The Alpujarra is a natural paradise formed by a series of whitewashed picturesque villages of great beauty that extends over the south foothills of Sierra Nevada up to the Mediterranean coast, between the provinces of Granada and Almeria. This is an area of contrasts, with a rugged terrain formed by valleys and ravines.
The Alpujarra has been home to Iberians, Celts, Romans and Visigoths, yet the Muslims were, by far, the civilization that left the biggest mark during the Al-Andalus time period. As a matter of fact, the Alpujarra was the place where the Nasrid Kingdom was confined after being defeated by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.
The Moorish spent a lot of time in this area until they were eventually expelled after the The Rebelion of the Alpujarras (1568-1571), when the Moorish people rose up against the Pragmatic Sanction in 1567.
We can still see to this day, the reflection of the Muslim mark in this particular area in the architecture, the local cuisine, carpet weaving, the agricultural landscape an, among other aspects, the presence of names of Arab origin.
After going through the area’s history, it is time without further ado to get our road trip started through the Alpujarra of Granada. We would like to warn beforehand that you will not find the best roads on Earth, or the most straight and level ones; notwithstanding, it is worth visiting this destination.
We start off from the aristocratic village of Lanjaron, known as the entrance gate to the Alpujarra. This place is very popular for the water that emanates from its natural springs, nourished by the snow from Sierra Nevada. This is water of great quality that has been attributed health benefits to and that has been used both commercially (bottled water) and to promote the local spa. As a matter of fact, you can fins numerous safe drinking water fountains all over the place with poems written on tiles; most of them from Federico Garcia Lorca. The water comes out very cold in the summertime, which is highly appreciated when the blistering sun hits you without any mercy—this is the perfect moment for a water refill.
Esthetically speaking, and apart from a few spots that are worth taking a few pictures, this is not the most beautiful place we will see in this road trip whatsoever, hence we will not stay too long here.
«Fuente Lanjarón 4» por Luis Felipe Schenone – Trabajo propio. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY-SA 3.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.
Continuing with our road trip through the most interesting villages, we stop by Orgiva, which is easily recognized by the two towers of its church that stand out over the village constructions. This is both the most populated village and the capital of the area; its Thursday crowded flea market stands attracts people from surrounding villages. If you feel like strolling a little bit, that could be a nice idea.
«Orgiva Granada-1» por Rufus46 – Trabajo propio. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY-SA 3.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.
We are going to take a little detour to visit Soportujar. Stopping by this village is worth your while because of its viewpoint Mirador del Embrujo. From here pace we can get to have a privileged and high view, but also we will be able to contemplate the Mediterranean Sea; and if the weather allows it, we will also be able to sight the African coast.
On the other hand, in Soportujar there are plenty of tinaos (sort of corridor that links two houses that hold terraces, rooms and penthouses), which are very typical in the Alpujarra’s architecture. In fact, it is commonly accepted that the village’s name means “colonnade place”
For those of you who are into hiking, as well as for those of you with plenty of time, there are outstanding hiking routes here; needless to say that the Alpujarra offers lots of places to stroll around the nature.
Pampaneira, Bubión y Capileira
We are now entering the ravine of Poqueira, which is the most interesting sport of the Alpujarra of Granada. We find three villages spread out in the ravine: Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira. All of them managed to preserve their original architecture (perfectly adapted to both the terrain’s orography and the climate of the area) that result in a beautiful and picturesque landscape, with the valley in the background that granted it a declaration of Artistic Historic and Picturesque Area Complex title.
«Capileira05» por Nikater – Trabajo propio. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY-SA 3.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.
If you are planning on renting a rural house to enjoy your weekend getaway in the area, we suggest you to do it in one of these three villages. You will love the chimneys in the houses; which are extremely necessary around here; they draw a quite beautiful horizon– very characteristic of the Alpujarra.
Yes, we know you have noticed by now that everything around here is uphill. Look at the bright side though; this sure helps us strengthen our buttocks. That being said, it is always a good idea to make a quick stop to restore our energy with an Alpujarran plate, which consists of a little bit of everything banned in a healthy diet, but Lord it is so good! Nevertheless, you have to take into account that you will be burning a lot of calories with so many slopes, so do not feel remorseful and enjoy the beautiful view with a cold beer. You might have never been this close from paradise as in this moment.
Plato Alpujarreño en Hostal Rural Venta Las Tontas
We conclude the road trip in Trevélez, the highest point of the Alpujarra of Granada. Trevélez also offers great architectonic interest as well as scenic; it is very well-known by its Iberian ham. Although it is kind of far away, you also enjoy the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Our route came to an end through the Alpujarra of Granada, although this whole area offers a lot more than what we suggested on this post. We might address those other places in a different post soon. We really hope you enjoyed it!