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Apartment | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 2
Lorca apartment is a romantic attic room with a view!
On the top floor of our carefully restored town house, it looks out over the magnificent scenery of the Andalusian countryside: rolling hills, olives groves and down in the valley the river Merchan sparkling its way to the hot springs that gave the town its name.
As you climb the stairs, the view will be the first thing you notice. Step out onto the little terrace, furnished with table and chairs, a sunlounger and the smallest barbecue in the world and you will find it hard to tear yourself away. Don't worry you can come out later with a glass of something cold and a long book!
From the little terrace is a a tiny kitchen with a fridge and a two burner halogen hob. Don't expect to cook three course meals in here, but you can make a meal or snack as there's all you need for cooking, but there are plenty of places to eat in Alhama and the tapas are free with every drink: you are on holiday!
The spacious open plan space is furnished in clean contemporary style with wooden floors. For sleeping there's a king sized bed at one end right next to a lovely bathroom
The bathroom has double sinks, a walk in shower and a bath made for two. No tap end, but you might fight over who gets the dreamy view!
The living room is at the other end of the light and airy space and there's a table and chairs and a sofa positioned to to look out over the trees and hills. A DVD player with a selection of DVDs and CDs will keep you amused if you decide on a romantic night in. There is always a selection of books and magazines giving a good excuse to sit ion the terrace and listen to the birds in the apple tree below. In Winter you can snuggle up beside the fire with a good book from our extensive selection.
Lorca is ideal for couples looking for a break. Total rest and relaxation when you want it, but close to lively tapas bars, a cultured town full of history and the most wonderful landscape for walking, painting and photography.
|Size||Sleeps up to 2, 1 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Torre del Mar|
|Will consider||House swap, Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||300 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Malaga, Nearest railway: Granada|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, DVD player|
|General||TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Dining seats for 2, Lounge seats for 2|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, BBQ|
|Further details indoors|
The apartment is comfortably furnished with table and dining chairs, sofa bed and king sized bed.
It's really suitable for couples who plan to eat out and take advantage of Alhama's fantastic tapas bars as the hob is tiny and the kitchen very wee. However it's equipped with the necessary pots and pans should you want to rustle up a salad, simple supper or tasty breakfast.
|Further details outdoors|
The small terrace is furnished with a table and two chairs and a tiny barbecue. You can cook up some burgers, steaks or fish while enjoying a meal with the most stunning views over the hills and olive groves towards Granada. The light changes by the hour. The terrace is great for spotting a variety of birds and at night in summer you might be rewarded with a display of shooting stars as you sip your evening gin and tonic!
You will find everything you need in Lorca. We provide a welcome pack to get you started and there's coffee, tea and sugar along with oils and salt and pepper so you don't have to waste your euros on these essentials. If you are arriving on a Sunday or bank holiday do let us know and we might be able to get some supplies in for you. However, there will always be a bar open somewhere for you to get a bite to eat.
Towels and bedding are provided of course. However, as is usual, you do have to bring your own beach towels.
Wifi is available and we will send the code in your welcome information.
Parking There are three spaces outside the house on a first come first served basis. We manage to park 80% of the time, but there's a little car park round the corner should the spaces be full. We hope we have given you all the information you need but do contact us whatever questions you have.
Heating and cooling
The good thing about Alhama is that even when it's really hot in summer, there's often a refreshing breeze. It's location at 900ft above sea level also means evenings are not as stifling as down on the coast. Nevertheless we find the house is cool in summer and you can always put the fans on. Winter comes late to Alhama and spring arrives early in February and March. It can be warm in the day right through winter although of course it does rain and even snow. For chilly nights and crisp days we use a combination of heating: a cosy and easy to use wood burner and plug in radiators along with background heating panels. We provide the first basket of logs and then you can buy extras at cost price.
About this location
The Andalucia region
Alhama De Granada is a small market town half way between Malaga and Granada. The name is taken from the Arabic Al-hamman which means the hot springs or baths. Alhama has been a spa town since the Roman times and the hotel Balneareo offers a range of treatments. Or you can bathe free in the river where the hot waters flow.
Alhama is historically significant as one of the last towns to fall to the Christians under the reconquest in 1483. The lament 'Ay de mi Alhama!' by the sultan Abu- al -Hacen 1483 shows the importance of this small town to the Moors. Alhama is still a culturally rich place with the oldest blood hospital in Andalucia next to our house and reputedly the first Christian church to be built on top of a mosque 50 yards away.
The deep ravine Los Tajos through which the river Alhama (or river Merchan as it is also known) is a beautiful place for walking and wildlife spotting. Ruined early twentieth century flour mills add to its charm and make great subjects for photography or painting.
Most guests are surprised by the size and extent of Alhama. It's a busy little town with over 6000 inhabitants. There are two main squares surrounded by bars, cafes and restaurants and there are many supermarkets as well as smaller bread shops, butchers and fish shops. The local market is held on a Friday and offers a colourful insight into the bustle and character of Spanish life.
There are plenty of options for food shopping. We have a very convenient shop nearby. It used to be called the ‘secret shop' as it had no sign and was only recognised by the boxes outside the door and the plastic fly curtain. Now Alhama has gone sign crazy and it has a lovely sign outside. The shop is just opposite the garages and the parking space of our house. Pedro runs the shop and he speaks a little bit of English- he is keen to learn more so you can't always nip in for a quick pint of milk without a language lesson!
He's a bit dearer than the big supermarkets, but is very well stocked. Brits will be pleased to hear he has a range of UK goodies including cereal, tea bags and baked beans!
There is a great butcher up near the main square and next to it a fishmonger. In facts there are lots of little pescaderias dotted about. There are several fruit and veg shops and the Cafe Creme sells bread, croissants and delicious trays of cream cakes for about €6. They do lovely ice cream too.
For the best and freshest eggs we go to Sanders- it's a seed merchant opposite Bazaar Ana in the bottom square- ask for ‘huevos gordos'- fat eggs!. They are nice and big and very fresh. D'Alsara also sell proper farm eggs.
There are two bigger supermarkets in Alhama: Coviran and Dia and a smaller one called D'Alsara
Coviran is situated between the road to Loja and the road to Granada and is open 10-12 and 5-9 except Saturday when it's only open in the morning.
Dia is just off the bottom square after the garage and is also open Saturday teatime. D'Alsara is on the main road to Loja near the roundabout at the bottom square. The same opening hours as Coviran. This shop sells PG Tips if you run out and don't like the Spanish tea!
Next to this is a shop called Dioni which sells household goods, stationary etc- a bit like a pound shop but most things are 60c! It's like a Spanish poundland but cheaper!
The weekly market is on a Friday and sells a huge array of fruit and vegetables, clothes, shoes and lots of bits and pieces of tat. If you turn right out of our door and keep heading down- you will see and hear the market- it is in a big space below the road to Granada. In June and September the Feria is held here too.
Stamps (sellos) have to be bought at the Tabac- there is one on the main square next to Meson Diego and another down Calle Llana- you drive past it on the way to the house.
There are several pharmacies- one on Calle Fuerte- the steep street down to the bottom square and one on the Granada road. This one is also near the Health Centre where you can go for any medical treatment you might need. Supermarkets don't sell any drugs such as Paracetemol which you will have to buy at the pharmacy.
Alhama's not the place for high fashion-for that head to Granada with its Zara, Mango and designer shops. There's everything you need for a great holiday here though and you don't even need a car!
Cafes and bars
Most bars serve breakfast and it generally centres around toast- ‘tostadas' You can have ‘entera' which is two massive pieces of ciabbata bread (almost a whole small stick) or ‘media' which is two halves. It comes with mantequilla and mermelada (butter and jam) aceite (oil) tomate (pureed tomatoes) queso- cheese or in some places jamon and pate.
The nicest place is probably Café Crème and you can buy lovely bread here along with delicious ice cream and little trays of cream cakes.
You will not be stuck for places to go for lunch or dinner in Alhama!
On the top square there is Ohana which is a lovely bar with seating outside in the summer. It's under new Dutch management and they are very friendly!
Meson Diego is a great place to sit in the day with a coffee or a zumo (juice). It gets the sun even in the winter and we have sat in t shirts in January. They have a reasonable menu focused around fish and meat. It's not haute cuisine but it's good solid food and very reasonable. Inside is a bit soulless, but ok in the winter when nowhere else is open- Meson Diego hardly shuts.
Andalus is good for a drink, but I wouldn't recommend the food here personally. The tapas are fine though and they do lovely ice cream.
Bar Tigre is a very basic bar in that you have to stand or sit on bar stools as it's small inside. The tapas are very good here and Antonio doesn't mind you requesting what you like- whereas usually you get what you are given which is fair enough as it's free!
Where Tigre shines is in his wine and whisky collection. He has some fantastic wines and he knows what he's talking about. A really good bottle of 1998 Imaz Coto costs about €12! Most bottles are €4/5. In summer Antonio puts all his tables and chairs out in the street and it's packed. You see him running like a madman between tables shouting ‘Voy'- I am coming!
Where Tigre falls down is the toilets! The mens' is literally in the corner of the room- ok there's a door, but it's right under the television. Ladies- you have to go outside round the corner and into a side street. Better go before or in a bar with decent facilities like Ohana, Diego, Gallego or Boega!
Ochoa is probably our favourite bar. It's very traditional run by Paco and Fina. The tapas and raciones are great with quite a vegetarian choice. In winter this bar still has the mesa camilla- the tables have tablecloths which hide a brasier/brasero underneath which Paco fills with hot coals from the fire. You put the tablecloth over your knees and keep warm- very toasty- but don't scorch your shoes as I have done!
At the moment Ochoa is only open at weekend.
Next to Ochoa is Boega which is a bit of a sports bar. The football is always on. There's plenty of room to sit though and it's ok for kids. The food is nice and Pepe the owner very friendly.
Opposite Boega there is Gallego. This is a nice friendly bar specialising in Octopus and seafood. Really clean and the menus are in English too.
Across from this is Encuentro
This isn't always open, but when it is it's a lively bar for youngsters- don't expect any tapas or good wine though- it's not my favourite!
Down on the bottom square Rincon is ok with good food and in the summer tables on the square.
Café Bar 25 again caters to the younger crowd with bottled beer and no tapas
Esquinilla 2 is near Coviran. This does probably the best Lomo (hot roast pork) in Alhama. You can choose your tapas here too.
Bar Raya is on the main road to Granada. It has a restaurant at the back and in bar seating is limited except at the bar. The tapas and wine are very good here. The lomo almost as good as Esquinilla.
Tasca Marin probably vies Esquinilla with for the best lomo- it's near the roundabout on the Loja road just up the hill behind a bar called Cabeza- where they do good breakfasts. Marin is a great tapas bar and they take a real pride in the food and drink. There are two more bars opposite- one a seafood bar and one a pizza place. There are more bars but we haven't been in them yet- do let us know if you try any.
This is a reasonable restaurant just near the roundabout on the Granada road. The food is plentiful and nicely done. The mixed fish platter is huge! There never seems to be many people eating although I think that we are too English and go about 8pm!
This is a very pretty restaurant with a terrace overlooking the gorge. To get to it go up behind Bar Sibanco and it's on the top street to the right. Paco the owner used to be a Flamenco singer and there is lots of Flamenco memorabilia about the place. The menu tends towards the nouvelle cuisine in portion size and it's quite expensive but really tasty. They never seem to have any fish but Bacalao - salt cod which is quite nice. Meat eating friends have said the meat is good here.
Pato Loco - Crazy Duck
This can be reached by a lovely 40 minute walk through the gorge- as can Ventorro which is next door. As you reach the end of the gorge you will cross a little bridge. At the end of the track you come onto a road. Cross over to the path and walk towards the Presa [a lovely lake with loads of wildlife which you can watch from a hide at the car park of Ventorro. You will come to Ventorro first and then Pato Loco. The food is good here and there are lots of tables. Sunday lunch gets quite busy. Pato Loco also has a huge swimming pool with a little one for small children. It's surrounded by grassy areas to picnic and costs about 3 euros to get in. The water is cold but on a hot day this is a blessing.
This is our favourite restaurant for lunch. In the summer sit under a shady terrace or in winter by a roaring fire. The menu is in English, Spanish French and German. We love the Pollo a ajo- chicken in garlic and the Trucha- trout. Everything is delicious though and sometimes the tapas of choto (goat) are so big that you haven't room for lunch.
Both Pato Loco and Ventorro can be reached by car. Take the road towards Velez Malaga- from the roundabout on the Loja road and follow this for a while. You will come to a turn off left to Arenas del Rey and Jatar take this road and the restaurants are about half a mile on the left after the lake.
You can also walk to these restaurants through the gorge- it takes us about 40 minutes- but I'm quite slow! It's a lovely way to spend a Sunday: A walk through the gorge, Sunday lunch then an afternoon by the pool at Pato Loco. You might have to book a table at Ventorro or Pato Loco though as they get very busy with Spanish families. Weekdays should be fine.
Places to visit
Historic Tour of Alhama
This is excellent value. It departs from the tourist office on Tuesday and Thursday at 12 pm (check this on the window as there is some seasonal change) You buy tickets in the office- they are 2 euros. The tour guide sometimes speaks good English but you always get a written guide to translate. Alhama is very historic and the churches are magnificent. In one church (Santa Maria) you can pay a few euros extra to see the museum which holds some very rare ecclesiastical garments and treasure. I had loved in Alhama four years before I had time to take the tour and I was very surprised at how interesting it was.
Visit to Ventorro Arabic Spa
The restaurant Ventorro is also a hotel and Arabic baths. Into a series of caves and cliffs has been built a small but stunning pool with adjoining steam room, cold plunge and Jacuzzi. The spa sessions run for nearly two hours with enough time to fit in a relaxing message. The spa is decorated in typical Andalusian/ Arabic style with handmade tiles and Moroccan lanterns. The price has just gone up and we think it is about €15. You can have a massage for about the same price. Tuesdays was half price entrance last year but check when you book. You can book at the restaurant. The sessions are twice a day, one in the morning around 10.30 and the other around 5.30.
The Balneario is a spa hotel. You will see it signed as you enter Alhama from Granada just over the little one way bridge. You can walk from our house through where the market is held and the follow a path which brings you out at the bridge.
We have been to the hotel for a drink but haven't used the facilities which do look very nice. The hot springs which feed into the hotel are famous and indeed Alhama is named after them - Al Hamman. When the restorative waters have done their bit in the hotel they are discharged through a series of pools into the river. (Access to the pools is just on the left before the gates to the hotel). We like to go and sit in the warm water under the trees. It's really relaxing although you have to choose your times as the locals often do their ablutions here! It's a popular place for after the bars shut too although we have never tried a late night session!
The lake is about 20 minutes drive. Take the road to Granada and as the road out of Alhama forks sharp left you will see a road to the right signed Bermejales. Just follow this road and you will come to the lake. Cross over the little one way bridge and turn right in about 200 yard signed to Camping. Along this road are many places to stop with picnic benches under the pine trees. Lst year the lake was so low it took 5 minutes to walk down to it and there were rumours the sunken village was about to appear. This year it's rained so much the lake is up to the path and there are some trees underwater!
When the lake is low don't drive down to it even if you see others doing it. Our friend was fined 200 euros! Stay on the path and you will be ok. The restaurant on the road near the camping is supposed to be good though we haven't tried it yet.
If you drive down to the coast there are lots of options- turn right at Velez Malaga for Torremolinos, Benelmadena, Estepona and Marbella or left for Torre del Mar, Nerja, La Herradura and Almunecar. These all have their different attractions. The coast east of Velez after Torre is more interesting in terms of rockier coves and landscapes although both parts of the coast have wide sandy/shingly beaches. Nerja is a popular whitewashed town with some interesting caves to visit. If you are visiting take a trip inland to the pretty village of Frigiliana- lots of steep cobbled streets lined with nice gift shops- very picturesque. La Herradura has a wide sandy beach and is worth the little extra drive to get away from the British bars.
Our favourite spot though is Punta Mona.
Drive through Herradura along the beach and going towards Almunecar. The road will get quite steep and there will be a right turn just by a house called Chapparal. Follow this and drive past a big hotel on the left. Turn right after the hotel and carry on down. There is a car park right next to the beach and a lovely beach bar. It's nice and sheltered here and the water is clean. It looks like it is a private beach for all the gated complexes but we have never seen any signs to this effect. Sometimes the waves can be very strong so do be careful.
The 'James Bond'Road
If you fancy a challenging drive back, go back towards Herradura but at the Chapparal house turn right- you will eventually come to a junction signed Malaga one way and Granada the other. When you get to Almunecar carry on for a while and there is a second turning right into the town which will also be signed Otivar/ Jete. Turn right but prepare to come straight back on yourself round a mini roundabout with lights. The road you want is across the other side and it takes you to the town of Otivar and then up through the most spectacular landscape. We call it the James Bond Road! There is a restaurant at Otivar called La Capricca (or something like that) It's supposed to be very good with spectacular views.
After climbing up through the mountains you will reach the top and then drive along a lush plane with pine trees lining the road. You want to take a left to Jayena and then this brings you back to Lake Bermajales and you can come home through Arenas del Rey.
Special times of year to visit
Like many Spanish towns Alhama has its calendar of ferias, festivals and religious ceremonies. If you are here when these are on don't miss out if you want to experience Real Spain. Alhamenos love a party and really know how to enjoy themselves.
The Festival of Three Kings (Epiphany)- January 6th
On this day the children get their presents and the day is more important than Christmas to many. Three old men dressed as the kings drive through the streets on a decorated float throwing sweets and presents for every child. Local pastry shops sell special circular cream filled cakes called "Rosca de Reyes" .
The Candeleria- February 2nd
The end of the season of epiphany the Candelária or Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd. In Alhama each street gets delivered a stack of firewood from the town hall (from their party budget). Big bonfires are made in the street and neighbours ply passers by with food and copious amounts of vino terrano (homemade local wine)
The Carnival - The week up to Shrove Tuesday
A traditional Shrove Tuesday celebration, but typically lasting for almost a week. The locals dress up in the most outrageous outfits and there is generally dancing and misrule in all the streets and bars. Much wine and food consumed and there is a party mood throughout.
Semana Santa (Easter)
An altogether more serious affair which begins on Maundy Thursday. All day long flares are set off over the gorge and the bells ring constantly. Finally when it goes dark there is a procession of the patron saint of Alhama- Nuestra Señora la Virgen de las Angustias carried through the streets on massive biers by many white gloved men. People line the streets with candles and black veiled senoras follow in mourning. This is a very moving spectacle. This year there was a fantastic firework display to follow.
Good Friday is a far more restrained affair. El Senor (Christ) is carried through the streets on his cross. It's quite solemn and the bars dim their lights as he passes.
Feria de San Juan- June
A three day celebration with a funfair, much merriment and lots of activities. Bars take it in turn to offer free food and drink and the Town Hall provide a slap up Paella and free drinks. Spectacular fireworks round it off.
The summer festival of Arts-July/August is a fortnight of music and arts with Flamenco, plays and other entertainment. It also includes the Youth Music festival and there are often some famous Spanish singers and bands on for entertainment.
The Romeria de Vino- around 15th August
Traditional romeria- or pilgrimage to the countryside. Romeros and romeras (travellers) get dressed up in their best outfits with lots of traditional Andalusian dress being worn. They travel on foot or in decorated carts to the site where there is dancing and singing and, of course, free wine given out by the town hall to accompany the chickpea and ham stew. The day includes some fantastic feats of horsemanship where riders have to gallop under a bar from which hang many gaily coloured ribbons. With something resembling a crochet hook they have to collect as many ribbons as they can. The ribbons were once favours hung by the girls and the object was to capture the favour and thus the heart of the girl you desired.
The Grand September Feria- a similar feria to the June one, but bigger and with more fireworks.Alhama is steeped in tradition and there are so many opportunities to experience Real Spain. These things are not put on for tourists they are the real thing. The people of Alhama are so friendly and completely bonkers in the the nicest possible way. They really know how to party and indeed the Town Hall has a party budget!
Other things to do
In Alhama there are many things to do that are free- walking, bird watching and exploring the town and countryside nearby. However, even when activities have a charge they are usually quite modest in price.
Photography John can offer photography tuition from one hour to a full day tailored to your requirements. His tuition will be based on ways of seeing creatively rather than technical advice. You need only the most basic camera. Please contact us for details or ask John when you are here.
Walking, Climbing and Adventure A local company offers walking, climbing and cycling as well as a variety of day trips which range from horse riding, Go-Karting, quad biking, Lake Days (with kayaks and pedaloes) and Seaside Days (with banana boat rides). In the winter they can organise skiing, husky sledding and sledging. Whatever you fancy doing on your holiday- they can arrange it. For details go to Tajos estate agent on the Granada road - near Bar Raya and ask for Terry.
Visit to Granada and the Alhambra Palace Visit the historic city of Granada where you can explore the twisting streets of the Albaicin- the Arab quarter- with its jumble of cave like shops selling Moroccan lanterns, rugs, slippers and trinkets. You might want to try a mint tea or a bubble pipe in one of the many tea rooms. Alternatively you could explore the Cathedral, the ancient cave area of Sacramonte or if you want some retail therapy Granada has all the top shops you would expect in a major city. The highlight of your trip would be to visit the magnificent Alhambra palace and Generalife gardens. Tickets for the Alhambra sell out months in advance so you need to book early for this. However, it's possible to visit the Gardens without booking ahead.
In April the Guardian Hay festival comes to Granada and there are usually some readings of poetry and fiction and talks on films, Spanish culture and food. Not to be missed. http://www.hayfestival.com/alhambra/
The Lorca museum in Fuentes Vacqueros. This is well worth a visit. The museum is in the house Lorca was born in and it contains much of the original furniture and photographs. Upstairs are some of his books and there is a lovely courtyard. See the leaflet.
We did have some problems when we went as it wasn't clear which was his house at first! The street is off the main square more or less opposite the fountains. The house is number 4 but you buy the tickets in the next street (at the back of the house). We almost missed it! Fuentes Vacqueros is just off the motorway near the airport.- come off at Romilla and the go through Chauchina and follow the signs to Fuentes. Lorca is Andalucia's most famous poet and he is held with great reverence in Granada Province. You can also visit a museum in Granada.
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Calendar last updated:02 Feb 2015
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