The village of Colmenar
Just 6km away, the village of Colmenar is a lively working village with a population of about 3,500. You can pretty much buy everything in Colmenar with a myriad of small shops including mini-supermarkets, bakers, butcher, fishmongers and greengrocers. Every Thursday morning there is street market with a somewhat eclectic mix of stalls.
The village also has a range of bars and restaurants, including El Olivo, Meson Pilar, Taberna de Flores, Hotel Balcon de Los Montes and Bar Los Pepes.
Important basics: hypermarkets/petrol/pharmacy/heath centre
Colmenar has a pharmacy and also a 24 hour health centre. There is a petrol station too. The easiest hypermarket is at the El Ingenio Shopping Centre in Velez Malaga 40km away - an easy (and attractive) 40 minute drive. As well as the hypermarket, the centre has a range of well known shops such as Dunnes Stores, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Mango and Springfield.
The nearest beach is at Torre del Mar a quiet attractive resort with a newly created garden promenade.
A 30 minute drive away from Casa Carrasco (in the opposite direction to Colmenar) takes you to the mountain-top village of Comares. It's stunning location, seemingy perched on top of a mountain, the village still retains it's Arabic mediaeval street pattern with winding alleys of whitewashed traditional houses. Comares is a great place to visit for a wander and then lunch.
The village of Riogordo sits in a valley just a short 15 munite drive from Colmenar and is equal in size and also has a wide variety of little shops, bars and restaurants. There is also the fascinating Museo Etnográfico - a museum housed in a tradtional 17th Century house which remains little changed in over 300 years. It has a (still working) olive press powered by donkey, bread bakery and house with rustic antique furniture, as well as an art gallery with changing exhibitions. It can be found at 14, Calle Inglesia and is open Thursday morning and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings and also in the evening from 4 to 8 pm.
Montes de Málaga Natural Park
The nearest designated natural park to Colmenar it lies adjacent to the old road to Malaga (the A7000). It is a beautiful road, winding through thick pine forests with occational glimpses of the Mediterranean and the city of Malaga. On the road are a number of Ventas - traditional roadside inns and a good place to eat particularly at the weekends. The Venta Pinar is the first on the road from Colmenar and serves pretty good traditional mountain food. Our favourite is the one at Fuente de La Reina.
For walking, the park has a great network on good paths through the pine forests. Just behind Venta Pinar is a beautiful trail but further on it is worth heading to the Ecomuseo Los Torrijos (the road down to it is on the right a few hundred metres past the Venta Galway). The museum is in a cortijo with wine press, olive press and history of the park. A number of trails lead off from the museum and there is a large delightful picnic area with benches.