Las Alpujarras is an easy drive from Granada, and some of the villages do have pretty or quaint buildings, but don't come expecting the kind of chocolate-box scenes you might have been promised - it's more 'working/peasant Spain', which means some of it is grubby and ugly and while you'll still see people working the land with mules, the dusty old streets are now paved with go.. I mean concrete. I think the villages usually look better as little white dots on the opposite slope, where they give scale to the snow-capped peaks behind. Purdy.
You are high up here, so the weather is changeable (outside of the hot summer, anyway). One day you'll have crystal-clear views across valleys and almond groves, another you'll have haze or low cloud. It can get chilly, so pack that cardy. We're thinking layers, maybe a shawl if you're going old school?
Good times of year to come - a drive in January/February on a sunny day with early morning light will reward you with beautiful views of almond plantations in full bloom, loud with bees. In April/May, you'll see plenty of wild flowers and a few more birds (but much of the area is too mono-cultural to be rich in wildlife) and it's warm enough to sit outside and watch the grizzled old folk creak by in the villages. There are bodegas making, by all accounts, not very good wine.
Orgiva is particularly infested with hippies and 'alternativos', and there are plenty of ex-pat Brits taking the edge off the authenticity in many of the other villages. Many of them don't arrive until it gets to proper 'turtle tan' temperature, so early/late in the year should spare your blushes.
This is a poor region (hence the drop-outs), which means at least it feels honest rather than twee. Unless you are renting a self-catering place and doing your own thing - "chillaxing" by the pool, for example - it's best suited for a 'day trip to the countryside' , 'a nice scenic drive' or a place to whisk through on your motorbike. There are long-distance hiking routes, but I doubt those sturdy folk read VT.
If you merely seek pretty drives on windy roads through gentle scenery and the odd village to stop and have a coffee near Granada, you might be as well checking out the Lecrin Valley directly south of Granada instead - milder, greener and more prosperous, it's got orange, lemon and olive groves rather than mainly almonds. Out of 'season' it feels a lot less shut up than many of the little white villages of the Alpujarras may, and on a clear day you can see Africa - a nice way of putting the Alhambra in context.
This is a great little area to visit for the day or even if you are driving through. But you really should do yourself a favor and stop at least in one of these mountainside villages. You will not regret it!
LA ALPUJARRA is a mountainous region on the south side of the Sierra Nevada with beautiful small, white villages of Arabic origin.
You should visit: LANJARON one of Spain's best reputed spas, ORVIJA, and TREVELEZ, famous because of his ham.
Trevélez (the town of tres Vélez, or three Vélez, down, middle and up) is the highest town in Spain: it is situated at 1.476 m over sea level, in the middle of Sierra Nevada.
Trevélez, el pueblo de los tres Vélez, el bajo, el medio y el alto, es el pueblo más alto de España: 1,476 m sobre el nivel del mar, en el medio de la Sierra Nevada.
Another charming town at Las Alpujarras is Lanjarón, where you will find the ruins of an ancient castle (see picture). Lanjarón is well known for its mineral water plant.
Otro pueblo encantador de Las Alpujarras es Lanjarón, en donde encontrarás las ruinas de un antiguo castillo (foto). Lanjarón es bien conocido por su agua mineral.
Another charming town at Alpujarras is Orgiva... white buildings, orange-trees, narrow streets, all surrounded by mountains. Take a seat at one of the several cafés situated in front of the church, have a drink and enjoy a peaceful day.
Otro encantador pueblo en Las Alpujarras es Orgiva... edificios blancos, naranjos, calles estrechas, todo ello rodeado de montañas. Toma asiento en uno de los numerosos cafés situados frente a la iglesia, bebe algo y disfruta de un día tranquilo.
Las Alpujarras is a beautiful place at Province of Granada, situated at Sierra Nevada, a mountainous area. There are some white villages along a wandering path, like Lanjarón, Orgiva, Pampaneira or Trevélez. Each town has its charms: people, architecture, arts and crafts, typical food...
If you like strong emotions, rent a car and drive into this way!
The picture shows the main street of Pampaneira, my favourite town of those I visited, with its typical architecture, steep alleys and handcrafts shops.
If you want more information, you can check my Las Alpujarras travel page.
Las Alpujarras es una hermosa región de la Provincia de Granada, situada en la Sierra Nevada, una zona montañosa. Hay numerosos pueblitos blancos a lo largo de una ruta sinuosa, como Lanjarón, Orgiva, Pampaneira o Trevélez. Cada pueblo tiene sus encantos: su gente, su arquitectura, sus artesanías, su comida típica... Si te gustan las emociones fuertes, alquila un auto y recorre esta ruta!
La foto muestra la calle principal de Pampaneira, el pueblito que má me gustó de los que visité, con su arquitectura típica, sus artesanías y sus callecitas empinadas.
Si quieres más información, la puedes encontrar en mi página de Las Alpujarras.
Take the time to walk through this town. Bring a bottle of Lanjaron, and stroll through the streets (without cars). Even though it's HOT, I suggest doing it around 2pm because it's deserted. It's amazing to walk through this town alone. Be quiet, however, you don't want to rouse anyone from a nice siesta.
This is a lovely little town with white buildings, a couple of bars and restaurants, all white walkways and roads (see following photo), and friendly people. This was the most touristy town I saw in the Alpujarras. It had parking, and definitely was focused on visitors. However, it's not "touristy." The cokes are more expensive in the bar than in the tiny towns scattered throughout the countryside; that's how I knew it was more touristy.
Definitely take a road trip to Pampaneira. The joy is the journey, and using this town as your destination is a wonderful way to anchor the trip.
Pampaneira is past Lanjaron (the water town!) and just past Soportujar. If you are willing to drive A LOT, stop into Trevelez as well. The views and people are wonderful.
If you're getting to know my other pages its no surprise to find me escaping to the mountains. La Alpujarra, between the snow-capped peaks of Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the most varied, enchanting and beatiful regions in the world. It's Spain's best-kept secret. Along the POQUEIRA RAVINE are the 3 white moorish villages - Capileira (the highest in the Poqueira Ravine at 1,470 m.) Boubion and Pampaneira - see travelouge
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