Sight seeing

El Rancho, is ideally situated for a wide range of sightseeing destinations, with motorway connections less than 10 minutes drive away. We have a wide range of sightseeing books that guests are welcome to borrow as well as our own resident "Norma Crone" - Jacques mum, who knows more about Spanish history and the best places to visit than the locals themselves.

These are just a few of Normas recommendations -

Alfarnate - 15 mins
Just outside the village of Alfarnate, there is the Venta de Alfarnate, an old coaching inn. It's origins date back at least to the 1500's. There is interesting farm machinery outside, and inside an inner room used as a jail in olden times. The venta is closed on Mondays. In the village a short drive away, you will find an old Roman bridge, still in use, and three of the streets around the Calle Posito area have Arab arches. There are"Hornacinas" on the walls of some houses, they are small shrines set in the walls, the niches are up to 500yrs of age

Archidona - 15 mins

Archidona, the name is derived from the Roman "Estelduna", meaning oil mill. A tiny road leads up the rock face to the mountain top ruins of the Moorish castle and palace, alongside which is the Sanctuary, originally a mosque. A remarkable feature is the pretty town centre, containing an octagonal plaza built in the 1780's, it remains much as it was in the 18th century. The town is built against the slopes of the mountain and has amazing views of "La Pena", known locally as Lovers Rock, legend has it that a Moorish Girl and a Christian threw themselves off the side after realising the impossibility of their love.

The Dolmenes of Antequera - 30 mins. closed mondays

These Megalithic Monuments were built by the first farmers in the fertile valley of the Guadalhorce. Settlements have been identified in the area from 5000 and 2200 BCE, the Neolithic and Copper Age's. The MENGA, VIERA and EL ROMERAL group is one of the finest and best known examples of European Megalithism. The complex is unique because of the surrounding landscape and the prominent rock of LA PENA, whose shape resembles the face of a sleeping human. Visitors centre and a film that can be requested in four languages.

Iznajar - 30 mins

The reservoir transformed the village which now sits on a promontory. A large part of the village was submerged as a result of the construction of the reservoir at the end of the 1960's. 1km away visitors can enjoy bird-watching, fishing, water-sports,
rambling, restaurants and a beach area. The lake is the largest in Andalucia, with about 100kms of shore-line.

El Torcal - 1hour

For lovers of nature, the Antequera Nature Reserve is a karstic phenomenon. The landscape has lured film makers (The Clash of the Titans) and others being shot here. Enigmatic, fantastic and bizarre shapes resembling nightmarish rock forms, dominate the views. All routes for walkers start at the car park and visitor centre. The flora and fauna are beautiful in the spring and autumn. A picnic or coffee and cake on the terrace watching vultures, kestrels, eagles, foxes, wild cats, badgers and weasels is a delight. Look at the website for more information. (

The Alhambra Granada - 1 hour

The popularity of this large complex has grown to such proportions that entry is possible only with a "timed" ticket. The views from the Moorish battlements over the city of Granada are wonderful, your timed ticket takes you into the Nasrid Palace, courtyards, halls and ambassadors quarters. Built on an impregnable site it is the only Muslim Palace to remain practically intact. STUNNING. To book tickets go to (

Granada City - 1 hour

Granada is one of the most beautifully situated of all Spanish towns built beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Visitors go to the Alhambra and forget the gem below, containing many churches, a cathedral, markets, museums and parks. Take a bus from Plaza Nueva up hill to the Albaicin. After taking in the sights a gentle walk down through the shop-lined Caldereia Nueva with it's Moroccan tea-rooms is heaven. No wonder it's the City with it's own song.

City of Cordoba - 1hr 30 mins

First you see a large renovated Roman Bridge, then the Great Mosque with a Cathedral built at it's centre, it's a unique structure with an amazing history. The Mosque took centuries to be completed and became the largest in the Muslim World, outside of Damascus. The reconquest of Cordoba saw the building of the beautiful Cathedral, started in 1236. The town has one of only three Synagogues left in Spain and the rest of the historic centre is protected by UNESCO. A stroll around the old city centre with it's charming shops, cafes, restaurants and historical houses is a joy.

Priego de Cordoba - 1hr 30 mins

Roman in origin, captured by Christians, re-captured by Arabs, Re-captured and in Christian hands by 1370. Priego's prosperity was from textiles, and from the wealth, out-standing baroque buildings have survived. Nothing prepares you for the shock of the parish church of the Asuncion, the outside is modest but inside is a frothing frenzy of white stucco, magnificent even in European context. The best is yet to come, the chapel of the Sagrario of 1784, entered through a door off the left aisle is overwhelming. There is also an amazing fountain called the Fuente de Rey.

Ronda - 1hr 45 mins

Ronda is famous for it's dramatic escarpments and views of the deep El Tajo gorge. It's the birthplace of modern bullfighting. At the beginning of September, once a year, the audience dress in the manner of Goya's sketches of life in the region. Otherwise the bullring is now a museum and visitors can stroll in the arena and in the mornings, possibly watch the horses in the covered practice ménage. Across the nearby Puente Nuevo Bridge is Ronda Old Town famous for it's maze of cobbled streets and tiny shops. A MUST

Carmona - 1hr 45 mins

A jewel of a small town, within it's walls you feel you are in another age. Narrow streets meander past Mudejar Churches, Renaisance Mansions and ruins of Pedro the Crude's Palace, destroyed by an earthquake in 1504 now taken over by an expensive Parador Hotel. The food market reflects what is in season at any given time. The Roman Necropolis is particularly noteworthy, it lies outside the town walls and contains over 900 family tombs, enclosed in subterranean chambers hewn from the rock.

Seville City - 2 Hours

The capital of Andalucia is an easy drive from El Rancho on the Autovia. A distinguished history going back to Iberian Times, Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians settled here, and after 47 B.C became one of the leading areas of Roman Baetica. In present times 1992EXPO was held here and a greatly needed smartening up was carried out. The Hop-on and off Tourist Bus around the City means you can visit your chosen venues. The most important place to visit is the Cathedral and also the Alcazar, entered from the adjoining Plaza de la Contrataccion. Seville is also home to the Tobacco Factory, setting for the "Opera Carmen".

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Sight seeing