Ideas for a very Moorish Valentines weekend getaway in Andalucia...
Valentines Weekend is only a few weeks away but don’t panic, there´s still time to plan a romantic getaway in sunny Spain. And there´s no more romantic place to head that the Heart of Andalucia...
Photo: the Patio of Orange Trees at the Mezquita, Cordoba.
In addition to visiting the classic Moorish sites of the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba and Seville´s Giralda (Cathedral) and Alcazar palace gardens; there are many other smaller, less well-known destinations in between which will enchant any romantic traveller – from Antequera and El Torcal to Zuheros and Priego de Cordoba in the Sierras Subbeticas.
Photo: hiking in the Sierras Subbeticas, Andalucia.
Not only is this region the geographic heart of Andalucia, but it´s home to one of the region´s most popular love stories too!
The Legend of Lovers´ Rock
This is a tragic love story, older than Romeo and Juliet, of a beautiful Moorish princess and handsome Christian prisoner – a romantic tale which has been passed down through the generations as an integral part of local folklore. It dates back to the time of the Reconquest of Andalucia in the early 15th century, when the Antequera region was on the final frontier of the Moorish kingdom of Granada and the Christian kingdom of Castille (The town as reconquered in 1410).
Photo: Antequera´s Alcazaba castle & Lovers´ Rock in Andalucia (Velasco, Turismo de Antequera).
First written about in the 1440´s by Lorenzo Valla (royal biographer to Ferninand I), the story has been immortalized by writers ever since, from Cervantes (who´s version had a happier ending!) to Washington Irving and was later adapted by 19th-century British poet Robert Southey (famous for The Story of the Three Bears, the original Goldilocks story) in his poem, The Lovers Rock. Read more about the Lover´s Rock story in El Pais (in Spanish).
The Tale of Tazgona & Tello - a Spanish Romeo & Juliet
Tazgona, the beautiful daughter of a Moorish leader and Tello, a Christian soldier who had been captured and imprisoned. One day, when Tazgona was visiting her father´s dungeon, she saw Tello behind bars and the two fell head over heels in love. Tazgona pleaded with her father to release Tello, so that they could marry. But their union was strictly forbidden in those times, so with Tazgona´s help, Tello escaped from the prison.
They were spotted running away and Tazgona´s father sent his troops to capture them – vowing to execute Tello and imprison his rebellious daughter. Having reached the Lovers Rock, they climbed to the top, with the soldiers in hot pursuit. Realizing the futility of their position, and with one final kiss, the lovers flung themselves off the cliff, falling to their deaths. From that day on, the rock has been called the Peña de los Enamorados in their honour – with one side allegedly looking female and the other side male - the two faces of Tazgona and Tello together forever!
Photo: Lovers´ Leap statue in Antequera (A Sordo).
Today, standing proud on Plaza Castilla in Antequera, there is a statue dedicated to the couple, with an inscription that reads:
Viendo imposible su amor, Cenidos en fuerte abrazo
Se arrjaros los amantes, Desde lo alto de la Peña.
Since love was to be imposible, As one in a strong embrace,
The lovers threw themselves, From atop of the Rock.
Taken from “The Tale of Lovers´ Leap” by Lorenzo Valla (1445-1446).
Photo: Pena de los Enamorados near Antequera (Lui Marin).
La Peña de los Enamorados – Lovers´ Rock
Visible from miles around on the vega (plains) of Antequera, this dramatic 880-metre high limestone peak has the profile of an Indian man´s face looking skyward. It is also called “Lover´s Leap”, owing to this legend.
The Lovers´ Rock is one of five sites near Antequera which have been added to UNESCO´s tentative list of new World Heritage Sites in 2016, set to be announced in July. The sites listed are the El Torcal national park, the Peña de los Enamorados and the Megalithic Dolmens of Menga, Viera and El Romeral.
Photo: El Romeral dolmen near Antequera, Andalucia.
Planning a last minute Valentines weekend getaway..?
Here are a two suggestions to show what´s still possible in Andalucia:
Photo: Alcazar palace in Seville, a filming location for Game of Thrones 6.
* Wed 10 to Wed 17 Feb – A Week in Andalucia
Stay 3 nights in Seville: Feb 10/11/12, lots to see & good range of hotels still available.
Stay 4 nights at Casa Olea: Feb 13/14/15/16, visit Cordoba and/or Granada as day trips and go for walks in hills (or stay Feb 16 in Granada).
Rental car for 5 days (Feb 13-17) from 17 GBP with www.holidayautos.co.uk
Return flights on British Airways (London Gatwick/Seville): from 126 GBP *
Photo: Malaga´s trendy new waterfront with Pompidou gallery (Turismo de Malaga).
* Fri 12 to Tue 16 Feb – Long weekend break in Andalucia
Stay 1 night in Malaga: Feb 12 to visit the cathedral and Picasso & Pompidou galleries.
Stay 3 nights at Casa Olea: Feb 13/14/15 to visit Cordoba and/or Granada as day trips, and go for walks in the hills (or stay all 4 nights Feb12-15).
Rental car for 5 days (Feb 12-16) from 17 GBP with www.malagacar.com
Return flights on Ryanair (London Stansted/Malaga) from 125 GBP *
* Flight & Car Rental prices quoted on 19 January 2016.
See other ideas for Romantic Escapes in Andalucia.
Start planning your Valentines Weekend Escape in Andalucia.
5 REASONS TO BOOK NOW!
Flights still possible - lots of flight options to Malaga (Ryanair) and Seville (BA or Ryanair) and still surprisingly cheap.
Alhambra Tickets still available – Feb 12 to 16 inclusive
You should pre-book tickets at www.alhambra-tickets.es asap to be sure of getting in!
Casa Olea late space – rooms still available from Feb 12 to 17 inclusive.
Photo: the Sierra Nevada framing the Alhambra in Granada, Andalucia.
Snow in the Sierra Nevada – the first snow of the season has just fallen, so Granada´s impossibly romantic setting just got even better!
Walks in the Sierras & cosy log fires – head out for a wintery walk (or bike ride) , then come back to log fires, under-floor heating and home-cooked evening meals!
Photo: Casa Olea, small hotel in the Sierras Subbeticas, rural Andalucia.
Casa Olea is an award-winning Boutique B&B/Inn located close to Priego de Cordoba, half way between Granada and Cordoba, and is an ideal base for day trips to Antequera, the Alhambra and Mezquita. Less than 2 hours´drive from Malaga, Granada and Seville airports. Double rooms from 110 euros per night including breakfast. www.casaolea.com
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Photo: charming backstreets of Priego de Cordoba, near Casa Olea in Andalucia.