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Moe Apr 26th, 2002 10:41 PM

Countryside around Granada-Seville
My wife and I will be in Granada first week of Oct 2002 for about 5 days attending a conference. After, (or before?) we would like to spend another week touring the area.<BR>From what I've read here Seville seems to be a must-see, so we will probably head over there. Are the small towns and villages in the area worth visiting and staying in? We will probably rent a car. We can afford expensive but not very expensive accomodations. Any tips.<BR>Thanks<BR>Moe

Vera Apr 27th, 2002 11:02 AM

We were in Spain in March and spent three nights in Granada and three nights in Seville. In between we visited Baeza and Ubeda, two Rennaissance towns, close together, which we highly recommend. In Baeza we stayed at the Hotel Palacete, a 16th century mansion with 13 very modern rooms in the midst of a very romantic old building. Best of all, the rate was only about $60 a day. An unbelievable value. From there we drove to Carmona. Although it is very close to Seville, we were very happy that we decided to stop over there. It is simply dripping with history--a church with a visigothic column in the courtyard--the Seville Gate, a fortress strated by the Carthaginians and added on by Romans, Moors and Christians. The lovely parador was booked, but we thought the Hotel Alcazar de la Reina was superior even to the parador. And its restaurant, Ferrara is supposed to be the best in Carmona.<BR>We did also stop in Cordoba to see the Mezquita (Mosque with catedral in the middle). It was a frustrating experience because it is very difficult to find your way into the city by car. Unlike Sevilla and Madrid and even smaller towns, streets are not clearly marked and directions are confusing. The one-of-a-kind Mezquita turned out to be worth the trip, but unfortunately after driving in circles half a day, we had no time for other sight seeing there.<BR>I hope your conference will allow time for some exploration of Granda,also. It was one of our favorite places.<BR>Vera

Vera Apr 27th, 2002 11:14 AM

P.S. Although you didn't ask about Sevilla, I'll recommend the Hotel de la Juderia. We were not able to stay there, or at about thirty or forty other places I tried, because we went during Holy Week. But I checked out a few of the hotels to see what we were missing, and if I ever go back I'll try to get into Juderia. It is convenient and absolutely charming.<BR>Vera

nikkit Apr 28th, 2002 12:16 PM

The white villages are also lovely - most have wonderful positions on tip of hills. have a look at where we have reviewed in detail our favourite small hotels in andalucia. returning there next week and can't wait!

Maribel Apr 28th, 2002 01:22 PM

Vera,<BR>I'm glad you had a wonderful journey.<BR>Two questions:<BR>Is the Palacete in Baeza new? I don't remember having seen it. We stayed in the Confortel Baeza. Also could you elaborate a bit on the Alcazar de la Reina in Carmona. I've stayed at the Parador and know the Casa de Carmona but don't have any<BR>"insider" info on the other-I see that the new Michelin red guide rates it higher than the Casa de Carmona and recommends the Ferrara restaurant. Glad you enjoyed Carmona and also the little Renaissance gems.<BR><BR>Moe,<BR>I'd certainly spend a night (or even 2) in lovely Ronda at the extremely well priced and beautifully decorated family run Hotel San Gabriel. <BR><BR>You'll be impressed by Ronda's incredible, jaw-dropping perch atop a very dramatic, deep gorge, and it serves as a nice base to tour the pueblos blancos (white towns) of Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Ubrique (the leather town) and equally dramatically perched Arcos de la Frontera, a must-see for the equally incredible views, and to visit the Pileta caves (25,000 yr. old cave drawings), near Benaojan.<BR><BR>Nikkit,<BR>I've enjoyed the i-escape site. Look forward to your updates-have a great trip!

Vera Apr 28th, 2002 03:44 PM

Hi, Nikket:<BR>The Hotel Palacete Santa Ana is on a narrow street in Baeza not far from the ruins of the San Francisco Convento. It would be easy to miss! We found it in the Cadogan guide which says, "A lavishly restored nobel palace...the closest thing you'll get to stepping back into the 18th century." They seem to be geared for small groups as well as individuals, as they have an attached restaurant, built around the original well of the palace, two banquet rooms and will arrange a flamenco show. Very quiet place, too.<BR>The newer rooms were refurbished in 1999, but I don't know how long the original rooms have been available.<BR>By the way, Cadogan calls Comfortel the second best in Baeza.<BR><BR>Alcazar de la Reina in Carmona has a web site,<BR>It is situated just a block away from the Carmona, looks out over the valley. I think it was made into a hotel in 1999. Has a beautiful central patio/pool area. Our room was spacious and very modern and beautifully decorated. We had a view (over the front door of the hotel) out over the valley. There are meeting rooms and an antique-filled drawing room as well as the very classy Ferrara restaurant, where the breakfast that comes with the room is served. Very extensive, includes champagne!<BR>We were there in high season, but they wren't full, so gave us regular rate, which I believe was about 130 euros.<BR>Vera

Moe May 3rd, 2002 10:57 PM

Vera, nikkit, Maribel,<BR>Thanks for your replies. Exactly what I was looking for! In Granada we will probably be staying in hotels associated with the conference, so the choice may be made for us. No details available yet. From the enthusiastic threads I've read here, I think we will extend our vacation to three weeeks. I will probably have more questions as the time approaches and my research becomes more focused.<BR>BTW, we planned a trip to the Dordogne in France a couple of years ago, much of it through the internet and sites like this. Our best experiences came as a result of feedback from people like yourselves.<BR>Thanks<BR>Moe

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