Natural thermal waters in Malaga & Granada – Benefits for health

Are you planning to spend your holidays in Malaga and looking for a different place to relax? Thermal waters are an excellent choice and beneficial to health.

I already wrote in another post about health benefits of swimming in sea, this time I will offer alternatives to the beach. You can mix both!

Thermal waters usually have pleasant temperatures throughout the year, so they are ideal for relaxing during all the year. They consist of sulphurous water that arises from the interior of the earth, carrying a great number of minerals. It may have an unpleasant odour due to the sulphur, but it’s beneficial to the skin and even has antioxidant effects when ingested.

Tips for a perfect thermal bath

There are some tips for taking advantage of the beneficial properties of a thermal bath. Let’s read about them and pack up your bags, we go on excursion to the best natural thermal baths of Andalusia.

If in the thermal waters you visit there is mud you can apply on your body and head after the bath. Let the mud dry under the sun and once it starts cracking get rid of it by getting back to the water.

After the bath, why not taking advantage of the place and do some sightseeing tour? I’m pretty sure you will find nearby towns or hiking routes. In the second case you might want to leave the relaxing bath for after having practiced the walking route.

Natural thermal baths are often historically marked places that have been used since ancient times.

Thermal baths of Hedionda in Casares, Malaga

Thermal Bath in Casares, MalagaThis thermal bath is free and it is next the the Manilva river in the municipality of Casares. You can go walking from Manilva and there are also several hiking trails around that might be of your interest.

According to the legend during the 1st century before our common age, the roman troops of Cesar were waiting to confront a battle in that area. The troops were not in best conditions as many of them had scabies with strong itches.

Some of them felt the need to dive into the water to relieve the waiting and discovered with surprise that the itch feeling had largely disappeared. Shortly after Julio Cesar would order to build those baths that survived until our days. Some say that even Julio Cesar himself bathed in there.

Is this legend true? There is no evidence to support this fact and it is very likely to be false, but we will never know. What is certain is that the baths were built by the Romans and they were later reformed by the Muslims during the Al-Andalus period.

Location in map and how to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/gcYn8HNTudq

Thermal baths in Alhama de Granada

Aguas termales en Alhama de GranadaIn Granada, just over an hour’s drive from Malaga, you will find the thermal baths of Alhama de Granada. Those baths are divided in two areas, one is free and at the foot of the spa where there is a private one for the customers.

Alhama de Granada is a town known especially for its thermal baths of Roman origin. The Muslims named this town Al-Hama, meaning ‘the bath’. It is next to the mountain chains of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama, an environment of great natural beauty.

The free area consists of 3 small natural thermal pools with a capacity of around 20 people each.

You can visit the following map for getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/GMfrcMpFQvv

Hot springs in Zujar, Granada

Hot springs in ZujarThe healing properties of this thermal waters have been known since Roman times, Plinio wrote about this location. Zujar is a town about 110 km. from the city of Granada and within the natural park of Sierra de Cazorla.

The water of this spring is especially indicated for skin diseases treatment and many other affections.

There is a restaurant with a pool that you can access for 2€. Another option is a small lake located next to the reservoir of El Negratin that can be accessed for free.

For getting to this place you can follow the map: https://goo.gl/maps/ULDd2rZKupo

If you want to find other natural thermal baths you can get to the hot waters of Santa Fe. The water temperature there is 36ºC. Find the place at the following map: https://goo.gl/maps/mCVNZ61QxTk

Tip: You might need to rent a car if you do not have your own vehicle. Those locations are not easily accesible by other transport means.

Season discounts for skiing in April in Sierra Nevada

April will bring us not only the spring but also activities and discounts to Sierra Nevada for skiing.

The 30th of April is the last day of the ski season, if you are willing to take part in the called event ‘ski the spring in Sierra Nevada‘, you are yet on time.

Sierra Nevada activities and discounts in April, 2017

Spring discounts for skiing

The first week of April you can get ski passes with discount. With 20€ you can enjoy a full skiing day. There is a limit of 3000 ski passes with discount.

If you have a season ski pass you can recharge it for 25€.

If you are willing to learn how to ski now you can do at a reduced price, for 35€/day. The available days for the ski lessons are the 2nd, 9th, 22nd and 29th of April.

April activities in Sierra Nevada

Among the many activities planned in Sierra Nevada for April is the skiing in swimsuit event. An event where the participants have to ski or snowboard without clothes.

The 30th of April the skiing season ends with a big people’s paella.

Sierra Nevada in autumn

sierra nevada autumnVisiting Sierra Nevada in autumn is not expensive at all, now we can find very cheap flights to Malaga. These low prices in autumn on flights, hotels and car rental allow us to know some places in the province of Granada, located just 90 minutes from Malaga and the Costa del Sol.

Now in October and November, shortly before the start of the ski season  is an ideal time to enjoy the attractions of Granada without being the weather too cold.

Visiting Granada in October and November

Alhambra Granada

If you want to convince anyone coming with you, the cheap flight is a perfect excuse to spend some time in Malaga and Granada, It is a perfect opportunity to know more of these cities which are so different from each other:

  •  Malaga, ancient port city that opens to the Mediterranean, with the charm and joy that characterizes the coastal cities.Autumn is definitely a good season to visit the province without  feeling too hot.
  • Granada, where lingers its Arab heritage in every corner and its monuments, with the magnificent Sierra Nevada in the background. You can enjoy a city break, visit the Alhambra or simply enjoy the environment.

For the more adventurous there are many opportunities to enjoy Sierra Nevada and practice outdoor or adventure sports and thus combine sightseeing with exercise. Some examples of activities in  Sierra Nevada are canyoning and mountaineering. You can simply enjoy hiking in one of the highest peaks of the peninsula, as the highest road in Europe rises to almost 2,500 metres.

There is parking in Pradollano, the skiing resort in the Sierra Nevada, where the National Park provides buses for those who prefer to climb the last stretch more easily, without missing the spectacular views where on clear days we can even see the Rif Mountains in Morocco.

Do not miss it

It is a unique excursion, at a short distance from Granada and Malaga, which allows us to glimpse a great nature and extraordinary high mountain environment at only 120 km from Malaga airport and definitely a place you should not miss.

You might be interested also to know which month is the best to visit Malaga.

Romantic Ronda and Ronda Fair: Discover the famous bandits

The May event known as Romantic Ronda is an encounter with the romantic past of this town in Malaga, a sign of identity that takes shape during this recreation of the historic fair of Ronda on 19, 20 21 and May 22, 2016

Ronda Romántica 2016

Romantic Ronda is a tourism initiative that places visitors during three days in the historical context of the Ronda mountain ranges, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the bandits and smugglers, craftsmen and writers who came in search of adventures to relate them in their works.

Andalusia was back then a romantic destination, awaiting dangers and uncertainties along its paths to those who travel them, many adventurers came hoping to meet some of the famous bandits on their trips, they were even ready with a small amount of money or valuables, not meeting those famous bandits would become a disappointment.

If you want to know more about the vision that pretends to give the Romantic Ronda event you can read Washington Irving, one of those adventurer writers who visited Andalucia and wrote ‘Tales of the Alhambra‘ (free e-book), he managed to capture on paper the feelings that produced a trip of this kind on the paths of Andalusia during these years.

Bandits of the Serrania de Ronda

Very well-known in Andalucia and throughout the world were the bandits of Sierra Morena, Despeñaperros and of the Serrania de Ronda, who stumped in an aura of mystery hidden from the main path awaiting for some wealthy victim to assault or kidnap.

Bandits in Andalucia have managed to mark their stories and names with fire in our memories, building a legend that will still last over time.

caballistas-624x223

Although there were many more than just 3 find below some of the most popular bandits in Andalucia, some of them have living descendants.

Why did they become so popular and usually loved by the people? Because they only assault wealthy people and used to give tips or help to the less advantaged.

el-tempranillo-1833El Tempranillo‘ (1805-1833) became a bandit since he was 15 years, he became popular because the good manners he showed to his victims and for his actions to help the most disadvantaged.

Stories tell that he was able to rob up to 110 travellers in a morning during his way to the fair in Ronda…although in these days it was common for bartenders to exaggerate the bandits stories.

This bandit, perhaps the most famous of the region ended up marrying and having a son (his wife died after giving birth and he had to carry her dead body and his son in tow as they were besieged by the Guardia Civil).

Near his last days he became Commander of Security and Protection Squadron in Andalusia after a royal pardon that was granted to those who swore loyalty to the king. He defended the paths against bandits for a year until another bandit known as ‘El Barberillo’ ended his life with a shot near the village of Alameda, he died with just 28 years.

pernales01El Pernales‘ (1879-1907): He was a cold, vindictive and bloodthirsty bandit who did not hesitate to perform despicable acts to his own family and murder anyone who opposed him.

He ended his days shot by the Guardia Civil on his way to take a boat in Valencia from where he intended getting to Mexico (America was the destination of many of the Spanish bandits).

He was shot dead before arriving to the port in Valencia where his last pregnant lover was waiting for him, she had to return to the town of  ‘El Rubio’ alone.

pasos-largos-rondaPasos Largos (1873-1934): One of the last known bandits, lover of the mountains and gambling, he used to visit Coffee Sibajas in Ronda where he lost large sums of money gambling.

Among the anecdotes surrounding this bandit we highlight the one related to a guard from a farm who denounced him to the Guardia Civil because of illegal hunting.Once caught he was beaten severely and took up to 6 months to recover…

Looks like this success marked him, not much later he had a casual encounter with the son of the guard and killed him without hesitation. Then headed to the guard and showed the blood of his dead son before killing him too. The mother managed to hide in a room and saved her life. This was a revenge he talked about in an interview shortly before his death.entrevista pasos largos

Usually devoted to the kidnapping of the wealthy, he enjoyed the sympathy of the common people, ended up in a prison of Ronda in 1916. Once out of prison, with more than 60 years, Pasos Largos refused to leave his habits so returned to the mountains and continued robberies. He ended up cornered in a cave and shot dead by the Guardia Civil after he rejected to surrender.

Pasos Largos en 1916, carcel de Ronda
Pasos Largos jailed in 1916

Romantic Ronda activities

During this festival of great cultural value you can taste typical dishes, admire horses and cattle exhibitions, parades with traditional costumes known as Goyescas or buy in the market among many other activities.

It is very common the streets and balconies of the city to be ornamented during those days.

The main festivity is celebrated around San Francisco district, there is parking on the entrance of Ronda so if you are visiting Romantic Ronda by car you will have no problems finding a place where leaving your car.

There is a recreation of the old cemetery and prison in Duquesa de Parcent Square.

Theatral and musical shows at Merced Square.

How to get to Ronda

From San Pedro de Alcantara (Marbella) take the A-397 road. During the following 48 km to Ronda you are rewarded by spectacular views of the coast and the mountain ranges.

Another option is from Malaga to Ronda through Cartama and other villages or booking an excursion to Ronda.

Skiing in swimsuit in Sierra Nevada on April 23

The end of ski season is approaching and like every year there is being organized a skiing in swimsuit event, a rather striking event which has been held since a few years being this the fourth edition. If you ever thought how it would be to ski or snowboard without clothes it is your chance to try it.

This event also aims to promote the upcoming World Championships in Freestyle Ski and Snowboard in Sierra Nevada.

sierra-nevada-bikini

The fourth season edition of this event takes place on 23rd April at the ski station of Sierra Nevada.

You have live webcams where you can check the status of the tracks.

Ski pass at half price if you bring your bikini or bathsuit

To take part in this event you must sign up at the official website (signing page is down so I guess you have to signup personally). There is usually a limit of 500 participants, those participants who join the event will be also able to buy the ski pass at half price (€ 17.25 is the price in 2016).

To benefit from the discounted ski pass it is necessary to bring your ID card which you must show at the box office (open at 9am)  then you will be given a registration card that will give you access to services, prizes and a ski pass at exclusive price; then you get rid of your clothes and stay in swimsuit.

For your warm clothing you can use a wardrobe in Borreguiles (closes at 11:20am) that has been free in earlier years, so we assume it will remain free for participants … be patient if there are many people, the fun is only a few minutes away.

After all these steps you just have to take the chairlift and warm up the muscles, the event is about to begin, try to be careful, falling on snow in a swimsuit carries more risks than doing it protected with special clothing for skiing.

It is not allowed to overtake the person who goes first,  you must follow that person at all times. Shortly after the descent they will proceed to the awards ceremony and the wardrobe will reopen for you to take back your belongings.

Remember that participants must bring their own equipment.

Free ski pass?

Those who want to enjoy a day of skiing with free ski pass will have to wait until May 1st. During the last day of the season the price for ski pass at the station of Sierra Nevada is free.

Tips for skiing in swimsuit

Do not forget sunscreen… the sun’s rays are specially dangerous here because of the sun´s reflection on the snow so it is necessary to be well protected with sunglasses and sunscreen.

Avoid risks, we already know you are a pro…do not try to impress the bikini girls or guys in bathsuit by practicing your special skills without enough protecting clothes.

Video of previous events in Sierra Nevada

If you have never been yet to Sierra Nevada this is a good time to visit,  we have a page with information about the ski resort as well as where to park your car.

World Snow Day or a weekend with children in Sierra Nevada

world snow dayWorld Snow Day is coming the next weekend and Sierra Nevada participate by offering dedicated activities and ski lessons for children.

This event is organized worldwide and most of the ski stations around the globe participate on it, officially it’s just one day, Sunday…but they use to extend it for the whole weekend and some ski stations even offer it one weekend every month.

The aim of this worldwide event is to introduce children into the practice of this winter activity. Who has visited the snow being a child and have no good memories of it?

When is the World Snow Day?

The next 17th in January the World Snow Day is celebrated but you will be able to find deals for the whole weekend.

There are also activities planned for both days.

Coming to Sierra Nevada

This year Sierra Nevada offers different holiday packages, one of those packages includes ski learning classes, ski-pass and all the needed material for skiing; there is another offer which also includes accommodation, all of this at a cheaper price than any other day.

Saturday and Sunday are full of events and activities for the children, some of those activities among many others sound promising: night skiing, cinema or the Gymkhana; children might enjoy them as much as their parents.

More information about World Snow Day

You can visit the official website for information about events in Sierra Nevada and at any other ski station which participate on this event.

http://world-snow-day.com/en/wsd/Event_Locator/Spain/Sierra_Nevada/World_Snow_Day

World Snow Day
Plaza de Andalucía 4
18196 Granada
Spain
+34638302057

6 Reasons why the British prefer Andalucia in World Travel Market

world-travel-market-2015The World Tourism Fair (World Travel Market or WTM) has shown us the importance of Andalusia in the UK, a success that brings a 22% increase in bookings this winter to Andalusia and that rises to nearly 60% if you count those already established for next summer.

The year 2015 was excellent for tourism and 2016 might even surpass it; here are some of the reasons why the British prefer to go on holiday to Andalucia.

1. Security in Spain and in Andalusia

Any traveller values security and even more nowadays, thus other destinations such as Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia which in other years have emerged as popular tourist destinations have lost up to 60% of reserves over last year, establishing Spain as a favourite and safe destination.

Is it safe to travel to Spain?
Spain is a safe destination and tourist sites such as the Costa del Sol have a large number of policemen that are reinforced during the high season. You always should have a minimum of care to prevent theft in crowded places, which is recommended regardless of the destination to which you travel.

2. Direct flights and at a good price

The fleet of the United Kingdom is noteworthy for the number of direct and low cost flights bound for Andalusia, being Malaga airport and Gatwick the airports which have experienced more growth.

No doubt, when choosing a destination that can be reached with a direct flight and cheaply, this has quite some weight in the decision.

3. Variety of tourism offer

From an almost exclusive tendency of sun and beach, the British are increasingly seeking a large offer that allows them to complement different activities.

Andalusia has a large offer that goes from gastronomy, nature and picturesque villages to large cities such as Malaga, Granada and Cordoba with important monuments.

4. Good temperature and climate

The British when looking for their holiday destination usually decide on a place that has a better climate to which they are accustomed and thus often choose destinations in southern Europe.

More and more tourists are interested in activities in Malaga during the winter; we recommend following our blog for updates.

5. Varied range of accommodation

From facilities only for adults to hotels for young people like the new Hotel Melia in Torremolinos make the Costa del Sol and Andalusia a destination with accommodation for all audiences, both familiar and juvenile or adult.

6. Competitive prices

British wages grow around 3% due to the strength of its economy and the pound against the euro increasing the number of reservations in destinations that offer quality at a good price.

world-travel-market-2015

And you, do you prefer holidays during the winter or summer? Do you plan to visit Andalusia?

Caminito del Rey in Google Street View

Caminito del Rey, a trail now known worldwide for its beautiful views and past danger, has caught the attention of the giant Google which has digitized the path for its popular application Google Street View.

caminito del rey map

The application of Google allows the user a panoramic view and horizontal movement along a path of preset images, something that has already been used in such sights as the pyramids of Egypt or the world’s major cities and which allow the curious observer the feeling of somehow visiting the place.

Without doubt this is good news for those among the lucky ones who have already visited and want to remember the path or those who are expecting their turn to do so.

Caminito del Rey is a popular tourist attraction which has recently been refurbished and for which you have to book the visit from their website (http://www.caminitodelrey.info), although it has been very successful and currently there is no availability for the tour.

The tour takes between 4 and 5 hours depending on the pace, it is a linear path so when you reach the end, you have to take a bus to take you to the starting point or walk back which will take you in total 6 hours return trip.

If you choose to start from Alora keep in mind that a large part of the route is uphill, however if you decide to start in Ardales it is downhill, so it will take less time to walk it.

If you still haven´t got your ticket do not worry, the Caminito del Rey is located in a beautiful natural area which you can enjoy without reservation and free of charge and enjoy the cuisine of the villages.

How to get to Caminito del Rey

You can take a regional train from Malaga train stopping at El Chorro. Another option is by road to Ardales.

Opening time is 10 am to 2 pm during November to March and until 5 pm between April and October.

Traffic tickets while driving a rental car in Spain

traffic fine AndaluciaWe always recommend to discover Andalusia by car, it’s an unforgettable experience to drive through the country roads and discover villages that would be impossible to visit any other way, however quite often the drivers forget that they can commit traffic offenses and be notified for them.

How car rental companies pass on the cost of traffic tickets

If you drive a rental car, to the fine will be added an administrative sanction by your car hire company as they have to process the fine and identify the driver, which generates an extra cost that tends to come up to about 25 euros. We recommend to be careful to not get any speeding tickets or any other traffic offense fines as although the car doesn’t belong to you, the fine will reach you.

One of the places near Malaga where the drivers are fined the most, almost without realizing, is in the centre of Granada, where the existence of bad traffic signing, not translated into English either, vigilance cameras and radars cause that many foreign drivers get fined, which is we recommend that if you visit Granada with your rental car drive very carefully, paying special attention to the speed limits and traffic signs. Other option is to book a guided tour to Granada instead of driving a car yourself.

The most common causes for fines in Spain

A very important one to avoid a fine is always wearing the seatbelt, included those sitting in the back…If you get stopped by the police and you are carrying passengers in the backseats, it’s very likely that they’ll check if they are wearing their seatbelts too…and if they aren’t, it will all depend on the policeman or policewoman whether you get a formal sanction or not.

The speed is one of the main causes of fines in Spain, sometimes even when we think we haven’t gone over the limit we may receive fine by surprise. In Malaga there are roads of 4 lanes in both directions that would lead us to think that the speed limit is 120 km/h. when really it’s in fact 100 km/h., which is why it’s highly recommendable to always pay special attention to the road signs that indicate at what speed we must go.

The radars are signposted, and driving passed them at a higher speed than what you’re supposed to, becomes a fine automatically. We must also mention that there are mobile radars (in vehicles) too that aren’t indicated and that can give us an unpleasant surprise.

Double parking is forbidden, you may stop for less than 2 minutes to pick up or let out passengers…but never double park the vehicle, the fine in this case is pretty dear.

Final recommendations when driving in Spain

If you drive according to the traffic regulations in Spain there shouldn’t be any problems whatsoever. Always pay attention to the traffic signs and in the case that you receive a fine, don’t forget that you’ll receive a small extra charge if you’re using a rental car due to the administration process.

Flights from London to Granada with free check-in for skiing gear

hispania airlinesOnly an hour and a half drive from Malaga and the Costa del Sol are rising the highest mountain ranges of the peninsula, Sierra Nevada in Granada, the southernmost ski resort in Europe. With the recent rains, this resort located on more than 2,400 meters above sea level, and from where on clear days you can see the Mediterranean Sea and Africa, is preparing for the new 2012-13 season.

Among the varied promotions we also found an offer of the company Hispania Airways, which offers free billing of skiing equipment or Snowboards on its flights to Granada. This promotion, which is already available on the company’s website, will be valid as from the first days of December, specifically the 6th, when the airline starts connecting Granada-Sierra Nevada with London, Rome, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona.

From London-Gatwick flights take place twice a week (Mondays and Fridays, round trip). This offer responds to the growing numbers of British skiers who book a getaway to Sierra Nevada. But not only the British enjoy this ski resort with more sun in Europe, just 30 minutes from the historic city of Granada, about an hour from the Costa Tropical and 90 minutes from the Costa del Sol.

However, if you prefer to stay in the resorts of the warm Costa del Sol but want to enjoy a getaway to the snow and the cold of Sierra Nevada, you can take your flight to Malaga airport and from there book a transfer to Sierra Nevada or hire a car in Malaga.