Travel in Spain – Almost

We are nearly there, or so it seems. There´s talk of opening up the Spanish provinces then a local town is locked down again. We´ve been given a date to end it all – 9th May but only by summer will 70% of the population have been vaccinated.

Do you continually watch or listen to the latest travel news? Which news is correct? How long will it be right for? Changes, changes, changes. Yet, we´re still unsure, unable to make plans. Unable to see loved ones. My heart goes out to all in the hospitality industry that even after this loooong year nothing is known for sure, plans are not being made unless they are in our own province or as it the UK a stay-cation. A stay-cation for me at the moment would be within Jaen province and as there are 97 towns, 3 Natural Parks, one being the largest in Spain over 66 million olive trees there are without a doubt many corners of ´my´ home province I have yet to discover.

Cazorla Natural Park from Mirador Las Palomas

Where will you head to first when we have the green light to go? I guess for most it will be visiting family or having family visit us for the first time in how long?

I sway between being a glass half full person (my dad) and a glass half empty (my mum) and being smack bang on the middle line at the moment is where I´m staying until that booking is made and travel is happening. Until I´m in the car heading to my destination or up in the air counting down the moment until landing.

Perhaps now would be the ideal time to travel to the lovely Cortijo de Ramon deep in the Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park near the town of Cortijos Nuevos or to check out some new hosteries to add to Only Spain.

Oh to Go!

So we are on provincial lock down still under after Easter. Yet we´re raring to go. Oh to go, to travel, to explore. I´m not alone, far from it. What a year it has been and it´s not over yet! We´re confined to home waiting for a phone call to see if we are negative or positive!

My son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have just been confirmed positive, we´ve had tests and are on tenterhooks waiting a phone call. If one out of the four of us at home is positive that is 10 days confinement for all of us. A phone call we want and don´t want.

I´m trying to put it out of my mind while sitting outside keeping an eye on the dogs we´re having to dog sit as my son is not allowed out, not even to walk the dogs. We´re lucky, at home we have outside space so if we cannot leave home to walk them it isn´t a problem – for them. It will be for me!

Oh that all this is behind us and we can finally start planning trips to some of the lovely places we have lined up to visit and showcase here for you.

It seems far too long since we went to visit the last B&Bs. We only managed to get to two last year Villa Andalucia B&B and Finca Gordo B&B both in lovely corners of Andalucia. We have semi-planned visits to Almeria, two spots in Cadiz and Palencia in Castilla y Leon in the north of Spain.

Soon we will all be able to go where we want to and lay aside our masks. May it be sooner rather than later.

Hotels for Dia de Andalucia

Here we are on the last day of February celebrating Dia de Andalucia or Andalucia Day. Or we would be celebrating and probably out on the road for this Bank Holiday weekend checking out great places to add to Only Spain. But travel restrictions are still in place in many towns. This normally would be a good weekend for hoteliers but yet again most are not open yet. Please do your bit when we can travel again to help all those in hospitality to survive the closures of this last year, not just hotels and B&Bs but bars, restaurants, guides, activity providers and on the list goes…..

What is Dia de Andalucia?

After the death of Franco death in 1977 around one and a half million Andalucians held manifestations at their provincial capitals to demand autonomy. Andalucia is the most populated autonomous community but it took many protests. Finally on February 28th 1980 the people got to vote for Andalucia to become an automous region. It now has its own flag – green and white horizonal stripes, its own anthem and another Bank Holiday – only in Andalucia of course!

What are the Provinces of Andalucia?

The region of Andalucia is divided into eight provinces. Three of which are land locked the other five coastal. To make things even more confusing each province has a provincial captial of the same name so, for example, Malaga is the city but it also consists of over 7,300 square metres of province.

In alphabetical order here is a list of the provinces of Andalucia and one of our B&Bs and Hotels for each one (if we have both), except Almeria because we don´t have one there yet – in the waiting to visit, yes. Roll on travel bans being lifted and new hostelries being added this year!

Almeria

Cadiz – Hacienda El Santiscal

Cordoba – Finca Las Encinas B&B

Granada – La Casa Grande de Zujaira B&BCortijo del Marques

Jaen – San Juan de Bautista B&BHotel Puerta de la Luna

Huelva – Finca la Fronda

Malaga – Miller´s of Frigiliana B&BHotel Los Castaños

Sevilla – Palacio de San Benito

Andalucia is an enormous region and to explore it, get the most out of it rather than choosing one base I would suggest you do two nights, maybe three in one location then move to a different area. Some roads can be very slow and you could spend far more time driving than you would like. Although saying that the roads are really good as a whole and the scenery stunning once away from the big cities.

Rural, Romantic Hotels in Andalucia in Starlight Reserves for Stargazing

There are many locations for stargazing but what better than a romantic, rural hideaway hotel in Andalucia?Andalucia covers a vast area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and between those two are huge swathes of olive groves and vast dramatic mountain ranges where light pollution doesn´t reach.

Stargazing in rural Andalucia is pretty common, I can do so on my patio, but make the decision to really get away into one the many Starlight Reserves and you´ll be stunned at how many stars sprinkle our night sky.

We have some beautiful hotels in stunning locations where you can stargaze from the roof terrace or grounds but many of these can also organise a stargazing experience. A visiting astronomer will go for couples or groups and bring the night sky even closer through telescope and information.

Rural Hotels for Stargazing in Andalucia

Cortijo de Ramon – Cortijos Nuevos, Jaen
Cortijo Sabila Villanueva del Rosario, Malaga
Finca la Fronda – Alajar, Huelva
Hacienda El Santiscal, – Arcos de la Frontera, Cadiz
Hotel Los Castaños – Cartajima, Malaga
Hotel Rural Molino La Nava – Montoro, Cordoba

There´s little more sobering and romantic than silence and darkness under stars, even more so if you happen to catch the shooting star season usually July and early August when we see the most.

Don´t forget to pop over to the Trip Planning page if you want some help to plan your visit to Andalucia.

End of 2020, Welcoming 2021

What an amazing year 2020 has been. Everybody has been affected in one way or another, for worse or the worst. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, an untold number, especially as we head into the´festive season.´ Our lives will never be the same and I, like many, am not sad to rush this year over and look to 2021 for hope, sanity and a vaccination.

As you can imagine trips were crazily curtailed this year but we did manage two getaways to two lovely B&Bs both in Malaga province. Which ones?

Villa Andalucia run by Helen Hares just a few minutes walk from the town of Cómpeta in the Axarquia region of Malaga.

Villa Andalucia B&B
Villa Andalucia B&B

Finca Gordo run by Dutch photographer Peter Laarakker and his wife Marina just outside Riogordo to the of the Montes de Malaga.

Finca Gordo
Finca Gordo

Both these guest houses, set in gorgeous locations with far reaching views, served fabulous breakfast spreads to set you up for days of exploring the area from coast to mountains.

Wherever your future trips take you I wish all the best for you in this coming year and if you stay at one of the lovely locations you find on these pages I would love to hear from you and about your experience, I´m contactable via the About page.

What will 2021 bring for Only Spain? Ahh, that would be telling but there are a few exciting new places to visit so keep coming back to see where we have travelled to – when we can.

Seasons Greetings and Felices Fiestas a todos!

Cooking, Walking and Photography Holidays and Courses in Spain

What better way to learn something new is there than staying at a lovely, owner run hotel or Bed and Breakfast which run classes or courses. In this post I have put together some of our beautiful establishments that run holidays for different activities.

Hotels in Andalucia and Valencia running Cookery Courses and Classes

Finca Las Encinas Gourmet B&B is a lovely, rustic stay just to relax and enjoy Chef Clive´s cooking or take part in preparing your own dinner with bespoke classes and courses. Finca Las Encinas.

Hotel La Gastrocasa, the name says it all! This small adults only hotel also offers cooking classes, mainly for local dishes Hotel La Gastrocasa

Cooking Classes, La Gastrocasa, Denia, Spain
Cooking Classes, La Gastrocasa

Walking Holiday Hotels in Andalucia

The gorgeous little eco-friendly Hotel Los Castaños runs 3, 5 or 7 day self-guided walking holidays. Planned routes, great food, pick up if you get lost or too tired! What more could you want? Hotel Los Castaños.

Hotel Los Castaños Walking Holiday Route

Photography Holidays and Classes in Malaga, Andalucia

At the beautiful, little B&B Finca Gordo professional photographer Peter Laarakker offers photography days in groups or individual classes. Check out this lovely stay with great food and a breakfast to keep you going all day. Finca Gordo B&B.

See Finca Gordo photography classes on Luxury Spain Travel

Andalucia Segura – What is it?

Popping up everywhere are these new logos ´Andalucia Segura´but what are they all about?

This particular one above is for accommodation there are others for beaches, restaurants, golf, spas, active tourism etc.

These distinctive signs, which are free and voluntary, identify the businesses that comply with the security measures pertaining to Covid-19 to give a guarantee to the public that the World Health Organisation regulations are being complied with.

Many of the establishments on our site have attained this distinction so that their customers know and feel that every precaution possible has been taken to ensure their safety in respect to this outbreak facing us all.

Heading into Autumn 2020

Well what started off as a rather strange year has continued in the same way and here we are heading rapidly into Autumn with things pretty much the same.

Perhaps we´re a bit wiser, definitely we are a bit older but life goes on while mask-wearing (and removal at every opportunity.)

Travel has pretty much taken a back seat, no choice in that matter, yet we did manage to go and visit the lovely Villa Andalucia B&B on the edge of the charming little town of Competa and met the welcoming host – Helen. Do follow the link and read about our trip and the lovely villa which Helen calls home.

Next month we have a brief escape to visit another lovely looking B&B – you´ll have to come back later in October to find out – again in Malaga province.

Fancy a peep of where we are going? Of course you do. Here it is Finca Gordo in Riofrio.

Further ahead we are not planning at the moment as who knows whether travel will be stopped again, we do hope not for all our hotels and B&Bs who need your support to keep going through these difficult times.

Heading into July 2020

So on Wednesday we are in the seventh month of this, the strangest and perhaps the quickest of my 24 years in Spain. But now we are heading into July 2020, the summer heat arrived with a bang and life except the wearing of masks is more or less back to normal.

This weekend will be the first time we´ve left our province of Jaen since January. No jaunts nor road trips. So with oh so slight hesitancy we are leaving the safety of Jaén with only a few cases of Co-vid for the ´outside world.´

Where are we going? We´re heading south to the province of Malaga and town of Competa in the east of the province. It´s a town we haven´t been to before and there can´t be many of those left!

Which establishment are we heading to? Villa Andalucia B&B on the edge of the town of Competa.

Are we looking forward to it? Oh, yes!

Villa Andalucia B&B in Competa, Spain

A place to relax, dine, wander, view gaze and swim while able to stroll into town and 25 minutes from the coast if you fancy a beach. We are more mountain people than beaches but a good view of the sea is always welcome.

So watch this space for a new addition to Only Spain Boutique Hotels and B&Bs, the only new addition this year so far – may it not be the last and hopefully no more lock downs will happen when there is freedom of movement between countries too. Escape from Jaen number one….

Summer 2020

With Monday seeing us enter phase 2 of the Co-vid19 lockdown here in Jaen province, news, very uplifting after 10 weeks and many changes of plan means that it looks like we will be able to move around freely this summer.

For quite a while it looked like that was not going to happen and the slogan ´Don´t Cancel, Postpone´has been all over the media since the beginning of the shut down in March.

Many, many businesses, not only small hotels and Bed and Breakfasts have been feeling the pinch and with the uncertainty of whether they would open for this summer season hanging overhead too.

So if you haven´t already made plans now is the time to support those small hotels, make plans and keep these lovely little establishments open and running. I see many have been making the most of the time to do alterations and decorating so it is with pleasure that I am again able to plan ahead. I´m not sharing yet which beautiful little place is the first on my list, it is a surprise and will be a gorgeous addition to our portfolio which has sadly not been updated for quite a while, not only the fault of lock down but the busyness of life!

Let´s hope that during the rest of this year there is not one but several new and beautiful establishments added. As always I plan with pleasure and so look forward to meeting and greeting both new hosts and their lovely homes.

Keep posted…….

I´ve also added some new photos to my local B&B which now has a pool so why not pop over to Atelier 88 to see some new images. Enjoy.