LYING on the south face of the Sierra Nevada, and spanning the provinces of Granada and Almeria, Las Alpujarras or La Alpujarra, is a mountainous area full of picturesque white villages built in a Moorish style, irrigation systems dating back to the Berbers, and agricultural terraces bordered by steep ravines.
Known for its ‘jamon serrano’ (cured ham) and ‘costavin’ (wine), the Alpujarra is ripe with produce such as olives, almonds, chestnuts, oranges, and lemons – as made famous by the book, ‘Driving Over Lemons’, by renowned local resident, Chris Stewart.
The GR7 E4 walking path runs through La Alpujarra, before continuing to Tarifa and all the way up to Andorra, although some of the signposting is dubious indeed.
The Olive Press checked out which towns and villages are worth visiting in the beautiful Granada Alpujarra.
Considered the “gateway to La Alpujarra”, Lanjaron, is a spa town famed for its ‘Aguas de Lanjaron’ water that is bottled and sold throughout Spain and France.
With a focus on tourism, Lanjaron has its own spa (“balnerio”), a honey museum, and hosts cycling events such as ‘Canon Trail’, making it popular with mountain bikers.
It is also famed for its San Juan Fiesta of Water and Ham that takes place around June 23 annually. This includes a mass water fight that attracts people from all over Spain.
Lanjaron has many signposted walks and cycle trails, and around 70 bars you can relax in afterwards.
Don’t miss: The San Juan fiesta, if you can book accommodation in good time.
Where to eat: Hotel Espana (great main dishes and ‘tapas’), Bar Los Faroles (generous ‘menu del dia’ on weekdays).
Known for its alternative scene, Orgiva is a thriving market town that is a melting pot of different cultures. It has many shops, bars and restaurants, as well as two campsites and a choice of swimming pools in summer months. You’ll also find music events, gigs, and DJ nights.
Don’t miss: Thursday market, taking place until 1pm near the main plaza.
Where to eat: Baraka for fresh salads, kebabs, and hummus; Pizza & Love for the best pizza in town.
It’s practically impossible to write about La Alpujarra without mentioning Soportujar, which has carved a powerful niche by creating a witchy and supernatural theme. This includes various visitor attractions, such as a house with chicken legs, a serpent and a large, metal spider. Although the theme park vibe proves popular with families, it might not appeal to every discerning adult!
However, Soportujar has plenty of other charms, including Spain’s narrowest street and a new-ish swimming pool with a decent ‘chirungito’. It’s best to avoid busy weekends and public holidays, when parking and ordering food in bars is difficult.
Don’t miss: The dragon fountain by Jose Vera. The water comes out of an interesting… point!
Where to eat: Cueva del Dragon for home-cooked meals.
The three white villages clustered in the Poquiera valley all hold the prestigious ‘Bonitas de Espana’ award, meaning they are very beautiful. These three villages are physically close – around 5min from each other by car and 30min on foot, using various local trails – and are worthy of exploration. Poquiera is the ideal place to buy artisan crafts, clothing, and traditional Alpujarran rugs at good prices.
Pampaneira has water drainage channels running through its main street, which makes a good Instagram snap.
Capileira has winding mountain tracks running above the town and a forestry recreation area where you can stop for a picnic.
Don’t miss: The Abuala Ili chocholate shop for artisan choccy, with free samples.
Where to eat: El Asador in Capileira (high quality) or Restaurante Guillermo on the road under Pampaneira (traditional food).
Pitres, one of the villages of ‘La Taha’, offers an attractive campsite with an unusual-shaped swimming pool – ideal to cool down in summer months. It also has a Coviran supermarket that sells British foods cheaply. You can also stop and have a relaxing ‘menu del dia’ by the roadside, with easy parking and sensible prices. The nearby village of Atalbeitar, a couple of minutes’ drive away, has an “off the beaten track” vibe, as well as many cats roaming around.
Don’t miss: The Coviran!
Where to eat: Bar Restaurante La Carretera
One of the highest villages in La Alpujarra – located at 1,486m, and with 200m difference between its highest and lowest ‘barrios’ – Trevelez is famed for its cured ‘jamon serrano’, which can be bought in various outlets throughout town. It sometimes lies above the snowline in winter, making for impressive views. You’re spoilt for choice if you want restaurants (or to eat ham!) and the nearby Neuva Hotel Alcabaza de Busquistar offers accommodation with balconies overlooking the Rio Trevelez. Since 1912, the town has celebrated the Virgin of the Snow fiesta on August 5, when horse riders make their way up Mulhacen to pay tribute, ignoring their hangovers.
Don’t miss: The ham
Where to eat: Meson la Fragua
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