For some time now we have kept the focus of the site on things close to Almerimar. However last weekend we went away to stay in the province of Granada. It was so much fun I thought it might be worth writing about it so others may try it out.
Most of the places mention in the article are within 1 1/2 to 2 hours drive from Almerimar. So a few of them could be combined on a day out. Or you could choose to do what we did and stay a night or a few nights in the area.
You can see more photos from the weekend in the Gallery.
Read More for details.
We chose to spend 3 nights at Hotel Zerbinetta which is in a village called Dilar close to Granada. It is less than a 10 minute drive from Santa Clara Granada golf course. It also has stables right next door for those that fancy horse riding in beautiful scenery.
We set off from Almerimar late on the Friday morning. We took the nearly completed motorway from Almería to Motril followed by the motorway from Motril to Granada. Just before you reach Granada there is a turn off for Otura which is where the Santa Clara Granada golf course is located. You go through Otura and head towards Dilar. Once in Dilar you have to negotiate some very small roads and go right to the top of the town. You turn left when you reach a school and the hotel is around 100 metres down the road.
On the way to the hotel we dropped our clubs off at the course. We stopped for lunch at the clubhouse then made our way to Dilar. We checked in to the hotel then we were straight down from our rooms to go horse riding. The hotel overlooks the stables so it was a very short walk.
We spent 3 hours riding in the Lecrin valley. In the evening we ate in the hotel.
On Saturday morning we played golf at Santa Clara Granada. In the evening we went to a town about 30 minutes drive away called Nigüelas. We ate in a lovely restaurant called La Tasca that had views up the Lecrin valley.
On Sunday morning we played golf again at Santa Clara Granada. We enjoyed the 2nd round more than the first as, by then, we knew the layout of the course. On Sunday evening we ate in a restaurant called Las Mimbres in the village of Dilar. Less than 5 minutes drive from the hotel.
On Monday morning we checked out and took another trip into the Alpujarras on the way home to Almerimar. We went cross country from the Granada to Motril motorway through Lanjaron to Orgiva. If you were coming from Almerimar you would take the turning straight to Orgiva off the Motril to Granada motorway. From Orgiva we went uphill to a touristy town called Pampaneira. The town has lots of shops and restaurants. It also has a home made chocolate shop called Abuela Ili. After that we went further uphill from Pampaneira to Trevelez (famous for the production of jamon). We had lunch in Trevelez a restaurant called Piedra Ventana. After lunch we made our way back home via the Almerian Alpujarras using roads to Cadiar and/or Ugíjar. Then we took roads towards Laujar de Andarax, then Berja and finally home to Almerimar through the back end of El Ejido.
Dilar is a village in the countryside a small distance from Granada. It is white-walled village built on the side of a hill. It has narrow streets and a number of water fountains. We often saw the locals filling empty water bottles from the fountains. Dilar also has a house with a very strange garden.
Hotel Zerbinetta is located close to the top of the village of Dilar. You really need a sat nav or a very good sense of direction to find the hotel. The signposts to it are not great. We eventually managed to sort out the route to/from the hotel after a number of errors on various days.
It is very much a rustic, country hotel. It is well kept and clean.
The breakfasts were different each of the 3 days we were there. However they were all pretty basic. There was a mixture of croissants and buns, sometimes bread to toast, biscuits, tostadas and a little fruit. Served with orange juice, water, milk, tea and coffee.
The rooms are basic but comfortable with no safety deposit boxes in the rooms we had.
We had a very pleasant, typically Spanish, meal in the hotel on the first evening. It certainly was not overpriced for either the food or drink. The wine list was not enormous but there were some well priced bottles. For example a bottle of semi-sweet cava for 9 euros is what Sharon had most of. You could even get a bottle of good quality Protos red wine for less than 20 euros. If my memory serves me right there were two, one at 16 euros and the other at 19 euros.
On our floor of the hotel all of the rooms seemed to be named after herbs. There was also a description of the herb in a picture on the wall in the room. I am not sure whether this was the same throughout the hotel.
There was also some rather nice home made pacharan available for sale on the small bar in the hotel.
The cost of a standard room for two when we were there was 51 euros a night for bed and breakfast. Very good value indeed.
If you can find Hotel Zerbinetta you have found the stables. They are a very short distance down the side of the hill from the hotel.
As this was my first time ever on a horse I am not really a good person to judge the quality of the horses or the stables. However Alan and Sharon said they were very good and are considering another trip there with their family.
The one piece of advice I would give is do not let anyone book you on a 3 hour session of horse riding if it is your first time. It is 4 days later and my thighs still hurt. Also, the horse riding must have juggled our bodies about a bit as Jacqui and I can both not stop peeing at the moment.
The scenery on the horse riding trip was fantastic. Sadly, we did not take a phone or camera with us so we did not get any pictures.
Santa Clara Granada Golf
Santa Clara Granada seems to be a bit like a slightly easier and greener version of Valle del Este. A number of holes go up and down a bit and it is pretty long. Plus there are a few long treks from a green to the next tee. So it may be best to hire a buggy. However we saw quite a few people walking the course.
The greens were very good indeed. Not particularly fast but very true. They are also pretty large so there is plenty of opportunity to 3 putt.
At the moment the things letting the course down are the fairways and rough. Unlike Almerimar they have managed to keep the greens to a good standard in the particularly hot weather this summer. However the grass on the fairways and in the rough at Santa Clara Granada is not that great.
We talked about the idea of FGS having an away day there in March next year. The people working at the course said that would be a good time as the fairways and rough should be in a much better state by then.
The clubhouse is modern in design as it was built in the 2000s. It is well equipped and we had a very pleasant lunch there on the Friday when we dropped the clubs off.
The staff were very friendly and helpful.
It is certainly a course I will be going back to in the future.
La Tasca restaurant in Nigüelas
This was probably our most costly meal of the 3 nights we ate out. Even then it only came to around 120 euros including the tip for 4 of us. Admittedly we only had a dessert pizza with toffee and a banana between us to finish the meal off. It cost around 4-5 euros. plus we did not drink too much.
It was not a massive menu but it had a good variety of food rather than just the Spanish regular dishes. For example, Sharon had a rather nice chicken, leek and potato pie with a salad garnish served in a flower pot.
The meal was great value for money in a fantastic setting. One tip I would give to people is that if you book a table inside I suggest you ask for it to be some distance away from the live music. They guy playing the guitar and singing was not that loud but it did mean we did not have to converse too much (perhaps a bonus if you are with Mr President?).
Las Mimbres restaurant in Dilar
This restaurant is perhaps like a brighter version of El Algarbe from Almerimar. It serves simple Spanish food in basic surroundings. The terrace looks nice but we sat indoors as it was a bit chilly outside. We were very entertained by a parrot doing impressions of telephones and saying various things in Spanish throughout the meal.
The restaurant has been open since 1975 and there are a selection of photos of the original owners on one of the walls. There is also a set of coat hooks that appear to be made out of pigs trotters.
The restaurant has a very big selection of food.
After having sat down for a meal there I looked it up on TripAdvisor. There were not that many reviews but the views on the place were polarised. People thought it was either very good or very bad. Mr President said that if he had seen the reviews before we started eating there he would probably not have chosen it. However at the end of the meal we all said we had enjoyed the food and it was very reasonably priced.
Pampaneira is like a version of Nijar located halfway up a mountain. It is very touristy with many shops and restaurants built into a white walled village with narrow walkways. With the buildings on 4-5 levels on the side of a hill.
For those that like strolling around shops selling costume jewelry, leather bags, nick-nacks and carpets it is a good place to go. There are also a lot of restaurants and bars scattered around the village.
We quite like the Abuela Ili chocolate shop in Pampaneira. It is one of at least two chocolate shops in the village. While looking around other villages in the area we found that there were quite a few similar businesses. All making and selling their own home made chocolate in various places across the Alpujarras.
Trevelez is located on the side of a mountain further up from Pampaneira. It is certainly higher up as when we made our way there we left the Alpujarras (the foothills). We saw signs by the side of the road saying we were now in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
This town is famous for the production of jamon. We lost count of the number of jamon manufacturers we saw on the drive through Trevelez.
The scenery on the way in to Trevelez from Pampaneira is probably some of the best I have ever seen in Spain. It was as good on the way out again on the other side going towards Cadiar and Ugíjar. The roads were quite narrow and there were other cars about so sadly we did not get any pictures.
Piedra Ventana restaurant in Trevelez
We had lunch in this restaurant on the Monday on the way back to Almerimar. We chose it in advance as Mr President had picked it out from TripAdvisor. We had lovely meal here. All of the dishes we had were good and the portions were very big. None of us had any room for any dessert.
The shared starters of a plate of Trevelez ham, a plate of sheep's cheese and red pepper stuffed with cod were particularly good. The main courses were not bad either.
While there we noticed that they also did a very reasonably priced menu del dia.
The wine rack we noticed on the way out of the restaurant was quite interesting.
Rather than retrace our steps from Trevelez we came home via the Almerian Alpujarras. Again the scenery was stunning and this time we had a chance to stop somewhere and take a few pictures.
It seemed that the Almerian Alpujarras were a lot browner with less trees compared with where we had been in the province of Granada.
Day trips from Almerimar or including Granada in a long weekend
It would be possible and worthwhile to combine trips to a few of the places I have mentioned in a day out from Almerimar. It could be easily planned by spending a little time on Google maps.
Alternatively, staying in a hotel like the Zerbinetta that is close to Granada may be worthwhile for other sightseeing activities. You could then combine visiting some of the places I have mentioned with attractions in Granada. For example the Alhambra, the science park and the old town of Granada etc.
As mentioned above you can see more photos from the weekend away in the Gallery.