Small mountain villages with no kids entertainment where the main attraction is hiking - perhaps not the obvious choice for a holiday with an (almost) four year old and a baby, but this July we headed up into the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia and, surprisingly, had a wonderful time.
As ever, we didn't so much wind down towards the holidays as accelerate head long at them. F was working longer and longer hours while I was left to deal with a furiously energetic E and a rarely sleeping baby M. I was also beginning to question our decision to book a weeks holiday in an area that we'd previously visited for some pretty serious hiking. But somehow, as our overstuffed hire car wound it's way up the mountain roads above Travellez I suddenly recognised an old sensation - I actually felt relaxed.
Despite arriving horribly late at our accommodation, Ludwig the owner came straight out to welcome us and show us around our apartment. He seemed more concerned that we might have got lost on the way than that we'd kept him from his bed. Horray for Spain (and it's German ex-pats), no icy glares from BnB owners because you turned up after 8.30pm here!
|Patio of one of the other apartments|
We were staying at Cortijo Prado Toro. A beautiful old stone house that has been divided into apartments. We stayed in the largest (El Taller) which was spacious and well equipped, it also had shutters which kept the bedrooms so dark and so quiet that even baby M slept in late in the morning (thinking about this again now - perhaps I should just move there).
|One of the Geckos, who joined us for dinner on the roof of our patio|
I needn't have worried about keeping everyone entertained, we quickly discovered a great activity for all the family - lunch. Ludwig provided us with a list of the best restaurants in the area we managed to make a mid day meal start at 2pm and last most of the day. This was aided by the shutter induced lie- ins. By the time we'd had a light, lazy breakfast on the patio, and driven over the winding roads to one of the villages it was time for lunch. Everywhere offered a "Menu Del Dia" - three courses for 8-10 euros - bargain, although by the end of the week we were happily parting with more than that for massive plates of the fabulous local ham.
|Gazpacho+Cherries+3 year old = happy mess|
|Pool with a view|
We even managed to get in a bit of walking. Thanks to another of Ludwig's print outs we did a 5km loop from the cortijo which took us past little waterfalls, alongside an ancient acequia (watercourse) and under enormous old chestnut trees. E did amazingly well despite the Spanish heat, and only had to be bribed with Haribo for about he last km. M rode along in the sling (although that did get rather sweaty!). Not quite the length of walk we've done in the area previously, but it was lovely to be able to share with the girls something that we've enjoyed so much as a couple.
Before we arrived I'd been expecting to end the week desperate to get somewhere with a kids club and a beach, or at least a TV with kids channels. In fact that was exactly what we had booked for the following week, but when the time came to shoe horn everything back into the (now utterly filthy) hire car we were wishing we had 2 weeks in the Alpujarras instead. Maybe next year.
Where: The Alpujarras is a small (and beautiful) area on the Southern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia, southern Spain.
Fly: We flew to Malaga, Granada is slightly nearer but has fewer flights
Stay: We loved Cortijo Prado Del Toro, but there are also quite a few places in the villages if you want to be walking distance from bars and restaurants
Bring: - Arm bands - the one negative about the cortijo was that the pool is very deep, we're super tall and neither of us could stand up in it so we were glad to have arm bands on E.
- Insect repellent - I had a total of 57 bites by the end of the week, I was especially lucky though, F only got 2 and the girls got none!
- The full excess waver for the hire car - this is the only place we've ever paid for this and it was a good thing we did, both times. (I don't think hire companies in Malaga expect you to be taking the little hatch back up mountain dirt roads, oops)
Before we left we took the girls higher up into the mountains to a mirador (viewpoint) that we'd been to on our first trip to the area - so we could take a photo: