This is the second post in a series dedicated to our road trip in Andalucia. For 9 days we traveled over 1500km in Southern Spain hitting the following places: the Alpujarras, Granada, Ronda, Jerez de la Fronteira, Costa del Sol, Malaga.
A visit to Andalucia wouldn’t be complete without a stay or two in the famous white hilltop towns. These charming white washed towns are scattered about in the region, nested on the sides of hills, on mountain ridges and spanning gorges, providing expansive view points and beautiful landscapes.
We spent two relaxing nights in Capileira in the Sierra Nevada National Park in the La Alpujarra district. It is the most northerly of the three villages located on the gorge of the Poqueira River and the perfect take off point for a day hike up the mountain.
From there, we drove just a bit further up the Sierra Nevada Highway until we reached the parking lot. We parked and told the park ranger where we were going. Through the forest, we followed the trail eventually above the treeline to the Puerto Molina lookout point. However, there was nothing to look at as clouds blanketed the valley below. We continued along the track toward the Refugio del Poquiera, a mountain cabin that overnight hikers can book. We didn’t make it that far but hiked until 2pm where we stopped to have our packed lunch. The clouds were still there and we didn’t get the views into the valley as we hoped. We made our way back down eventually running into some ibex grazing the mountain side. That was as much excitement as we got on our day hike. We likely missed the rain that was touching down in Capileira below.
The town reminded us a lot of the berber villages in Morocco, especially the chimneys. But that’s not surprising because the Moors occupied the whole area for centuries. Aside from hikes and wandering around town, we didn’t do a whole lot. It was the perfect relaxing start to our week-long holiday.
Our favourite places:
Hotel El Cascapeñas de la Alpujarra: We slept very well here and the owner was helpful.
Magick Culture Café: Dinner was cheap and tasty, but we were drawn by the live music and fun ambiance. Both nights we hung out there, it seemed we were the only tourists. And had the weather been warmer, I would have loved to enjoy a drink on their terrace watching the sun go down behind the mountains.
Restaurant La Tapa: We had a pre-dinner tapa snack one night, then returned for dinner the second night. The owner/cook/barman/server was friendly and welcoming. He serves a variety of tapas, stews and delicious wine in a cozy restaurant with only four tables and a small bar that was busy each night with locals.
Ruta de las Nieves: This was our go to place for breakfast serving bacon and eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice and good coffee.
Rhonda is a spectacular town, recognized by the 18th century Puente Nova “new” bridge that spans the 100m canyon below. Built along the cliff edges of El Tajo, Ronda provides magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Paths run down along the river to get the epic views of the bridge and see its dramatic scale up close.
Our visit to Rhonda was a quick one and we battled the rain to discover as much as we could of this town. There was more to visit other than the iconic bridge. We visited the bullring, walked the pedestrian street, sat in the square and strolled through the park. There we learned that Ernest Hemmingway and Orsen Welles spent many summers there. I would too… it was a lovely town.
Where we ate:
Casa Maria: A small restaurant that was filled with mostly tourists. Being high on Trip Advisor, I’m not surprised. It wasn’t our first pick, but a few other places in the area were all reserved so we were happy to sit here. The owner greeted us and explained that for a fixed priced, he’d serve a 4 course meal: chef’s choice. He asked if we had any dietary restrictions and then soon appeared with the first course. The meal was delicious and we especially liked the tenderloin beef that came out sizzling on a hot stone plate. The best beef we’ve had outside of Canada. We had the last of the dessert while the other diners weren’t so lucky. So had I been them, I wouldn’t have been too pleased considering we all paid the same price.
What do you think of these white hill towns? Have you been to one of them?
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