One Hour From: Granada

In an ancient town on a Spanish cliff, you can get into hot water Cave-dwellings, secluded beaches and the town where Julius Caesar mined precious metal lie beyond the city of Alhambra.


The Alpujarras

The Alpujarras

This beautiful area stretches across the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada for more than 40miles, punctuated by deep valleys, high ravines, and fertile meadows. The villages, which have changed little since the 17th century, are famed for their dry-cured hams. Some of Spain's finest walking trails can be found here, affording fabulous views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.

By car: take the N323 south then take the A348 and follow signs to Orgiva; journey time approximately 50 mins.

The tropical coast

Popular with weekenders from Granada, the Costa Tropical has suffered little from development thanks to its distance from the main charter-flight airports. The coastline, which extends for more than 30 miles, features cliffs, coves and fine sandy beaches. Motril, the main town, is dominated by its surrounding sugar-cane crop and is known as Little Cuba. But if you have only got time to visit one town, then you should head for Solobrena, which has ancient whitewashed houses tumbling down a hillside and a modern but tasteful beach development.

By car: take the N323 south then the N340 and follow signs; journey time approximately one hour.

Guadix

This town dates from Roman times: Julius Caesar is said to have founded it, in 45BC, when he set up copper, iron and silver mines. Today, Guadix is mainly an agricultural centre but has industries based around cutlery production and esparto grass. The town is famous for its 10,000-strong troglodyte community who live in complex caves in the soft tufa rock hillside. Why not join them and book yourself into one of the many cave hotels?

By car: N342 east and follow signs: journey time approximately 45 mins.

Alhama de Granada

Perched precariously on a cliff top, overlooking a deep gorge created by the river, this ancient spa town takes its name from the Moorish Al Hamman, which means thermal waters or baths. Both the Moors and the Romans before them valued the thermal waters and the baths are still in use today. To find the baths, head for the Hotel Balnaerio, just north of town on the C340. Highlights in the town include the ruined Moorish castle, some fine churches and a maze of medieval alleys.

By car: A338 west and follow signs; journey time approximately 50 mins.

Baza

During Moorish times this was a silk-producing centre until it was taken by the Christians after a lengthy siege in 1489. Today the town relies on agriculture and, like Guadix, is home to cave dwellings, which can be seen to the east of town on the main road. Baza is the gateway to the Parque Naturel de la Sierra de Baza, where flora and fauna lovers have a field day among the dense and varied woodland, which has colonies of golden eagles, Egyptian vultures, beech martens and badgers.

By car: take the N342 east and follow signs; journey time approximately one hour-plus.

Alacala la Real

Stop here at the hilltop castle, the Castillo de la Mota, for some of the finest views over the surrounding countryside back towards Granada. Rocky cliffs form part of the fortress walls and 15 of the original watchtowers, dating from Arab and early Christian times, still exist. Visit the small archaeological museum, which houses pottery, weapons, skeletons and coins found on the site.

By car: take the N432 north and follow signs; journey time approximately 45 mins.

Magic of Spain (0870-888 0222; www.magictravelgroup.co.uk) offers seven-nights' b&b at the three-star Hotel Los Angeles from £445 per person, including return flights and private transfers. Holiday Autos (0870-400 0010; www.holidayautos.co.uk) offers one week's car hire in Granada from £98.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
A bartender serves beers
news
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig and Rory Kinnear film Spectre in London
film
Life and Style
The finale at Dolce and Gabbana autumn/winter 2015
fashion
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?