June 8th, 2012
As you drive around Spain you will come across destinations that sound the same. Or they are spelt in a very similar fashion. They can be many miles apart. They can be very different locations. But each have something special to offer.
I do know of someone who, for example, thought they were being clever when they came out of Malaga airport and set their sat nav for their intended destination of Nigüelas, east of Malaga and south of Granada. They arrived, instead, in Nagüeles, west of Malaga and in Marbella.
So what about the place they should have spent their holiday. A charming inland village in which there are some traditional properties to rent. Nigüelas is in the pretty as a postcard Lecrín Valley. A collection of villages set in countryside full of orange, lemon and almond trees.
It is a village known for being a home to young musical talent. And many of the local fiestas feature those musicians. I went above the village recently, to the area where there is a natural ampitheatre, and there was a bit of a party going on. Lots of locals had organised a barbecue day and picnic using the already provided picnic tables and static barbecues. You will see these facilities in many areas of Spain. Often near a park, a lake or in a shaded area with good views. Just like the one above Nigüelas.
There are great walks above this particular Nigüelas which, as the crow flies, is directly behind some of the prettier villages of the La Alpujarra region of Spain. Or, for the less adventurous, there is a lovely walk below the village, along the dry river bed. Take some binoculars with you, this is a good spot for birdwatching. Seeing birds you will not see elsewhere.
The village square is charming with a stand out church towering above the local bars and shops. You can walk downhill to the local town of Durcal, which is a busy place with a really good market on a Wednesday. You can catch a bus from Nigüelas or Durcal to the splendid city of Granada and take your time sampling the sights, the tapas bars and the unique shops. The last bus back home to Nigüelas from the city is at around 9pm, just when the locals are beginning to come out to play.
But there are some nice bars back in Nigüelas, along with the odd restaurant. So you can spend the evening closer to your holiday home. So ensuring that you can sample some fine wine and walk back to your accommodation.
Nigüelas, the one south of Granada and east of Malaga, is authentic Andalusia. Well located just off the motorway that links Granada to the beaches of the Costa Tropical, each are only a 20 minute drive from the picturesque Nigüelas.
You are very high up in this part of Spain. Nigüelas itself is nearly 1000 metres above sea level. There are great views of the highest peaks in Spain, Pico de Veleta and Mulhacén, the last named of which is the highest mountain in the country.
The place that sounds similar, and is spelt slightly differently, is in a very different part of Spain. Another world altogether from Nigüelas.
Nagüeles is west of Malaga and is billed as being one of the more exclusive areas of Marbella, located only a mile inland from the coast and perenially popular beaches. It is home to a natural park and again, as at its namesake, this is where families go to enjoy a picnic in spring and summer. The beach of Nagüeles is very close to the well known landmark, the Puente Romano.
Horse riding is on offer in Nagüeles, as are sports such as archery and volleyball. There are organised summer camps for the younger members of the family, so allowing parents more time to sample the local restaurants along this smart stretch of coastline.
The Golden Mile of Marbella has some of the nicest beaches, and plushest properties, to be found anywhere in Spain. And Nagüeles has both on offer.
What takes many a first time visitor to Marbella by surprise is how quaint the old part of town remains. Some parts have not changed in decades. I really like the older part of Marbella with its shady squares, charming avenues and excellent areas for dining out.
Plaza de los Naranjos, or the square of oranges, remains as popular as ever with those who want to have a glass of something, or splash out on lunch once they have shopped until almost dropping. Shaded by the orange trees and some beautifully coloured buildings, it is a very pleasant plaza.
Located within the city walls, the layout of this old part of town has changed very little since as far back as the sixteenth century. Two distinctive areas, Barrio Alto and Barrio Nuevo have their own must see buildings and time spent wandering the avenues and alleyways of old Marbella is always time well spent.
The stars of stage, screen and football used to dine among holidaymakers. Today they tend to hide themselves away behind the high walls of their palatial palaces.
Back down on the golden coastline of Spain, the beach at Nagüeles never gets full. It is one of the best beaches on which to play a little sport or, late in the day, from which to soak up a Spanish sunset. The red sky is a bit special.
This is a great location for relaxing. To do as little as you like while on your holiday in Spain. And, should the unthinkable happen and you get bored of the beach, you don’t have to go far inland to experience the wonder of the the magnificent mountains of Marbella.
And mountains is about the only similarity between what is on offer close to these respective locations.
The contrast between Nigüelas and Nagüeles is stark. The name may be almost the same but the two locations could not be be more different. But they each have something to offer you when booking a holiday in Spain.
The choice, as they say, is yours.