Additional Location Information
The Andalucia / Granada Province region
So much history abounds around the city of Granada that it would be impossible to tell all here. Home to the last empire of Spain´s Moorish era, Granada was finally taken by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 after more than 700 years of Moorish civilisation, which shaped the city and the area for ever.
All of Granada's attractions are within easy reach of the house, as are the various beaches and resorts of the Costa Tropical. Last but not least, the south facing villages of the Sierra Nevada are also a short drive away. This area, known as the Alpujarra, has been written about by Gerald Brenan ("South from Granada") and Chris Stewart ("Driving Over Lemons").
Granada is the capital of the province with the same name, situated in the eastern part of the region of Andalusia. Geographical and scenic diversity charactizes the land. There is the coastal area with its warm climate; the extensive, fertile Genil plain; and the mountainous regions with a colder climate, where we find the 3,481 meter Mulhacén, the biggest peak on the peninsula of Spain. The city of Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains at the confluences of the Darro and Genil rivers. Its unique history has bestowed it with an artistic grandeur embracing Moorish palaces and Christian Renaissance treasures. As the last Moorish capital on the Iberian peninsula, it also holds great symbolic value.
The Moors crossed the strait of Gibraltar in 711 and settled in what was then a small Visigoth town perched atop the Alhambra hill. Here they settled, erected walls and laid the foundation for the prosperous civilization that would follow. It was in the 9th century when Granada rose to importance after the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Its splendor was reached in 1238, when Mohammed ben Nasar founded the Nasrid dynasty, and the kingdom of Granada stretched from Gibraltar to Murcia. This dynasty bore twenty kings until King Boabdil was forced to surrender Granada to the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, in 1492. During three centuries, a magnificent and rich Islamic culture flourished, leaving Granada with architectural marvels of the caliber of the Alhambra, declared a World Heritage Site, along with the Generalife and the Albaicín.
The Lecrin / Pinos del Valle area
Lecrin Valley / Pinos del Valle area: Pinos del Valle was once a most prosperous village in the olive and almond growing zone of the Valley of Lecrin. Today the agriculture is still important and the village is celebrating its culture by opening an Olive Museum just around the corner from Casa Fresno. In addition, locally, there are numerous fiestas taking palce often at weekends which feature local music, drinks, flamenco, and gastronomy.
Since 1990 the restaurant offer in the Valley has improved gradually. Pinos boast two bars which both serve up excellent tapas free of charge with every drink. Prices are still low and it isnt unknown for the local Mayoress to buy visitors a drink (though they usually have to show they speak a few words of Spanish first!).
There are plenty of things to do around Pinos, for example visiting the pretty villages just a few minutes’ drive away with exotic names such as Melegis and Restabal. The villages in the Valley make a pleasant excursion and most have bars and restaurants. Granada, an ancient Moorish town famous for its history, architecture and the extraordinary Alhambra Palace and Gardens, is just 30 minutes away.
A half-hour’s drive to the east lies the Alpujarras – a unique mountainous area of ancient hill villages with cube-like, whitewashed houses which are very similar to Berber settlements found in North Africa. Drive south for just 30 minutes to the Costa Tropical, which has been unspoilt by package tourism. Salobreña is the nearest beach town to Pinos and a popular holiday resort. Enjoy the superb skiing facilities at Sol y Nieve, the international ski resort high in the Sierras. Sol y Nieve is an easy and spectacular drive from the Valley.
Each season has its flowers in Sierra Nevada - almond blossom in February, brilliant red poppies in May and bougainvillea in high summer. The countryside is wonderful for walking, horse-riding, mountain-biking, skiing, birdwatching and golf, and it has the clearest skies in Europe! Along with the seasons come the fiestas, the vibrant pueblo life.