A small piece of the Generalife in the Alhambra was seemingly plucked from Granada and gently placed in this sleepy town, a short distance inland from the Costa Tropical. But the Jardin Nazari, tucked away in the backstreets of Vélez de Benaudalla, is no Johnny-come-lately – it´s been here, in one form or another, since 1573 when it was first recorded in a survey of the area (the er…29 of January to be exact). In fact, at only 7000 sqm, it´s been dubbed Generalife Chico and is considered to be the second most important garden of its kind in Spain.
Originally it was an enclosed, probably simple, huerta (vegetable garden) with a house and mill. And what a beautiful spot it is, despite perched above a noisy main road which, itself, follows the course of our `local´river in Órgiva – the Rio Guadelfeo.
Water often features heavily in the best gardens, and this is no exception. The gush – or trickle – of water, via acequia and waterfall, is around every turn, keeping the gardens lush and full of vegetation including pristine rows of edible plants and herbs, orange and peach trees, jasmine and honeysuckle.
One of the highlights is the Vertical Garden; dank, dripping limestone caves of stalagmites and stalactites, illuminated by subtle lighting.
A few years ago the gardens were renovated to the tune of €2m and a hexagonal alberca, or pool, was uncovered, parts of which you can see today.
No one had ever mentioned this hidden gem to us and – just 25 minutes from Órgiva – it´s a great spot to relax and escape the summer heat for an hour or so – with a cooling shower thrown in should you visit the caves!
Hopefully our short film below reflects how serene the Jardin Nazari is. A tip: get there at 11am on opening and you could have the place to yourself (unless we´re there which means we´ll tut and glare at you).
Wednesday to Saturday: 11am to 1pm, 5pm to 7pm. Sunday: 11am to 1pm (€3 adult, kids over four €1.50). Tel: (+34) 958 65 80 11
To get there, head for the church in the centre of town, look to your right as if leaving the main door, follow the downhill street next to the town hall and look out for the signs. It´s a two-minute walk.
© con jamón spain