Prado Del Rey is the nearest town to Suryalila, only 5 kilometres away. It is a beautiful small town nestled on the edge of the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazelema, which is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range stretching through most of southern Andalusia. Prado is the village where we do much of our business and where our Spanish employees live. There is a beautiful main plaza with a church which wouldn’t be out of place in a Harry Potter film, since herons have built a huge nest on top of the quaint tiled bell tower. On warm evenings the whole town comes alive with people enjoying eating outside in the many cafes. Prado has an easy-going charm, the people are friendly and it is a great place to savor Spanish life. Our “local”, Esquina del Carmen is just off the main plaza. Just buy one drink and they will ply you with delicious tapas, so make sure you don’t have dinner before going out!
Twenty kilometers away is the famous world heritage town of Arcos de la Frontera, a stunning Andalusian white town, perched on high cliffs above the surrounding countryside. The name ‘de la Frontera’ signifies its history as a Moorish fortified town until its capture in 1255 by the Christian king Alphonso X who claimed it for Sevilla. In the 11th century, it was an independent Berber-ruled kingdom for a short period. The town is dominated by two beautiful churches and the Plaza del Cabildo where one can stare over the abyss that fortified the town on one side. Every corner offers stunning views, often framed through narrow streets and the countryside beyond. Our guests always enjoy walking through town and taking in the stunning views and architecture. There are many cafes and restaurants to choose from, specialising in the local tapas. Nearby is a beautiful lake with a small beach and swimming area.
For an appreciation of a white painted town nestled in the mountains, there is none better than Grazelema, about 30 kilometres from Suryalila. Getting to Grazelema is quite a stunning journey as you ascend a windy road for nineteen kilometres from the picturesque town of El Bosque. Just before you reach Grazelema there is a stunning view of the valley just ascended and then you see Grazelema below, nestled into the rocky mountains. The climate is distinctly different here; the rainfall is a remarkable 2,150 milletres (84 inches) per year, about four times more than found at Suryalila. The mountains surrounding Grazelema have to be some of the most beautiful in the whole of Spain – it is a unique terrain offering many stunning walks and drives in the region. One precipitous road called the Puerto de las Palomas (Doves’ Pass) is 1,331 metres above sea level and leads to another classic white hill top town, called Zahara de la Sierra. Views from the plaza of Zahara look down upon the lake below and the town cascades down the hill with narrow streets meandering up and down on all sides. On top of the hill above the town sits a castle, the original defensive structure and strategic reason for the town’s position. Zahara was another frontier town and was recaptured from the Christians by Abu al-Hasan of Granada in 1481, leading to the last re-conquest of Andalusia by the Christians and the final fall of Granada in 1491.