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  • Writer's pictureAmar Dhaliwal

Ubeda, Spain - February 2024

Ubeda was stop three on our Andalusian road trip (check out my trip reports for our previous stops in Malaga and Granada).


Ubeda (pronounced Ooh bee dar) is an example of what Renaissance urban planners regarded as the perfect town. The town’s heart is Plaza Vázquez de Molina, which is surrounded by civil and religious buildings built from 1530 to 1580, including the magnificent funeral chapel of El Salvador and the Vázquez de Molina Palace (today’s Town Hall).


With the many other churches, mansions, and palaces, Ubeda is the greatest ensemble of Renaissance architecture in Spain and one of the most important in Europe. It’s no surprise that it has a UNESCO World Heritage designation.





In February, Ubeda really did feel like a town shut down for winter. Many of the bars and restaurants were closed and the historic centre was quite deserted. However, the sun was still warm during the day and no crowds to contend with, made exploring the historic center a true delight.


Two days in Ubeda was the perfect amount of time to soak up its charms, take in the stunning architecture, and absorb the rich history that permeates every corner of this beautiful town.


If you're planning a trip to Granada or Cordoba, do yourself a favor and make the short trip to Ubeda (it is a 90 minute drive from Granada) – you won't be disappointed!


In the sections below, I have only listed places that I have personally visited.

 

Staying (prices are from February 2024)


Hotel Palacio de Úbeda 5GL (map) (C. Juan Pasquau, 2,)


  • Set in a lovely 16th century palace, just a five-minute walk from Plaza Vázquez de Molina, Hotel Palacio de Úbeda was an ‘interesting” place to stay.

  • We arrived by rental car and driving the extremely narrow streets of Ubeda was quite fretful. Luckily, we found a spot right in front of the hotel and took advantage of the valet parking. The check in was very welcoming.

  • Our room was enormous, and the furniture and décor best described as chintzy and dated. There was a giant bath tub out in the open (which is always a bit weird) but happily there was also a separate shower. The loo featured a 'Japanese style' toilet with all sorts of heating and spraying functions. Overall, not the 5-star experience the hotel likes to describe.

  • There are two things, however, that do make this hotel special and worthy of consideration - the rooftop pool and the underground thermal spa.

  • As it was February, the rooftop pool was not open but it’s easy to imagine what a great and unique spot this would be.




  • The underground thermal spa is amazing. We booked the Palace Ritual for two people (paying €55.00 per person). This package included a 55-minute circuit of the spa and a 25-minute massage to follow. The circuit (which you can wander through as you please) involves several areas with baths, tubs, and showers of water at different temperatures all of which lead you to an unexpectedly large and quite beautiful roman style bath area. You will be stunned!!

  • We paid €170.00 per night via Hotels.Com.

 

Eating (prices are from February 2024)

 

Cafetería Tapería el Mirador (map) (C. Baja del Salvador, 11, Bajo)

 

  • Stopped at this little cafeteria on our first afternoon in town. It’s just off the Plaza Vázquez de Molina and has lovely views over the countryside.

  • We sat outside in the February sun and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine along with some tapas of paella. For lunch we ordered a chorizo bocadillos (sandwich), a tortilla (omelette), and some chicken skewers.

  • The food and drinks were ok, and at €22.00 were also ok value for money. We found the service to be friendly but reading other reviews that does not seem to be a universal experience. We did engage in our best basic Spanish which might have made a difference.

  • R ecommended

 

Taberna La Tintorera (map) (C. Real, 27)

 

  • This was our favourite place to eat in Ubeda during our trip.

  • Taberna La Tintorera is a small restaurant and wine bar located on Calle Real. With around 20 covers it is a cozy and welcoming spot – especially on a dark February evening.

  • We ordered a couple of glasses of the Vidilla Verdejo and enjoyed them so much we then ordered a bottle!

  • For dinner we shared a tomato salad followed by wok vegetables and flamequin (pork and cheese roll).

  • The food was excellent, and dinner cost us €57.00. What made the meal a standout, however, was the lovely service. The proprietor, who also manages front of house, was charming and gracious. She made us feel welcome, and looked after, from the moment we walked through the door.

  • Highly recommended.

  




Taberna El Mercado (map) (Pl. Primero de Mayo, 31)

 

  • After a morning of walking from one Renaissance masterpiece to another, Taberna El Mercado was a lovely spot for lunch in the February sun.

  • Located in the picturesque Plaza de Mayo, this is a typical Spanish taberna – by which I mean welcoming, unpretentious, and good value for money.

  • As we ordered our drinks we were served some quite delicious paella as tapas. For lunch we ordered revuelto de setas (scrambled eggs with mushrooms) and patatas bravas – the server stopped us ordering more food!

  • Our lunch including a bottle of wine was at €32.00

  • Recommended.

 

 

Drinking (prices are from February 2024)


La Bodega de Úbeda (map) (C. Real, 19)


  • This is an old school bodega located on the Calle Real.

  • Having become fans of the bodega culture we just stopped in for a look and a quick drink.

  • Expect to pay around €3.00 for a glass of wine or sherry. They have, what seems to be a very local food menu, which we did not try on this occasion.

  • An authentic experience. Highly Recommended


La Cultural de Úbeda (map) (C. Real, 20)

  

  • La Cultural de Úbeda is a super interesting events and gastronomy space which includes a small theater for local productions.

  • There were no events going on while we were there, but it was one of the very few restaurants open on the Calle Real and was a bright and welcoming spot on a winter’s evening.

  • We sat the modern bar and enjoyed a glass of glass of wine and a Fino. There was a steady stream of customers coming in for a drink and for dinner. We did not eat here so unable to comment on the food, but the menu looked interesting and reasonable.

  • Expect to pay about €3.50  for a glass of wine or sherry. It’s funny how you remember random details, and here it was being served some very nice Manchego as tapas - which was made extra special by the olive oil drizzled on it by the server!

  • Highly Recommended


 

Doing (prices are from February 2024)


This is the easiest “doing” section of any of my trip reports (and a bit of a cheat!). All you need to do is pick up a tourist map and walk to each of the highlighted monuments – pop your head into as many as you have time for - but do make sure to visit the following:


  • Sacra Capilla del Salvador (€5.00 per person to visit) (map) (Pl. Vázquez de Molina)  

  • Church of San Pablo (€2.00 per person to visit – cash donation) (map) ( Pl. Primero de Mayo)

  • Hospital de Santiago (free to visit) (map) (Pl. Santiago)


Alfarería Tito (map) (Pl. Ayuntamiento, 12)

 

Ubeda is renowned for its centuries-old ceramics tradition, particularly the distinctive green-glaze, a technique influenced by Moorish craftsmanship. Alfarería Tito, is a ceramics workshop that has played a significant role in preserving and promoting this heritage and is an interesting place to visit.



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