Hotel Castillo de Monda
Hotel Castillo de Monda is a castle dating back to the eighth century. Some remaining details attest to the ancient history of the building. The hotel sits on top of a mountain. Tucked away in the village of Monda in the province of Malaga, in southern Spain.
The castle has been refurbished several times, transforming it into the present building with 27 bedrooms. Tucked into nooks and crannies, you find terraces, terracotta floors, antique furniture and a saltwater pool. Guests have sweeping views from every corner of the estate.
A weekend getaway
This castle hotel is an ideal place for a weekend with friends. On our program: wine by the fireplace, good food, sharing joys and sorrows of the past six months and of course a hike in the surrounding mountains. We are in the national park Sierra de las Nieves in a nature reserve.
Luckily, it’s continuously raining during our stay, so we cancel the hike in favour of more wine. If we had planned this visit in more detail, we could also have included a massage and a beauty treatment at the indoor wellness centre.
But you know, wine and fire …
My room is located in one of the two towers of the castle—an actual tower by myself, like in a fairy tale. The room’s decor is simple: a carpet, beds, antique wardrobe and a small sitting area. There are no royal frills, but the rooms have modern conveniences like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and running water.
The luxurious details are in the large, fluffy towels and comfortable mattresses. No television. I would not have noticed (because wine) if it were not for the manager expressly pointing this out, as the hotel is moving away from old push info to on-demand television.
Bed & Breakfast
The only thing lacking in my fairy tale is a fierce dragon guarding me in my tower and a handsome prince to rescue me from the dragon’s claws. In the absence of a prince, I exit the room and start the day with breakfast in the restaurant. Several page boys and girls of British, Spanish and Dutch descent serve me at my beck and call. Lack of experience is more than compensated for with friendliness.
Restaurant Castillo de Monda
One can eat three meals a day at the restaurant, starting with a breakfast buffet, including fresh fruit, cereals, croissants, yoghurt and scrambled eggs. For lunch and dinner, food is à la carte, several daily specialities and (if requested in advance) vegan meals.
Wines are available in varying qualities, ranging from affordable to ridiculously expensive. The menu has an international flavour, with a price level that is relatively high for Malaga. For example, Vitello tonnato with a twist costs (starter) costs 11 euros, six oysters 15 euro, duck 23 euros, apple pie eight and a plate of tapas for two is 27 euros.
Monda, a pueblo blanco in southern Spain
But to arrive at the fairytale castle, one has to put in a considerable effort. Starting with surviving the Monda trap, which is strictly reserved for the most competent drivers. The village of Monda is a pueblo blanco, a typical white village in Andalusia. These types of towns are, in fact, solely built to trap tourists in a network of ever closer tapered steep mountain roads.
When entering the village, everything seems quite normal. When you realize that the roads are getting narrower as you progress, your chance to escape is gone. The only way out is back through a steep turn upward or forward through a bend – once designed with a donkey cart the size of a smart car in mind. The already narrow streets are blocked by local vehicles with flashing lights indicating that the owner has breakfast /sits on the toilet, or has more pressing things to do.
Ignore the GPS
One does not have to take the narrowest streets to reach the castle. Still, suppose you, like me against my better judgment, trust the (TomTom or Garmin) navigation system. In that case, you will inevitably end up there. Google Maps is probably a better choice of navigation. As the icing on the cake, there will always be that concrete path with hairpin bends to reach the castle.
Activities near Monda
- From Monda, you reach the coast in half an hour. Both Marbella and Puerto Banus are excellent locations to spot Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Jaguars in their natural habitat. The Porsche Cayenne has the status of a house sparrow in this part of the world. To see Ferraris, you probably need to enrol in a night safari. Rolls-Royce appears to be an endangered species.
- Take a guided bicycle tour through the coastal town of Marbella.
- Take a tour of Ronda. Stroll around the streets of the old town in Setenil de las Bodegas and Discover Ronda with a complete panoramic tour.
- There is the spectacular Caminito del Rey for hikers, or if you prefer to stay nearby, this circular hike in the Sierra de las Nieves will take you four hours.
- Discover the provincial capital Malaga.
Cycling along the ‘Vías Verdes’, the Spanish abandoned railways, is a fantastic way to explore the Spanish interior.
Valencia is an iconic Spanish city, known for its famous landmarks, food and ‘Las Fallas’, with a sunny climate and nearby beaches, wetlands and mountains.
Sendero el Saltillo also referred to as the Caminito del Rey of the Axarquia is a sensational hike ending at a canyon with a series of waterfalls.
Step by step guide how to get to Madrid Barajas airport in time by train via Atocha, using the AVE and short distance train C1.
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