Things to do and see
The inland Axarquia is a glorious region, largely unspoilt by mass tourism, rich in history and architecture and much influenced by 700 years of Moorish rule when the caliphs held sway from the seats of power in Cordoba and Granada.
Still dependent on agriculture – mainly olives, almonds, avocado, oranges, and lemons – and producing a mass of delicious vegetables and fruit as it has done for centuries, it has one of the best climates in the Mediterranean with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Here are a few ideas …
- Nerja: 35 minutes Pretty white town on the sea with narrow little streets where you will find lots of interesting shops … excellent for browsing. Popular tourist spot. And having cafe con leche on the famous Balcon de Europe promenade watching the world go by is a must. Go on Sunday, pick up the papers and have paella for lunch on Burriana beach – fantastic – and teenagers love it! While you are there, try a kayak trip! (see ‘action’)
- Velez-Malaga …about 20 minutes. Bustling, industrious but with a restored historic Moorish-influenced quarter at the top of the town near the castle that so typifies Andalusia. Wander through its narrow streets, stop for some excellent tapas. Find the restored municipal market building and its little shops at the top of town near the castle, the Casa Cervantes museum where the man himself lived and wrote Don Quixote.
- Caves at Maro: Just beyond Nerja. Spectacular subterranean caves where concerts are held in the summer among the stalactites and stalagmites (book early – very popular!)
- Granada: One and a half hours. Gorgeous little city with the amazing Alhambra palace (book in advance), Moorish quarter and Arabic steam baths.
- Malaga: A much-by-passed lovely old town. Around an hour’s drive or go by fast, reliable bus from Torre del Mar (30 mins). Cathedral, Picasso Museum. Alcazar, Arabic steam baths. Excellent shopping
- El Torcal: 40 minutes. National Park with 3000 acres of ‘moonscape’. Impressive limestone formations shaped by the elements over millions of year ago with marked walks and a visitor’s centre.
- La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra: in April and May. A salt lake that is home to 15,000 breeding flamingos in transit.
- Visit the many delightful small ‘pueblo blanco’ mountain villages nearby: Comares (perched on top of a mountain – you can see it in the distance from the casa), Canillas de Aceituna, Periana (and lunch on the terrace at Cantueso), Frigiliana, and many more.
- Alhama de Granada: 40 minutes drive. Through the Zafarraya pass and towards Granada. A delightful, totally unspoilt little town with an amazing gorge (for walking … or just looking!). Find the tiny church given to the town by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in honour of its important historical and strategic position… or sit in the wide square in the old part of the town in the sun and dream. Friday market is a typical bustling local country affair with prices to match … How about a kilo of red peppers for a euro! The hot springs are 10 minutes away … swim in hot outside pool or take a treatment in the centre there.
- Antequera : 45 minutes. Ancient old town with many churches and museums and a covered market. Ancient burial chambers from the Neolithic age (Dolmens)
- Cordoba and Seville: Vibrant, exciting cities with all their beautiful Moorish buildings. Drive for around 2 and a half hours … or use fab Spanish Talgo train for part of the journey which adds to the pleasure. A great day out!
- Local markets : Each town and village has a local street market day – details in the casa.
- Fiestas : Andalucians take every opportunity to get together for a party! Each town and village has several fiestas each year so you can usually catch one. Celebrations start late and go on way into the night with food, drink, dancing and a warm welcome to all comers. Locally. the main ferias are the flamenco festival in August, the wine festival at Vinuela in September and the peach festival in Periana at the end of July. Easter is the greatest celebration of the year … in every village and town. Malaga is a week-long world-renown spectacle.