Recommended Places to Visit

The area is full of natural beauty and real contrasts.  We are surrounded by the mountain ranges of Sagra, Castril, Baza and Orce giving the area a plain in the centre.  The wildlife is varied and the terrain (for those wanting activities) can be as easy or challenging as you wish to make it. There is truly something for everyone!  Here are just a few of our suggestions but please don’t think that this is all there is – this is just a taster. We have many more suggestions in our information book waiting for your perusal. 
Below you will find information on :-

  1. Granada Geopark 
  2. Mini Lakes District
  3. Cortijo Buho.
  4. Velez Blanco Castle
  5. Baza Town and its history
  6. Civil War Refuge Museum
  7. Mini Hollywood
  8. Granada City shopping and sightseeing
  9. Science Museum in Granada
  10. Sierra Nevada Skiing
  11. Pedelec around our stunning area with our top make e-bikes
  12. Cascamorras Festival in Baza
  13. Local Village swimming pools.
  14. Moors and Christians Weekend in Benamaurel
  15. Local Markets
  16. Puente Arriba – General Information
  17. Views, long drinks and free tapas.
  18. Gorge Walk in Castril.

Enjoy but remember there are many more great places to visit within easy reach.

1. Granada Geopark

badlands-2We live in the heart of the Granada Geopark (Geoparque de Granada) area and our cave overlooks the hills known as the Badlands.  As we are central to all the wonderful network of heritage sites you can visit, Cueva Limón is a great base to stay and plan your trips.   We have maps and information for you to plan your visits or take an advanced look at the website here Ganada Geopark.   For our own pleasure, and to help share our experiences with our guests, we will endeavour to visit all of the sites within the near future.  As we plan our visits it makes us feel like we on holiday – win win!

2. Mini Lake District.

We live in what is commonly known as the Spanish mini lake district.  Within 20 – 45 minutes drive you have Lake Negratin, Lake San Clemente, Lake Bolera and a little further on there is Lake Portillo, Guadalquivir plus other beautiful waterways.  If you want to relax by the waters edge we can provide fold up chairs, blankets and a great picnic hamper for you to enjoy.

Lake Negratin is one of our personal favourites.  The lake offers waterfront restaurants, viewing points, picnic and beach areas.  In the summer you can hire canoes and other equipment for water based activities.  You can always find a spot to be alone giving you the sense that you are the only people about (and usually you are!)

One of the more popular restaurants can be found on the southern bank of the lake (head towards Zujar and turn left heading to Freila).  The beach restaurant is on this road to the right – look out for the lake and then recreation sign.  Another good bar/restaurant is on the north west side of the water just over the dam.  If you do go to the north side of the lake please take a trip to the viewing point.  It is very hard to find due to the lack of signage but we can provide a map to help.  It really is worth a visit just for the views but take a picnic and enjoy the area even more.

Oue second favourite is Lake Bolera.   Yet another beautiful lake in stunning surroundings.  We have yet to explore this lake in great detail but the visits we have made have been peaceful and inspiring.

Please do not think that the lakes are the only places to visit because we have rivers with secret areas to find and enjoy.

A new find for us is Las Presas Recreation Area near Castillejar (approx 12 km away). It is a lovely picnic area that is used by the locals during the weekend.  Weekdays are very quiet.  It has tables, bbq’s, the river edge with pools of water and, in the summer, a kiosk.

There are other areas to explore as you follow the many walking paths.  If you find a personal best, please get in touch.

3. Cortijo Búho.

If you are in the area please do not miss out on a visit to Cortijo Bùho.  Lawrence and Matilda are highly experienced falconers and are more than happy to give you as much information about their birds and animals that you can handle.

They are not open to the general public but you can make an appointment where you will be the only party there.  You will learn about the different species of birds and their individualities, fly them, feed them and have an experience you will never forget.  You will also get up close and personal with two kookaburras, meerkats, chickens, ducks and not forgetting the proud turkey that roams around the outside areas.

For more information please visit http://www.theiasgems.com

4. Velez Blanco Castle

The enchanting castle sits on a pinnacle high above the town of Velez Blanco within the province of Almeria. The 16th century castle is of the Renaissance architecture but sadly in 1904 some of the carved marble arcades, columns, doorways, statues and friezes were sold off by the impoverished owners.

It was built on an old Islamic fortress and completed in 1515 with the courtyard and carved wooden friezes that represent the twelve labours of Hercules and the triumphs of Caesar.

With free entry it is an attraction we recommend to all our visitors especially if you finish off with a light lunch at the nearby bar on the edge of the carpark.   Meson Antonio at Velez Blanco should not be missed out on. 

You will be served Spanish plates of food but all home cooked.   I had the pork in peppercorn sauce and it was the best I have had in a long long time. However, I have been told that their steaks are a great reason to return so….

 5. Baza town and its history.

The town of Baza was founded by the Iberians in the 4th century BC and was then known as Basti.   The Moors took over the city during 313-1489 and the town became an important commercial centre with a population upward of 50,000 making it one of the three most important cities in the Kingdom of Granada.  During the Granada war, the city fell to Queen Isabella 1 of Castile.  You can still see the remains of the City walls dating back to Iberian times and other remains of buildings from the Roman occupation.

The Arab baths are a gem of a find although you do need to know the exact location as they are well hidden.  They are free to view and well worth it.

There are so many different plazas and places full of history for you to explore but again, if you do not know what you are looking at, things do get overlooked quite easily.

My advice is to do a tour with an expert in the history of Baza.  Danny is passionate about the area and is a wealth of knowledge.  The duration of his tour is approx 2 1/2 hours which we recently experienced.   We were amazed at the historical areas and Plazas that Danny took us to, which we had no idea existed.  It was a tour well worth the €15 per person as we really did get to know our local town and have more of an appreciation of its history.

Call Danny on 0034 684 456 722 and have a walk with ‘One Foot In The Past’ (Danny’s Facebook page where you will find further information).  You will not regret it.

6. Civil War Refuge Museum – Almeria Province

The network of shelters meant the excavation of 2.80 miles of underground galleries, at more than 29 feet deep, and 67 manholes for access. This system protected about 35,000 people out of a total of approximately 50,000 inhabitants the city of Almeria had in those years.

The main tunnel goes underneath the “Paseo de Almeria”, with a main passage six and a half feet wide and two benches along each side for seating.  The visit takes one hour, always in a guided tour in Spanish, but if you do not speak Spanish we still recommend a visit but do a little research first to give you a basic knowledge of the incredible network of building work that had been achieved.

7. Mini Hollywood – Almeria Province

In Tabernas, the only desert in Europe, you can enjoy a full day at Mini Hollywood.

They have great  authentic western scenarios, live shows, a large Zoological Reserve with more than 800 animals of 200 different species, great large pool areas and a range of restaurants for you to enjoy.  It is a must visit for children and adults alike as it’s one of our favourite must go to places to visit.  It’s a relaxed fun day out for all.

8. Granada City for Shopping and sightseeing.  Granada is so diverse you will never be bored. 

The city has many areas for shopping, including the Moorish Alcaiceria area, that are so colourful they draw you in to browse as you enjoy the local foods in the many bars full of tapas and local people enjoying life.  When shopping has come to a close you then have so many other wonderful sites to visit like the amazing Alhambra Palace and gardens, Arabic quarters where you can walk through narrow streets and take in the wonderful atmosphere and so much more you may have to return again and again.

9. Science Museum in Granada –  must visit for adults and children alike.  However, please allow a full day as you will need it to complete the museum areas.  The museum is in Granada and is easy to get to.  The journey is quite spectacular in itself and takes about 1 hour 20 mins to get there from Cueva Limón.   There are so many hands-on equipment and visual displays making this museum a wonderful experience for young and old alike.

I am not a science museum person but wow.  I enjoyed every moment and as a family however, we only managed to see 2/3 of the site as we took our time getting there.

10. Sierra Nevada Skiing – Screenshot 2021-07-25 at 20.37.52The Sierra Nevada mountain range is perfect for skiers of all abilities.  They are the highest peaks in Mainland Spain and Europe’s southernmost ski resort.  If Skiing is not your thing then there are 86,000ha of wild landscape with pine groves, lakes and meadows to explore where you can see mountain goats, wild boar, badgers, eagles and vultures.

11. Pedelec e-bikes

We have two great brand new Pedelec Radrhino 6 e-bikes on order for our guests to ride.  They are arriving in October  and we cannot wait.  Whether you fancy a trip into one of our villages, trek into the Badlands or a ride along the river tracks to take in our great scenery – you will have great fun on these easy to ride bikes.    We have routes all mapped out for you and information to the best places to visit. All the hard work will be completed by us ready for you to have fun exploring are stunning and varied area.

12. Cascamorras Festival in Baza traditionally held on 6 September. 

The Cascamorras festival, or locally known as the black hand, has an intriguing history.  It is estimated that 20,000  people now take part, running through the streets of Baza covered in black paint/olive oil.  This also happens in Gaudix where they use coloured paste instead of oil.  Why, I can hear you ask!

Apparently it all started when a workman from Guadix (nicknamed Cascamorras) was building a church on the site of a Mozarabe Temple when he heard a voice asking for Mercy.  As he continued to dig he found a sacred icon of Our Lady of Mercy.   The people of Guadix claimed the find as their own which the people of Baza refuted strongly.   The conflict was so bad that King Felipe 11 sent a mediator to decide what was to be done.   It was decreed that the statue would stay in Baza but, for one day a year, it could be taken to Guadix.  This was not accepted by either side.

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A last minute attempt was made to take the statue to Guadix but the people of Baza foiled the plot so the workmen returned home to Guadix empty handed.   Baza declared that on Saint’s day, if a nominated person from Guadix was able to reach the Virgin on foot and remained clean, he could take the statue to Guadix.    Each year an elected Cascamorras tries to fulfill this pledge, but to this day has never succeeded.

525 years later the festival has grown to one of the most impressive and yet least known festival in Andalucia.

Part one of the festival is held in Baza.  On the 6th September people of Baza head to a nearby hill where they cover themselves with a mixture of black paint and ecological oil prepared by the Town hall.  At 18.00 a rocket indicates that Cascamorras has arrived on the hill protected by his towns people of Guadix.  He begins to run down the hill into the town towards the El Merced Church where the statue of the Our Lady of Mercy is held.

The local people of Baza are well prepared to dirty the Cascamorras but he has a rubber ball tied to a wooden stick to defend himself in addition to his own followers.  The event takes place along a 6km route and can take 90 mins to 2 hours to complete. As yet the Cascamorras has never reached the end of the route, clean.  That’s not quite the end for the Cascamorras.  He becomes guest of honour for the town’s  next two days of partying.  He then returns to Guadix empty handed and on the 9 September he receives a further barrage from his own people of Guadix.  This is the second part of the Cascamorras festival.

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After the event you will find signs of the black hand all around  Baza.  It’s become quite a sought after piece of art.  All good fun!

13. Local Village swimming pools.

Most local villages have their own swimming pools which are open to the public during the months of July and August.  However there are a few pools around that stay open all year as they are naturally fed from rivers or springs.

Our local pool is in Los Olivos/Castillejar and is the best pool around by far.  It is clean, has grass verges around the pool area and a good restaurant on its doorstep. There are life guards each day to ensure everyone has a great time.

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These pools can be a quiet and relaxing place to spend a couple of hours or a day, for as little as a couple of Euros.

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Another good pool is in the cave village of Galera.  It is a good size with the added bonus of being right next to the Galera Hotel.  This hotel is great for food and also sitting on the balcony whilst taking in the views of the caves dug out of the hillside opposite.

The two main natural spring pools which are open all year round can be found in Orce and Heuscar (that’s if you fancy swimming with the fishes).

14. Moors and Christians Weekend in Benamaurel.

Many towns in Andalucia hold a Moors and Christians Festival.  In 2020 the date for the festival in Benamaurel will be 25 – 28 April.

The Benamaurel festival has many paradas and has a great family/party atmosphere.  It begins with several procession of the Moors and Christians, tradition food, a theatrical enactment of verbal attacks and a battle reenactment with cannons and swords (held on the Sunday) and even more parades to end the festivates.  The parade that follows the main battle  on the Sunday is a wonderful site.  People work hard and pay large amounts of money to wear the colourful costumes.  You can see the pride in their faces as the parades pass.  It really is a great weekend to enjoy the atmosphere and have family fun.

15. Local Markets

depositphotos_44012085-Wicker-basket-full-of-fruits-and-vegetablesThere is a good market at our local village of Benamaurel on Sunday morning which is 10 minute drive away.  We also have local markets at Castillejar, Baza and Cortes de Baza all about 10/20 minutes by car.  Most towns have markets that sell the local produce and good value goods.  Choose any of them and you will find yourself in the midst of the local people buying great quality and tasty foods.    You will taste the difference, there is nothing like local produce.

16. Puente Arriba – General Information

Puente Arriba is a small Spanish village in the municipality of Benamaurel within the province of Granada.  The village runs along the Guardal river and the majority of dwellings are cave houses.  The village has approximately 210 inhabitants and has its own festival during the month of August with music, dancing and food for all to enjoy.  The local Spanish people love a good fiesta and certainly know how to enjoy themselves in the cooler evenings under the stars.

17. Views, long drinks and free tapas.

You don’t have to do anything.  You can relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery around you whilst you read a good book, hold a long drink and enjoy a lovely local tapas at the many bars we have in the area.

Emilio’s Restaurant and Bar is only a three minute drive from Cueva Limón.

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Emilio’s is one of the best places in the area to relax and unwind.  It is a family run business with more than 30 years experience (and Emilio speaks good English which helps). With each drink you can enjoy a typical tapas as you sit and unwind or chat with friends.  In the heat of the summer Emilio’s has a misting system to cool the air around the outdoor seating areas.  It’s great to sit and feel the mist around you.

Galera Hotel

This hotel is about 20 minutes drive away but is worth the visit.  You can relax on the balcony which overlooks the village swimming pool and the cave homes that grow out of the rocks of Galera.  Day or night you have beautiful sights.

Harley Bar at Castillejar

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We also recommend the El Rincon (Harley Bar) in Castillejar.  The inside of the bar has lots of motorbikes and parts for decoration.  Even the beer pumps are Harley engines.  Worth a visit lunchtime or evening but the delicious pizzas are only served after 20.00.  Be early to ensure a table.

18. Gorge Walk in Castril.

Within a short drive you have the wonderful and spectacular Gorge Walk of Castril. It is a walk that the whole family can enjoy.  You will pass through beautiful natural landscapes as you walk along a wooden walkway which hugs the narrow gorge and over a suspension bridge which leads you to a natural tunnel.  Your reward is a lovely bar to sit and take refreshments.  The full route is about 2.2km and the estimated time taken is about an hour. Apparently the walk takes on a different look at night as the pathways are lit up for a unusual experience.  Please note:- the start of the walk is not easy to find so please ask in the village for directions.  Drive to the entrance where you will find a decent car park.