Tag Archives: outdoors

Walking with Imaginary Dinosaurs in El Caminito del Rey, El Chorro.

As we neared the end of our bendy ascent through the tiny town of El Chorro into the Guadalhorce Valley, I actually saw a chicken cross the road. Sensing the danger of the oncoming vehicle, its pace quickened from a composed srut to a panicked dash in a bid  to avoid certain death. The punchline was still unclear, but the chicken had made it safely to the other side, and we could breathe a sigh of relief.

Before the grand re-opening of El Chorro’s El Caminito del Rey earlier this year, such an event could quite plausibly have been the most exciting thing to have ever happened in the town, which is home to roughly 250 inhabitants.

Since its revival, El Caminito del Rey has probably been written about by every blogger and independent news publcation in all of Andalucía.

It’s kind of a big deal, though to describe it as ‘big’ would be quite the understatement; when I finally visited a few weeks ago, I was genuinely astounded. From the moment we ducked into the 80m-long tunnel at the start of a scenic pre-amble, to the imposing drawbridge at the route’s climax, a list of superlative adjectives almost as bottomless as the 105m chasm itself could quite easily have escaped my lips.

It really is awesome – as in, you will actually be in awe when you see it. And by ‘it’, I mean all 7.7km of paths, boardwalks and forest walkways; the whole thing is stupefying from start to finish. See, there I go again.

Even before we get past ticket inspection we are dumbfounded (and again) by the strange, Jurassic-like rock formations across the river Guadalhorce. Once the helmets and hair nets are on (which, by the way, I absolutely rock), we are left to stroll through at our own pace.

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It even looks like a dinosaur.

Inevitably there is an instant blockade of camera-wielding tourists (myself included) within the first 30 yards, but you can hardly blame them (us) – the scenery is already magnificent and on the other side of the gorge, a tiny, signposted section – more like a ledge actually – of the old Caminito is just about still intact.

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The previous starting point of El Caminito del Rey

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Feeling Dizzy?

Beneath the refurbished, entirely secure boardwalk, the old caminito – a hole-ridden, stone walkway held together by rusting steel beams – is still in place. It’s a wonder how anyone ever had the courage to walk along it, and even more amazing that people would still consider doing it in the 21st century, since until last year when the route closed for refurbishment, this is exactly what harebrained adrenaline-junkies, like Matthew from expertvagabond.com, were able to do (seriously worth reading; great post complete with hair-raising video!)

I revel in adventure and adrenaline-pumping sports but frankly, I wouldn’t have attempted the hike in its old state even if there were a life-time supply of yolk-glazed palmeras waiting for me at the other end. And believe me when I tell you I am THE number one fan of yolk-glazed palmeras (as in typical Spanish pastries; not an egg-related sexual fetish).

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Part of the Old Caminito. Would you dare?

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Beyond the first gorge, the unspoiled, prehistoric-like beauty of the scenery that unfurls below is such that we half expect a pterodactyl to come swooping down and spear a helpless Jurassic fish, or a herd of velociraptors to emerge on the horizon as a ruffle of leaves in a nearby tree reveals the head of a curious Diplodocus.

Well, perhaps only I imagine that, but there is definitely a sense of death in the air, quite literally, as the vultures circle above us patiently. Later we pass a plaque commemorating the only three people to have ever died hiking the caminito (since records began), but there is no mention of whether or not this had anything to do with hungry vultures or indeed a fortuitous velociraptor.

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Can you spot the t-rex?

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The highlights of the trail are the glass balcony and the drawbridge, which definitely gives you that ‘Indiana Jones rope-bridge’ sort of feeling, although this one, thankfully, does not snap as easily as the one in Temple of Doom, and there are no man-eating crocodiles idly waiting with their jaws open in the river 105m below. Still, it’s pretty damn scary. I nervously manage a selfie but don’t have the balls to attatch my phone to my, ahem, coughselfie stickcough, to get that ‘holy-jesus-look-where-the-fuck-I-am’ type shot. Never mind. Life goes on. Without selfies.

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The Drawbridge at El Caminito del Rey

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On the bridge, it’s hard to imagine a better view in Spain, or anywhere for that matter. The water is so still and turquoise it looks fake. In fact, the scenery in general is so deep in colour it looks digitally enhanced. #nofilternecessary.

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View from the Bridge

The rest of the trail, heading in the Álora direction, follows the river until eventually we arrive at the enormous hydroelectric power station, which, although not as unsightly as you might think, kind of spells an end to the whimsical reverie that’s been going on in my head for the last two hours.

There’s just enough time for a round or two of tapas at the local bar before we are whisked back by bus to the car park at the Ardales end of the trail. By this time the fantasy is most definitely dead, but my appetite for Andalucían adventure is truly alive!

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More Jurassic Park-type Scenes
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The Hydroelectric Dam Station in El Chorro.

Need to Know

Unbelievably, the Caminito del Rey is free to visit, but it won’t be for much longer. Originally it was going to remain free for the first six months following the re-opening but this was extended to March of next year, from which point the fee to enter will be 6 euros.

However, you must reserve your tickets online well in advance of your visit. Usually, visitors have to wait between four and six weeks for an available date, so it’s important to think very far ahead! You can reserve tickets on the El Caminito del Rey website.

Make sure you take plenty of snacks and water, appropriate hiking shoes, sunglasses, clothes suited to the weather (so check the weather forecast daily during the week before you go!), a camera and pterodactyl repellent.

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The original Caminito del Rey was built to allow workers from nearby communities ‘easy’ access to the large hydroelectric dam when it was being constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. The pathway started where the train station is now located and flanked the gorge all the way to the dam. In 1921, King Alfonso XIII visited El Chorro to inaugurate the dam but to get there he had to walk along the path first. Thus, the precarious pathway became known as El Caminito del Rey – ‘The King’s Little Pathway’.

Between then and some time last year, anybody was able to use the path, at their own peril!

Getting There

By Car

If coming from Málaga, you’ll need to take the A-357 motorway and come off at Ardales (MA-5403). Keep following this  until you reach El Chorro and from here the attraction is well signposted.

If coming from or via Antequera, there are two ways you can come. The first is by the A-384 motorway which leads directly to El Chorro, taking just under an hour. The second is by the A-343 and then the MA-226 to El Chorro, which, although takes just 45 minutes, is not a particularly well-maintained road, so there may be a few bumps along the way.

By Train

There is a train service from Seville to El Chorro that takes roughly two hours and costs 32 euros for a return ticket.

There is a train service from Málaga to El Chorro that takes roughly 45 minutes and costs 10 euros for a return ticket.

See the ‘Plan Your Visit‘ page of the Caminito del Rey website for train timetable information and more info on getting to El Caminito del Rey.

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Guadalhorce Lake

Interested in any more hiking or extreme activities in Spain? Head over to my 5 Adrenaline-Pumping Activities post for more ideas…

A Day in Las Alpujarras

At this stage of my Granadino expathood (2 years, 3 months), I really ought to have visited Las Alpujarras more than twice. Any discerning expat in Spain will attest to that. The first time was when I attended and (rather tamely) participated in the mother of all water fights in Lanjarón, to help celebrate el día de San Juan – the longest day of the year. The second outing came recently, perhaps at the best time of year to go considering the late autumn we had last year.

La Alpujarra’s unspoiled and natural beauty is as unparalleled as its unique microclimate, provoked by the constantly melting snow from above. In sharp contrast, the landscape below is much more arid and sparse.

A few facts and a little history…

  • The etymology of ‘alpujarra’ is unclear, though the most credible suggestion is that it derived from the Arabic word al-bugsharra, meaning ‘sierra of pastures’.
  • The average altitude is 4,000ft above sea level.
  • Many inhabitants of La Alpujarra descend from Galicians, after thousands were relocated from Galicia following the reconquest of Granada in 1568.
  •  Mulhacen, the highest peak in Spain at 3,482m, is contained within the mountain range.
  • It contains Trevelez, the highest village in Spain, at 4,843ft above sea level.
  • The Alpujarras covers roughly 2,500km.
  • The Mediterranean, seen easily on a clear day, is just 40km away.

The enchanting, sky-scraping region spans two Spanish provinces – Granada and Almería – and comprises around forty small mountain villages. Its history is fascinating. The Moors were the first to settle there in the late 15th century, after being driven away by Spanish Christians who had recaptured Granada. This was where they remained until a hundred or so years later, when the Christians expelled anyone of Arab descent from the Kingdom of Granada. Following that, the Christians – many of them from Galicia in the north-west of Spain – resettled in the area, though much of the traditional Moorish architecture was preserved, and still is today.

Rio Poqueira

It is, of course, impossible to explore each area of Las Alpujarras – unless you intend to stay for a longer period – so most day-trippers tend to stick with the main three tourist attractions: Capileira, Bubión and Pampaneira. They are all formed on el rio poqueira – a deep, yawning valley that drops towards the neighbouring villages of Órgiva and Lanjarón. Each village is characterised by its narrow, winding streets, old-fashioned crafts shops, flat clay roofs and tall, rounded chimney pots.

We began our day with a tour of Capileira – the second highest village in Las Alpujarras – and a coffee at local bar and restaurant Casa Pilar y Paco Lopez, where we were treated to spectacular views. The village brims with colourful, wooden-beam arts & crafts stores, all filled with local goods from handwoven rugs to homemade jams.

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The next village heading downward is Bubión, where there are yet more arts & crafts stores, art galleries and several cafés and restaurants to cater for hungry hikers. There is also a small folk museum called Casa Alpujarreña, which was free to enter when we passed by, though the real draw – as with the neighbouring villages – is the frankly ridiculous view of the Alpujarra all around you.

If you plan on completing the circuit I’d recommend you take the steep, tumbling backstreets that lead into the woods before arriving in Pampaneira. During autumn the trees’ colours turn glorious shades of yellow, red, orange and green. And if you’re wearing orange-tinted sunglasses like I was you’ll wish you could take pictures simply by blinking your eyes.

There is supposedly an abundance of wildlife in the alpujarra – mountain goats, birds of prey and even the rare lynx are sighted often – but we were not to see any other living creature except the odd, fellow rambler and a penned herd of fat, soon-to-be-slaughtered pigs. Can’t complain though, with views like this:

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Our hilly walk finished in Pampaneira, where things are a bit livlier. Each bar buzzed with the sound of chatter and glasses being clinked by families and groups of friends, laughing and joking. The sun was up, the scenes were classic Spain and the beers were – at least for their brief life span – blissful. There was even a chocolate factory.  Yes, that’s right – a genuine chocolate factory – which, save for an edible theme park and a few oompa-loompas, was everything I’d expect a chocolate factory to be. Namely, there was lots of free chocolate. It’s curious how at first you act all coy and indifferent in the interest of being polite, but the minute hands start swooping in for the flavour you’ve got your hawk eyes on all such nonchalance suddenly melts away. ‘There’s only one chunk of caramel biscuit left and you can think again if you think you’re getting to it first girl of eight‘. Seriously, I actually took candy from a baby. Tasted great too.

Next came the food (chocolate didn’t count). A steakhouse by the name of El Castaño had been strongly recommended by a friend and since none of us had EVER enjoyed a good steak in Spain before we simply had to indulge. It was perhaps the best meal I’ve had in Spain yet, and if it weren’t for the impending and inevitable traipse back up to the car in Capileira, I might never have moved again.

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I’ll be back to Las Alpujarras soon, especially now since there is snow on the mountains. It’s a walkers paradise and absolutely unmissable if you are planning on visiting the Granada province of Spain.

Getting There

Given the distance between Granada and La Alpujarra (70km) I’d recommend taking a car. There are only three buses that leave from Granada per day and the first is at 10am, meaning you’ll have missed the entire morning by the time you get there. The cost, however, is probably cheaper in comparison at €11 return, though if there are four or five of you it may work out only marginally more expensive to hire a car from either Granada city centre or Granada Airport. The bus timetable is as follows:

Granada – Capileira

10.00     12.00     16.30

Capileira – Granada

07.00     16.45     18.15

All services stop at Pampaneira and Bubión too, 5-10 minutes before and after respectively. The journey takes roughly two and a half hours. Go to alsa.es to book tickets.


Have you been to Las Alpujarras? Which other villages would you recommend? Was this article useful?

Sierra Nevada Day Trip: General Info, Prices, Tips & Recommendations

I’ll be honest: ‘skiing’ and ‘Spain’ were two words I had never used in the same sentence prior to my coming here. One pertained to package holidays in the French Alps, the other to fancy football and summer breaks on the beach.  Then, several weeks into my expat journey a friend said ‘Sierra Nevada’ and that all changed.

‘What? A ski resort in southern Spain? You are joking?’ I scoffed.

‘Nope’ replied friend. ‘Not joking. Why don’t you go and see for yourself?’

So I did. Three weeks later I was peering down the front face of the Sierra Nevada from its 3400m summit, strapped into my snowboard, ready to tear my way down to the bottom. Amazing, considering just a week before I had been sunbathing in 20°+ temperatures.

Enjoyable as it was, that particular occasion had been rather a last minute and hastily organised excursion; had I not let blind excitement get in the way of better judgment I might have saved a few pennies. Truth is, a day in the Sierra is a costly one, whether you have your own equipment or not, and if you’re in Spain for a quick getaway, a whole year or indefinitely, chances are you’ll be here on a budget.

So after two years’ experience as a Sierra Nevada regular, I’ve finally cobbled together a breakdown of general info, prices, tips and recommendations, so that you can find all the information you need in one frank and friendly place.

Let’s get started.

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Yours truly at The Sierra Nevada last December

General Info

 A few facts

  • The Sierra Nevada ski resort is constructed on the north side of Veleta, the third highest peak in Spain.
  • It is the most southerly ski resort in Europe and the highest in Spain.
  • The resort hosted the 1996 Alpine World Ski Championships and continues to host top-level races at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
  • A season typically lasts from late November until early May.
  • The resort is situated 27km away from Granada and 100km away from the Costa Tropical, meaning it is possible to ski and sunbathe on the beach on the same day.
  • The lowest point of the resort is 2100m and the highest 3,398m above sea level.
  • The resort is run by a private-public enterprise called Cetursa Sierra Nevada, S.A.
  • The resort spans 100km of alpine skiing runs.
  • There are 115 runs in total: 50 red; 40 blue; 16 green and 9 black.
  • There are 2 cable cars, both of which link Pradollano to the mid-station Borreguiles, 17 chairlifts, 2 T-bar lifts and 2 magic carpets.
  • There is one superpark and a halfpipe.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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The Sierra Nevada, Andalucía

Getting There

There are two ways of getting to the Sierra Nevada: by car or by bus. Let’s start with the latter. Buses leave from Granada bus station for the Sierra Nevada every day. The journey takes around 50 minutes and the current timetable is as follows:

Granada – Sierra Nevada

Mon – Fri:   08.00      10.00      ——       17.00

Sat – Sun:   08.00      10.00      15.00       17.00

Sierra Nevada – Granada

Mon – Fri:   09.00      —–      16.00      18.30

Sat – Sun:  09.00      13.00      16.00      18.30

The price of a single ticket is €5, and a return €9. Tickets can either be booked in advance on alsa.es or paid for on the day, providing you arrive with plenty of time to spare. Often the queue for tickets is enormous in the half hour leading up to the scheduled departure time, particularly for the 8am bus. The last thing you want is to be slithering along at a snail’s pace while the minutes on the clock tick past. Believe me, it is an awful feeling, especially when you miss it.

If, on the other hand, you or a member of your gang owns a car, then this is a much better option. Find your way out of Granada by heading towards Calle Neptuno or, if this is too hard to find, ask a local to point you in the direction of Mae West, a nightclub whose whereabouts is known to virtually everybody. Once here, take the third exit on the roundabout so that you join the A-395 motorway, where you should keep right to ensure you are heading in the right direction (the left lane will bring you back into Granada). Eventually, you’ll begin the steep climb up to the resort, where – at least towards the top – you’ll doubtless encounter a fair bit of traffic. Carry on until you reach Pradollano, where you will be guided to the car park.

Alternatively, if you neither own a car nor want to take the bus, it might be worth considering sites like blablacar.es or amovens.es, where rides are sometimes posted by drivers looking to make a saving on petrol, the total cost of which (for a return journey) tends to be around €15. Personally, I think that hiring a car would only be worthwhile if staying the night; picking it up in the morning before leaving is a hassle and it is easily the most expensive means of transport.

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With friends at the end of 2012-2013 season. Yes, we’re wearing onesies.



The cost of parking your vehicle depends on what ‘season’ the resort is in. During low season, the fee is €16 for anything between 10 and 24 hours, €18 for the same during mid season and €20 during high season. If you plan to spend less than 10 hours at the resort, click here for a list of prices by the hour.

Occasionally, during the week, there are free parking spaces further up the mountain (instead of following the signs into the car park, turn left and carry on climbing), though the chance of finding one is never guaranteed.


As with the parking fees, the cost of a lift ticket or – as it is translated to in Spanish – un forfait, varies according to the season. All public holidays and weekends except the opening weekend (promotion prices) and during April (low season/spring prices) are categorised as high season. All weekdays except during mid December and mid January (promotion prices) are categorised as low season. The standard cost of one forfait is €45 during high season and €43 during low season, which seems a bit pointless but there you go. Click here for more details regarding prices of forfaits.

Needless to say then, the cost of a lift ticket is ludicrously expensive. If you are a student, however, you’re in luck. Just sign up to Sierra Nevada’s official web page, create a profile and attach your matrícula, which you should have received when you first enrolled at Granada University. Doing this will qualify you for a subidon, which gets you five full days for only €145 – a deal not to be missed!

Ski-hire/clothes hire

Unsurprisingly, there is an abundance of ski hire shops in the Sierra Nevada and deciding which to choose is an unwanted headache (see below for my recommendation). The cost of hiring is pretty similar across the board: for skis (with poles)/a snowboard and boots, expect to pay anywhere between €15 and €40, depending on the level of quality you opt for. Waterproof trousers can also be hired from certain places, usually for around €10-15. I’ve never come across jackets for hire, but if you don’t have a proper skiing jacket then a decent anorak with plenty of layers underneath ought to do the trick.

If you’d rather do business before arriving, there’s always the option of hiring online before you go. In theory, this should mean that you’ll beat the queues and have your equipment ready and waiting to be used.

Ski School

There are a variety of ski schools in the Sierra Nevada, all of which offer a variety of options to choose from. Each school caters for all learners, from beginners right through to advanced. In the morning classes generally cost €40-45, as this is peak time, though during the afternoon some schools drop their prices to €25-30. These rates are for one-on-one classes – group rates are much lower.

Some schools even offer a class + ski-hire saver deal, which is ideal if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before. Click here for more details (unfortunately there is no English translation of this page).


All shops in ski resorts routinely charge an unfathomable amount for just about anything they have on sale, and the Sierra Nevada, sadly, is no exception. Don’t be surprised to find Mars bars priced at €2 or multipacks of brioche for €3.50 in supermarkets. Ready made sandwiches/baguettes are cheaper than eating at a restaurant but are still expensive at about €4-5.

Although it is dear everywhere, I’d generally advise against buying ski/snowboarding equipment in Pradollano, as there will most likely be something just as good for a better price online or in Granada, such as the good people at Afterbang.

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Plaza Andalucia

Tips & Recommendations

Best runs for beginners, intermediate and experts

For obvious reasons, complete beginners are best sticking to the three beginner slopes directly in front of the Borreguiles mid-station. However these particular slopes quickly become clogged with zig-zagging ski schools and reckless I’ll-just-teach-myself types so I’d advise more advanced skiers/boarders to steer clear. Once you’ve got the hang of linking your turns, I’d recommend that you move on to a gentle blue run; el Cecilio off to the right, starting at the top of the Monachil chair would be ideal. It isn’t too long and brings you back to the mid-station, though be careful that you don’t accidentally take the Manazanilla red that runs parallel to it!

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Beginner Section

Generally speaking, the Sierra Nevada is perfect for intermediates. The mountain isn’t technical, and the wide-open nature of almost all of its runs allows for a lot of freedom, so most intermediates should be comfortable on any red and one or two of the blacks. The steeper reds are off to the left, coming own the Veleta ridge and a good black to get you started would be either la visera or el trampoline, both short, quick and accessed via the Emilio Reyes chair.

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View from la vuelta a zahareña

For the more advanced skier/boarder, there are several pistes worth checking out. My personal favourite is the long, winding agila (meaning ‘eel’) further down the left side of the mountain. This run necessitates the ability to make sharp turns at speed and chucks up a surprise every now and then. Moreover, it’s often very quiet since you have to traverse along the diagonal cauchiles (accessed via the Stadium chair) to get there. We snowboarders do not like doing this, but believe me, in this case it is worth it.

Elsewhere, a clutch of steep, rapid blacks can be found on the right side of the mountain, all of which come to a head at the lower Pradollano station. On a fresh powder day, there isn’t anywhere better to dig out massive carves, especially in the bowl beneath the blue villén. The far right side of Laguna also has some wide, often untracked pistes that are perfect for powder days, cartujo and monaguillo for example.

Buying from the street vendors

As soon as you arrive, you will surely notice the profusion of street vendors poking about the place. If you come by bus there will be one waiting when you step off it. Others lurk within the village centre. Generally, these guys do not try to rip you off; they know that you know (and if you don’t know then now you do) that their range of products are of a generally lower quality, so you will pay a fair price (which of course can be negotiated) for what you buy. I’ve friends who’ve bought gloves and sunglasses from these guys and they’ve served their purpose just fine, but they don’t expect them to last forever!

Eating and drinking

If you want to save money, don’t eat in restaurants. It’s as simple as that really. The cost of a burger and fries, for example, is usually in the region of €6 or €7. Taking your own sandwiches is a far more sensible idea and – if you want to get your money’s worth for the day – this also cuts down on lunchtime, as service at restaurants is often slow due to how busy it gets. I often take a bag and use one of the lockers found at the left hand side of the Borreguiles mid-station to store it in. That way, you can just ski down, grab your lunch, eat outside in the sun and rush off again. And it only costs €1 to use.

If you do want to push the boat out though, menus del día are perhaps the best way to go. Expect to pay around €9 or €10 for this at most restaurants, but this does include a starter, mains and either coffee or dessert.

At the end of the day, it’s always nice to kick back with a few beers and tapas somewhere. To keep costs down, I’d recommend 100 Montaditos, found on Plaza de Pradollano. The famously cut-rate franchise actually sticks to its normal prices, so big jarras of Cruz Campo set you back just €1.60 and any of their mouthwatering montaditos just as much if not less. Actually, on a Sunday everything – including the beer – sells for €1. Ordinarily I don’t go for Cruz Campo but at that price you can’t argue.

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That’s less than €7 right there… (Source: Trubble FlickrCC)

Ski-hire and Ski Schools

Personally, I’ve never had to hire equipment but friends of mine often use Intersport Riosport (a large, European based company) that offers fair prices for quality equipment. You can find it on Plaza Andalucía.

If you’re looking for native English-speaking instructors to teach you or your family/friends, I’d absolutely recommend The British Ski Centre, set up and co-run by two fully-qualified Brits who have more than fifteen years’ experience instructing in the Sierra Nevada. Click here to find out more about them.

Après Ski

Unless you’ve booked accommodation for the weekend, you are unlikely to properly experience Sierra Nevada’s après ski culture. There are of course various, lively bars to go to straight after the skiing is done for the day, El Golpe or Jaleo for example. But the real nightlife gets going later on at places like Mango and Sticky Fingers, where chupítos are aplenty, or Chimenea and Chicle, where you can use up whatever remaining energy you have left by dancing until 4 or 5 in the morning.

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Sierra Nevada Sunset

As for now, the winter has most definitely arrived here in Granada, meaning that – with a bit of luck – some snow won’t be too far behind either. There is already a base level and those ever-reliable snowmakers are working hard to keep the pistes fresh, but ultimately there is a massive dearth of snow at the moment. Skis crossed that changes soon!

Have you been to the Sierra Nevada recently? Do you have any more tips and recommendations? Please leave a comment :)

Here’s last season’s official highlights video:


Hippies are sundry

They come in many molds

Some black, some white, some fat, some thin

Some drunk, some young, some old


In any case one value is shared:

A love for all things we are bestowed

Whether sons, daughters or mongrels

Cheap rum or veggie curry by the load


By day they work to keep afloat

At night they rave in droves

Some go on until the next morning

Others retreat, beaten, to their coves


Shabby, bearded and bedraggled

An exterior is of little concern

It’s the beauty on the inside that counts:

A lesson we all ought to learn


Hippies take each day as it comes

With a constant and catching smile

Deadlines and spreadsheets are meaningless

Goji beans are far more worthwhile


Yet on we go, living our lives

All loud, headlong and zippy

Wouldn’t it be swell, if just for a short spell

We all lived more like a hippie?


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All these pictures were taken at San Miguel Alto, the highest point of Granada, during one of the numerous, free daytime fiestas that take place between the spring and autumn. For me, it is exactly this sort of thing that epitomises Granada, and how I will always remember it.


Some facts about Majorca

For a lot of Europeans, Majorca is their preferred holiday destination; that the island welcomes over 6 million tourists per year is testament to that. Majorca is the largest island of its archipelago, known as the Balearic Islands, and has a population of around 800,000 people. Read on for some interesting facts about Majorca – you might just be persuaded to give the place a try!

  • There are over 2,500 restaurants in Majorca
  • There are a total of 41 Marinas, just in case you fancy going sailing in the family yacht!
  • Tourists have been coming to Majorca for over 100 years
  • It is estimated that there have been a total of around 215 million visitors to the island
  • The beach of Es Trenc is estimated to lose around 25 tonnes of sand a year, which is being lost in people’s clothes, towels, hair and the bottom of their shoes
  • 35,000 cyclists a year visit Majorca
  • Over 400km of hiking trails are available on the island

Whether you choose to stay in the lively area of Magaluf, the classy surroundings of Palma, somewhere more remote or in private villas or apartments for rent – either as a short term holiday or for the long stay – there is inevitably something for everyone.

You have plenty of choices on where to eat too. With over 2,500 restaurants to choose from, you will have the option of fine Spanish food, freshly caught seafood, or a wide selection of international cuisine – it’s just a shame you can’t try them all! Majorca is also a popular haunt for the rich and famous given the 41 marinas with over 17,000 berths. If you want to live lavishly for the day, why not rent a speedboat or even go on a helicopter tour? Tourists have been coming to Majorca for over a century to relax and enjoy the offerings of this beautiful island. The place exploded in popularity with the birth of the bundled holiday in the late 1950s. In recent years, A-list celebs such as Claudia Schiffer and Michael Douglas have bought properties here.

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Things to do in Majorca

You will also find plenty of activities to keep you occupied on a low-cost holiday in Majorca.

With over 80 beaches dotted around the island, there is ample choice of where to do some sunbathing; there are quiet and secluded beaches around the island, and full-blown tourist strips where it is hard to find space to put your towel down. Public nudity is something that is permitted by Spanish law, meaning that almost every beach is nude friendly, though you do not have to be naked to enter; they are open to everyone.

Given that people have been living here for around 7,000 years, there are plenty of historical sites that tourists can visit, usually with an English-speaking tour guide.

Majorca also sees over 35,000 cyclists visit the island each year – ranging from professionals and amateurs competing in events to tourists simply looking to explore further afield. There are also plenty of places where bikes can be hired on the island, as well as tour offices.

There are over 400 KM of trails for hikers to explore during their visit.

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Mallorca Sunset (Source)

Ted Hunter has been to Majorca a number of times with a friend in his younger years and with his family more recently. Ted likes to share his ideas in the articles and blogs that he writes. He also likes Majorca since you can find all you want in a holiday in this place. Ted also uses Travel Republic to book all of his travel needs.

The best EVER water fight in Lanjarón

water fight lanjarón spain fiesta de aguaHigh up in the sloping hills of the Alpujarra just south of Granada, there are a cluster of small, beguiling pueblos, each surrounded by acres of verdant countryside and each with something to brag about – from ancient, Moorish ruins to an artisan chocolate factory and even a copper coloured waterfall.

None, however, for all their riches, are able to attract the throngs quite like Lanjarón – especially on the eve of San Juan, June 23rd, when sheer, waterlogged madness dramatically unfolds. Travellers from near and far arrive by the coachload and spend the penultimate hours of the day reeling in eager anticipation of Spain’s – or perhaps even the world’s – BIGGEST water fight. At the stroke of midnight, deluges of water are sprayed from fireman’s hoses and comparatively pathetic water pistols (more on that later), poured from buckets on balconies and thrown within bulging water balloons. This then relentlessly continues for one, extremely soggy hour.

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Lanjarón, Las Alpujarras, Spain

The water themed frolicking pertains to when San Juan baptized Christ with a mere handful of water all those years ago. Somehow, I don’t imagine he’d ever have envisaged thousands of scantily clad youths mercilessly squirting each other in the face with pump action, air pressurised super soakers in his honour 2000 years down the line. Still, I’m sure he’d get involved if he were around.

water fight lanjarón spain fiesta de agua

The contiguous mountains provide Lanjarón with a constant stream of natural mineral water, and the town is thus a major provider of natural spring water to the rest of Spain. Bottles of it can be bought from just about anywhere and the industry accounts for a large proportion of jobs in the tiny hillside pueblo.

There are numerous springs dotted around the town centre which – according to myth – each bring certain powers to those who drink from them. One is for health, another for fertility and another for a guaranteed, perfect paella. God only knows which spring I eventually stumbled upon having run out of balloons and in desperate need of more ammunition. The only power I seemingly gained from it was the ability to attract an abnormally large amount of attention. There’s no sympathy for the unarmed at the great water fight of Lanjarón.

water fight lanjarón spain fiesta de agua spring well

Beforehand, I had been rather pleased with my chino-bought water pistol, reassuringly named the ‘super wallop’. Sure, it was tacky and pitiable in comparison to friend’s said pump action super soaker but the thing had a good range on it at least. Not even a minute had passed after 12 before I comprehended how terrible my choice of weaponry had been; people didn’t even realise I was wetting them.

Fortunately, a friend had taken pity and already bestowed me with some of his balloons, which I had filled up at one of the springs in the streets. These didn’t last long, as the majority were hastily hurled at all those merrily tipping buckets or sniping defenseless victims from their bone-dry balconies.

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Incidentally, it isn’t just water that Lanjaroneses make use of to commemorate old Saint John the Baptist; the event is actually called la fiesta del agua y jamón – the party of water and ham. Apparently, ham is served and eaten abundantly throughout the ensuing days, which is of course preferable to using it as artillery instead of – or indeed as well as – water on the night of the festival. That would be an incredibly slippery and revolting affair, much like La Tomatina in Buñol, Valencia I’m guessing.

The drag back to the bus lasted the entire hour. There were no hiding places, and if you were seen trying to escape then hose bearers would unite and ruthlessly remind you why you were there.

Once dried and clothed we were suddenly being whisked away by bus to Salobreña, where there were allegedly lines of humungous hogueras (bonfires) around which people danced and partied the rest of the night away in honour of Pagan ritual. Unfortunately by the time we arrived the celebrations were winding down and said bonfires had shrunk significantly. There was still music though, and who doesn’t like partying on the beach until the early hours?

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What las hogueras ordinarily look like (Source)

Getting to Lanjarón is fairly easy if you’re coming from Granada. Just hop on one of the various buses leaving from Calle Neptuno, though you will need to buy a ticket for most services beforehand. We paid €10 each for the bus there, the bus to Salobreña and the bus back to Granada. Although we found the tickets thanks to word of mouth, they are also available online.

Perhaps next year I’ll upgrade from the super wallop to a pump action super soaker. Then I’ll at least cause partial irritation to other partygoers. And a sturdy pair of wellies wouldn’t be such a bad idea either; flip-flops were a baaaad choice.

Have you ever been to this epic water fight? Or something similar like La Tomatina? What did you think?