Gateway to Spectacular Caminito del Rey
Dating to Phoenician times, Álora has retained its distinctive “sleepy village” character despite the rapid transformation of this once indomitably bucolic corner of Spain. It recent years, however, its main claim to global fame has been linked to a much more recent history.
The famous Caminito del Rey is located between the neighbouring Ardales, Antequera and Álora municipalities, and visitors travelling by train to the sweeping boardwalks above Gaitanes Gorge arrive at the El Chorro railway station in Álora – before continuing their dramatic journey on foot.
Álora has another ace up its sleeve: the picturesque lakes at El Chorro are just 12 kilometres away, with unspoilt gorges, gently shelving shores and water so clear you could bottle it. Spend the day swimming, canoeing and picnicking in this wonderful semi-wilderness and you will be immediately planning a return trip.
Relaxed Village Life
Back in the village, your day can be filled by taking a testing walk up to the fifth century castle, which commands breathtaking views across Guadalhorce Valley. There you can learn about the village's history as a mountain-top garrison, before descending back into the citrus-lined streets to enjoy the relaxed “pueblo” atmosphere.
Evenings in Álora are all about enjoying the delectable local cuisine that is a pre-eminent staple in pretty much every restaurant in the village, fresh and well-affordable dishes that include “sopa perota” (a hearty vegetable soup) – all, of course, washed down with local wine that is grown and produced in the surrounding valleys.
Luxury Thermal Experience in Carratraca
Meanwhile, for a touch of glamorous Marbella-style pampering, the Villa Padierna Thermas Hotel in neighbouring Carratraca sources the famous local thermal waters to provide a five-star mineral-medicinal spa experience for guests.
The origins of the thermal spa baths date to the 18th century when the healing powers of the sulphurous waters and natural springs surrounding the settlement gained a reputation as “miracle” waters. The spa at Carratraca was built by the Earl of Teba, father of the Empress of France, Eugenia de Montijo (wife of Napoleon III), and subsequently attracted such luminaries as Lord Byron and Rainer Maria Rilke. The waters’ recuperative properties have actually been recognised even further back, since Roman times, when warriors would travel to the village to rest their souls and heal their wounds.