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Malaga, Granada and the Sierra Countryside Hints Appreciated

Malaga, Granada and the Sierra Countryside Hints Appreciated

Old May 26th, 2022, 10:22 AM
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Malaga, Granada and the Sierra Countryside Hints Appreciated

Hello all! It's been... well...not forever but a long time. We are ready to get back on the travel saddle and head towards our beloved Spain. We would love some hints and recommendations for restaurants and events. This is our schedule, if it can be called that instead of a slow progression of stays, lol:

June 9, arrive in Madrid at 10:00am and take the 2:30pm train to Malaga. Hope this is enough time to go through all the airport stuff.

June 9-23: Stay in Malaga for 2 weeks, we've been there before and love it. Got an apartment close to the Ataranzas market. Hope to make it this time to the Caminto del Rey. Maybe a daytrip? I don't have any events lined up for this portion of the trip.

June 23, bus to Granada (much more convenient hours than the train and not much more time consuming).

June 23 - July 7: Stay in Granada for 2 weeks. We have not been to Granada since 2002. When I started planning I thought I would spend 'just' a week but the schedule filled up so quickly with 'second tier' museums that we extended to the full two weeks. It coincided with the Granada Music and Dance festival so, there will be repeat visits to the Alahambra (including nights) and a few concerts. We will stay in the lower Albaicín. I would like to get recs on flamenco venues, restaurants and maybe a day trip.

July 7th we will pickup a rental car and do a week long road trip as follows:
- 2 nights in Nerja
- 2 nights in Cazorla at the Parador. This will be a long drive (close to six hours but not rushed) as we plan to stop by Castillo de la Calahorra and take the scenic roads. I have cacellable reservations, this is the only part of the trip I'm flip flopping about.
- 2 nights in Ubeda after a scenic drive through the sierra
- 1 night in Guadix after visiting Baeza
- have an early start and bring the car back to Granada to avoid the horrendous different-city drop-off fee. Train to Madrid arriving at noon.
- 1 night in Madrid (14th oj July) staying near Atocha. Anything cool for that evening?
- fly back home departing at 4:00pm so the morining would be available for something.

Thanks, hope to hear from all of you!
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Old May 26th, 2022, 01:10 PM
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Hola, marigross!
It has been a very long time. It's great to see you here again. I've loved reading your trip reports over the years, especially your Portugal adventure.

Just a few thoughts...
On June 9: I now allow 3 hours from landing gate to Atocha to catch a train, so I think you'll be fine.

Two weeks in Málaga--one of my favorite southern cities these days, and it will be great to be close to the Ataranzanas market. Málaga is such a wonderful city for pedestrians, so very walkable and utterly enjoyable. I'm sure you know that you need advance reservations for the Caminito del Rey walk. There appears to be plenty of availability now for June.

For tapas and wine in Málaga we love the Café Bar in the market, Uvedoble, Casa Lola, Any Way Wine and for seafood, Los Mellizos and Refectorium Catedral. (not crazy about the tourist-packed El Pimpi that will now seat 1,000 at a time in all its extensions--A. Banderas is an owner--but it's good for a glass of sweet Málaga wine and their version of ensalada malagueña).
Antigua Casa de la Guardia is a time warp.
La Luz de Candela has the best value-to-quality (rcp) menú del día of anywhere in the country.
Dani Carnero just opened the informal La Cosmo, but we haven't been.
For rooftop sunset drinks, the terrace of the Roommate Valeria is nice in Soho.
For a chiringuito on Pedregalejo beach, we just use this article from Repsol (Gurmé Málaga recommends El Caleño)-

June 23-we also take the bus. You're so lucky to be there during the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza. I just looked at the program and am envious!

Granada casual we like:
for wines, definitely Taberna la Tana (native son, orchestra conductor Pablo Heras-Casado's fav.), for seafood and pescaíto frito, Los Diamantes II, just a few steps away (the one of 5 that's the least crowded), for creative tapas, St Germain near the cathedral, for tapas on the pretty Plaza de la Pescadería, Cunini at the bar,
for an Albaicín walk (where Bourdain filmed) Bar Aliatar los Caracoles on the pretty Plaza Aliatar,
off the Plaza del Carmen, La Alameda for an oxtail burger.
For sunset cocktails, there's a new place on the Acera del Darro in the Barceló Carmen Hotel, B-Heaven, but I haven't been.
I'm not a huge fan of the zambra flamenco in the Sacromonte caves (although they took Michele Obama to La Cueva de la Rocío) and Los Tarantos is super "touristy", so I would try to get tickets for María Terremoto at Auditorio La Chamber on June 24 or José Tomate on July 6, both part of the Festival.

About the rest--we loved the Parador de Cazorla, so relaxing, so charming.
And we've loved our time in Renaissance Ubeda, staying at the Parador and also in Baeza. The Renaissance buildings in both are exquisite. We went to Cazorla from Ubeda because it's easier to access from there.
I've never been to Guadiz and am not a big Nerja fan only because of the heavy Northern European population. It doesn't seem very Spanish to me anymore, but I'm an outlier on that. My Irish friends love Nerja.

For July 14 near Atocha, there's a new concert series in the Real Jardín Botánico next to the Prado that we'll be attending on the 16th.

Or you may just want to go to one of the many, many cool rooftop terraces if it's hot as Hades in the evening. Near Atocha you have the terrace of the Hotel Only You Atocha, for example.

Hope this gets your planning started!

The Veranos de la Villa 2022 program isn't out yet but you can check later here-

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Old May 27th, 2022, 03:29 AM
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Thank you Maribel

I was hoping you would respond. Thank you for the wonderful recs.

Looking forward ro trying all those places in Granada.

Last time we were in Malaga we did wound up a few times at El Pimpi as they seemed to be one of the few places still serving ‘old style’ offal tapas.

I’ll stick to the Cazorla plan, it’s reassuring to know that you enjoyed the Parador.

Funny enough, we will actually stay at that hotel in Madrid so we will sure make use of the terrace!
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Old May 27th, 2022, 11:10 AM
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This is a town in the Jaén province that I've never visited but this El País article in El Viajero has now put it on my "must see" list.----Baños de la Encina.

I subscribe to El País so it may be behind.a pay wall. So here's another one-

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Old May 27th, 2022, 09:46 PM
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If you are looking for a meal in Cazorla town, I'd recommend Restaurante Mesón Don Chema
Restaurante Mesón Don Chema, Restaurante y Bar en Cazorla. en Cazorla, Escaleras del Mercado, 2. de Cazorla (Jaén)

We are vegetarians, this restaurant is the opposite. But they went out of our way to make a fabulous meal and make us feel at home.

Also the Parador de Jaén had great food, if you wind up near there.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:29 AM
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Sound like a great trip! We house sat for a year in Trabuco , 30 kms north of malaga a few years back and got out and about to most of the places you mention. El Caminito del Rey is definitely worth the effort - some photos on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/spain/ - 2nd post. Another excellent walk amongst the limestone karst is at El Torcal which is close to Antequera, not far from Malaga and you could easily do both in one day. Antequera is also a great place for lunch or dinner.

We returned to Malaga for an anniversary and also stayed in an apartment next to Artazanas market - great location and the market is amazing. Great place to eat!

We did the "Route of the Nazrids" , a five night Parador trip staying at pretty much the same places you mention Cazorla, Ubeda and Jaen and loved it - great accomodation and the food was superb. Jaen was probably our favourite. But Cazorla, being an hunting lodge, was memorable for its game related menu.

Only spent a couple of days in Granada and wished we had had more. Unimpressed with Nerja and would likely skip that in favour of more time in Madrid, Happy travels!

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Old May 28th, 2022, 10:11 AM
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Ditto to the Parador de Jaén, high above the city on Santa Catalina hill, with splendid, really jaw-dropping views of miles and miles of olive groves. It sits next to the castle, has a pool and has been recently renovated. Most rooms have a sit out terrace. We had a heavenly stay there.

In Jaén there are also olive oil mills, almazaras, that one can visit. Oleoturismo is big there.

And a second vote for El Torcal for hiking. I hope to stay at Casa Olea some day.

Last edited by Maribel; May 28th, 2022 at 10:17 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Thanks to all for the recs, I changed the plan from spending the one night in Guadix and instead going the the Parador in Jaen. I'm very excited about this.

I'm renting a car in Malaga to go do the Caminito del Rey at our own pace, the train schedule is very limited and I'm not crazy about being herded at a brisk pace by an over-eager tour guide like we were in Crete resulting in C hurting his knee.

Maribel, I have tickets in Granada for the Academia Barroca, Maria Pagés and José del Tomate. I'm ridiculously excited about this trip.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 10:41 AM
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Wow! Those are fine performances you're going to see! I'm envious! Those performances in the Generalife are magical.
I promise you'll love the views from your terrace at the Jaén Parador.
Sounds like a fantastic trip!
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