When most people head off to the beaches and the Costas around Andalusia. I like to explore lesser known towns and villages. So this month I am heading inland to the unspoilt Jaen town of Alcala la Real.
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Alcala la Real, Jaen
You may be wondering why I have such a keen interest in this sleepy town in the Andalusian countryside.
Here are five attractions I visited on my weekend there:
The Fortaleza de la Mota is a grand fortress which you can see for miles around. Perched on a hill and dating back to the 13th century. This important site marked the boundary between Castille and the Kingdom of Granada. You can visit the castle and its dungeons as it has been carefully restored. The visit takes a few hours.
Also inside the complex is the main Abbey church with towers, known as La Iglesia Mayor Abacial, built in 1530 this is a must see part of the visit. I got to visit one summer evening and had a special hostess to show me around.
- Open daily from 10.30am to 7.30pm – 1st April until 14th October
- Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm – 15th October to 31st March
- Contact telephone number (+34) 953 102717
- Free Visitor Parking in the castle car park
- Estimated time for the visit – Around 2 hours.
This colourful festival is on from 19th to 21st July 2019. A three day festival open to all who want to attend. It´s free entrance too.
The programme includes activities such as Concerts, Circus performances, Workshops, Storytellers, Competitions and Street animations.
There are lots of musical performances and artists attending this year. There are also Food stalls and a Craft market on for the three days.
This Ethnic Festival is quite a special date the Andalusian calendar and has being succesful since it began back in 1997.
More information> Etnosur – Alcala La Real
Alcala la Real is a little way off the beaten track. Although it´s a short drive from Granada and Jaen you have to go there on purpose. This is a good thing as its a quiet town. Perfect for a rural break.
Lots of little bars and outdoor cafés to while away the time and people watch.
You can also take a few day trips in the area. A Day in Jaen is worthwhile to visit its grand Cathedral and the Medieval Arab Baths
Slow Tourism is ever more attractive as our pace of life speed up. I´m enjoy the endless views of green olive groves, blue skies and taking in a few historic buildings. With a book and a cold beer.
It´s the perfect place to unwind and of course a location where noone finds me.
Veladas de la Frontera
Most of evenings Summer in Alcala la Real there special activities known as ´Veladas de la Frontera´. These special events includes tours of the Castle at nighttime, murder mystery evenings and other visits.
Please note that children under 12 get in free.
Here is the full programme of Summer events:
- 13th July – Life on the Border – 8.00pm Visit the lesser known area Bajondillo part of La Mota. 6 euros
- 20th July – Mota Fortress Nighttime visit – 8.30pm Guided tour around the castle with a few surprises along the way. 6 euros.
- 26th July – Life on the Border – 8.00pm Visit the lesser known area Bajondillo part of La Mota. 6 euros
- 27th July – Intrigue at the Abbey – 8.30pm Find clues with codes and maps. Discover who was the 16th century murderer? Can you resolve the crime? 15 euros
- 28th July – The Siege of Qalat Banu Said – 8.00pm A nighttime tour + performance explains the underground tunnels and mines. Learn how the final battle took place and how Alcala la Real changed from Muslim rule to Christian rulers after this siege. 6 euros
- 30th July – The Siege of Qalat Banu Said – 8.00pm A nighttime tour explains the underground tunnels and mines. Learn how the final battle took place and how Alcala la Real changed from Muslim rule to Christian rulers after this siege. 6 euros
- 10th August – The Privilege of Wine. 8.30pm Learn about the link between Alcala la Real and wine with the local winery Marcelino Serrano 15 euros
- 14th August – Palacio Abacial is open from 9.00pm to 11.00pm. Free entrance.
- 15th August – Palacio Abacial is open from 9.00pm to 11.00pm. Free entrance.
- 16th August – Life on the Border – Visit the lesser known area Bajondillo part of La Mota. 6 euros
- 17th August – The Privilege of Wine. 8.30pm Learn about the link between Alcala la Real and wine with the local winery Marcelino Serrano 15 euros
- 18th August – Mota Fortress Nighttime visit – 8.30pm Guided tour around the castle with a few surprises along the way. 6 euros. 8.30pm
- 24th August – Intrigue at the Abbey – 8.30pm Find clues with codes and maps. Discover who was the 16th century murderer? Can you resolve the crime? 15 euros
- 30th August – Rescue at the Castle Escape Room at 7.30pm or 9.00pm 10 euros per person
- 31st August – Rescue at the Castle Escape Room at 7.30pm or 9.00pm 10 euros per person
Booking the Fortress Visit
For bookings & availabilty contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call Tu Historia + 34 953 10 27 17
- Children under 12 years old are free.
- All activites begin at the Information point at Fortaleza de la Mota Castle. This is a coloured building just up a few steps from the castle car park.
- More information> Tu Historia
What to see in Alcala la Real
As this border town has such an historical importance in Andalusia. There are lots of monuments and historic buildings to see as you wander around the main town.
Fortaleza de la Mota, Alcazaba & Iglesia Mayor Abacialare the main monument in Alcala La Real all set up on the hill. Other sights are located in the old town itself.
Things to See in Alcalá la Real
- Palacio Abacial is the Abbots Palace. This building now holds the Museum of Alcalà la Real. Head here for Tourist Information and see the archaelogical museum on the 1st floor.
- Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm
Closed 25th Dec, 1st and 6th Jan. Open mornings only 10am to 2pm on 24th 31st Dec and 5th Jan.
- Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm
- Monumental Fountains in Alcala la Real. Pilar on Calle Oteros dates from 1746, the Pilar de la Mora and the Pilar de los Álamos date back to 1552.
- Convent of San José de los Capuchinos (17th century), now houses municipal offices + library. This is close to Paseo de los Alamos, a wide tree lined avenue.
- Church of San Domingo de Silos, in Gothic-mudéjar style (1341), with a 16th-century tower
- Iglesia de las Angustias from 1747.
- Church of San Juan (15th-18th centuries)
- Iglesia de Consolación (16th-17th centuries)
- Baroque Style Convent of the Encarnación (1630)
- Iglesia de San Antonio (1753)
Where to Stay
I stayed at the Hotel Torrepalma, in the centre of town. This practical 3 star is very comfortable and has good air conditioning.
Breakfast is in the cafe downstairs which is also open all day for food and drinks. Its popular with locals so it makes a pleasant atmosphere.
Where to Eat in Alcala La Real
Bar El Olivo – This Spanish style bar has lots of outdoor seating in a small park off the main street in Alcala La Real. Portions are generous and it gets busy.
One of the popular local dishes is called Carne a la Secretaria which is a meat stew made with vegetables. I didnt have this as it was so hot on the day I visited. However I will check it out on my next visit.
The Tortas de Nata y nueces (cream cakes with walnuts) are the local delicacy, sold at La Purisima cake shop and others in the town I didnt try these either. But it´s on my list.
- 71 kilometres (44 mi) from Jaén
- 53 kilometres (33 mi) from Granada
- Nearest Airport. Granada GRX (Routes with Easyjet, Vueling, Iberia, B.A)
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