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Álora

Álora is a traditional Andalucian town with steep and narrow streets lined with orange trees, white-washed town-houses, plenty of tapas bars and restaurants where you can eat well at very reasonable prices and some fabulous historical architecture and pretty plazas and fountains.

There is an ancient seventeenth century Church (de La Encarnación) which was built during the Catholic era of rule on the site of a former mosque.

The town is overlooked by the ruins of a magnificent castle which was built by the Phoenicians and subsequently developed under the Romans. The castle was almost destroyed by the Visigoths in the fifth century but was rebuilt by the Moors. It is worth a steep walk or drive up the narrow climb to see the ruins.

There are also good-sized supermarkets here if you are self-catering and want to stock up on groceries.

The Convent of the Virgen de las Flores

A building of religious, historical and architectural interest, the church of the convent of the Virgen de las Flores (Virgin of Flowers), sits on the road about two miles out of Álora and between Álora and Carratraca. The building dates back to the 16th century.

Every year in September there is a "Virgen de las Flores Romeria" (procession) which includes a colourful string of floats, horses, carts and pilgrims on foot. This is a fantastic experience if you can time your trip to coincide with it: the sheer numbers of people and horses, the horsemanship on display and the colour and excitement make it worth the effort. The celebration is in honour of the virgin, who is the patron of the town.

There are fantastic views across the valleys and surrounding landscape from the convent.