Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
For one of the least known provinces of Andalucia, Jaén pronounced (hi-en) boasts three Paradors, second in number only to the Province of Málaga with five Paradors.
Its famous sisters of Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla have only one Parador each within their city and Province limits.
Jaén has the largest population of olive trees- which of course make it Spain’s main producer of olive oil - and the largest national park in Spain within its boundaries.
Making its name known in recent years by the influx of English buyers seeking cheaper prices and “real” Spain. Jaen the city and province has much to offer for visitors, whether you like monuments, gastronomy or natural spaces it has them all and where better to stay than one of its three Paradors – why not all three? Cut down on the driving and spend at least one night in each.
Although at most there is 60 km between them, the roads especially in the natural park are slow ponderous ones, so stay at each destination and get the most out of each one with the least amount of time in the car.
Jaen Parador –Castillo de Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is both the castle and the elongated hill keeping watch over the city with a 360º view. Built on the site of an Arab fortress, the impressive exterior which remains in the drawing room with awe-inspiring arches 20 metres high.
Climb the long winding hill between pine covered slopes and hairpin bends to be greeted at the entry gate with waving flags, parking is ample and easy and the views will delay your entrance to your castle. A stylish design mimicking the original it has narrow corridors mighty wooden doors and even a knight in armour to encourage sweet dreams.
Cazorla Parador- El Adelantado
Your next stay should be Cazorla, after the city lights a breath of peace, located in the heart of the nature reserve a glorious hideaway. Nestled in gentle slopes of rock and pines, the silence is all invading, glorious fresh air and plenty of walking to build up an appetitie for the local fish and game as well as the local dishes “pisto” fried vegetables or “pipirrana” (mixed salad) and not as we know it!
As well as the national park Cazorla town is well worth a visit.
The Parador is a new and uninspiring building but its plush interior, great food and beautiful location more than make up for the lack of elegance in its structure.
Ubeda Parador – Condestable Davalos
After several days of tranquilty and indulgence its again to a city but not the crowds, the splendid World heritage town of Ubeda. Ignore the modern and ugly outskirts and head for the “zona monumental” and there in the heart of Plaza Vázquez, the main square, which consists almost entirely of stunningly preserved 15th and 16th century monuments is your stopping place. The Parador de Ubeda, also called Parador Condestable Dávalos, a 16th century palace, has to be one of Spains finest Paradors. Gloriously renovated it has a most gorgeous inner courtyard, there can be no nicer repose than a cold beer in such fine surroundings. A floor length dress complete with bustle would be in keeping in this stylish abode.
Parador de Ubeda