My husband, myself, our 2 teenagers and their 2 friends stayed at Casa Shalimar for two weeks at the end of May, through the first week of June. We have stayed in many villas and apartments around Europe and this ranks as one of our all time favorites. Jacqui, the caretaker, is fantastic and will take care of any problems or questions that may arise, and Clare the owner was a pleasure to deal with.
It was our first time in Spain and we had been warned about the touristy feel of the southern coast. No worries! This less populated area is not highly visited (at least was not while we were there) and we felt that we experienced authentic Spanish culture.
There are many restaurants in La Herradura, which was an easy 10 minute walk from the villa (you should be aware that there are 146 steps leading from the villa to the road that brings you to the village - not a vacation home for the elderly or anyone who has difficulty with stairs)
My husband and I walked to the village every morning before the kids awoke, and picked up fresh bread and pastries at one of the several bakeries.
Food in the nearby restaurants was delicious and inexpensive, and groceries in nearby Almunecar were really, really inexpensive. Excellent wine can be had very cheaply!
Be sure to visit the old part of La Herradura, and nearby Frigiliana (lovely - hike to the very top of the village for the incredible views and the donkeys....)
Ronda is an easy 2 to 3 hour trip, worth every minute, you must go.
Nerja was a complete surprise, and the Balcon de Europa is stunningly beautiful. There is a great beach to the left which we highly recommend.
The Alhambra, and the beautiful city of Granada is an even easier 45 minutes to one hour drive ( be sure to book tickets months in advance, friends told us that they were turned away when they tried to buy tickets on-site)
As for the villa itself, it was everything we hoped it would be. The views from within were spectacular, and on several occasions we watched dolphins jumping in the bay. The weather during our trip was good overall, but there were a few cloudy and cool days when the pool water was too cool for swimming. During the beautiful warm days it was just right and a delight to jump into after a swim in the Mediterranean! The sea was accessed via concrete steps built into the cliff in front of the villa. Water shoes are a must, we brought our own. I would be a little nervous about this villa with small kids who like to wander off, but for our family it was just the right combination of fun and relaxation.
There is a boat shop in the village that rents paddle boats, which could easily be taken from the village to the small bay in front of the villa. However, It only opens on the second week of June.
In the villa there are lots of terrific books to read, so no need to bring a ton of your own.
Beds are comfortable and the master bedroom is romantic.
We lived in the outdoor eating area.
I would bring bug spray, just in case.
There is a moorish tower at Cerro Gordo. which is a a five minute drive from the village. You will see a restaurant called El Mirrador de Cerro Gordo, from there it is a very short walk to the tower, from which you will have a jaw droppingly beautiful view of the southern coast of Spain! The entire area is fantastic for nature lovers.
We highly recommend this area and Casa Shalimar.
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