Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting?…
If there’s one Spanish institution that needs absolutely no introduction, it’s Flamenco. Perhaps paella, bullfighting, tapas or Rioja wine would yield higher scores in a round of Family Fortunes when attempting to guess Spain’s most immediate subtexts, but Flamenco would certainly be in there somewhere.
What is Flamenco?
It is considered less a genre of music and more an artform in southern Spain. A typical Flamenco performance is made up of four elements: cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dancing) and jaleo (vocalisations and rhythmic clapping). The structure of each song is usually determined by its palo – the specific Flamenco style, according to rhythm and geographical origin among other criteria. Some palos are sung without a guitar; others are danced while others aren’t. However, both Flamenco artists and enthusiasts would probably argue that the key components to any Flamenco recital are spontaneity and individual interpretation of the performers.
Origin, Transcendence & Meaning
Flamenco, as it’s known today, goes back at least 200 years, shaping the cultural perspective of many a Spaniard along the way. However, it isn’t necessarily as central to the lives of ‘Spaniards’, on a national scale, as, say, the pub is among the British. Only in the southern regions of Andalucia, Extremadura and Murcia is Flamenco sometimes considered the holy grail of music and dance.
It’s this undying and moderately provincial passion that characterises Flamenco down to its core. From its 18th century roots in gitano pueblos through to modern day arena-sized performances, the enthusiasm for practicing and watching Flamenco has always remained as fierce. You only have to wander into a busy Flamenco bar to observe its significance and steely staying power. Children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents crowd around the small ensembles and will strain their necks to watch the magic unfold.
Flamenco Shows & Peñas
There is ample opportunity to see Flamenco in Andalucia, but before you do it’s well worth understanding the difference between a Flamenco show and a peña.
Flamenco shows are often better-planned and promoted events and are thus more expensive to attend. They are quite spectacular and can generally be relied upon to see the best-known Flamenco artists. Locals, though, will likely tell you that the real Flamenco is to be found in the peñas.
To be in with a chance of seeing Flamenco at a peña, which roughly translates as a member’s club, you have to read the newspaper; look out for cheap flyers taped to lampposts; talk to locals; generally keep your eyes peeled and ears pricked in bars and cafés, as they are often impromptu in nature. Inside, the walls are bedecked with Flamenco photos, portraits and general memorabilia – it’s clear from the moment you walk in that the patrons live and breathe the music. Performers are not professional, rather people with regular day jobs with an insatiable passion for Flamenco. Generally speaking, anyone can play if they’d like – the principle is akin to a jamming session – though the standard of singing, dancing and guitar playing tends to be very high, despite the performers only being ‘amateur’.
Where to Go
People will pay large amounts of money and queue for unseasonably long periods of time to get a seat at a top Flamenco show or peña. However, in Andalucia, and particularly in major cities like Seville and Granada, you don’t usually have to try hard to find and get into an authentic Flamenco performance in a busy bar.
Unlike other live, acoustic music shows the audience are not required to remain completely silent as songs are played out; singing and clapping along is encouraged, as are cries of approval and encouragement, usually in the form of an ‘ole!’ or a ‘jale!’
Hundreds of shows and peñas take place across Andalucia every month, so it would, frankly, be near-impossible to list all (or even most) of them here. Instead we have picked out a few noteworthy examples of where to see Flamenco in Andalucia.
Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez is popularly regarded as la cuña – the birthplace – of Flamenco in Spain. It boasts the Andalucian Centre of Flamenco for a start, so there is probably a good chance that it all started there, and many of the most famous Flamenco artists come from Jerez, such as Lola Flores or José Mercé. In any case, Flamenco is to Jerez like cheese-rolling is to Gloucestershire. If passing through, and you’d like to catch a show or peña, head to:
Bars & Tablaos
Puro Arte, Tablao Flamenco (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Conocedores, 28; Tel: +34 647 743 832; (puroarteflamencojerez.com)
Tabanco el Guitarrón de San Pedro (Flamenco Thursday night, Saturday afternoon, Sunday night.)
Details: Calle Bizcocheros, 16; Tel: +34 649 65 69 18; (Facebook Page)
Tablao del Bereber (Flamenco on Friday.)
Details: Calle de las Cabezas, 8-10; Tel: +34 605 94 75 77
Tabanco El Pasaje. (From Thursdays to Sunday.)
Details: Calle Sta. María, 8; Tel: 956 33 33 59; (tabancoelpasaje.com)
La Guarida del Angel
Details: Calle Porvenir, 1; Tel: +34 615 60 12 23; (Facebook Page)
Peña Flamenca Los Cernícalos
Details: Calle de Sancho Vizcaíno, 25; Tel: +34 956 33 38 71; (flamencodejerez.com)
Peña Flamenca Buena Gente
Details: Calle Ánimas de San Lucas, 9; Tel: +34 956 33 84 04; (Facebook Page)
Peña de la Buleria
Details: Calle Empedrada, 20; Tel: +34 856053772; (Facebook Page)
The Flamenco festival in Jerez is held during the last week of February and first week of March (Jerez.es). This is when the big names come out to play and the best classes are held. To attend a class, you must book in advance in September when tickets go on sale (yes, it’s that popular!)
Since Seville is a much larger city than Jerez, there are, unsurprisingly, many more Flamenco bars and peñas to be found. However, Flamenco isn’t quite as popular as the livelier and crowd-galvanising Sevillanas, which dominates Seville’s renowned Feria in Spring.
Bars & Tablaos
Tablao Flamenco El Arenal (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Rodo, 7; Tel: +34 954 216 492; (tablaoelarenal.com)
La Carbonería (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Levíes, 18; Tel: +34 954 56 37 49
T de Triana (Flamenco on Tuesday, Thursday.)
Details: Calle Betis, 20; Tel: +34 95 43 31 203; (Facebook Page)
Casa de la Memoria (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Cuna, 6; Tel: +34 954 560 670; (casadelamemoria.es)
Tablao Álvarez Quintero (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Álvarez Quintero, 48; Tel: +34 605 13 01 30; (tablaoalvarezquintero.com)
Torres Macarena (Flamenco on Wednesday night.)
Calle Torrijiano, 29; Tel: +34 954372384; (torresmacarena.com)
Niño de la Alfalfa (Flamenco Friday night.)
Details: Calle Castellar 52 Acc C; Tel: +34 619038562; (Facebook Page)
Amigos de Manuel Mairena (Flamenco Tuesday to Sunday.)
Details: Calle Guillén de Castro, 26; Tel: +34 686947804; (Facebook Page)
To be absolutely sure of catching a show, go in Autumn when the Peñas de Guardia take place, featuring talent young and old. If you go in Spring during Feria, the standard will be very high but many of the tents with best shows are often ‘guest list only’.
Flamenco flows liberally through the veins of Granada’s music scene, and can be traced back as far as the 1700s when gitanos – gypsies – first arrived on the scene. The musical culture in the city was already rich in flavour but the gitanos brought with them their own enchanting artform, which combined with Andaluz styles to create Flamenco as it is known today. It is the gypsies who have preserved Flamenco throughout the years. The barrio of Sacromonte is still home to many people of this origin and this is where the best, most authentic Flamenco – gitano style – in Granada takes place. However, Flamenco can be found all over the city, more predominantly in El Albaicin.
Bars & Tablaos
El Tabanco del Tio Gregorio (Flamenco on most Thursday and Friday nights)
Details: Cuesta de San Gregorio 24, Granada, Spain 18010; Tel. 662 13 70 46; (Facebook Page)
Eshavira (Flamenco on Thursday-Saturday nights)
Details: Calle Postigo de la Cuna, 2, Granada, Spain 18010; Tel. 958 29 08 29; (Facebook Page)
Tablao Flamenco Jardines de Zoraya (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Panaderos, 32; Tel: +34 958 20 62 66; (jardinesdezoraya.com)
Cuevas los Tarantos (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Camino del Sacromonte, 9; Tel: +34 958 22 45 25; (cuevaslostarantos.com)
Venta El Gallo Restaurant (Flamenco most nights.)
Details: Barranco de los Negros, 5; Tel: +34 958 22 84 76; (ventaelgallo.es)
El Templo del Flamenco (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Pernaleros Alto, 41; Tel: +34 622 50 00 52; (templodelflamenco.com)
Cueva La Rocio (Flamenco most nights.)
Camino Sacromonte, 70; Tel: +34 958 22 71 29; (cuevalarocio.es)
Peña La Platería (Flamenco every Thursday.)
Details: Placeta de Toqueros, 7; Tel: +34 958 21 06 50; (laplateria.org.es)
Sala Vimaambi (Flamenco Thursday-Saturday.)
Details: Cuesta de San Gregorio, 30 Granada; Tel: +34 958 22 73 34; (vimaambi.com)
Soniquete (Flamenco Fridays and Saturdays.)
Details: Carrera del Darro, 51; Tel: +34 639 69 20 41
There is no particular time of year when Flamenco is best in Granada. All through the year you can find high-quality shows being advertised around the busier areas of the city, in Plaza Nueva or along Carretera del Darro, for example. Entry fees are usually between 6-15 euros.
While Malaga might be better known for its large amount of upscale places to eat, and trendy bars and clubs, there’s much in the way of authentic Flamenco, too. All around Malaga province there are peñas hidden away in small towns and villages. The best thing about them is that many of them do not want to be found, although if they are, then customers are always welcomed with open arms. The higlight of the Malaga Flamenco calendar is the Bienal de Arte Flamenco which comes to town at the end of the summer every year.
Bars & Tablaos
Liceo (Flamenco Thursday-Saturday night. Reservations are required.)
Details: Calle Beatas, 21; Tel: 625 55 70 12; (liceoflamenco.com)
Bienal de Flamenco (Month-long festival held every September. Shows in participating bars.)
Restaurant Tipi Tapa (Flamenco Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.)
Details: Calle Málaga, 4, 29640 Fuengirola; Tel: +34 951 31 16 30; (flamencotickets.com)
Kelipé Centro de Arte Flamenco (Flamenco Friday and Saturday from 9:15pm to 10:30pm. Reservations recommended.)
Details: Calle Caldereria, 6; Tel: 692 82 98 85; (kelipe.net)
Sala Chela Mar (Flamenco every Sunday.)
Details: Calle Vendeja, 30; Tel: 951 25 63 92; (Facebook Page)
Peña Flamenca Fosforito
Details: Arenisca 12, Santa Cristina; Tel: 952 35 11 15
Peña Flamenca Juan Breva
Details: Calle Ramón Franquelo 4; Tel: 952 21 08 76; (Malagaturismo.com)
Elsewhere in Malaga Province
Flamenco in Andalucia is by no means limited to the big cities, though. The towns of Malaga Province alone are home to several great, authentic places to catch the real deal. Here are just a couple we can particularly recommend:
Peña Flamenca Niño de Vélez, Vélez-Málaga
Vélez-Málaga isn’t the most conspicuously ‘luxe’ of towns. But what it lacks in airs and graces, it more than makes up for in a serious Flamenco scene. Spearheaded by the tireless Flamenco Abierto Axarquia, the town has undergone a Flamenco revolution in the past year or so and has seen great artists like Diego Carrasco & Family, Jorge Pardo, El Pele, José Valencia and Raquel ‘La Repompilla’ Heredia perform.
Details: Calle Tejeda, 10, Vélez-Málaga; Tel: 606 510 329; (Flamencoabierto.com)
El Burro Blanco, Nerja
Nerja’s long-standing tablao is, on the surface of it, a fun, lively place to have a drink and watch some tourist-friendly Flamenco. Don’t be fooled, though: on weekends, things get underway late and you can catch some of the best performers in the area strutting their stuff.
Details: 3 Calle de la Gloria, Nerja, 29780; Tel. 615 15 39 61; (Facebook Page)
As well as regular shows and peña performances, various espectáculos take place throughout Andalucia, especially over the summer months. These ‘spectacles’ can be more theatrical and friendly to the casual observer than ordinary shows. The Alhambra Palace in Granada, for instance, generally hosts events in the past, as has the otherworldly Cuevas de Nerja (Malaga) – a large, stalactite-laden, underground cavern with an installed Flamenco stage at its core. Now that’s pretty spectacular.
In southern Spain and looking to see some authentic Flamenco? Speak to our concierge and let them find – and book – you the very best.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78708 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_content] => Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting? Perhaps the best part of all is just how easy it is to get to...
Where is Marbella?First things first, though. Where is it? Marbella is in southern Spain - in the province of Malaga in the Andalucia region, to be exact - on a stretch of coast called the Costa del Sol. Here's a map of Marbella to help you get your bearings:
Where Do You Fly to?It depends on from where you're flying in. The nearest international airport to Marbella is Malaga. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (Aena.es) is 51km away and an easy 40-minute car/taxi ride. Virtually all the major airlines fly there direct from the UK and from across northern Europe. The next closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar (Gibraltarairport.gi), which is just over an hour's drive away. British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch all fly direct from the UK to Gibraltar.
From the USIf you’re flying into Spain from the USA you'll probably have to travel to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Aena.es). From there you'll have to either fly, take the fast speed AVE train (Renfe.com) or drive to Malaga and transfer from there to Marbella. The most convenient way to get to Marbella from Madrid is by the fast speed train taking just 2.5hrs or by flying taking only 1 hour and 15 mins.
how to get there from malaga airport
By CarThe best way to get from Malaga to Marbella is to drive. And if you're on holiday that probably means you're going to need to hire a car. As with almost all international airports, Malaga has a frankly baffling array of different car hire options to pick through. To avoid the scrum of the departures lounge, jump on the complimentary minibus to the offices of Niza, Helle Hollis or Enterprise situated a mere minute outside of the terminal. Inside the terminal you can find Sixt, Hertz and Europcar. If you're unsure of which company to use, click the following link. For a more luxury car hire service we'd recommend Sixt (Sixt.com). They're friendly, totally professional, trustworthy and have a range of high-end rental options, from BMWs, Audis and Porsches to Mercedes and Range Rovers - and even automatics. If you're travelling in a large group, they also have 8-12 seater self-drive minibuses available for hire. Of course if you're looking for ease, our Concierge can make the reservation for you to be dropped directly off at the villa. A car of your choice can be delivered to your villa. Once you've picked up your car/minibus hire, driving from Malaga airport to Marbella could hardly be easier. Directions from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport are as follows:
- Leave the airport and head southeast onto N-348
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on N-348
- Take the Torremolinos ramp to N-340/Cádiz
- Merge onto Avenida de Velázquez/N-340/MA-21
- Take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmadena/Algeciras. Merge onto AP-7
- Pass Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola
- Take exit 184 towards Marbella/Casco Antiguo/Avenida del Trapiche
By TaxiFor sheer ease, you can’t beat jumping in a taxi. A taxi rank is situated outside the arrivals sidewalk of Terminal T3, level 0. It's best to ask the driver, beforehand, how much a taxi is from Malaga to Marbella to ensure they don’t overcharge you. There are two transfer prices, and these are dependent on both times of the day and the day of the week. Transfer Price Band 1 is weekdays from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. Transfer Price Band 2 is weekdays from 22.00 to 06.00 hrs, all day Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, the August Feria and Holy Week. Band 2 transfer time is more expensive than Band 1. Alternatively, you can pre-order a taxi at Malaga Airport Taxi (Malagaairporttaxi.net) and get a price when booking. The transfer time from Malaga Airport to Marbella takes around an hour, in a taxi.
Other Ways to Get to Marbella
- By bus: It is possible to take a bus (Alsa.com) from Malaga airport to Marbella. But it's a whole lot less convenient than driving via hire car or private transfer.
- By train: There isn’t a train connection from Malaga airport to Marbella.
Distances - how far is marbella from...
- Malaga (city): 61km away and 46 minutes' drive.
- Granada: 187km and just over 2 hours' drive.
- Seville: 258km and 2 hours 45 minutes' drive.
- Gibraltar: 78km and 1 hour 2 minutes' drive.
- Madrid: 584 km and 5 hours 45 minutes' drive.
A Bit of HistoryThe land previously belonged to the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, who it is said, used the estate as his party house and hunting grounds. The property and land went up for sale and a group of Spanish property developers bought it and put plans together to create a playground for the rich and famous in Marbella. Each villa is unique, with their own styles depending on the specifications of the owner.
Location & Getting There
So where is La Zagaleta?The large estate sits in Malaga province in the south of Andalucia. It’s in the foothills of the Ronda Mountains just 25 minutes from Marbella, 18 minutes from Nuevo Andalucia and the nearest beach. It's 20 minutes from the village of Benahavis, 40 minutes from Sotogrande port, 50 minutes from Ronda, 55 minutes from Malaga airport and just over an hour from Gibraltar airport. La Zagaleta is very easily accessed by car or helicopter. There's heavy security surrounding the estate and entrance is on prior permission only.
What Else is in La Zagaleta?It’s worth noting that all the facilities in La Zagaleta are for exclusive use to villa owners only; they pay an enormous service charge to be allowed to use the facilities.
Golf CourseLa Zagaleta golf club is only open to villa owners and their guests. They have exclusive access to two of the Costa del Sol's best private golf courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. La Zagaleta golf course - known as the Old Course - is to championship standard with 18 holes, Par 72 over a distance of 4800 - 6000 yards. Designed by renowned golf architect Brad Benz in 1991 and redesigned by Marc Westenborg in 2016, it’s a rewarding course with fantastic views to the coast and flanked by mountains. The New Course, Los Barrancos, is very different to the Old Course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, Par 70 with lots of obstacles over a distance of 4356 – 5381 yards.
The ClubhousesThe hub of the estate is the spectacular Old Clubhouse, or La Zagaleta country club. Measuring 5,100m² it has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, billiards, bowling alley, tennis courts, gourmet food supermarket, pro-golf shop and restaurants (see below). There's also a nightclub, bars and events space where there’s a full schedule of experiences and parties planned. The New Clubhouse is a thatched lakeside venue. A lot smaller than the Old Clubhouse, it's still just as popular with La Zagaleta residents for events or having a quick drink in the bar.
Horse RidingLa Zagaleta is home to some beautiful stables with indoor and outdoor schooling arenas. Horses can either be kept on a full livery basis, or horses and ponies can be hired for lessons or hacks. ‘The Riding Club’ equestrian centre has a team of instructors and well-schooled horses for all levels of rider including Arab, PRE and, for the children, Farabella horses and Welsh ponies.
RestaurantsWhy leave the comfort of a beautiful villa when you can enjoy a top-quality meal at home? At La Zagaleta there are Michelin starred chefs available for in-house dining throughout the estate. However, for owners the clubhouse has two restaurants: the formal dining Old Course Restaurant; and a terrace bar restaurant that's ideal for light bites and brunches.
Famous ResidentsThere is private security throughout the whole of La Zagaleta - so know one really know who lives or owns houses there. It’s a place where the super-rich and famous go to be away from the limelight. However, it is said that Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Vladimir Putin all have house in La Zagaleta.
What to Do NearbyWhen staying in La Zagaleta, the houses are so special that it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the estate. However, if you do want to see more of the area, here's our pick of easily accessible and great day trips:
- Ronda: historic, boutique wineries and ab-so-lutely beautiful.
- Benahavis village: a great option for restaurants; have a lunch or dinner in this pretty village.
- Granada: a romantic inland city and home to the Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malaga: the birthplace of Picasso with a fort, palace and Roman amphitheatre.
- Cordoba: historic city with a stunning mosque-church at its centre.
- Sevilla: one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Sotogrande: a lovely port, wake boarding lake and polo hub.