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A night away June 2009

A night away - Hotel Finca Los Llanos

For years, we have loved driving to the Alpujarras and, from Nerja, it usually takes a couple of hours. Now for the good news, we took an hour and fifteen minutes to get to our hotel due to the opening of parts of the new motorway.

The Alpujarras became famous through the book Driving over Lemons by Chris Stewart. It is an area tucked under the Sierra Nevadas, with picturesque mountain villages. Leaving the motorway, and winding through the countryside we reach Lanjaron, with its French style, maple lined streets and shuttered windows. Local people attend the spa and fill their plastic jars with water from the famous springs.

Onward and upward through beautiful green countryside, and listening to the crashing of the waterfalls, we reach Pampaniera. Above the village, there is still snow on the mountains - even in May! The sun is shining yet the air is crisp. This village is full of artisan shops where you can buy lovely hand crafted rugs, jewellery, ceramics, fabrics, cheeses, jamon and honey. You really know that the people in these villages are glad if you spend a little with them.

Up again through the village of Bubion and on to Capileira, the village at the top. The Hotel Finca Los Llanos is at the edge of the village and offers free parking nearby. At reception, we see a photograph of “El Principe”, the Prince of Asturias who has visited. The rustic hotel lounge and library have tourists relaxing, talking and looking at maps of the local countryside.

There are many guests in the hotel dressed for walking in the mountains - we are happy to watch them leave as we drink our gin and tonic and look down on the village from our terrace. The hotel is surrounded by gardens and we hear the gurgling stream which runs through the property.

The room is comfortable, with local hand woven curtains and bedspreads. There is a sitting area with fridge and wardrobe, and a very efficient shower. Later, walking through the gardens, we find the outdoor pool and bar, with views down the valley.

In the evening we decided to dine in a local Michelin listed restaurant, El Corral del Castaño. We enjoyed a lovely meal, overlooking one of the plazas in the village – and wandered back to the nearby hotel.

Breakfast in the morning was in the main restaurant, close to our room. The range was simple – fresh sliced melons, fruit juices, cereals, local bread, cooked meats, cheeses and a hot breakfast of jamón and fried egg.

The Alpujarras are an area to relax in, without the stronger heat of the coast.

The scenery is reminiscent of Ireland, trees gently swaying in the breeze and dappled sunlight.

We have been here before and would recommend this hotel again, at a budget for us of €74.50 per night.

Hotel Finca Los Llanos, Ctra. Sierra Nevada, 18413 Capileira. Tel: 95 876 3071 Fax 95 876 3206

ANNE FLEMING