Wander up to El Gastor
It's just a five minute drive to this friendly village, with its white-washed façades and wrought iron balconies with cascades of colourful geraniums. Try some tapas in one of the bars, mixing with the locals in the small square is a great way to relax and you'll feel very welcome. The village has a bakery, small supermarket, butchers and a fishmonger so you will find all you need.
Take a day trip to Seville
Seville is Andalucía’s capital. It has some of the region’s most beautiful monuments. Easily reached, using the park and ride system by metro, taking the strain from trying to park in a busy unfamiliar city. Exit the metro in “Puerta Jerez” and you will find yourselves in the very heart of the city, close to the Cathedral. It’s a flat city so walking is easy, cycles can also be hired for a day, horse and carriages are plentiful, or “hop on – hop off “city open top bus tours can be easily found.
Jerez - land of horses and sherry!
The lovely city of Jerez is under an hour's drive from La Almena Blanca, and is home to the sherry wineries and the Royal Equestrian School. Watch the amazing 'How The Andalucían Horses Dance' show and then pop along for a guided tour of a winery and, of course, the chance to sample the local tipple! Book tickets in advance for the horse show www.realescuela.org
Be active and do a great cycle ride!
The "Via Verde" or Green Way runs for 36 kilometers along the old railway line near the village of Olvera. This is an ecotourism route that can be done on foot, bicycle, horseback, and even donkey! Contemplate exuberant nature, valuable plant and animal species and the most beautiful landscape. Bicycles can be hired for a day. www.fundacionviaverdedelasierra.com
Turn the clock back
This area has been settled since prehistoric times and around El Gastor evidence has been found of dolmens, or Megalithic burial grounds. The most famous of these is El Charcón, commonly known as the ‘Tumba del Gigante’. This ‘Giant’s Tomb’ dating from the Bronze Age is formed by three-metre high stone pillars and a nine-metre long passageway. Just a short walk uphill from the village it makes a pleasant ramble with some great views too!
Don't forget to bring your binoculars!
Views from La Almena Blanca are wonderful, but are even more enjoyable if you have some binoculars. There are vistas all around the house, towards the white washed village of Zahara over the lake and the peaks of Lagarin and Las Grajas to one side. Bird watchers will not be disappointed, especially with large groups of Griffon Vultures continually riding the thermals above you.
Swim in a lagoon
The Cueva del Gato cave and lagoon are found at nearby Benaoján. The waterfall flows icy cold all year round and forms a wonderful lagoon for swimming. The cave is thought to have been a favourite hiding place for bandits in the past, but its depths are now only accessible by very experienced and qualified potholers.
Don't miss Ronda
The beautiful, historic town of Ronda, with its impressive gorge, is only 35 minutes away. Take refreshment at a café table in one of the lovely squares, marvel at the views, stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town, or sit back and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride round the many places of interest. Ronda has some great restaurants and shops, too! Most impressive is the gorge slicing the town in two - connected by a 100m high bridge where the views are amazing.
La Pileta Caves
Situated just beyond the village of Benaoján, two guides take candlelit tours of up to 25 people in each group to see the impressive Pileta cave which is well known for its pre-historic cave paintings.
Be King of the Castle!
Visit the pretty nearby village of Zahara de la Sierra, which you can see from the terrace of La Almena Blanca. It's a steep walk up to the medieval castle perched high above on the rock - but well worth the effort to enjoy fabulous views over the lake, the terracota roof tops below and the mountains far beyond. This small but lively village has a welcoming square, perfect to sit down on its many terraces and sip a cool drink and just watch the world go by.
Fun filled Fiestas!
The Spanish love a party and know how to do it well! The first weekend of August is the Feria in El Gastor, with plenty of socialising, flamenco singing and dancing, horses, bulls and games to enjoy. In the first week of October the locals also pay homage to their Patron Saint, "Virgen del Rosario", celebrating with colourful processions. It's a lovely experience and a chance to see the true Andalusian spirit.
Explore the Grazalema National Park
A firm favourite with many guests is a visit to the mountain village of Grazalema. Just the wonderful drive there is enjoyable. It has an excellent choice of places to eat, at very reasonable prices. You can easily spend an afternoon wandering around the array of gift shops selling local hand made products. Hand woven wool shawls and blankets, pottery and ceramics, cheese, cakes and leather goods can all be found here.
Have you visited La Almena Blanca?
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