. There are lots of boutique clothes, art and local crafts stores, some cute little cafes to chat with friends in, and the biggest supermarket in the area – the Mercadona, a sort of Spanish Safeway.
The Iglesia de Santa Maria in the very center of the old town is one of the best sights to see and feel the history of the town. It is free to go inside, and is open almost all the time, except for when there’s the occasional local wedding happening. It is a formidable building which looms above the small residencies around it, with its simple Moorish Alcazaba style sand colored exterior designed for worship and protecting the pueblo’s residence should there be an attack. You can find it at Plaza Iglesia, 2D, 04638 Mojácar.
The Plaza Nueva – new square – at the top of the pueblo is the heart of Mojacar town physically and culturally. This is a great spot to sit and watch the world go by. You’ll see elderly Spanish residents sit here with coffee and gossip about the day, and it’s also used throughout the year, and especially in summer, for fiestas and performances.
The sea by Mojacar is great for swimming and there are a few decent snorkel spots too. However, if you want to take it a step further, and try to catch a glimpse of some of the bigger fish, you can take a diving class or course from Buceo Mojacar.
If you are a fan of the gentleman’s sport, Marina Golf Mojacar is available just at the edge of town, on the Garrucha end. Situated right behind the Marina Golf Apartments (who all have access to the course of course), anyone can sign up for a round where the greens are always green even in the height of summer at over 30 degrees Celsius.
Southern Spain was invaded and settled by Moroccans – the Moors – in the 8th Century, and then the Spanish Catholic Kings decided to kick them out in 1488. While leaders from the rest of the area surrendered, Mojacar’s warden Alabez did not.
He made a famous stirring speech to Captain Garcilaso de la Vega, about how he felt that he and his people were as Spanish as Garcilaso, and saw them as brothers. Garcilaso was touched by this speech and instead of Alabez and his people leaving Mojacar, they agreed to live together in peace.
This union is celebrated with a huge four-day festival every June in Mojacar with parades, parties, and historical reenactments.
Mojacar’s food scene caters to many tastes. You can sample many different types of tapas with your glass of local wine or beer in many of the tiny crowded Spanish bars, savor traditional Spanish dishes such as paella in the Spanish restaurants in old town winding streets and dotted along the playa, as well as international fare such as Chinese and some good old British pub food for the homesick tourists in various venues too.
In general, the further away from the beach you get, the cheaper the prices are.
My top pick is to sample as many tapitas as you can in the small local bars which can be found both in the old and new parts of the town. The more tiny, full and rowdy the place is, linked with the less English that can be heard being spoken there, the better the food will be.
Here are a few of my top picks for for the best restaurants in each area of Mojacar, Spain:
La Taberna – This tiny tapas Bar, is decorated in 11th century Moorish style, which makes it a very authentic Mojacar place to eat. It is open during the summer, and is a great spot for a little cozy tapas stop. Mojacar Pueblo. Cuesta de la Fuente, 2, 04638 Mojácar, Almería, Spain.
La Candela – Another pleasant place to try local dishes in the old town is La Candela. With its bright and quirky décor and menu’s emphasis on seafood and tapas, this place is open until 11pm and has good value for money in a warm atmosphere. Local 24 Plaza Nueva, 04638 Mojácar, Almería, Spain.
Meson Felipe San Barnabe – This beach located restaurant has a decent tapas selection with tasting menus available to sample six dishes at once with friends. The wooden décor and terrace to sit at outside, and the dining room inside have a relaxed atmosphere. The food is mostly sourced locally so fresh and of good quality, and they have a good choice of local wines. Paseo del Mediterráneo, 114 04638 Mojacar, Almería, Spain.
El Sitio – Situated along the playa, this classy venue has an extensive Spanish menu for lunch and dinner. You can choose the low lit inside area, which is ideal for a romantic, or settle outside on the terrace overlooking the water with friends or to watch the sun set. Their wine and tapas selections are substantial as well. Paseo del Mediterráneo, 137, 04638 Mojácar, Almería, Spain.
Mojacar isn’t party central compared to places like Barcelona or Madrid. However, this is where I learned that Spanish people can FIESTA!
You can party with the tourists in the English speaking and foreigners run bars, or chill with the cool Spaniards in the Spanish ran Chiringuitas along the beach. For the most authentic night like, take to Mojacar’s old town.
My recommendation for an epic night is to start in a few of the tiny, surprisingly busy bars in the old town, and end up clubbing along the playa. If you’re up for an all-nighter, take a cab (or designated driver friend) the 7km out of town to El Cielo and don’t expect to be home before breakfast.
My favorite nightlife hang out spots include:
This is probably the most exciting day trip you can take from Mojacar, but taking 3 hours drive north of Mojacar to reach it, you need to start early. The beautiful, ancient city of Grenada houses one of Spain’s greatest treasures and lasting souvenirs of the country’s Moorish occupation – the Alhambra.
The 800-year-old Alhambra is the finest, and largest Alcazaba (Moorish palace and fortress all in one) in Spain, and is well worth the trip. Writer Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra” are written from him living inside the walls of the Alhambra for several years and writing about the goings on it in.
To see the palace fully takes several days, but you can see the main highlights in one, Take a tour to go around the palace to get all the correct information from a knowledgeable source, either on an organized tour from Mojacar, or drive there then join a tour when you arrive so you don’t miss out, as there is a lot to learn.
105km north of Mojacar, in the Velez Mountain range, lies the Cueva de los Letreros where there are 4500-year-old cave drawings. One drawing, of a prehistoric god holding the rainbow in his open arms, has been Mojacar’s good luck totem, symbol of protection and hope for over a century.
You cannot spend an hour in Mojacar without seeing this symbol. You’ll find him on T-shirts, key chains, and plaques for house among many other items.
Take a drive (or tour) out to the mystical caves to see why the Indalo Man is such a big deal, or just to see the beautiful mountain ranges and feel the presence of the ancestors.
Prices run 2 Euros per adult. Opening Hours are until 7pm daily in summer, (June-August) and until 4.30pm Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 12pm Sundays all other months. You can find more info here.
The closest town to Mojacar is Garrucha, a beautiful seaside town just 7km north along the coast. It is famous throughout Andalusia for it’s seafood, in particular shrimps. Garrucha’s weekly food and everything and the kitchen sink market takes up most of the town’s main streets, so is very easy to find, and runs from about 9am-1pm.
Oh, and for something extra fun: Karting Garrucha is a fun place to let your inner child out and let rip on their large tracks.
Getting there from Mojacar, you have a rental car, is very easy to drive to and there’s parking along the waterfront and side streets. If not, you can take the public bus there from outside the Commercial Centre leaving every 20 minutes during the day. Timetables, costs and tickets are available on the Andalusia public bus company – ALSA (website here).
The ‘Cove of Agate’ (as this mineral used to be mined here) is situated 72km south of Mojacar and is a National Park, the largest protected coastal area in Andalusia and Spain’s only official desert. The stunning pristine beaches, unique landscapes, and plethora of protected wildlife living there make it one of the most soul rewarding day trips that can be taken from Mojacar.
There is no public transport here. Renting a car and driving there is easy and straightforward though just following the one road south and you can’t miss it. Many hotels and local tour companies in Mojacar offer day tours here.
Mojacar’s visitors are varied: with solo travelers visiting for the culture, couples there for the romance, groups of friends there to party and families looking for family fun time, and the accommodations available cater to this.
If it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first booking with this link!
There are a lot of great hotels in Mojacar, so use this search box to find availability for your dates:
Mojacar has always had apartments for let from owners who use them just for vacation homes, but Airbnb has taken this to a new level.
Now you can rent out holiday homes from studio apartments to full Moorish style houses with private pools. Prices range from as low as $50 a night up to around $300 for the fancier abodes.
Hostels don’t really exist there, but there are plenty of rooms, or apartments to rent available, either through Airbnb.
And if it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first booking with this link!
The closest airports to Mojacar by distance order are: Almeria, Murcia, and then Alicante airports.
Many visitors are either with an organized package holiday, or are Spanish and have driven in, so public transport from the airports is limited, but there are car rentals and some other options available, which I’ll outline here:
This is the closest airport, which is about 90km away from Mojacar. Flights come here from various destinations from around the UK and Europe and further afield during summer months.
You can rent a car directly from the airport from Europcar or Hertz and drop it off back at the airport when your vacation ends, or at their offices in Mojacar playa when you’re done. Prices vary a lot depending on month.
There are also shared shuttles available from several companies, with the main one being Shuttle Direct. These cost around $45 per person for a return shared trip.
Public transport is available but isn’t ideal. You can take us 20 from Almeria Airport into Almeria city, then take a bus from Almeria bus station to town of Vera, then take a bus from Vera to Mojacar. This will take at least 3 hrs.
The next closest airport is Murcia, which is almost two hours drive away, 163km to be exact. It is situated on the outskirts of the sprawling town.
Car rentals can be picked up from Murcia Airport at Centauro Car or Europcar. Shuttles services are more limited from here to Mojacar. Shuttle Direct does provide it too, but is more expensive than from Almeria Airport.
Public transport is available but isn’t ideal from Murcia either, but you can take the local Andalusia public bus, which will take at least 2 hours 50 minutes.
The farthest reasonable airport to fly in to (as there can often be cheaper flight deals to here) is Alicante. Alicante is at least 2 hours drive from Mojacar.
You can rent a car from Centauro Car or Wiber Rent a Car. Shuttles services are more limited from here to Mojacar, like from Murcia. Shuttle Direct does provide it too, but is more expensive than from Almeria Airport.
Public transport is available but isn’t ideal from Alicante either, but you can take the local Andalusia public bus, which will take at least 2 hours 50 minutes.
So adios for now from magical Mojacar! I hope you fall for this captivating cultural champion like I did. If you liked reading about it (or even if you didn’t), please leave your comments below as I’d love to hear from you.
To read more about my experience in Mojacar and why I fell in love with the place, check out my article on my website: Mojacar, Spain: Fun, Food, Fiesta, Flamenco and Festivals or Why I Fell in Love with a Town I’d Never Heard Of.
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About the Author
Karen Worrall is a freelance travel writer and Founder and Content Creator of Cruiseshipkaren.com, about travel by sea. She has lived and worked in six countries, and entertained on cruise ships since 2005.