Sandra O'Connell


CAPPADOCIA MAY have cornered the market in troglodyte tourism but in the little town of Guadix, in Andalucia, Spain, half the population live in caves and there is plenty of opportunity for visitors to do likewise.

Guadix sits between Almeria and Granada and is worth a visit for its atmospheric streets and cathedral spires.

But it is the southern side of the town that is most fascinating. In the well sign-posted Barrio Troglodyte, locals live in cave houses, just as they have for centuries, and travellers looking to go to ground for a night can stay too.

Options include the Cuevas Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, an apart-hotel development of 23 caves laid out in doubles, quadruples and even units capable of accommodating parties of eight, as well as one adapted for disabled guests.

The caves are right next to the Barrio train station and were previously the homes of railway workers. Now with a hotel style reception, pool, and laundry facilities, it opened to the public in 1995.

In the nearby village of La Calahorra, the Hotel Cuevas del Zenete has 11 one- and two-bedroom caves. While temperatures in them remain constant at 18 degrees all year round, each has its own fireplace so you can watch the shadows on the cave wall, Plato style.

There’s plenty to see outside too, with three national parks within striking distance of Guadix and great hiking along local trails that have more than 250 dolmens. The joys of Granada, including the Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin – the old Arab neighbourhood – are a 40-minute drive away.

Doubles at Cuevas Pedro Antonio range from €68 to €81.