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Monday, 28 February 2011

Jack's or Rocha da Gralheira

Meet Jack. I took this picture of him this morning as we checked out. Let me try to describe what we call Jack's otherwise known as Rocha da Gralheira and explain why over the last 9 years we've gone back there at least once every year and quite often twice.

It's simply an enormous dining room with rooms for guests who stay over. There's a swimming pool as well of course. You have to be told about a place like this, you would never ever find it not even by chance.

I like it because it's simple and unprententious and we feel at home. After a big evening meal, we just walk upstairs and that's it until the next day. No driving, no worries about finding my way anywhere, I know my bed's not more than 80 metres from the dinner table. Those are the stairs up to my bedroom just behind Jack, the dining room's just to his left.

We know that we will spend more on dinner than the cost of our room and that we might share the dining room with a wedding celebration or a communion party. At breakfast we have the whole spotless dining room to ourselves.

At night, I can look out at the lights in the valley below San Bras and hear nothing but a dog barking. In the early morning, I can just make out the crow of cockerels in the distance.

It takes us four and a half hours to get from Marbella to Jack's just outside San Bras de Alportel. From Faro airport to Jack's it's not more than 17 kms inland.

If you are looking for glitter and show on holiday and the company of lots of others, Jack's is not for you. If you just want to be yourself and feel absolutely free to come and go, give it a try.


Durai said...

Hi Mike,

After struggling to find the comment box, I think I "got" it finally!

We are staying for a week in Marbella (in April) and I am trying to devise an itinerary without need to rent a car. We would like to make day trips to Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Gibraltar and Tangiers, each day returning to Marbella (using trains/buses). Is this possible? Your suggestions/recommendations will be very much appreciated.


Mike Drury said...

Hello Durai

Thank you for writing in again. I did publish your question and also answered it over the weekend on the blog where you first wrote to me "Malaga Airport to Puerto Banus by bus"

If you have difficulty finding my answer, then just copy the title of the blog above including speech marks and search for it in Google and it will come up. If you still can't find it, write back to me on this page and I'll copy it here.

Good luck and thanks for trying again! Mike

May said...

Hi Mike,

I just wanted to alert you that the Portillo url showing bus fares posted on your website is no longer working (

Do you know what are the estimated bus fares for "Sevilla-Fuengirola", "Fuengiro-Mijas" and "Mijas-Fuengirola", as well train fare from Fuengirola to Malaga airport? I checked Portillo and Renfe websites but was unable to find it. Thank you very much.

Mike Drury said...

Hi May

I'm really sorry to have replied after so long. Somehow I missed the message from you and found it quite by chance just now looking back in my inbasket for something else.

Thank you very much for the alert that the bus fares link wasn't working. The Portillo bus company had taken their page off the internet and so I have the link you mentioned.

It's late in the evening and no one will be answering the Portillo customer attention phone so from memory and guessing a little, Sevilla to Fuengirola will be around €18, Fuengirola to Mijas Pueblo, €2.50 one way and the train from Fuengirola to Malaga airport less than €5.00.

I hope that helps your planning May, sorry not to be more precise but I thought it best to get this off to you rather than wait till tomorrow.

Good luck with your travels, it will be good to hear from you how it all goes when you have time.


May said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for letting me know how much it cost; it will certainly help us budget for the trip. We would be heading there only in May.


Mike Drury said...

Hi May, you are very welcome. If you write back to me nearer the time, I'll check in more detail for you.

Perhaps with the fluctuating fuel prices it was just too difficult for the Portillo bus company to keep updating the fares list.

May's a very good month to travel, you have only a promise of the summer heat and the temperatures are generally very comfortable.

Best wishes May, Mike

stacey777 said...

Hello I will be flying into Gibraltar 4th June but staying in duquesa was thinking of either getting a taxi from la linea and how much that would cost or wondered if any buses actually go there? I have tried looking on the portillo links for timetables and schedules but they are not working. Any help would be appreciated

Many thanks Stacey

Mike Drury said...

Hi Stacey

The buses from La Linea travelling up the coast towards Estepona and beyond stop at Sabanillas. Duquesa Port is just a little bit back towards Gibraltar from Manilva so you'll overshoot the port but for a minimum fare you can take a very short taxi ride from Sabanillas back to the Port. You could even walk it if you are travelling light and not pulling a heavy suitcase.

Copy and paste this URL into your browser for the schedule of buses from La Linea and see if the times are good for your flight. If not, write to me on this page and I'll find out how much a taxi would be. The Portillo bus company don't update this timetable very often but I'm sure it's reliable.

It's only a short walk from Gibraltar airport to the La Linea bus station but allow up to 15 minutes to get there in case the pedestrian queue through the Spanish customs is moving slowly.

Hope this helps you Stacey, hope you have a good trip, thanks for writing in and best wishes from Marbella.


stacey777 said...

Thanks for your very quick response I have been having a look through your site and its very helpful

Mike Drury said...

Hi Stacey, thank you very much for taking the time to look through Gomarbella and also for writing back, I really appreciate having feedback.

I was looking at my last reply to you and where I said Manilva, I should have said Sabanillas but I'm sure you guessed that.

I hope the timetable works out OK, let me know if a taxi is needed and I'll check the price with the La Linea taxi company. Right outside the frontier, on the Spanish side, there is a big taxi rank and that will be the most convenient place to get a taxi if the bus doesn't work out.

Tomorrow at midday I'm driving halfway up Portugal and then on Thursday I'll follow the Douro river down to the coast and then continue up through Porto to Vigo back in Spain again. It's my first visit to Galicia and I'm really looking forward to going there!

Have a good journey Stacey if we don't speak before.


Anonymous said...

thanks for your advise we got the bus easy and saved loads of money by not getting taxi's we even use the link you sent to get a bus one day from sabinilla to Puerto Banus and had a fab day!

Thanks again your site is a great idea and must help so many people its always daunting going to a country place never been before and trying to get around.


Mike Drury said...

Hi Stacey, I'm very glad that your travelling worked out well and that my suggestions were helpful.

Also, I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to write back and tell me how things went.

Next time you are out here, I hope you'll count on me again for any help.

Very best wishes from Marbella Stacey and thanks for writing in again.


maryeleonore said...


I would like to know the timeschedule for the buses from Fuengirola to Elviria and the prices. I decided to go from Malaga airport by train to Fuengirola and then by bus to Elviria as you suggested on a previous post!

Can you help me with this since the website is not working ( And can you tell me if there are some group tickets or tickets per week?

Thank you,

Mike Drury said...

Hello Mariana

Sorry not to reply to you sooner, your email slipped out of sight and I'm just catching up today, Sunday.

Yes, the Portillo bus company site has had problems all week. Today it is working. Basically the buses from Fuengirola to Marbella leave twice an hour. Here is the Portillo timetable.

You must get off at the Don Carlos / Elviria bus stop. If you Google "List of bus stops between Fuengirola and Marbella" you will find a complete list of stops and find yours. I'm afraid that Portillo does not have any special offers for groups or for frequent travellers.

Mariana, thanks again for writing in. I hope this information arrives in time. Best wishes to you from Marbella. Mike