Recommended for pure romance and delight for bright cold winter days, (though beautiful in summer too). Give yourself two days. Drive through the winding Alpujarras mountains to reach El Ventorro, a rural hotel and restaurant, a couple of kilometres outside Alhama de Granada. Here, you can feast on incredible local food, from mushrooms collected in the forest, to local cheese and serrano ham, washed down with surprisingly delicious locally produced wine (well marketed in smart bottles- take one home with you) by a roaring fire in winter. At night you can stay in a beautifully lit cave room, with a four poster bed-the best sleep of your life! And the next day, you can choose whether to luxuriate in the atmospheric, heavenly (and spotless) Arabic baths built in the next door caves, or walk through the sandstone river valley and canyon to the historic town of Alhama de Granada, replete with Nazari ruins, a castle, historic squares, fountains and everything that Andalucia has to offer. If you can fit in the baths and the walk, you may be tempted to stay a second night in one of those beautiful caves and start the whole cycle again! And this whole delicious assault on the senses (cave bedroom, dinner, breakfast arabic baths) will only set you back about 70 euros. Stunning.
Alhama de Granada is one of the most beautiful locations in Spain, in the fertile land of the Poniente Grandadino in Southern Andalucia. This is the 'real' Spain - incredible light, authentic fabulous food, great people and hardly any English spoken. It isn’t far from the airport at Malaga, but it is a million miles from the pubs and full English breakfasts on the coast. There are churches, lovely squares, a spectacular gorge, a red Moorish fort, an Arabic quarter, fresh food shops and 38 cafe bars and restaurants all in easy walking distance. Perched nearly a thousand metres above sea level on the edge of Tajos Gorge. Famous throughout Spain for the thermal baths - hot therapeutic water bubbles up in to four thermal pools next to the river. 12km from town is the spectacular Bermajales lake with sandy beaches. There is great walking, sailing, abseiling, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking and skiing activities all within easy reach of the town. Granada and the spectacular Alhambra are a mere 45 minutes car drive or an hour on the bus. There are a number of good quality yet inexpensive hotels and hostels in the town.
The beautiful spa town of Alhama, just 50kms from Granada, has hot springs which the Arabs and Romans both used. You can visit and use the Arabic baths, at a price, in the hotel built around them. But locals and others in the know, simply scramble down the banks of the river just outside, where the hot springs gush out of a hole in the walls of the hotel grounds. Here you can bathe in the pools created naturally by rocks, and feel the cool water of the river by your side. The pools are at different levels but are always warm and a delight that is absolutely free!
Alhama de Granada is in the mountains around 50 kms from Granada. To get to the springs you have to walk out of the town at its lower end,
near the market and follow the signposted road for about 2-3 kms.
Google map: bit.ly/gBwEsU
After a fantastic walk through a limestone gorge, the restaurant El Ventorro is situated next to a lake with a great terrace and delicious food cooked on open fires.
Next to the restaurant is their new, Moroccan style spa with swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and plunge pool. You can take the day to walk there, relax in the spa then have a fabulous lunch before heading back to Alhama.
El Ventorro Restaurant
Alhama de Granada
Popular since Roman times, the hot springs in Alhama are a must-see. Adjacent to the spa hotel where you can have a whole range of treatments, there are four natural hot spring pools which you can enjoy for free day or night. Relax under the trees and let the minerals in the waters rejuvenate you. Recommended early in the morning or last thing at night.
18120 Alhama de Granada
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