The most picturesque villages of the Granada Alpujarra
Towns of the Alpujarra
They are about 150 villages scattered in the southern slope of Sierra Nevada, which are the highest mountains of the Peninsula. Here we will select only 5 of them for a first contact, as a training. From there you will be able to develop in the environment like an authentic Alpujarra.
We start our tour of Órgiva, easily accessible from the main road and at the fork of roads that will take us up the mountain range. On our way we have left Lanjarón, famous for its waters and the Morisco Spa. If you like Lanjarón and want to stay to live there you must know that its inhabitants have the highest rate of life expectancy. A good place to get old.
Like all of the Alpujarra, Órgiva is steeped in Arab culture, but it is much older. According to historians it has been identified as the Greek colony of Exoche, mentioned by the geographer Ptolemy. But what the traveler finds now is a cosmopolitan people, with people of more than 50 nationalities mixed with the Alpujarans in an example of multicultural coexistence. Órgiva is the administrative center of the region and head of party since 1839.
But all this you can know if you take a walk on the net. What you can not know is that in order to get to know Órgiva, you have to take a walk along the river, its orchards, its winding streets, talk to people and stop in any plaza or enter the first bar you find. In the Tourist Information Office you will be given information about museums, churches and other places of tourist interest and you can see that in one morning. But to see the town, how they live, it is best that you walk.
What does a New Zealander do in La Alpujarra? The peace of Órgiva has fallen in love with many people who have decided to change their lives, buy a farm and settle in the countryside. The Briton Chris Stewart - the genesis of the Genesis group - lives here for years, and in his book Entre Limones tells us his experience with a delicious naturalness. It tells how it was transferred, installed and integrated in the village and offers us a particular and interesting vision about Órgiva from the perspective of an Englishman.
How to get there, where to stay or what is the best you can eat you can find it on the website of the Ayuntamiento de Órgiva. Take your notes and wear comfortable shoes.
At the exit of Órgiva we will have to take the Carretera de las Barreras that will take us to Trevélez. In our step we will leave Cáñar, Bayacas, Carataunas, Soportújar and Pampaneira. Stop here. Stroll around the town and have a drink, taste the wine and the local tapas. Breathe the air of the saw. Pampaneira is like a toy town.
We continue to our second destination passing through Pitres, Pórtugos and Busquistar. Remember that since we started we are in the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada, an environment protected by your valuable interest, so enjoy the views and try to recognize the species of flora and fauna that you find in your path - do not punish yourself much, some are indigenous and endemic, you will not see them anywhere else. Past Busquistar we arrived at Trevélez. Take it easy, Trevelez is the highest town in Europe at 1,476m. The road is only curved and uneven, so you'd better not be in a hurry, but the destination is worth it.
Trevelez already housed Neolithic and later Roman settlements, although it was the Moriscos and the repopuladores of the Reconquista who configured their present physiognomy. Three neighborhoods, three rivers, three valleys make Trevélez a unique natural enclave for hikers and nature lovers who can enjoy the different routes and excursions to Mulhacén, Siete Lagunas, Pico de Peñabón or Siete Ventanas.
What if I do not want to walk? Then sit down and enjoy the ham. The Serrano ham has in Trevélez its cradle, with great national and international projection, introduced in Versailles by the empress Eugenia de Montijo and in the Madrid Court of Alfonso XII by the politician Natalio Rivas.
Again we recommend you to visit the website of the Trevélez Town Hall to know more about its history, art, culture and gastronomy as well as options for accommodation.
The Trevélez descent leads us to the left, and we will pass through Juviles, Berchules - known for eating here the grapes of New Year's Eve in August - and Alcútar, smaller and more intimate towns, where we can get lost if you wish to isolate us from the world, although we are going to continue until reaching the regional road A-4130 and turn left, towards the municipality of Alpujarra de la Sierra, where is our third stop, Mecina Bombarón.
The village is located on the side of a mountain, at an altitude of 1,270 m and surrounded by lush vegetation in an enclave that we could call "paradise". Its history runs parallel to that of the neighboring villages, prehistoric remains, a Roman bridge, Berbers, Moors and repobladores brought of Castile and the North of Spain after the Reconquista to Christianize the zone.
Why have we come to this hidden place? To rest. You can spend the summer among trees and gardens or escape at any time. What is clear is that you will come back and recommend it.
As in all of the Alpujarra, eating here is very cheap. Migas, choto, ham, cheese, Alpujarra dishes, pickled partridge, typical sweets ... A real holiday of rest and gastronomic enjoyment. For additional information you need or for reservations visit the page of the municipality, Alpujarra de la Sierra.
When leaving Mecina Bombarón we will take the Yegen and Válor road, famous place for being the cradle of Aben Humeya until we reach Mecina Alfahar, where we will turn towards Mairena.
Again we have rivers, ravines and leafy fields, history and prehistory, but in Mairena we have something that makes it different from the rest, and it is the Puerto de la Ragua. La Ragua is a natural high mountain area where there is a recreational station dedicated to cross-country skiing, another of the Sierra Nevada resorts included in the Natural Park, Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
The altitude of Mairena in this natural passage turns it into the North Gate of the Alpujarra. For some it is the town with better views of the Alpujarra since from here one can contemplate the African coasts in the clear days.
What have we come to the port of La Ragua? To ski, if you come in season of snow, or to practice the hiking, if you come with the temperate temperature. Although again the purpose is only an excuse and the real reason will always be the journey and the route.
Mairena forms part of the City Hall of Nevada next to Laroles, Picena and Júbar, three localities that we will find to the exit of the town, on way to our next and last destination.
Leaving Nevada we will arrive at Cherín, where we turn right and arrive at Ugijar, our last destination also in the High Alpujarra.