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Rustic Blue Holiday Guide to Iznajar

Little Iznájar sits on top of a rocky outcrop which towers up from its very own "inland sea". It's like an island rising from the waters …

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Iznájar rising up from the waters The Embalse de Iznájar, known as the Lake of Andalucía A typical corner in Iznájar Springtime Looking down from the village At the top of the village A glimpse of the lake
Iznájar
Population

4,960

Altitude

539 metres

Distance from Malaga

80 kilometres

Distance from the Coast

80 kilometres

Patron Saint

La Virgen de la Piedad

Fiesta Dates

San Marcos (25th April)

La Feria Real (second week in September)

Climate

In the centre of Andalucía and with low mountains all around, winters can a bit chilly, summers hot. Very low humidity and plenty of sunshine (over 3,000 hours per annum)

Description

Picturesque

Sitting on top of a huge rocky outcrop which towers up from the blue waters of the largest lake in Andalucía, it's a magnificent setting.

The picturesque white village of Iznájar is the southern gateway to the beautiful rolling hills and olive groves of the Subbetica Natural Park. Sitting on top of a huge rocky outcrop which towers up from the breathtakingly blue waters of the Embalse de Iznájar, the largest lake in Andalucía, it's a dramatic setting …

Topped by a Moorish castle, this friendly village is a classic "pueblo blanco". Views from the top of the town are sensational, over the surrounding countryside - rolling hillsides clad with olive groves as far as the eye can see - and over the vast, beautiful lake (32 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide) which fills the wide valley floor of the Genil river on both sides of the village.

The town is built around the ruins of its 8th Century Moorish castle which tops the rocky outcrop. Although the ruins are in a poor state of repair they offer fantastic views of the surrounding area and the walk up to them through the old winding streets is lovely. It will get you fit, too …

As far as the eye can see

Views from the top of the town are sensational, the vast and very beautiful lake wrapped by rolling hillsides clad with olive groves.

Parts of the fortified town walls can still be seen. Also worth visiting is the Iglesia de Santiago church, built over time during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with a remarkable Baroque altar piece which was added later.

Also of interest is the shrine of the Ermita de la Antigua, which was built in the seventeenth century and features a curious domed vault, leading on to an even more unusual 18th century dressing room.

The Barrio del Coso area is a lovely place to wander around, a labyrinth of typical whitewashed Andalusian houses dotted around a maze of narrow lanes. It is also worth seeking out the small barrio of cave dwellings known as El Caganchuelo. there is a small municipal museum, dedicated to its agricultural heritage and local customs.

An unpretentious working village of some 5,000 people, there are traditional bars where you can spend a pleasant lunch time or evening eating simple local food, with a bottle of wine or a beer. An English restaurant offers Sunday lunch and Thursday curries. There is now a smart lakeside hotel, El Caserío de Iznájar, just outside the village; the internationally renowned Hotel La Bobadilla is a 15 minute drive away.

Its own 'inland sea'

The lake hosts water sports and fishing and has its own beach at Valdearenas where you can swim, rent pedalos and canoes, or learn to sail.

It was the creation of the huge embalse (reservoir), below the promontory on which the Iznájar sits, some 30 odd year ago, which transformed the village. Today, it has its very own waterfront, overlooking an inland sea.

The lake, also known as the Lake of Andalucía, hosts water sports and fishing and has its own beach at Valdearenas where you can swim, rent pedalos and canoes, or learn to sail.

Just a kilometre from the village, its beautiful, clear blue waters are safe for children to swim or play in and there's sand to lie on. It tends to be busier on Sundays but is usually very quiet on weekdays, even in the height of the season.

The lake, which is a walk of just a quarter of a kilometre through the olive groves, provides excellent course fishing and many competitions are held along its banks. There is a chiringuito (summer bar) on the beach and a couple of bar / restaurants just above.

The beach disappears during the winter months when the water level is high. But in summer, as the water drops, the beach appears along with its stone tables and barbecues!

At the crossroads

Just 15 minutes from the A92 motorway, Iznájar has fast, easy access to all of Andalucía's major cities.

Situated near the southern border of Córdoba province, Iznájar serves as the natural entrance to the Sierra Subbéticas Natural Park. Just 15 minutes from the A92 motorway, it really is at the "crossroads of Andalucía" with fast, easy access to Antequera (30 minutes), Malaga and the coast (one hour), Granada (one hour), Córdoba (one hour) and Sevilla (90 minutes).

Other places of interest and beauty well worth a visit include Ronda, El Torcal Natural Park (near Antequera), the Alpujarras and Gibraltar, as well as Priego de Córdoba and the other towns and villages of the delightful Subbética Natural Park on your doorstep.

The local cuisine of the town is centered around pork and there is a fascinating carnival in February where the traditional pork sausage filling is stuffed with eggs, bread, jamón and breast of turkey.

Easter Week is very important, the townsfolk presenting a religious theatrical epic, and other festivals which include the day of San Marcos (25th April) when the whole town heads for the countryside for a mass picnic.

The town hosts its main annual feria real in September around the 7th to 10th of the month. There is a candlelight procession through the town on the 8th September.

Great views, silvery green olive trees as far as the eye can see, some seriously steep little streets, an obligatory Moorish castle at its summit (and Baroque church alongside) … this is Iznájar, the little Andaluz village with its very own "inland sea". An island rising from the waters.

Holiday villas

Holiday villas near Iznajar

  • ZS 21 - Sleeps 6

    This bright and attractive villa has a glorious countryside location, as private as can be. It's also right in the centre of Andalucía making Granada, Sevilla, Córdoba and the coast all easy day trips. The pool is fabulous, so too the luxurious hydrotherapy jacuzzi alongside!

    from £1,300 to £1,600

  • ZM 26 - Sleeps 6

    A rustic farmhouse which has been renovated with care and skill, the location is superb, a paradise of silence amidst hills carpeted in olive trees. Sweeping views encompass the three provinces of Granada, Córdoba and Málaga. Everything is as it should be in a rural Andaluz cottage.

    from £780 to £1,080

  • ZS 23 - Sleeps 18 to 24

    Now a fabulous, interior-designed villa for a group of friends or family wishing to holiday together, this superbly restored olive mill is unique, a wonderful place to stay. In the heart of Andalucía, here you are perfectly placed to visit the great cities, beaches, mountains and ski slopes.

    from £3,700 to £4,800

  • ZM 19 - Sleeps 4 to 10

    A wonderful old flour mill lovingly renovated by the grandchildren of the last miller. The workings of the mill and bakery have been completely restored and the living quarters beautifully converted for comfortable, yet authentically traditional, quality holiday living.

    from £910 to £1,820

  • ZS 12 - Sleeps 8

    Set amongst rolling hills on the edge of the Subbética Natural Park, this attractive, Mediterranean-style villa is a great place for a relaxing holiday. It's also right in the centre of Andalucia, perfect for exploring its many treasures.

    from £1,040 to £1,430

  • ZS 15 - Sleeps 2

    Set amongst rolling hills on the edge of the Subbética Natural Park, this lovely little cottage is a fabulous holiday hideaway for a couple. Here you will enjoy sun, views and sunsets to the full. A great place just to relax, it's also an ideal base for exploring the treasures of Andalucía.

    from £520 to £570

  • ZM 30 - Sleeps 4 or 8

    A lovely old farmhouse set in rolling hills to the west of Granada. Furnished with antiques and old curios passed down through generations, it successfully recreates the authentic atmosphere of days gone by.

    from £650 to £1,220

  • ZS 22 - Sleeps 2

    This picturesque little village house, still rustic in style but very attractively refurbished, is in as traditional a pueblo as you will ever find. For a couple looking for a base in the heartland of Andalucía and a bit of genuine local lifestyle, this could be just the place.

    from £520 to £570

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