Monday, April 2, 2012

Las Negras & Granada, Andalucia - Spain

In September 2011 we spent just over two weeks in the beautiful Spanish region of Andalucia. Our first main stop off was in the small coastal resort of Las Negras. Situated in the beautiful nature park of Cabo de Gata, Las Negras is a gem, don't go there expecting to hear English, Dutch or German accents, this is a destination for the Spanish to escape to for their weekends or summer holidays. It is lovely.

Las Negras

Las Negras is a relatively small and sleepy town with a few bars and restaurants, it also has some of the most beautiful beaches in southern Spain, like Cala de San Pedro which you can hike to from the town. We spent a couple of nights here in the lovely Hotel Calagrande which we'd recommend. Whilst the restaurant area lacks atmosphere, the hotel has a great position, lovely clean rooms, great outdoor bar/pool area and only a short walk into the town and to the beach. If you like a great G&T, you'll enjoy those served at the pool bar.

Hotel Calagrande

View from our balcony

Downtown Las Negras

If you spend some time in Las Negras, be sure and make the trip across to Cala de San Pedro. Its about an 8k trek, the views are spectacular and its well worth the exercise. If you're not into walking you can drive most of the way. One tip, the last section is quite steep and in some places narrow, so be sure and wear something other than flip flops on your feet.

Very hot 8k trek to Cala de San Pedro
Cala de San Pedro

Amazing, long, empty beach at Almeria

After a couple of lovely days around Las Negras which included a trip to San Jose, the beach at Almeria and a long trek to Cala de San Pedro we departed for Granada. If you've read some of my other posts you'll know that I tend to use the same words to describe the cities and places we've visited, beautiful, impressive, stunning, special and more. All of these apply to Granada, it is one of the places which make living in Europe great because there so many such incredible places to visit. We stayed in the centre of Granada at the perfectly located NH Victoria Hotel. At the time our entry to the city was tough as the roads were being dug up however we were rescued by an enterprising guy on a scooter who guided us at full speed through the roadworks to our hotel.

NH Victoria Hotel - ideal for seeing Granada

There is so much to do and see in Granada, the Alhambra, the Cathedral, the Albaicin and so much more. This is a city you have to visit at least once. When we arrived we dumped the car, our bags and headed straight out and soon found the cathedral area. Just behind the cathedral you'll find a lovely square, a great place to stop for a drink or something to eat. The view of the Cathedral is lovely, it's like sitting in the middle of an oil painting hanging in the Prado. The Cathedral is located in the centre of the Muslim area and dates back to 1523.

Outside the cathedral, it was hot, very hot

One of the most beautiful spots in Granada, behind the Cathedral

It doesn't get much better than Spanish cuisine

From a tourist perspective Granada is undoubtedly best know for the Alhambra, a series if palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th Century. This amazing compound of buildings including the summer palace called Generalife, with its fountains and gardens, stands at the foot of Spain's highest mountain range the Sierra Nevada and overlooks the city below. One tip, get there early as such is its attraction that it gets very busy. Below are just some of our photos which hopefully give you an idea of what you can expect to see inside the Alhambra.

The Alhambra

View of the Albaicin Quarter

The best way to get to the Alhambra is by bus or by taxi as its a climb up the hill which on a hot day will seem even steeper. However on the way back, take a leisurely stroll back down in the shade, its difficult to get lost and there are plenty of watering holes waiting for you at the foot to the hill.

The other highlight of our stay in Granada was our walk round the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter of the cit, it's located on a hill facing the Alhambra. The Zirid Monarch first established their court here in the 11th century although little remains from that era today. Its a maze of meandering streets lined by lovely white houses with as mentioned some great views of the Alhambra. Be sure to stop on the way back down for a Tinto Verano to quench your thirst.

Inside the Albaicin Quarter

That's it from Granada, such a hard task to choose just a few of our many photos to represent this amazing city. It gets very hot in this part of Spain during the summer months, so September was a great time to visit, still very warm but not uncomfortably hot as it gets between June and August. To read more about our travels in Andalucia, click on the following link Zahara de los Atunes & Cordoba