Best base in Andalucia?

Sep 26th, 2003, 05:47 PM
  #1  
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Best base in Andalucia?

Marbella? Nerja? Mijas? Would like one week stay and best locale to tour white villages etc. Have been to Seville so won't visit this trip. Maribel or anyone-suggestions for best place for our week?
bashful is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 05:55 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi bashful,
If you'd like the best locale to tour the white villages AND you don't require being near on on the beach, then I would suggest the area around Ronda-Gaucín, or any of the towns in the Serranía area, as the scenery there is breathtaking. That is, if you don't mind mountain driving. To tour well the white towns some mountain driving can't be avoided. Ronda is only 40 min. (we timed it in April) from the coast at San Pedro de Alcántara, then 15 min. on to Marbella via the finally finished toll road, Autopista del Sol. If you were to stay in a rented villa in Gaucín, you'd be closer to the coast at Estepona, the "relatively quiet" Marbella. From a base in or outside of Ronda you can easily hit the following charming white towns:
Arcos de la Frontera, Jimena de la Frontera, El Bosque, Casares, Gaucìn, Cortes de la Frontera, Setenil, Ubrique and my 2 favorites, Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra. Plus the paleolithic cave de la Pileta below Benaoján. And from Marbella you can zip up to the blindingly white hill town of Ojén and even to Monda.
From Ronda, it will take under 2 hrs. to reach Jerez de la Frontera, if you want to do a sherry bodega tour or attend a performance, horse ballet, at the Royal Equestrian School, then a langostina and manzanilla (sherry) lunch afterwards in Sanlúcar de Barrameda at its riverside Bajo de Guía. From Ronda you can also explore the interesting rock formations in the El Torcal National Park below Antequera.

But I must confess a bias for Western Andalucía, whose villages, cities, scenery and monuments attract me more-we find more to do there, as we're not big beach lovers.
If you want to include Granada and the mysterious, isolated Alpujarras on this trip, then perhaps your base should be Nerja on the eastern side. The white villages you could hit there would be Frigiliana and Cómpeta plus the Alpujarras.
We rented in Nerja for 3 days then moved west to the Marbella-Puerto Banús side which we find more to our liking and heard more Spanish, which is important to us. But Nerja has many fans here, so I don;t want to discourage you from a stay in that area. Only that most of those classic perched Moorish white towns are on the western side.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 06:12 AM
  #3  
 
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Make that "langostinos"-prawns, the specialty of Sanlúcar. Forgot to ask if you needed lodging recommendations.
And I tried to mail you the info you requested, but my email to the hotmail account was bounced back twice. Could you possibly give me another email address so I can try again? Thanks.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 09:26 AM
  #4  
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Hi Maribel..many thanks for your recommendations. We are somewhat restricted by a timeshare locales-hence my choices. Unfortunately I don't think an area in the Serrania area/Ronda etc. is available..as well as the locales mentioned above, we can also choose Estepona, Benalmadena-Costa, Mijas-Costa and Fuengirola...would you think out of these choices Marbella would be best?
As for your files - several people were very kind to send them to me-probably why it bounced back to you-my mailbox was pretty full! Thanks for the offer and I am spending the weekend poring over your fantastic info.
bashful is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 12:05 PM
  #5  
 
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hi bashful,
I'm glad and grateful my very kind Fodor
friends sent the info to you!

Sorry, I didn't realize you were using a timeshare. In that case, you're right; don't think you'll find a timeshare (yet) in the Ronda-Gaucín area.
So, I'd choose the next best thing, Estepona. As I mentioned earlier, Estepona is the "quieter, less highly developed, less congested, family" Marbella, although when we were down there in April, we saw construction cranes everywhere! So get there before it goes the way of Benalmádena-Fuengirola-Torremolinos!. Mijas Costa is really part of that B-F-T overdevelopment. I spent two summers in that area as a teacher/au pair, so I do know its positives and negatives, and I personally prefer the coastal area west of Marbella. It's more upscale. I think you'd be happy with something in the Estepona zone.

The drive from Estepona (actually Manilva) up on the back roads A 377 and A 369 through the Serranía up to Ronda is just spectacular! You can hit some on the little white towns on the way, like Casares, Gaucín, Benarrabá and have a wonderful lunch at the rustic Mesón la Molienda in cute Benalauría on the way.
This is one of the best Andalucía tips I've received on this great forum. They serve mouthwatering regional dishes, and the views are stunning. See it at
www.molienda.com and enjoy the flamenco guitar!
Also Casablanca in adorable Gaucín serves a great lunch with equally great views of the coast.

And for your touring in the area, I highly recommend the really invaluable Michelin Regional Map 578-it's been a god send to us.
Hope this helps.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 03:33 PM
  #6  
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It helps immensely! Many thanks and I expect I'll be calling on you for more input in the months to come....thanks again.
bashful is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 03:40 PM
  #7  
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By the way, Maribel..do you know of any of these properties in Estepona?
Residencial Diana
Macdonald Villacana Resort
Marriott's Playa Andaluza
??
bashful is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 03:51 PM
  #8  
 
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bashful,
I have seen Villacana but haven't checked on it in several years, so I think you need more current feedback. It's right on the ocean and used to be very nice, but I don't know how it compares to the other two or how it has kept up with the competition. I'm pretty sure the Marriot Playa Andaluza is newer than the Villacana, so you might want to consider it first. And you might want to start another thread with the heading "Timeshares near Marbella" or something like that to illicit more responses.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 03:56 PM
  #9  
 
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I meant "ELICT more responses"! Geeze.
Maribel is offline  

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