This was my first visit to ORCE. An easy drive from Granada along the A92, following the Galera signs, ORCE is straightforward to find. Park up on the edge of the town and stroll through the squares, the tree lined walkways and the meandering back streets.
ORCE is one of the most important paleontological sites in Europe and Asia. The museum houses a tooth from a ten year old boy said to be the first evidence on humans in the area and dated from over 1 million years ago.
There are also remains of MAMMOTH, LARGE DEER and SABER TOOTH TIGERS that roamed the flatlands of the ALTIPLANO along the shores of a huge lake, which has since disappeared.
The museum is housed in the Palacio de los Segura, which is also the location of the tourist information office. The palace itself is a beautiful example of a rural baroque building from the 16th century, owned by the Segura family who bred rare sheep. The lamb in this area is renowned as a delicacy and there are many lovely restaurants where you can sample it to this day.
Begin your walk at the Plaza Nueva, where you will find the town hall and the palacio de los Belmonte-segura that dates from the 18th century.
Within easy walking distance there is the church, IGLESIA DE SANTA MARIA and the magnificent CASTILLO de las siete Torres, (Castle of the seven towers) a fortification dating back to the 11th century and which hosts concerts on a regular basis.
Heading out of town, follow the Fuencaliente signs to find the open air swimming pool. This is a rarity in Andalucía in that it is open all year round (most pools only open July and August). It is free access and is fed by hot springs, keeping the water at a constant 19ºc all year round.
Well worth a visit, ORCE is a beautiful town, unspoilt and typically Spanish yet with many lovely buildings, areas of interest and plenty of bars and restaurants to while away the afternoon in.
For information on Cultural activities throughout the year, take a look at the Orce website.