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Andalucia (September 2005)

Las Alpujarras

We stayed in Órgiva - the "capital" of western Alpujaras. It is not the best place to stay in Las Alpujarras. Órgiva is a working town rather than a town expecting tourists. We probably should have looked for accommodation a little bit further into the mountains - at places like Lanjarón that have more restuarants and bars. Ideally you want to be in a town that has some tourist facilities and is also not too remote so that you can take a day trips.

The walking in Las Alpujarras is spectacular but tough. You'll come across some very steep paths.

A day trip to Granda is a must. Granada is a nice city in itself, but it also hosts the Alhambra.

Another recommended trip from Las Alpujarras: Cuevas de Nerja, an impressive cave complex.

Alhambra

Alhambra should be on your "places to see before I die" list. It was one of the nominees in the election of New 7 Wonders of the World. Only about 6000 visiters are allowed to visit per day so you have two choices: get there early and join the very long queue (with the worry that when you get to the front you will discover that the daily entrance limit has been reached), or buy your tickets in advance and join the very short queue.

You can buy Alhambra tickets on-line. The ticket allows you into the complex and access to all areas, but you can only enter the Nasrid Palaces during the time window specified on your ticket. Collect your tickets earlier than the time window so you don't miss it.

Ronda

We stayed in a villa on the outskirts of the village of Arriate, 3 miles from Ronda. Arriate is a nice village, but another place not expecting to see tourists.

Ronda, an ancient town split in half by a river gorge (130m sheer drops), has plenty of attractions, bars and restaurants. It is also a great base to explore this part of Andalucia.

Some recommendations:

  • Day trip to Gibralter. Don't bother with the town and go straight to the Rock. Use a minibus tour rather than the cable car - you see more sights via a bus.
  • Day trip to Jerez. Sherry tours at Domecq and dancing horses at Royal Andalucian School of Equestrain Art.
  • Spectacular walking. I highly recommend El Torcal (Antequera).