You are discovering the white town and “City of Dreams” that is Ronda and will be amazed by the beautiful Puente Nuevo, the architecture and history, the Plaza de Toros. But, take a moment to enjoy the stunning views from the balcony behind the Parador and the Paseo de los Ingleses. The mountains in the near distance are known as the Sierra de Grazalema. One of Spain’s most famous natural parks. A fabulous location to spend time be it resting, walking, bird watching or photography. Continue reading Guided excursions and white villages of the Sierra de Grazalema→
Almost every visitor to the Serrania de Ronda will hear about the beauty of Grazalema in the Cadiz province, technically the village is located within the western reaches of the Sierra de Cadiz that also includes the villages of El Bosque, Zahara de la Frontera, Algodonales, and Olvera, and is the north-eastern tip of Cadiz province.
Olvera is known as “the King of the Pueblo Blancos” (white towns) and it was declared a Protected Area of Artistic and Historical Importance in 1983. It is a friendly town with a population of around 10,000 and has all the amenities you will need to enjoy your holiday including numerous shops, banks, internet cafe, bars and restaurants. There is also a municipal swimming pool and bar which is open during the summer months.
SINCE WRITING THIS ARTICLE CLIVE CLOSED THE TOURIST OFFICE IN 2013 BUT YOU CAN STILL CONTACT HIM FOR TOURIST INFORMATION VIA HIS WEBSITE WILDSIDE HOLIDAYS FOR INFOMATION ABOUT THE AREA
Grazalema is widely considered one of the most beautiful of the white villages of Andalucia, it is the heart and soul of the Grazalema Natural Park, and is only 30km from Ronda so makes a wonderful day trip, in fact you would even have plenty of time for a visit to other local villages, or just enjoy walking the countryside.
The Grazalema Tourist Information Centre, owned by Clive Muir and Sue Eatock, is a must, it is here that you’ll pick up maps of the area, find out about events happening during your stay, get permits for certain walks, and discover the history and culture of these mountains. Continue reading A Visit to the Grazalema Tourist Information Centre→
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If you’re looking for a special place to eat while staying in the beautiful town of Ronda or its surroundings you must take a visit to the well kept dining secret, Al Lago.
Located in the picturesque white village of Zahara de la Sierra just a short drive from Ronda on the road towards Sevilla, you pass through spectacular scenery and arrive at a shady terrace overlooking Zahara´s spring fed lake.
The restaurant and its four room boutique hotel sits at the lower end of the village surrounded by mountains and olive groves as well as the lake (a great place to take a post lunch dip on hot summer afternoons). Stefan Crites, joint owner and chef, worked for 12 years as a chef in New York before deciding to move to Spain. Opting for a lifestyle change he and his wife Mona, who runs the hotel and restaurant, have built up a well earned reputation for delicious, interesting food with an emphasis on high quality ingredients and making the most out of local produce; such as the goats cheese, wild game and the cold pressed local olive oil.
This year the focus on organic, home produced fresh fruit and vegetables has really come into its own, as they have just taken on a local huerta (orchard), where they are busy planting the vegetables that will grace the tables of the restaurant over the coming months.
Stefan prefers to use quality ingredients and re-create traditional local dishes, making them lighter and more interesting. The seared duck breast gets a drizzle of a Pedro Ximenez reduction and fresh orange slices, and the classic Ajo Blanco ( a chilled almond and garlic soup) gets paired with a refreshing watermelon granita.
Al Lago caters to both Spanish families, who make up the staple audience, as well as foodies in search of something other than the standard fare available at most eateries in the area..
The menu features a wide variety of fresh fish bought to Al Lago by a fishmonger in the renowned Cadiz fish market, so don´t be surprised to find sushi grade Tuna, or exotic sea anemonies on offer. You certainly won´t be disappointed when it comes to dessert, which is sadly so often the case in many a restaurant in the area, at Al Lago all the deserts are home made, the New York style cheesecake being a firm favorite.
Quite apart from the daily lunch menu, a reasonable 12.00 per person, there is a chefs 5 course tasting menu available with local wine pairings. Stefan and Mona also host regular Indian feast weekends, that are extremely popular, serving recipies inspired by Mona´s Indian heritage.
So if the sound of lamb biriyani, coconut curried octopus or crispy squid in cumin batter with lime and chilli dipping sauce takes your fancy this is definitly a must.
For those in search of Andalucian flavour their fabulous Flamenco nights include shows by a local Flamenco groups and a six course tapas style menu where you can indulge in local chorizos sizzled in wine or potato wedges with a goats cheese fondue and crab and prawn paella.
The next special event will be a Mothers Day lunch this coming Sunday 3rd of April with a variety of treats on the menu; Home made pumpkin raviolis in a sage brown butter, or bruschetta with vine tomatoes, avocado and basil and Al Lago´s wild boar burger as well as the sweet treats of rich chocolate mousse and tangy lemon tart.
Its always best to book for reservations especially for any of the events weekends please visit the website; www al-lago.es for bookings or further information. Visit Al Lago’s website, www.al-lago.es, or email; firstname.lastname@example.org or ring direct on 952 123 032 or text mona on 662 052 553. Al Lago is open every day for lunch and dinner until the end of August.
Grazalema’s Tourist Information Centre, owned and managed by Clive Muir and Sue Eatock of Zahara de la Sierra Grazalema, is being talked about in the top echelons of Spanish tourism for their commitment to promoting tourism, even to the extent of sending one their team, Nuria Asensio to Madrid to work on the Cadíz stand.
Whilst cities such as Ronda are almost always represented by the mayor and councillors with support from local staff, the inclusion of Grazalema on the Cadiz stand is being widely seen as ground-breaking, that a small office in a remote village of Andalucia sees value in being represented at FITUR.
Estimates are that over 200,000 people from the travel industry and interested holiday makers passed through the doors of Spain’s premier tourism expo, with a very high number of those visiting the Cadiz stand, including Andalucia’s Minister of Tourism Luciano Alonso.
Grazalema of course isn’t just a village, and the tourism office offers free advice to travellers about all of the Sierra de Grazalema, Sierra de Cadiz, and the Serranía de Ronda with special emphasis on sustainable eco-tourism and the preservation of traditional customs.
Grazalema’s mayor, María José Lara and her council took the very forward thinking decision to award the contract for managing the Tourism Information Centre to local expats Clive and Sue, a decision richly rewarded with innovative ideas such as the traditional industry exhibition including flour mill, wool spinning, and bread-making workshops being organised for visitors to the area.
Commenting after the event, the mayor said “It was our goal to represent Grazalema at FITUR, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Clive Muir and his team”.
Representation at FITUR 2011, with all of the attendant costs that it implies, is a huge step forward for the Grazalema Tourism Information Centre, and it is hoped will generate thousands of additional visitors to the area, and should benefit Grazalema’s many hotels, restaurants, and other tourism industry operators.
Ronda – Tourist Information – Hotel booking – Activities – Events in Ronda and Surrounding Villages. Telephone 0034 681 14 70 24