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
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
  • Get to the point
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

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss