Spending 2 weeks of a 2 month sabbatical in Andalusia with my wife, her parents and our son (age 7). With the little guy, would like to avoid a lot of housing moves. Currently looking at renting a place in Gaucin (white village in mountains 40 minutes from Ronda) then taking days trips, perhaps with an overnight, to Granada, Sevilla, Gilbraltar, Jerez. Does this sound reasonable? Anyone been to Gaucin? Thanks
'taking days trips, perhaps with an overnight, to Granada, Sevilla, Gilbraltar, Jerez' - presuming you mean by car. Granada - yes, 'with an overnight' (at least), approaching six hours journey, your door in Gaucin to door of the Alhambra, there and back. Ensure you purchase your Alhambra tickets ahead to avoid possible disappointment.
Sevilla - yes, 'with an overnight' as there is a lot to see, but I do not know how much you would want from the visit. Ensure you know where to park if day tripping. Gibraltar - yes, easy day trip, but park in La Linea and walk over the border. Jerez - three and a half hours (ish) there and back, your choice 'Anyone been to Gaucin?' - Yes, but years ago. I am told many ex-pats live or own there. http://www.andalucia.com/gaucin/home.htm
Haven't been to Gaucin, considered stopping in Cesares but it was edited out as I pared my itinerary. I'd give you essentially the same answers as Neil - the only easy daytrip is Gibraltar (park near the border in La Linea and walk from there. The others are more than day trips IMO as I consider more than four hours in a car a travel day, not an out and back.
Thanks. We prefer to be based in a small town, preferably in the hills with access to hiking. Sounds like Gaucin not that convenient for visits to Sevilla and Granada . Can anyone recommend a small hill town which would be better positioned? What about the alpurrjaras villages near Granada? I am wondering if they might still be snow bound in April
If you think Gaucin is inconvenience, from the Alpjuharras you have the same or greater for 3 from 4 on your wish list. My guesstimates, Seville and Gibraltar six hours round trip and Jerez more. Take the map, use a route planner for driving distance (ViaMichelin.com perhaps)and recognise the size of Andalucia. Find central(ish) (near Antequera) and start googling towns and villages, until a place suits. Or, like many before you, recognise you should have two bases, one near Seville and one near Granada. Just a couple of sites which may assist.
Antequera is the most central spot in Andalucia so perhaps that would be a good base to look around, maybe further inland. La Alpujarras means the same long winding road to get anywhere, not advisable for taking long day trips from. The roads around Gaucin/Ronda are windy and slow too, again if you´re planning on staying locally it´s beautiful ( I love Ronda), for longer trips it´s painful. You need to be closer to a main road to cut down on journey times -although they can be very enjoyable! I live in Jaen province and can get to Jaen in 30 minutes, Granada and Cordoba in 1.5 hours and Seville in 3 hours. There´s also Jaen a lovely city, Baeza and Ubeda UNESCO cities within an hour. Rachel Andalucia Explorer
Thanks so much for the great advice! Thinking now about basing our stay near Antequerra and from there visit Granada, Sevilla etc. Thanks again. Jim
I can't beat the quality of advice from a native! But I would suggest that you skew your search away from the south coast. We found Gibraltar, despite the weight of history, to be the least rewarding and longest (time) drive we had in Andalusia. Pre-financial crisis, we found Spanish highways to be superb, (Seville-Ronda, Ronda-Gibraltar, Ronda-Granada) but frequently blocked by massive tractor-trailers going slower than we could. If hiking is the most important thing, after living in a genuine town (I mean as opposed to a swell but touristy place like Ronda), I think you should make sure where you'll have the best access to the best of hiking. (In my ignorance of Spanish hiking: How is the safe, off-road parking at the trailheads?) As noted, you are talking about long, crowded car trips in, no doubt, a thrifty Euro-model car. We don't have kids, so I can't comment on your son's housing. But if all five of you are in the car, how are those long round-trips better than changing hotel rooms? I would reconsider the plan to rent for a week in one place. How about Antequera with Cordoba and Granada, or Arcos with Seville, Jerez, and Gibraltar? I have no doubt that Gaucin is more "authentic" than Rick's favored Arcos, but Arcos is attractive if well-touristed. Zahara was beautiful in the distance, but too far off the road for us to stop there. Just my 2 cents.