Blogia

Rural Tourism in Granada

Spain and The International Economic Crisis

Spain was the second international touristic preference for having a holiday or a long stay till very recently, but due to the international changes that have affected the economy, it has lost this privileged position.

This is the result of the changes that the international economic crisis is having in the behaviour of tourists. Therefore, Spain has lost its second position as a holiday destination, which has been taken by the USA, and France is still on top of preferences.

This is probably due to the change of habits in the USA, as people do not travel abroad as much as they did, and they have shorter holidays inside the USA, with shorter journeys and cheaper in cost. As a result,  the number of tourists has increased in the USA, as they travel inside their country, and it has decreased in Spain, which is not having as many tourists coming from the USA as before. Therefore,  their positions as international touristic preferences have changed as well.

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Castril and the Glass

Castril and the Glass

The José Saramago Foundation in Castril is trying to recover an old tradition, which ended in 1878, "la vidriera" or what is the same: the making of glass.  This was an old job and tradition which began in this area in 1504 when a small workshop which made glass appeared in Castril. The workshop used the natural materials around: wood, "sílice", sand from the mounts around,  and "barrillas" , a wild plant which was essential to transform the sand into liquid. The main technique they used was casting and flowing and the colour of the glass obtained was green and different shades of green due to the impurities of the sand and the use of the "barrillas".

The products made were mainly used for the industry, but there were some kinds of jars, called "jarras castrileñas" which used to have from 2 to 6 handles. Nowadays, thanks to the José Saramago Foundation, the "Centro Andaluz del Vidrio" (The Andalusian Glass Centre) has been created in  Castril to try to recover this old tradition by creating the only artistic glass centre in all Andalusia. This centre has created a workshop with pupils which will learn the glass culture and the different techniques to make glass and glass artistic objects.

Moreover, people can visit the centre and see these techniques by arranging an appointment phoning this number: 637155484 or by mail ecoturismo@ayuntamientocastril.com.

Tourism which cares for the Environment

Tourism which cares for the Environment

Alquería de Morayma, in Cádiar, has joined the different lodgings which have accepted the European Document about Tourism which cares for the Environment, as taking care of the environment  is one of the main aspects in the existence of Alquería de Morayma, Rural Complex located in Cádiar, in La Alpujarra of Granada, inside the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada.

This document is an agreement of the lodgings which signed it of practising a strategy so that they can care for the environment in the local area where they are located, giving travellers and tourist who care for the environment the possibility of staying in a lodging which can reach their expectations.

First, it was the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada the one which achieved the European Certificate Europarc, later the owner of the lodging has to join the Europen Document about Tourism which cares for the Environment and the owner takes the responsibility of developing a specific touristic offer for protected spaces, as well as for the discovery and knowledge of the natural and cultural heritage and the comprehension of the importance of the environment and the protected spaces as a main aspect of our lives.

The European meeting about Protected Parks will take place in Sierra Nevada, in Capileira, Granada, Spain from the 2nd to the 5th of June.

Touristic Quality Prizes

Touristic Quality Prizes

Cortijo Bacares, which is located in Freila, was given a special mention in the prizes "Andalusia, Quality Destination" awarded by the Andalusian Government. The task of dissemination and consolidation of the tradition carried out by Cortijo Bacares was especially highlited.

Cortijo Bacares has its rooms devoted to different traditional aspects of the region, thus they become  small museums which show the traditional elements present in rural life. Moreover, its owner, Isabel López, has a special care with the environment reducing  the human intervention in the natural space to the minimum and reclycling or reusing materials in order to be respectful with the natural surroundings.

Therefore, Cortijo Bacares becomes an excellent example of tourism, quality and respect for the environment in rural Granada, but it is not the only one.

Important Festivities in Andalusia

For a period of a year "la Junta de Andalucia", the Andalusian Government, has declared 55 places of Touristic Interest. All these places are located in the different Provinces of Andalusia. This fact is important because it has into account different aspects as festivities, routes, important events, trips, paper publications and audio-visual works which develop the area values and which are of some relevance form the touristic point of view.

In Granada the ones which have been declared of Touristic Interest are the following:

The festivity of "Moros y Cristianos" (Moors vs Christians), which is celebrated in Benamaurel, in the High Plateau Region (Altiplano de Granada).

Pennings in Guadix and the Marquesado area.

Festivity of the Wine Fountain in Cádiar, a town in the Alpujarra. It is highly recommended the wine elaborated in Alqueria de Morayma, a touristic complex with ecological harvests and fields.

And finally:

Surrender Festivities in Santa Fe.

Cave Houses on TV

Some weeks ago, a TV programme about cave houses was broadcasted on TV. It was quite an interesting programme, as not only showed caves and cave houses, but also the way they are built. The  report appeared on a programme called "El Escarabajo Verde" (The Green Bettle), on the second Channel of the Spanish TV (Televisión Española).

The programme was about cave houses as a way of living which has been adopted for centuries by people in the High Plateau of Granada (Baza, Guadix, Huéscar, among the most important towns). That´s why I highly recommend you to watch this programme if you have the opportunity, even though you don´t understand Spanish, the images will be something quite new and surprising that you won´t be able to lose it.

You can see the programme in the following web: http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/la2/abecedario/E.html#431973

I hope you like it a lot.

Easter

Easter

Easter is a special time in the High Plateau of Granada (Altiplano de Granada), as it is a time of processions. The celebrations at Easter are a way of showing traditional and religious feelings which  have been repeated for centuries generation after generation. As a result of this tradition there are two important Easter celebrations which are considered of National Touristic Interest: the processions in Huéscar and the living representation of Easter in Cuevas del Campo, where the inhabitants of the town represent the dramatic final scenes of Jesus life and death. Therefore, the inhabitants in Cuevas del Campo become actors for a while, the town itself is transformed, as people dress with the period custumes , and the whole town becomes a stage, while people watching the scenes  admire the dama of Jesus life fascinated.

Easter in Huéscar has been celebrated since the beginning of the 17th century. This tradition continues up to now and it is shown in a week full of processions, religious congregations, religious devotion and excitement as everybody can take part in it: children, young men and women and even old people... It is worth seeing it and enjoying the religious images and music.

Campistes and Ryanair

I have recently known about the agreement between Ryanair and the campsites on  the coast of Granada to offer the possibility of selling flight and camping tickets at the same time, which means they would be sold together by any of them, so many European tourists could be attracted to come to Spain and visit Granada, Málaga and Almería, as the agreement has been specially thought for these cities.

The campsites on the coast of Ganada, Málaga and Almería offer a quality service that European tourists should know and enjoy, so it is very interesting the fact that with the help of this agreement, many more tourists will come to Granada, enjoy its beaches, and visit the city, which offers tourists a wide range of possibilites: cultural routes and visits to its main monuments, among them La Alhambra, adventure sports, hikking, theatres and cinemas, and the typical "tapas" which are always given when you ask for a drink.

 

Huéscar

Huéscar

Huéscar is one of the biggest and most important towns in the High Plateau of Granada (Altiplano de Granada) together with Baza. It has many important places to see and visit, as for example its main church, La Colegiata de St. María, which is considered to be one of the seven wonders in the Province of Granada. But, there are more places to visit in Huéscar. One of its most visited places during the summer is Fuencaliente, which is a natural spring  pond surrounded by trees and fields, so it is a very good place to sunbathe and relax. It has also got fish in it, but you don´t have to worry because they don´t bite.

It is also important to have a walk in its main park, called Parque Rodríguez Penalva, because it is a very big park, full of trees that provide a good shadow on sunny days, fountains and paths to walk, rest and relax. Moreover, you can visit the centre of town, where you can walk along the narrow streets that lead you to one of the ancient walls that where one of the entrances to the town. You can also see there one of the monuments of the town which has just been restored: La Torre del Homenaje, which is one of the remains of the ancient walls of the city and it is next to the ancient entrance to the city too. This tower was made of big stones and it contains headstones from the Roman times.

 I highly recommend  you a visit to Huéscar. You won´t be disappointed.

 

Hang Gliding in The High Plateau

Hang Gliding in The High Plateau

People who are interested in Hang Gliding or "Vuelo Libre" can practise this sport in two different places  within El Altiplano de Granada (The High Plateau of Granada),one of which is located in Zújar and the other one in Huéscar.

The one located in Zújar is in the hill of El Jabalcón and the one located in Huéscar is in the hill of La Encantada. Both spaces are integrated in the Net of Hang Gliding spaces of Andalucia.  From the hill of el Jabalcón people who like this sport and visitors will be able of having the weather forecast in real time of both flight spaces: Zújar and Huéscar. Moreover, they will be able of getting information about the taking off and landing areas of both flight spaces.

Therefore, this is a new activity which gives us the opportunity of enjoying the practice of leisure activities in contact with nature, and the opportunity of enjoying tourism in a different way: a more natural way of having fun and relating with our surroundings.

Rural Granada

The Tourism Association of the Region of Granada is developing a very curious initiative, as taxi drivers from different European cities were invited to a free stay in the city of Granada so that they got to know more about the city and its Province. The objective of this initiative is that taxi drivers, among them the Pink Ladies, can know the region and therefore they can transmit their knowledge to their custumers in their own country. They will also get some benefits from this initiative,  as they wil receive extra money for the tourists they send to Granada with a recommendation card.

It is quite a new initiative and it has been very well received among hotels, restaurants, rural cottages and  rural caves from the whole Province of Granada: from the coast to the High Plateau. This means that many more people will come to Granada and will visit the beautiful landscapes we have in this quiet part of Spain.

I hope tourist coming to Granada can enjoy the peace and quiet lifestyle we all enjoy here, as well as the cuisine, the typical "tapas", the culture and the nice people.

 

 

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Baza and its Arabic Baths

Baza, which is one of the biggest towns in the High Plateau of Granada (Altiplano de Granada), is full of things to do and visit. It is also full of Cave Houses and Arabic Baths, one of which is La Marzuela Arabic Baths.

The Town Hall of Baza has arranged a date for the opening of La Marzuela Arabic Baths. They were restored a year ago, although they have not been opened to visitors yet. According to the achitect who was in charge of the project, the baths are going to have lots of information, so that the visitor can have a wide knowledge of the monument and of how it was used. Moreover, the visitor is going to have audio-visual resources to make  the comprehension of the monument easier. The Arabic Baths are going to be opened in a period of five months approximately.

So, this is a good opportunity to visit Baza and surroundings, as  you can also find Cave Houses in the town and you can also have the opportunity of trying a bath  in some of the Arabic Baths you can find there.

 

Orce and the First Europeans

Orce, one of the towns in the High Plateau of Granada (Altiplano de Granada), is well-known because of its landscapes, its narrow streets, its castle, the Segura´s Palace, and most important, because of the archaeological remains that were found there.

The town has also got some villages around, which are part of it. They are Fuente Nueva, Venta Micena and Puente de La Rueda. Their inhabitants make a living with the agriculture and cattle raising. It is also important to higlight the Segureño Lamb (Cordero Segureño), which is very important in the whole High Plateau, as it is unique in the whole country, and which has obtained the Protected Denomination from the European Union (I. G. P).

However, the most important fact about Orce are its archaelogical beds found in Fuente Nueva, Barranco del Paso, Barranco del León and Venta Micena, where a piece of a skull was found that belonged to a humand being, known as "El Hombre de Orce" (the Orce man), and which is one of the first human remains found  in Europe. Moreover,  some other remains were found there too: elephants, rhinos, hippos and other mammals remains, and last but not least the remains of an ancient village in a place called El Cerro de La Virgen. Some of these rests of history can be seen in the museum of Orce. So I recommend you not to lose the opportunitiy of knowing something else about the first inhabitants in Europe.

Cuevas del Campo and The Negratín Beaches

Cuevas del Campo and The Negratín Beaches

Cuevas del Campo is an ideal place where to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and a spectacular landscape full of contrasts: dry fields, pine woods, water... It is located by the Negratín Dam and it is the entrance to the Natural Park of Cazorla in its south area. It is also very near the Natural Park of Sierra de Baza. It is a town which offers the visitor a beautiful landscape, old traditions and festivities full of interest.

The light, the colour and the contrast of landscapes in a ground full of paths give the visitor the opportunity of walking, riding a bike or driving in an incredible setting. In addition to the spectacular atmosphere, the tourist can also enjoy summer sports in the Negratín Dam, as there is a firm called Altiaventura specialized in adventure sports, which is a reference firm in the region and it is also an example for towns as Baza and Huéscar. In the summer, you can enjory 2 artificial beaches in the Negratin Dam, one of which is nudist. This is something new in The High Plateau, as the nudist beach was opened some summers ago.

In Cuevas del Campo you can also find rural cottages and caves, such as Cuevas del Sur or Cuevas San Isidro Labrador. You should try not to lose the visit to such a spectacular area, especially in the summer if you want to enjoy a bath.

Castril and its Natural Park

Castril and its Natural Park

The Natural Park Sierra de Castril and Castril itself are very well-kown within the High Plateau of Granada (Altiplano de Granada) because of their spectacular landscapes, which are a surprise for the visitor as they were to me when I first visited them.

From Huéscar to Castril you can enjoy a surprising variation of landscapes, from what it seems to be a very monotonous series of flat lands to hills and badlands until you reach the Natural Park Sierra de Castril, which is full of green vegetation and water. Once you are there you can go hiking along 2 accessible paths, which are very easy and attractive to walk: the source of the Castril River (El Nacimiento del Río Castril) and La Magdalena Cliff (La Cerrada de la Magdalena). Both of them are well signposted, so it is not difficult to walk the way. Moreover, there is another surprise in the low area of the town, a very special walk by the River Castril along a hanging bridge across the river, which makes the walk particularly exciting.

Therefore, I highly recommend you to visit this area and you should try to stay in any of these places: El Maño I or  La Saludá Alta, although there are many other places where to stay.

Within everybody´s reach

There is a guide of rural accessible tourism that was recently released: www.turismoruralaccesible.com and which makes the Altiplano more accessible to people with some physical disability.

It is widely known the difficulties that disabled people have to face when driving or moving in a city, but these difficulties grow much more when we deal with mobility in towns or villages due to the fact that the Town Halls have not enough resources, or due to the fact that some of them not even care about this problem. The same happens in the case of rural tourism, some owners do not think about people with physical disability and do not have their buildings with the necessary conditions that would make the stay easier to people with some physical problem of mobility.

This guide, then, gives a complete list of the buildings that have the necessary conditions to be used by people with some kind of phisical disability, as well as a list of activities which they can do or practise. Therefore, people with physical problems of mobility will be encouraged to travel and enjoy rural tourism, but it is also a way of attracting the governmental administrations attention to try to have in mind this kind of aspects.

As a consequence, I hope the Altiplano can be within everybody´s reach and everybody can enjoy and visit this wonderful region.

The typical caves in the province

The history of the caves in the province is a story of ups and downs. They were traditionally  used by our ancestors as  buildings for living in a bioclimatic atmosphere, but in the 90s there were almost no caves inhabited in the whole province.

However, in the mid-90s some initiatives took place in Guadix and Galera which changed this situation. Many caves were restored and widened by digging them in the hills and they became places with spacious and capricious rooms that only rural caves can offer us. The restoration projects in Guadix, Galera and Orce were the first in taking place and they became a referent of quality tourism in the whole province. Nowadays we can find different kinds of rural caves in the area of the Altiplano (regions of Baza and Huéscar), and in the region of Guadix and El Marquesado, which can offer us form cave hotels to thermal baths.

Later, in the year 2000, almost all the caves in the area were restored and  used as a rural tourism resort or as a place to live. This restoration process also took place in the region of Alhama de Granada, but this was not the case of the caves in the Sacromonte, in the city of Granada. Yet, this is a story I will tell you later.

El Castellón Alto, in Galera

The visit to El Castellón Alto, in Galera is something you should not miss. It is an archaeologic bed included among the seven wonders of the province of Granada.

The archaeologic bed of El Castellón Alto, in Galera, can be visited all year long. You can arrange a phone date in the Archaeologic Museum of Galera (958739276) and have a guided visit which can be 1 or 2 hours long to enjoy the incredible badlands and the cultural aspects of the archaeologic bed. The restauration made in it is incredible and it allows you to understand the structure of the town found there, as well as their culture and civilization. The price of the visit is very economical (2€/person), so I highly recommend you to visit  it, as the human remains found there belong to "La Momia de Galera" (The Mummy of Galera) and they are of  great importance because they are the most ancient human remains found in Europe.

So, I encourage everybody to come to the Altiplano and visit the archaeologic bed of El Castellón Alto, and if you have enough time you should also have a walk in Galera and try the rural caves, which provide you a different way of travelling enjoying high standards of quality.

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Rural Caves

The inner region of the Province of Granada offers tourism lovers a unique attraction, cave houses or rural caves. They are dug in hills and keep a constant temperature  of approximately 18-20 degrees celcius, therefore they are a perfect shelter for keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter and give you the possibility of resting in peace and quiet,  as they are isolated from noises and light. These cave houses have spacious rooms and  their decoration and atmosphere is unique due to the way they have been built.

There are many cave houses in the Province of Granada, in regions such as El Altiplano de Granada, Guadix and El Marquesado, Alhama de Granada or Granada itself. Many of them have been restored and used as rural accomodation, but some others have been transformed into restaurants, "tapeo" bars, concert and dance halls, saunas or Arabic baths, and all of them offer premium quality services and facilities.

Cave houses give us the possibility of travelling in a different way, so I would like to invite rural tourism lovers to visit and stay in cave houses, as they will have a unique experience.

 

 

Rural Tourism in Granada

It is quite difficult to take the decision of writing a blog and making your experiencies and feelings known by everybody, and the most difficult of all is  writing them and transmitting them as they really are, but the case is that my personal experience is quite particular too because I was born in Barcelona, though I have been living in this area for many years. I came to this area and I became so delighted by it that I settled here, which gave me the opportunity of knowing the Province much better.

From this blog I will try to write about my personal experiences in the Province of Granada, in the south of Spain, and about the places I have visited, hoping to transmit the beauty of this region to the people interested in rural tourism. I will try to cover the Porvince of Granada and recomend all the touristic places, well-known or less-kown,  that have impressed me most, places with natural beauty, monuments, cultural visits, traditional festivities or places to stay that have a special charm: cave houses, rural cottages, rural hotels...

I hope to transmit the beauty of the different places of this Province, some of them as unkown as spectacular.

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