Spain’s Prettiest Towns in Castilla-La Mancha

The ‘rain in  Spain falls mainly on the plain’ of Castilla-La Mancha land of Don Quixote and his windmills. It’s also home to some of Spains’s Prettiest Towns or Los Pueblos Más Bonitas de España. The association now has 44 towns and is growing. Born from the mutual desire to promote beautiful, mostly rural towns with a population of less than 15,000 and with architectural and natural heritage of which there are so many throughout Spain.

Alcalá del Júcar
Alcala del Jucar

 

Almag
Almagro

 

Valverde de los Arroyos of the collection of the Prettiest Towns in Spain  in Castilla-La Mancha
Valverde de los Arroyos

I rather like the name of this last town, Green Valley of the Streams, which rather poetically brings to mind a picture postcard spot.

Castilla-La Mancha the region around Madrid to the east, south and south-west has many lovely and protected areas and is also home to three of Spain’s Prettiest Towns.

As well as famous gastronomy, Toledo, a province and provincial capital has been named Gastronomic City 2106,  there is a Don Quixote route. This route which consists of more than 2,500 km and covers 148 towns a lot of them within Castilla-La Mancha.

All photos are copyright Los Pueblos Más Bonitas de España an interesting website and with accommodation near most towns.

A Moorish Massage and Arab Bath – Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga

If you like nothing better than relaxing but find it hard to do and to totally disconnect, a visit to a Hammam is what you need. A complete relaxation, pampering and massaging that makes it impossible not to forget the pressures of modern life.

Hammam Al Andalus have recreated a five-star experience and my visit to the Hammam in Malaga was just that, an incredible feeling of well-being, cossetted and pampered.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

On arrival through the Moorish-arched doors the atmosphere starts to lull the senses, low-lighting, Moroccan music and aromatic essences begin your journey into the past. A time when much of southern Spain was ruled by the Moors and the hammams were gathering places for conversation and the ritual cleansing demanded by their religion.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Reaching the five senses the baths are beautifully decorated with natural light dancing through the roof and candles flickering shadows across the gorgeous tiles.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Essentials oils and aromas blend with the steam, low Arabic music soothes and relaxes, an assortment of teas and then comes the touch – a choice of massages, essential oils, foam, hot towels and a pure, ancient form of relaxation that can’t be beaten.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

The Hammam was typically a hot bath, a cold bath and a warm bath and a steam room. When you’re steamed, stimulated in the cold pool, relaxed in the hot pool and generally chilled out in the larger warm pool, where traditionally hours would be spent in conversation,  you’re then ready for the ultimate massage – I choose a traditional Kessa Massage. A skin purifying cleansing on a warm stone with kessa glove and all-natural soap.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Lying there already relaxed after the round of pools, warm water is poured over you from the tips of your toes to your knotted neck. Then foamy bubbles engulf your body popping, rolling, covering, warming, never have I experienced anthing more sensual yet welcoming and caressing and I imagine being in my mothers arms, carefully being bathed, cared for and loved.

 

 

A Castle Stay in the Spanish Countryside

It’s not really a castle but it is called El Castillo. This fabulous new addition to the Simpson Secret collection is located in one of my favourite corners of  rural Andalusia. Just 4km from Gaucin and near the White Villages route and the beautiful town of Ronda.

The Moorish-style house is perfectly modernised to provide a real escape into nature but with pampering. Choose a chef or childcare, massage or guided walk for your secluded ‘castle’ in Spain stay.

El Castillo, luxury villa, Andalucia

The huge living room is delightful and a welcome retreat from the scorching summer sun or cosy with log fire in chillier times. With six bedrooms sleeping up to 14 people it’s an ideal get together and get away spot to enjoy or nature or head to the beach just 30 minutes drive away.

El Castillo, luxury villa, Andalucia

It would be easy to spend all day here roaming the countryside or using the 20m swimming pool which is open in summer and covered in winter. Or what about tinkling on the grand piano. It might be a rural getaway but it doesn’t mean you won’t be connected – there is wifi.

See El Castillo on Simpson Secrets.