2021 is going to be the year that we started to seriously explore the Alpujarra, the mountains that start to the south of the Sierra Nevada and stretch out all the way to the Costa Tropical. When we go on an excursion and have no specific destination, we often end up wandering around in this magnificent area.
An interesting starting point can be the small wine village of Torvizcon:
After our snack, the wandering around started:
In our next posts, we will suggest some locations to visit in the Alpujarra.
Picturesque fishing village. If you do come in July or August, take into account that you will need to pay for parking your car.
Another cozy fishing village that can be overcrowded in summer is La Negras.
Picturesque and less crowded than the former two during summer. The beach restaurant is popular but not the cheapest option in this small fishing village. Enormous beach and very clear water. It’s a miracle that this place has not been discovered yet by more tourists.
Of the 4 destinations that I feature today, this is the biggest. 17 kilometers of pristine beaches and lots of seafood restaurants await you here.
What to choose?
If you are like us, and you don’t like crowded places, the first two destinations are best to be visited during spring and autumn. In summer, you better check out the other two.
In our next post, we have a look at “the best of the rest”! Better believe me, you don’t want to miss it!
Our decision to return to Cabo de Gata has proven to be the best of this year so far. One day is simply not enough to visit the main sights of this Nature Park, which is more than 45,000 hectares big. 3 days is far better. There are advantages and disadvantages though of traveling to this area during the low season. You will not be trampled by big masses of tourists, on the other hand, in less touristic places it will be difficult to find a tourist information office that is open and most restaurants will be closed during the evenings. Stick to touristic places such as San José.
A word of warning when booking a hotel on booking.com: a lot of cheap options that the website suggests are located NOT in the Natural Park, but rather in the city of Almeria. Try to find a room in hotel Alba in Albaricoque: centrally located, cheap, comfortable, very good restaurant.
Moreover, this is a unique location, but more about that in another post. After having put our luggage in our room, we decided to go to nearby Rodalquilar. According to the map that the hotel owner had given us, there should be a tourist information office over there.
We followed the road signs and, a bit to our surprise, quickly ended up on a dirt road, which became rougher and rougher, as did the landscape.
Notwithstanding the great beauty of the landscape, we started to wonder where we would end up. We decided to trust our GPS, which indicated that only a handful of kilometers was separating us from Rodalquilar. Abandoned building gave the landscape a dramatic flair.
Afterwards, we discovered that from Roman Times until the 1960s, Rodalquilar was known for its gold mines. The ruins are the remnants of its industrial past. There is a tourism information office but during the low season it’s closed.
In our next post, we show you the main sights of the Natural Park.
Alfaro is located in the region of La Rioja and is known for its gastronomic delights. Take a look here and find out what and where to eat (and drink!).
The biggest attraction of this picturesque town however is its colony of storks (one of the biggest in Europe). One of the most stunning places where you can observe them is in the Reserva Natural de los Sotos del Ebro, located at the Avenida del Ebro. There is a mirador (viewpoint) and a space to park your car. You will see 2 paths, one leading to the left and the other to the right. Take my advice and follow the latter, you can stay closer to the water and its wildlife (including the storks).
Other points of interest:
In the center of town, there is a mirador (for the storks as well), Plaza Esperanza,1
Colegiata de San Miguel Arcángel, the largest temple in Alfaro, Plaza de España
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Burgo
Monasterio Clasicista de la Conceptión
You can easily spend a day here (including a visit to the reserva). If you want to visit Bardenas Reales as well, take 1.5 days.
See you back on Friday in another corner of Spain!
One of the advantages of living in Spain is the bigger variety of landscapes. There are even a handful of locations here where there is a desert! And one of these locations is the Natural Park of Bardenas Reales in Navarra.
The nearest town is Arguedas; from there you will find road signs towards the Natural Park. The address of the visitor center is Finca de Aguilares Carretera del Parque Natural, Km 6, 31513 Arguedas. It’s a huge building, you can’t miss it. You can find a free map of the park there.
But what exactly is it? I found the following information on this website.
“Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Bardenas Reales is a natural park covering 42,500 hectares. (…)
You’ll see that there are three distinct areas:
– El Plano, the large plateau in the north and west used as cropland
– La Bardena Negra, in the south, formed by a set of horizontal landforms populated by pine trees and scrub
– La Bardena Blanca, the depression between the other two and the most eroded area. It is also the most photographed and visited area because it is home to the most spectacular formations, such as Castildetierra and Pisquerra, which you may well have seen in a film or two.”
The Bardena Blanca is where you will spend most of your time. You can easily find it on the map. There is a circular route you can follow (by car or bicycle). Take at least 2 hours. This is a vast area! Most visitors compare a visit to the park to a visit to the moon.
Here are our pictures:
All this looks more like the North of Africa than the North of Spain, especially since Navarra is such a green region.
Maybe some landscapes look familiar… This Natural Park has been used as the background in series like Game of Thrones and movies such as The Monk By Dominik Moll.
Where to stay? The closer you are to the park, the more expensive your hotel room will be. We found Hotel HM Alfaro in Alfaro (via booking.com, about €45/night). You are less than 30 minutes away from Bardenas Reales, there is a restaurant, you can park your car in the street, in other words, this looked like the best option.
In our next post, we will take you to Alfaro itself. This small town has an unusual tourist attraction; expect more stunning landscapes!
If you are not so much into history but are more of a nature lover, we’ve got you covered as well! You could spend a morning of afternoon (at least 3 hours) in the monastery and the cathedral and before or after you could drive around in the Sierra de la Demanda.(mountain range to the southeast of Burgos)
We started our tour at the Embalse de Uzquiza (near Villasur de Herreros) and then continued to Pineda de la Sierra, all the way to Monterrubio de la Demanda and then returned to our hotel via Huerta de Arriba (that will keep you busy for at least 2 hours).
I don’t know why, but I am really attracted by huge bodies of water:
The surroundings were so beautiful that we kept on following the BU 820. There is not so much traffic, so you may be tempted to drive a bit faster, but you will have to share the road with a lot of other creatures!
As you can see from the last picture, it rained that day. A lot.
If you have been following this website for some time, you must have noticed that the landscapes in this region (Castilla y Leon) are a lot greener than the ones in Andalusia.
The villages were very picturesque! No white houses, though.
If you can get enough of nature, then you really have to keep an eye on this website. In a couple of days, I will publish pictures of a stunning and unique landscape that has been used as a movie location.
A wise man once said “In these hot summers, the best place to be is in our air-conditioned car”. That wise man is the Viking, and he said it just before we left on this trip. This itinerary will bring you to some of the best locations in the provinces of Granada and Jaen. You will see magnificent landscapes and impressive architecture.
We started in Illora, a picturesque town known for its castle, built in the 10th and 11th century by the Moors and captured by the Catholic kings in 1486.
The castle is located on a huge hill in the center of the town. You can visit it, but you need a reservation. Check out www. turgranada.es/en for more information.
Via Tocon we then drove to the most picturesque town of Granada, Montefrio.
These 2 pictures don’t do it justice, but what about these?
This is worth another visit right
We then continued to Alcala la Real and Castillo de Locubin (each with its own castle, as well) and via road Ja6050, we found ourselves in the Sierra de Alta Coloma. Frailes and Ribera Baja are cozy villages where you can take a break.
Last but certainly not least, Moclin and its stunning castle, dating from the 13th century. Check http://www.turgranada.es/en for more info!
This car trip will keep you busy for a whole morning or afternoon, unless you want to visit one of the castles (in that case add an extra 2 hours).
The province of Granada has it all: there are mountains and the coast. And the Capital has got one of the few Muslim palaces in the whole of Europe. But there is so much more. Let us show you some of our favorite places in Granada at the most beautiful moment of the day: sunset.