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davidx Alhama de Granada - A travel report by David
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Alhama de Granada,  Spain - flag Spain
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davidx's travel reports

Alhama de Granada – [a day trip – worse luck!]

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Alhama [de Granada] is described by The Rough Guide to Andalucía as an ‘unsung gem of Granada province.’ ‘Unsung’ – it claims a lot of visitors but I could find nobody who’d been. ‘Of Granada Province’ – a straight fact. ‘Gem’ – not a shadow of doubt!

From the Carretera de Granada
From the Carretera de Granada
Contrary to the strong impression given by the Rough Guide, to which I generally accord almost Biblical authority, Alhama isn’t reserved only for the private car user. There is a bus from Granada but you could easily believe that there is no public access from Málaga province – because, like I did, you might look exclusively ay what goes from Málaga Bus Station. It was only when the bus station’s excellent website was down during the planning stage of a break that I looked at the Alsina Graells site [http://www.contin] and discovered a bus from Torre del Mar via the mountain pass of Ventas de Zafarraya and Alhama to Granada. This was my route to Alhama and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I was staying at Velez-Málaga so I joined the bus there and enjoyed the wonderful scenery of La Axarquía before starting on the delightful pass. Although the bus doesn’t actually pass through snow, plenty was to be seen only one ridge away. From the pass most of the route to Alhama is through a high plain so that the most magnificent bus vista of all is that when the pass is reached by a shorter climb on the return journey and the beauty of La Axarquía is suddenly spread out ahead. I made one mistake, looking with hindsight, although I don’t blame myself over-much. Of all the splendid places I have visited in Andalucía, Alhama is undoubtedly one where I should have spent a night – both for the pleasure of seeing the place floodlit and because the monuments are only open in the mornings, at least in February. Never mind – next time. Although Alhama’s gorge is quite unlike that of Ronda, as far as I’m concerned it comes in the same league as far as a town’s geographical advantage is concerned and I can hardly give stronger commendation. However, before reaching favourites and special places I make my only negative comment. For me, Victorian crenellated battlements have destroyed any appeal in the Moorish castle.

Favourite spots:
Beautiful location
Beautiful location
Back in positive mode, but it’s hard to pick a favourite. However, just below the Turismo in Paseo Montes Jovellar is a substantial church, closed unfortunately when I was there, with a fountain in front of it. This is the Iglesia conventual Nuestra Señora del Carmen. If you walk across the front of the church, you will come to a wall overhanging a deep gorge. There are steps down and it screams to be explored by anybody with the wit to stay the night or less tired from previous walks than I was. Two horses in a field by the river Alhama, which gives the place its name, looked like creatures from a child’s model farm. I really must go again and get down there but meanwhile I shall pick that view and that spot as favourites.

What's really great:
In the monumental area
In the monumental area
Even with all its buildings shut the monumental quarter is quite something. I was particularly taken with the Iglesia Mayor de Santa Maria de la Encarnación, the parochial church. This was a late Gothic building erected after the reconquest on the site of the principal mosque and apparently it has a wonderful collection of pictures and some great sculpture inside. Other churches, the so-called [somewhat dubious authenticity] House of the Inquisition, an old jail and some dungeons are also to be seen in this area.

Not in the river, you may note!
Not in the river, you may note!
Alhama was noted both in Roman and Arab periods for its hot springs. The Balneario is a bit more than 2 kms from the town [I suppose, since if you ask in the town you’re told 2km and if you ask half way there you’re also told 2km!] and seems to comprise a sort of bathing and massage centre. Ironically I went here first and it was closed because it was morning! However the last part of the walk is a treat, through a beautiful narrow gorge with trees blossoming on the steep sides. When the centre is shut, people bathe free in water with a temperature of 47 degrees in pools formed from the spring water, only the length of a short dog lead from the river with a very different temperature.

Older street
Older street
By now you will have got the message that I didn’t stay but 8 places [including the camp site] are listed on http://www.turismodealhama.o rg/espanol/listado_alojamientos_es.php. It’s only in Spanish but telephone numbers don’t usually present a language problem.

Not all transport is modern.
Not all transport is modern.
Clubs are not really my scene but for all I know the animal on the photo may have been thinking about one! However, I doubt it – but this entry does get his picture on!

The gorge
The gorge
As in most smaller Spanish towns, it’s hard to distinguish between pubs and restaurants.

Another monumental view
Another monumental view
I don’t remember its name [which means I forgot to notice or keep a bill!] but there’s a place that’s both good and conveniently situated near to the bus stop at the top end of the Carretera de Granada on the other side of a leafy square. Tapas and raciones are good and reasonably priced.

Other recommendations:
Arches make scenery, no?
Arches make scenery, no?
On the bus from Velez-Málaga, you pass through the little Axarquía village of Vinuela. There is a lake near it which I only saw for an instant on the way back but it looks like another good place for a break – very peaceful and very scenic.

Published on Monday March 6th, 2006

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Wed, Mar 15 2006 - 11:35 PM rating by bootlegga

Very nice as usual!

Sat, Mar 11 2006 - 12:56 AM rating by downundergal

Another interesting report.
Is the sky really that blue? It looks magnificent.
Rangutan perhaps the lacking is due to a day trip rather than overnight stay so restaurant and accomm tips etc are missing but still well written.

Thu, Mar 09 2006 - 01:30 PM rating by jesusferro

Chevere David! Vos sabes arrancar interes de un lugar aparentemente anodino.

Thu, Mar 09 2006 - 07:02 AM rating by marianne

I find info on public transport in the Rough Guide very inadequate. In the old editions they covered it fat better. True to say that Lonely Planet doesn't do any better. This leaves us to find out things ourselves and we are back to the days 'before LP and RG', which makes us more adventurous travellers.

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 07:09 PM rating by magsalex

This looks like a very worthwhile destination.

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 10:22 AM rating by bear495

This certainly makes me want to travel here. Thanks for giving us this information. It will stored away until I can use it. . . hopefully soon.

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 02:28 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report

Tue, Mar 07 2006 - 02:14 AM rating by rangutan

Excellent quality and choice of pictures, would make a good slide-show. The first part of the report is lengthy and the second thin, makes one feel something is missing, even although hard to fill for a small and quaint place. [Rating is a good **** about 4,2]

Mon, Mar 06 2006 - 04:44 PM rating by terje

I enjoyed the joke with the donkey! :-)

Mon, Mar 06 2006 - 03:00 PM rating by isaacmolina

before reading your reports I already know that I will give them 5 points. All are so good!

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