Setenil de Bodegas is a small Spanish ‘cave town’ located in the heart of Andalucia, near Ronda. This sleepy pueblo blanco is located deep in a river gorge and it’s famous for unique houses which are built into the rock.
It’s worth to walk all around this white village, up and down, as different viewing points allow to see the curious dwellings and rock formations in a different way and then to take most incredible photos.
This small forgotten village is also famous for chorizo sausage. There are a couple of nice restaurants and bars in the village and the inhabitants are very friendly and helpful.
We do not recommend driving to the very centre of Setenil de Bodegas as the streets might be too narrow for your car to turn, and reversing on those narrow steep streets often turns into a real nightmare! Setenil is recommended for half day trip – well-worth a detour when visiting Ronda.
1. Aracena caves – the small sleepy white town of Aracena hides a marvelous treasure under its streets. It’s the Cave of Wonders, large network of limestone caverns connected by corridors.
In each magical cavern you will find weird and wonderful stalagmites and stalactites forming most incredible patterns, a sheer wonder of nature.
You can only explore the caves in a guided tour of 30 people max. It is prohibited to use camera one you enter the caves. During 1,5 hour tour you will explore only 10% per cent of the caverns, but that is enough to leave you awestruck. Entrance fee for an adult: 8,5 Euros.
2. Nerja caves – Cuevas de Nerja are home to world’s largest stalagmite which is 32 meter long. The large caves are connected by steps going up and down in a circular route. It takes about 45 minutes to see all the caves on display. It is possible to visit the caves with and without a guide. In the summer time, the place can get crowdy. Entrance fee for an adult: 9 Euros.
3. Gibraltar caves – St. Michael’s Cave, one of the 150 caves in the Rock of Gibraltar, is an absolute must-see when you pay a visit to the British exclave on the southern Spanish coast. This impressive network of limestone caverns and chambers can be accessed from the Upper Rock Nature reserve.
St. Michael’s Cave boasts long history of military use. Today, it is often used as a venue for music concerts, because it created a vibrant musical force. Entrance fee for an adult: 9 Euros.
It is also possible to explore the Lower St. Michael’s cave which can be visited by appointment only and requires some bending, climbing and sliding to get from one chamber to another!
4. Pileta Cave, near the village of Benaoján, Sierra of Grazelema. Situated at 711 meters altitude in the south slope of a rocky hill. This prehistoric cave was declared National Monument by the Spanish state in 1924.
Pileta Caves are most famous for the paintings that can be found in different chambers inside. Some of those galleries date back to 31,000 B.C. The paintings show various animals and some mysterious signs as well. Only guided tours are available. Remember to wear shoes that can provide traction as it can be slippery inside. A visit lasts ca. 1 hour. It is impossible to use cameras inside the cave. Entrance fee for an adult: 8 Euros.
5. Cave houses of Guadix – the small city at the foothills of Sierra Nevada is famous for troglodyte caves. Around 2000 of those cave dwellings are inhabited today by locals and form a district called “Barrio Troglodyte”! It is also possible to rent some of those houses. There is a Cave-Museum of Traditional Culture in Guadix as well. Cueva Museo is located in front of the church of San Miguel.
From winter to autumn there is a steady 18-20°C temperature inside the Guadix cave houses. That means that the house owners don’t have to pay for air conditioning in summer and don’t need to pay for heating in winter. The size of a typical troglodyte house depends on the hill from which the house was carved out. Houses usually face to the south allowing for most sun exposure throughut the day. The rooms closest to the entrance are those that need warmth and light most: the kitchen and the living room. Further behind there are bedrooms and bathroom. At the very end, different storage rooms are set up.
6. Sorbas caves – located massive underground world which comprises of more than one thousand gypsum caverns connected by different corridors. The entrance to the cave sis located only 2 kms from Sorbas (near Almeria) in the Karst en Yesos de Sorbas Park.
There are four routes for beginners are for experts. The easiest route can be completed in 2 hours. Even the Ruta Basica requires some basic physical fitness as it involves some climbing, squeezing and crawling. The most diificult route can take 4,5 h to complete. Not recommended for individuals with cluastrohopbia! Entrance fee for an adult: 15 – 50 Euros depending on which route you decide to take.
Aracena is a small untouristy town located in the hills of the western Sierra Morena in the Huelva province. It lies north of the road between Huelva and Seville, not far from the Portuguese border.
The number one attraction of Arcaena is the famous Gruta de la Maravillas (Cave of Wonders). It’s a stunningly beautiful network of caves interconnected by walking trails. The guided tour allows you to explore only ten percent of all the chambers, but that’s enough to leave you awestruck. As the caves can only be visited by a limited number of people at one time (usually it’s 40), we recommend that you prepare yourself for possible delays once you buy the ticket. Another popular tourist spots in Aracena are the ruins of a castle overlooking the town and a beautiful Gothic church Iglesia de la Asuncion.
Walking path along the mines
Aracena is one of the best destinations for hiking holidays. This green kingdom of Holm Oak and Cork Oak trees in Sierra Aracena is rarely visited by tourists. However, it is an excellent region for hikers, as it boasts more than 600 km of various path and trails.The well-marked local trails will lead you through beautiful scenary of hills, cork and oak forests, chestnut groves, citrus plantations and small white towns.
Rio Tinto Mines
Peña del Hierro in the Rio Tinto Mines
Rio Tinto Mines is another fascinating tourist attraction near Aracena. Minas de Rio Tinto village is located only 35 kms south of Aracena. Intensively red, surrealistic landscape of Rio Tinto mines, one of the oldest mines in the world, is an incredible view to behold. The feeling is that you have been suddenly teleported from Earth to Mars!
To see all the attractions of the mines might take at least half a day. Great panoramic views of the mines are available through two miradors on the A-461 as well as through viewing points in Alto de la Mesa. There is an interesting Mining Museum in the Minas the Rio Tinto village. It features the displays of artefacts generated by 5000 years of mining activities. A 22-km long recreational tour along the Rio Tinto river in the 19th-century trains is also available for tourists there. If you follow the signs and drive a little bit deeper into the mines, heading north past the village of Nerva, you will reach the Pena de Hierro, 85-metre deep openpit mine which is surrounded by some nice walking paths.
Nerja is a very popular summer resort located in the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol. Once a small sleepy fishing village, Nerja has become probably the best place for beach holidays in Andalucia.
Nerja boasts unique coastal landscape which you won’t find anywhere else on Costa del Sol. Surrounded by cliffs, Nerja’s extensive beaches are famous for crystal clear water and charming coves that lure all beach-goers to take advantage of the warm sea. Nerja’s coast is probably the best place for scubadiving and snorkelling on Costa del Sol. However, if your kids enjoy building sand castles, they might be disappointed as the sand tends to be coarse and mixed with small pebbles. The Caves of Nerja, part of Andalusian Geological Heritage, is the most popular attraction of Nerja, although located on the outskirts of the town. A long walk up and down the winding stairs allows a visitor to explore a series of overwhelmingly colossal caverns, home to the world’s largest stalagmite measuring an incredible 32 metes.
Nerja is a perfect place those seeking to spend their holidays actively with their family. If you are into kayaking, water-volleyball, swimming, scuba diving, paddling or rowing boats, Nerja is the best place in Andalucia for your next summer holidays.
The closest airport is in Malaga. Getting from the Malaga airport to Nerja takes about an hour.
Calahonda beach – located on the eastern side of Balcon Europa. It’s the most photographed beach in Nerja. Small beach surrounded by cliffs and rocks with a small fishing cabin in the corner. It boasts crystal clear water, but can be overcrowded in high season. The popular El Papagayo restaurant is located directly on the beach.
La Caletilla beach – located on the western side of Balcon Europa, just under the hotel Balcon de Europa. Only 50 metre long. Sunbeds for hire are available here.
Buriana beach – the biggest and most know beach in Nerja with distinctive local fishing boats in the western side of the beach. It’s nearly 1 kilometre long and 40 metre wide. There is a mix of small stones and sand on the beach. On Buriana you will find here showers, volleyball nets as well as sunbeds, kayaks or even jetskis for hire. Long paseo marítimo runs behind the beach with some good restaurants offering amazing paellas in the shade.
Maro beach – 500 metre long and 20 metre wide beach located in the Maro village, just next to Nerja. Favourite spot for many scubadivers, because of vivid and abundant sea life. One of the favourite activities on the beach is canoeing. The sea route between Maro and Buriana beach is breath-taking. There are plenty of beautiful waterfalls and small coves on the way, the water is shallow and it’s possible to see the bottom of the sea from your kayak.
Canuelo beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, around 13 kilometres from Nerja. It’s wild, full of beautiful rock formations and transparent shallow water teeming with little fishes. All this makes it a great snorkelling beach for everyone. There is a very nice restaurant at the beach as well. The Canuelo beach is located in the protected area which makes it impossible to access the beach by car. At the parking near the N-340 road, at the roundabout, catch a shuttle bus which goes to the beach every 15 minutes in season.
Las Calas del Pino beach – 350 metre long peaceful beach located a couple of kilometres east of Nerja, in the Park Natural Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. A steep 200 metre long walk leads to the bottom of the beach. Because of the troublesome access, there is not many people on the beach which adds to the a blissful feeling of remoteness. The beach tends to attract some nudists.
Alberquillas beach – 500 metre long beautiful rural idyllic beach. It’s located 10 kms east of Nerja, in the Park Natural Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. The water is amazingly clean on the Alberquillas beach, it abounds in fishes and snorkelling there is truly unforgettable experience. The beach is quite popular among nudists. To get there you need to park your car near the N-340 road and walk down a steep chill.
8. Rio Chillar walk -if you seek to really cool off on hot summer day in Nerja, try the fantastic walk down the Rio Chillar, and take all your friends and family with you. You will all love it! When you start the walk, the water will be ankle height, but further up the river in the narrow shady canyon it can be knee-height. The whole route is 17 km long, but most people do around 10 kms. ‘Rio Chillout’ can be a great alternative to beaches when it’s too hot for a beach.
Nerja Holidays in Spain
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Sun-soaked Almeria lies on the Costa de Almeria, in the northernmost province in Andalucia bordering Costa del Sol to the south, and Costa Blanca in Murcia to the north. The city is much more than the sun and beaches. Almeria abounds in many interesting places to visit, some of them very unique. La Alcazaba complex with great panoramic views of the city, lovely Iglesia de la Virgen del Mar, Almeria Museum, impressive Cathedral are some of the top attractions in Almeria. Cabo de Gata nature park, Oasys Mini-Hollywood and Sorbas cave complex, all described below, are the most interesting tourist highlights located near Almeria.
Comapred to other summer resorts on the eastern coast of Andalucia, Almeria is still fairly unknown. If what you are looking for is plenty of sun, unspoilt nature, spectacular beaches, and some adventure, this is the right place to visit. Almeria makes for a great romantic summer destination for couples. It’a also one of the best destinations for cheap family beach holidays. The closest airports are Alicante and Almeria. Try to avoid late July and August, the heat in Almeria can be quite intense!
Cabo de Gata, remote piece of heaven
Located near Almeria is Cabo de Gata, an ideal place for all those loving nature. It’s a wonderful large nature reserve with stunning rocky 20-miles long coastline. It boasts beautiful unspoilt beaches with hidden coves, transparent water and delightful peacefulness. The superb Playa de los Muertos is probably the best beach there. Cabo de Gata is a one of the best places for long walks, snorkelling, swimming or just winding up on the beach away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation.
Wild West in Spain
The dry province of Ameria shares many similarities with Texas and Arizona. For this reason in the 60’s and 70’s the Desert of Tabernas became a very popular alternative to filming westerns in the USA. Today the two Hollywood-style filming sets are open to tourists. There are three studios opened and the most popular seem to be Oasys Mini Holywood. Running around the wild west set like a real cowboy, or storming into a saloon like a gunfighter and pretending you are shooting the bad guys can be fun! Indiana Jones, The Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, A fistful of Dollars all have been filmed on the desolate and arid lands near the village of Tabernas. The list of celebrities who have visited the place is quite amazing and include Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Bridgette Bardot, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda.
Amazing caves in Sorbas
Only 40km north-east of Almeria lies the beautiful village of Sorbas. Sorbas boasts an incredible network of caves, one of the largest in Europe. In this most singular place, marvelous stalactites, stalagmites, pillars stretch over several kilometres. Pre-book a guided tour and head off the the Caves of Sorbas for a real adventure. If you enjoy a bit of adrenaline, book a 4,5-hour technical guided tour which can be a quite a challenge even for really fit people.