SPRING is in the air and the sun is out – meaning it’s time to get out there and enjoy the weather with a nice walk followed by a bite to eat.
Here, The Olive Press’ sister website has come up with the ‘top five’ restaurants for a great spring day out.
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Top 5 for spring breaks
Yerbaguena is run by Javier, a real Anglophile who learnt his trade in Brighton UK. He has now returned to the very home where he grew up, allowing diners to eat in the corner where he used to have his bedroom and providing a real sense of place and belonging.
This is a place to hang out and relax, with a glass of sherry and some tapas before sitting down for a full meal.
Nearby you must take a visit to the famous castle in Teba or take a stroll around the charming lakes of El Chorro.
Cerro de Hijar, Tolox
It is remarkable how much sophistication can be created from a municipal-built hotel.
As are the views, which stretch some 200km all the way to the Sierra Nevada on clear days.
Moreover the journey there is very much part of the fun, particularly if you arrive by bike from Ronda or on foot from Yunquera or Alozaina.
Sitting at 650 metres on the edge of the Sierra de las Nieves national park, this comfortable hotel is a truly wonderful spring escape.
Molino del Santo, Benaojan
As rural idylls go, this takes some beating.
The converted mill, now a hotel, is in a delightful location next to a crystal clear mountain stream beside the Grazalema Natural Park. The sound of water is ever present, as are huge banks of geraniums, while weeping willows bow down over shady tables on a long cobbled terrace.
Best of all, earn your lunch by taking a walk along the fabulous River Guadiaro, as British Prime Minister David Cameron did, perhaps even taking the train back.
Casa Piolas, Algarinejo
Hiding in wonderful hiking terrain in a backwater of Granada province, Algarinejo is one place to track down.
And at Casa Piolas, food has never been this much fun.
Like a sorcerer, dressed in black, Jose welcomes you with a flaming plate of chorizo and a cheeky smile, setting the tone for one of the most entertaining meals you’ll find this side of the Pyrenees.
Lost in the olive belt of inland Andalucia, Casa Piolas is, quite simply, one of Andalucia’s true culinary gems.
La Casa Grande, Alpandeire
This small cavernous restaurant is one of the big surprises hiding in the mountains near Ronda.
Run by an enthusiastic Spanish couple who use well-sourced local ingredients, the restaurant sits in the ancient cellar of this once-grand town house. It is well restored, with vaulted ceilings, stone walls, extendable dining table set and old barro floors.
Right from the door are two or three wonderful walks around the nearby Genal Valley.
Ask the owners, who also conveniently run a hotel above the restaurant.