The Alhambra (Granada)
Within driving distance of Olvera are at least eight (8) special places well worth visiting for "day trips." The farthest, Granada, is about 109 miles from Olvera ... while the closest, Ronda, is just 31 miles.
Below, we provide snapshots of the places you will want to consider putting on your travel itinerary. Ranging in driving time from around 60 minutes to 2.5 hours, each of these places has its own allure and charm: Cadiz, Cordoba, Gibraltar, Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, Malaga, Ronda, and Sevilla. Please remember that you can travel to and from these places cheaply and conveniently from Olvera's own bus station.
And don't forget to visit our special page dedicated to the nearby Pueblos Blancos!
Cadiz (130 km from Olvera) Despite its unique site on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea, Cadiz is in most respects a typically Andalucian city with a wealth of attractive vistas and well-preserved historical landmarks. Within the remnants of the city walls, the older part of Cadiz is commonly referred town as the "Old Town" (Casco Antiguo) and is characterized by the antiquity of its various neighborhoods and quarters (barrios). Among them, the most popular -- El Populo, La Vina, and Santa Maria -- present a marked contrast to the newer areas of town. While the Old City's street plan consists of narrow, winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cadiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. The city is dotted by numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees supposedly brought to Spain by Columbus from the New World. Among the landmarks of historical and scenic interest in Cadiz are its unusual cathedral of various architectural styles, a theatre, an old municipal building, an 18th-century watchtower, an ancient Roman theatre, and electrical pylons of eye-catching modern design carrying cables across the Bay of Cadiz. One of the most densely populated urban areas in Europe, the Old Town is packed with narrow streets connecting plazas (squares) bordered by the sea and the city walls.
Cordoba (151 km from Olvera) Declared "World Heritage" by UNESCO for having the largest urban area in the world, Cordoba has the second largest Old Town in Europe. The most important building and symbol of the city, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and current cathedral, alongside the Roman Bridge, are the best known facets of the city. Other Roman remains include the Roman Temple, the Theatre, Mausoleum, and the Colonial Forum. Near the Mosque is the old Jewish quarter, home to the Synagogue and Sephardic House. A former royal property and seat of the Inquisition, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is in the extreme southwest of the Old Town. Adjacent to it are the Royal Stables, a breeding place for the Andalucian horse. Near the stables, located along the walls, are the medieval Baths of the Caliphate. In the southern part of the Old Town and east of the great Mosque, in the Plaza de Potro is the Posada del Potro, a row of inns mentioned in such literary works as Don Quijote. Along the banks of the Guadalquivir are the Mills of the Guadalquivir, Muslim era buildings that took advantage of the water force to grind their flour. Surrounding Cordoba's large Old Town are the Roman Walls whose gates include the Puerta de Almodovar, the Puerta de Sevilla, and Puerta del Puente, the last remaining gates from the original thirteen. Towers and fortresses and palace buildings in the Old Town include the Palacio de Viana (14th century) and Palacio de la Merced, among others. On the city's outskirts lies the archaeological site of the Medina Azahara city which, together with the Alhambra in Granada, is one of the main Spanish-Muslim architectures in Spain. Other popular sites to see in Cordoba include the Cuesta del Bailio, a staircase connecting the upper and lower parts of the city, and the Minaret of San Juan, once part of an Islamic mosque.
Gibraltar (160 km from Olvera) A popular port for cruise ships, Gibraltar attracts day visitors from resorts throughout southern Spain. The Rock is a popular tourist attraction, particularly among British tourists and residents of Spain's southern coast. Gibraltar is also a favored shopping destination, since all goods and services purchased there are VAT-free. Many of the large British High Street chains have branches or franchises in Gibraltar, including Marks & Spencer and Mothercare. Other major international retailers, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Sunglass Hut are also found in Gibraltar, as is the Spanish clothing company Mango. Located at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula, Gibraltar technically is a British overseas territory at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of 6.843 square kilometers (only 2.642 square miles), Gibraltar is densely populated at its foot by a city area that's home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities. The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations, as Spain asserts a claim to the territory while its population rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in both 1967 and 2002 referendums. Under Gibraltar's constitution of 2006, it governs its own affairs ... although certain powers, such as defense and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK government. Be especially careful when feeding the "monkeys" that inhabit Gibraltar!
Granada (177 km from Olvera) The greatest artistic wealth of Granada is its Spanish-Muslim art ... in particular, the palace city of the Alhambra and the Generalife. The latter is a "pleasure palace" with a romantic garden, remarkable both for its location and layout, as well as for the diversity of its flowers, plants, and fountains. The Alhambra is the culmination of the works of Nasrid art undertaken in the 13th and 14th centuries. Declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO in 1984, it is certainly Granada's most emblematic monument and one of the most visited in Spain. The Alhambra consists of a defensive zone, the "Alcazaba," together with others of a residential and formal "state" character, the Nasrid Palaces, and the palace, gardens and orchards that comprise El Generalife. Other places to visit and see in Granada include the cathedral built over the Nasrid Great Mosque of Granada in the center of the city, whose construction began during the early 16th century Spanish Renaissance. The church was conceived on the model of the Cathedral of Toledo. The Royal Chapel of Granada is united and connected with other important Granada buildings such as the Lonja and the Catedral e Iglesia del Sagrario built over the former solar of the Great Mosque. Because of its historical connotations, architecture and landscapes, the Albayzin (or Albaicin) is a neighborhood of Al-Andalus origin frequently visited by tourists. Also worth visiting is the Sacromonte neighborhood located on the Valparaiso hill, one of several hills that make up Granada and known as the old neighborhood of the gypsies. At the top of the hill is the Abbey of Sacromonte and the College of Sacromonte, founded in the 17th century by Pedro de Castro, then Archbishop of Granada. The Charterhouse of Granada is a monastery of cloistered monks with a wealth of water and fruit trees located in what was a farm or Muslim "almunia" called Aynadamar, meaning "Fountain of the Tears."
Jerez de la Frontera (98 km from Olvera) Jerez de la Frontera is a municipality in the province of Cádiz in Andalusia, (Andalucía in Spanish) in southwestern, situated midway between the sea and the mountains. As of 2010, the city, the largest in the province, had 208,896 inhabitants; it is the fifth largest in Andalusia. Jerez has become the transportation and communications hub of the province, surpassing even Cádiz, the provincial capital, in economic activity. Jerez de la Frontera is also, in terms of land area, the largest municipality in the province, and its sprawling outlying areas are a fertile zone for agriculture. There are also many cattle ranches and horse-breeding operations, as well as a world-renowned wine industry. Jerez is known as the capital of sherry wine, the horse, and flamenco. It is the home of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, a riding school comparable to the world-famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Jerez, the city where flamenco singing began, is also proud of its Andalusian Centre of Flamenco. There are two museums of note: the Jerez Archaeological Museum and the Atalaya Watch Museum (also known as "Palace of Time"). The old quarter of Jerez, dating from medieval times, has been named an "Artistic Historic Complex". The Easter week celebrations in Jerez are of "National Touristic Interest", and its remarkable Horse Fair (Feria del Caballo) in May is an event of "International Touristic Interest". Today, Jerez is becoming a shopper's paradise with several huge "big box stores," such as IKEA, populating the area. Main sights also include the Alcazar, a Moorish fortress dating to the 11th century, its Cathedral, the 15th century Church of San Miguel, and the Charterhouse.
Malaga(111 km from Olvera) An important tourist destination, Malaga is known as the "capital of the Costa del Sol." Tourists usually visit the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and the Museo Picasso Malaga, the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the old town, and the beaches. The harbour at Malaga is also the second cruise port of the Iberian Peninsula. For those flying into Spain and heading to Olvera, Malaga's international airport is the preferred one of choice. A popular walk leads up one hill in Malaga to the Gibralfaro castle (a parador), offering views over the city. The castle is next to the Alcazaba, the old Muslim palace, which, in turn, is next to the inner city of Malaga. Nearby attractions include the Roman Theatre, the old Jewish quarter, the Cathedral, and the Church of Santiago. A walk takes you along the Paseo del Parque (a promenade that runs alongside a park with many palm trees and statues) to the harbour, finishing in Calle Larios, the city's main commercial street. There is also a curious museum -- Museum of the Holy Week -- that includes an impressive display of Baroque ecclesiastical art.
Ronda (50 km from Olvera) Despite being Andalucía's fastest-growing town - it overtook Córdoba in the big three Andaluz tourist attractions, behind Sevilla and Granada, in the early 21st century - Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town. It is famous worldwide for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre. Visitors make a beeline for the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m chasm below, for its unparalleled views out over the Serranía de Ronda mountains. Despite the "new" in its name, the term is a bit of a misnomer, as the building of this bridge began in 1751 and it took until 1793 to complete. Actually, three bridges -- Puente Romano (Roman Bridge), Puento Viejo (Old Bridge), and Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) -- span the canyon. The Puente Nuevo is the tallest of the bridges, but all three serve as some of the city's most impressive features. The "Corrida Goyesca" is a unique and historical bullfight that takes place once a year in Ronda's Plaza de Toros de Ronda, the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, built in 1784 in the Neoclassical style by architect Jose Martin de Aldehuela, who also designed the Puente Nuevo. The partially intact Banos Arabes (Arab Baths) are found below the city and date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The former town hall, which sits next to the Puente Nuevo, is now the site of a parador and has an unparalleled view of the Tajo canyon. American artists Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent many summers in Ronda as part-time residents of the city's old town quarter called "La Ciudad." Both wrote about Ronda's beauty and famous bull-fighting traditions.
Sevilla/Seville (110 km from Olvera) "Seville," wrote Byron, "is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women." And for its heat, he might perhaps have added, since Sevilla’s summers are intense and start early, in May. But the spirit is about right. Sevilla has three important monuments and an illustrious history, but what it's essentially famous for is its own living self – the greatest city of the Spanish south, of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro, and the archetype of Andalucian promise. Seville's reputation for gaiety and brilliance, for theatricality and intensity of life does seem deserved. It's expressed on a phenomenally grand scale at the city's two great festivals – Semana Santa (Holy Week at Easter) and the week-long Feria de Abril (starting two weeks after Easter Sunday). Seville is also Spain's second most important centre for bullfighting, after Madrid. Situated on the river Guadalquivir, southern Spain's largest city is home to flowering patios hidden behind ornate gates and decorated facades throughout the old city. A celebratory ambiance pervades its winding streets and spills out of the bars and tapas parlors of Santa Cruz and Plaza Alfalfa. Climb the Giralda tower for a spectacular view of the city and stroll the gardens of the 14th-century Alcazar palace and across the bridge to lively Triana. Seville's old city – where you'll want to spend most of your time – is sited along the east bank of the Guadalquivir. At its heart, side by side, stand the three great monuments: the Giralda tower, the Catedral and the Alcázar, with the cramped alleyways of the Barrio Santa Cruz, the medieval Jewish quarter and now the heart of tourist life, extending east. North of here is the main shopping and commercial district, its most obvious landmarks Plaza Nueva, Plaza Duque de la Victoria and the smart Calle Sierpes, which runs roughly between them. From La Campana, the small square at the northern end of C/Sierpes, Calle Alfonso XII runs down towards the river by way of the Museo de Bellas Artes, second in importance in Spain only to the Prado in Madrid. Across the river is the earthier, traditionally working-class district of Triana, flanked to the south by Los Remedios, the city's wealthier residential zone where the great April feria takes place. Seville certainly is one of the most beloved places by visitors to Spain. Seville was the home of famous and infamous figures of history, the legendary "Don Juan" started from here to conquer the hearts of women across all Europe, while Columbus started from a port close to Seville to discover a new world. Prosper Merimée's "Carmen", who couldn't make her decision between the officer Don José and the bullfighter Escamillo - the consequences you can watch still today in opera houses - was a worker in Seville's old tobacco factory. Today, this factory serves as a University, a fact that might give you a glimpse on Andalusian talent for improvisation.