My Fabulous Andalusian Adventure (2) — Jaen

This is what yesterday was like. Let’s see what today brings!

Day 2, April 15— Madrid — Chinchon — Jaen — Granada — tapas — wine

Move your 100€ for the day from one pocket of your purse to the other. That’s your budget, stick to it!

Saturday started at 8:00 with hotel checkout and breakfast at Granier (5€ for lots of coffee and pastries), followed by picking up the car at Garajes Luna (5.5€/person). And off we went!

Chinchon (allow 1.5 hours)

46 km (30 miles), 45 minutes and 6€-worth-of-fuel later we arrived in Chinchón. There’s free parking on the street on Saturday, nice and easy.

What to see and do:

  • Plaza Mayor — a beautiful sunny square with 15th-17th century galleried houses, with nice cafes and very relaxed people. Have a coffee and, if you’re not the designated driver, try the Anís de Chinchón, a high-alcohol liqueur which the town is known for. (4€ if you treat yourself to both).
Plaza Mayor in Chinchon
Chinchon
  • Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción — it was Easter Saturday and it was closed when we got there, but if you get the chance, go in and see one of Goya’s early works. From the church square you have a magnificent view over the town and its medieval castle.
Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción and view of the town and castle

Jaen — world capital of olive oil (allow 3.5–4 hours)

300 km (200 miles), 3.5 hours and 25€ worth-of-fuel later we arrived in Jaen. As you get closer to Jaen all you can see are orchards of olive trees and even the air smells of olives.

We parked at Interparking Plaza de la Constitucion (1.5€/hour). Had lunch right across the street, at Cervecería Conde Duque. We had rice a la Jaen, seafood with peppers, wine and coke. Paella came as tapa, on the house, and since we ordered rice, we thought that was the main course. It wasn’t. We realised a main course in Spain has to be huge. Rice a la Jaen is the best rice ever. (10-12€ for food and drink/person)

What to see and do:

  • Plaza de la Constitucion — has a fountain dedicated to olive oil
Jaen — Plaza de la Constitucion
  • Jaen Cathedral — as most of the cathedrals in Andalusia, it was built atop the ruins of a mosque. It is representative for the Renaissance period in Southern Spain, its construction started in 1249, 3 years after Jaen was conquered from the moors during the Spanish Reconquista. A magnificent sculpture of king Fernando III de Castilla, the conqueror of Jaen, can be seen above the entrance. Go in and visit the Cathedral, entrance is free and a visit to the Sacristy, Chapter House and permanent Religious Art Exhibition costs 3€ with audio guide. One thing that might be of interest are the Vaídas vaults, a special type of Gothic vault that can be seen here.
Jaen Cathedral
Statue of Fernando III de Castilla, Jaen’s conqueror during the Spanish Reconquista
Jaen Cathedral seen from Santa Catalina Castle
  • Jaen Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) is right opposite the Cathedral, you can’t miss it.
Jaen Town-hall
  • Walk towards the Arab Baths and treat yourself to some pestinos — delicious pastry from Jaen (1€ for two pieces). Any pastry shop in Jaen has them. They go well with coffee.
  • Baños Árabes (Palacio de Villardompardo) — The Arab Baths in Jaen are the largest Arab baths preserved in Spain. They are under the Villardompardo Palace and can be visited for free. The baths were built in the 11th century after the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba and were renovated one century later. After Fernando III’s victory of 1246 and until late 15th century, they continued to be used as baths. Today they are significant remnants of the Moorish era of Andalusia. The Villardompardo Palace was built in the 16th century and is worth a visit. You can see a mix of architectural styles and an exhibition on Spain during the Renaissance period, as well as utensils and tools used for producing … olive oil.
Arab Baths of Jaen
Villardompardo Palace

We went back to the parking garage to get the car and continued our visit with Castillo de Santa Catalina. Drive all the way up to the castle, follow the signs and mind the pedestrians. Free parking.

  • Castillo de Santa Catalina — a Moorish fortress built in the 8th century by the same Nasrid king that built the Alhambra. It had the same fate as all Moorish fortresses — was transformed after the Reconquista. We hiked to the cross that offers an incredible view over Sierra Morena mountains, the Guadalquivir valley, with the city of Jaen, and as many olive trees as you can see.
My sister, Catalina, at Castillo de Santa Catalina. View of the Guadalquivir valley, Jaen and Sierra Morena
View of the Guadalquivir valley, Jaen and Sierra Morena
Me, mountains, olive trees, Jaen

Granada

We left Jaen and 94 km (60 miles), 1.5 hours, and 8€ worth-of-fuel later we arrived in Granada.

I had booked the hotel in Granada back in January for 26€/night/double room — Hostal Bocanegra. Basic hotel room with a rather small bathroom, clean, good location close to the Alhambra. Here we had some issues — no parking, even if on booking.com they advertised with parking. No big deal, but I didn’t understand why they lied. Plus, they charged us 10€ for late check-in. That was annoying because it hadn’t been mentioned on booking.com. I parked at Parking Publico Escolapios (see map), for 20€/24hours. All good.

We had dinner and wine at Kiosko Las Titas, right by the river, in the middle of a nice park, very close to the hotel. Great tapas, jamon and lots of wine for 15€.

Tapas and Wine at Las Titas, Granada

Summary of day two (Madrid — Chinchon — Jaen — Granada)

Costs:

  • Parking (Madrid, Jaen, Granada): 28€
  • Food and drinks: 37€
  • Fuel: 20€
  • Entrance tickets: 3€
  • Hotel late check-in: 5€

93€. 7€ under budget :-)

Map:

If you want to learn more:

Love the World!

… to be continued!