JAEN PROVINCE, INLAND ANDALUCIA

Atelier88, Alcala la Real,  is located in the unspoilt Provincia de Jaen, in Andalucia. It is THE place for travellers who wish to experience the real wonders of Inland Spain. In addition to the vast natural landscape, it is a province rich in culture, architecture and history and also one of the least populated.

If you are a lover of the outdoors there are four natural parks in Jaen, Parque Natural de Cazorla, is the most well known and Andalucia’s largest. These vast natural spaces are perfect for hiking, cycling, picnicing and appreciating the local flora, fauna and wildlife. As too are the several beautiful lakeside areas that break up the miles upon miles of olive trees. The beautiful lake at Cauro, Colomera has a cafe-bar, boating, fishing and is great destination on a sunny day. It is only a 30 minutes drive from Atelier88. One of Spain’s most important rivers, the Guadalquivir, crosses through Jaen adding to its stunning landscape and fertile land. Jaen’s subtropical climate means that it enjoys high temperatures in summer and becomes very cold in winter, with snow in the región.

The quiet, undulating roads that lead you through the beautiful Jaen landscape make it the perfect choice for touring on four wheels or two (or two feet). There are several established routes for hiking and cycling and information is provided on the websites below, probably the most famous route that takes in Alcala la Real is the GR7.

www.en.yumping.com/hiking/jaen   www.wikiloc.com/trails/hiking/spain/andalucia/alcalalareal    www.caminosdepasion.com

The historic city of Alcala la Real is situated in the southern hills of Jaen and is dominated by the magnificent Fortaleza de la Mota, which marked the border between the kindgoms of Granada and Castille for over 150 years. Alcala la Real was given its royal (Real) title in 1341 by Alfonso XI of Castile and city staus by King John II in 1432. However, with a population of around 22,000, it feels more like a small working town. In addition to a visit to the Fortaleza de la Mota (which also hosts music events and festivals thoughout the year) Alcala la Real has other places of interest and a number of events throughout the year that attract visitors to the city. The most famous festival is Etnosur, a world music festival that happens in July.                                                                        Visit these useful websites for more information:

www.turismo.alcalalareal.es                                                                                                    www.etnosur.com                                                                           www.museoalcalalareal.com                                                      www.castillosybatallas.com                                                              www.spainisculture.com

Just a 90 minutes drive (110km) from Cordoba, 60 minute drive (71 km) from the provincial capital, Jaen, 45 minute drive (53 km) from Granada and 90 minutes (110km) from the Mediterranean coastline, Alcala la Real is very well located for people who wish to discover this unspoilt part of Spain. Time spent in some local picturesque villages such as Montefrio and Preigo de Cordoba offer you a real insight into Spanish life. Only a 30 minute drive from Atelier88,

Cordoba, once the largest and most important medieval city in Europe, and the heart of the western islamic empire. Famous for The Mezquita which is located in the heart of the city and surrounded by the old Jewish and Moorish quarters. Renaissance towns such as Ubeda and Baeza are also filled with architectural gems. Jaen itself, the provincial capital, is worthy of a visit, mainly because of its’ cathedral and Moorish baths.

Granada is definitiely on the must see list of laces to visit. Famous for the Alhambra, a 1,000 year old palace complex at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Exploring the  narrow streets, visitng the bars and cafés of the Albaycin (the old Arab quarter) of Granada is a great way of spending the day. A good time to visit is during spring and autumn when temperatures are not too high.

Granada-Jaen Airport is only 45 minutes drive from Alcala and there is a good bus service from Alcala to all the main cities and towns in the area

Accommodation in Alcala la Real is affordable, the cafe-bars are friendly and sell food and drink at reasonable prices (not tourist rates) and yes, they still provide free tapas with your drinks. Thankfully you will not find fast food chains, coffee shops, full english breakfasts, fish ‘n’ chips or roast dinners.