Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Zahara de la Sierra-magical white village by the lake

Right now its raining heavily here in Ronda and its difficult to imagine that next week it could be hot enough to have a beautiful country walk by the lake, but its something Id love to do as soon as the weather picks up again. Zahara de la Sierra is just a short drive from the mountain town of Ronda on the A374 which heads on towards Sevilla. Taking in the breathtaking scenery that is synonymous with this area, you pass the small villages of Monte Corto and then El Gastor on the right and then theres a left hand turn, that crosses a bridge- sign posted Grazalema- that takes you to on to Zahara de la Sierra skirting the man made lake that you see in the picture. Its definately the more scenic way to reach the village but you could keep going towards Algondonales and then there is another left hand turn towards the village. Zahara de la Sierra was an important Moorish outpost using its strategic position in the first line of defense against the Christians, for the towns of Ronda to the south and Seville to the north west. The remains of this moorish castle can be explored after a picturesque walk through the orange lined streets of this lovely white village and theres also a little museum that outlines the history of the fortress. Once at the top of the fortress which is quite a climb the views are stunning. In the central square there are various restaurants, bars and some hotels but the best place to stay if you want something extra special is the fabulously run Al Lago which apart from being an innovative restaurant is also a chic boutique hotel. Owners Stefan and Mona Crites also organise various themed weekends like next weekends Flamenco show or Indian inspired weekend menus but its best to check the website for dates and availability. Theres also a delicious menu del dia during the week for only 12 euros and I would happily recommend it to anyone who wants really good fresh food that delights the taste buds and leaves you feeling satisfied if youve got a healthy appetite like me- especially if youve been walking in the sierras of the Grazalema Natural Park.

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