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“The Ups and Downs of the Alpujarra”

Alpujarra Mountains
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Las Alpujarras Day Trip from Granada
Ranked #1,113 of 2,511 things to do in Andalucia
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Mijas, Spain
Level Contributor
93 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“The Ups and Downs of the Alpujarra”
Reviewed August 29, 2013

On this trip I would suggest that you start the journey with a tank full of petrol and a camera with a spare battery. It can be done in a day, but if time permits, an overnight stop at say Pampaneira, allows more time to explore this beautiful area.
We were staying in Guadix and had decided to drive out, via the A-92 direction Almeria, to view La Calahorra Castle. The castle is situated a few kilometres off the A-92 motorway along the A-337, east of Guadix. After having a look at this impressive four square fortress set against a backdrop of the snow capped Sierra Nevada, we decided to follow the A337 over the Sierra, as it appeared from the map that there was a road that would take us through to the Alpujarra and despite it being February it had turned into a delightfully sunny day with the road dry and clear of snow.

We had been to the Alpujarra several times before, but always arriving from the A-44/E-902 side via Orgiva or Lanjaron, which is the more visited side of the Alpujarra. This time we would come in from the east to have a look at the white pueblos that side and other pueblos in the central region. We followed the A-337 until we reached Laroles and then turned right to follow the A-4130. This is the highest east/west road in the Alpujarra and will lead you to numerous pueblos, with the Sierra Nevada on your right and the Alpujarra on your left. Mairena, Mecina Alfahar, Válor, Yegen and Mecina Bombarón are all small pueblos along the A-4130 which goes as far as Bérchules before continuing, but becoming the GR-421. Stay with the GR-421 for about 10 kilometres after Bérchules, at which point, follow the signs for Trevélez and the GR-421 up to this delightful pueblo. It is the highest pueblo in the Alpujarras and is renowned for its jamon serrano, the cured ham, which it produces in the ideal climatic conditions to be found at that altitude. Take the opportunity to stop and taste some. Take a walk around Trevélez and bear in mind that it is a pueblo in two parts, so, don’t forget the upper part, along and up the road by the bridge in the middle of the village.

When it is time to leave the pueblo, continue driving through it, still on the GR-421, heading for Busquistar and Pórtugos. If you need to top up your petrol for the car, then Pórtugos is one of the few pueblos that boasts a petrol station before you reach Orgiva or Lanjaron. Still following the GR-421, next comes Pitres and then Pampaneira which is another pueblo worth a visit. There is a car park right on the corner opposite the entrance to the pueblo, park here, or a bit further along the road as there are no vehicles allowed in the village; a reason that will become clear once you enter the pueblo. Narrow streets, no pavements, all sorts of nooks and crannies begging to be explored, places to eat, drink and shop. Stay over night if you wish, there is a hotel and a hostal, both situated at the entrance to the pueblo. Pampaneira and Bubion, with its peculiar style of chimneys, just a bit further along the road, could occupy you for half a day.

Onward, ever onward; past Pampaneira towards Carataunas and Orgiva, still on the GR-421. Orgiva is a town rather than a village, with much to explore, but of more interest to us is Lanjaron, a slightly faded spa town to be found along the A-338 out of Orgiva. It offers a good selection of shops to merit parking the car and taking to your feet. You will encounter architecture of a grander style dating from late 1800s to early 1900s when the copious Lanjaron spring water was determined to have all manner of beneficial qualities. To such an extent, that Spa baths were built, the water was bottled, and people traveled from far and wide to partake of them and attempt to cure a multitude of ailments. Opposite the Spa baths is a garden park area, built in the same period and which is being slowly renovated.

Continue out of Lanjaron on the A-338 until you meet the A-44 motorway, join this in the direction of Granada, follow the A-44 around Granada until it intersects with the A-92 and follow the signs for Guadix to come full circle back to Guadix. A total journey of about 270km and a mix of mountain hairpins, main road and motorway cruising.

Note: There is a lower east/west road through the Alpujarras, basically paralleling this route, but a little easier in the sense of a broader more traveled road. For this route, continue through Laroles on the A-337, through Piscena and Cherin, until the A-337 meets the A-338. Turn right and follow the A-338 to Cadiar, another nice pueblo to explore, stay with the A-338 through Torviscón and onto to Orgiva and Lanjaron as with the other route.

Visited February 2013
7 Thank Bruce W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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19 reviews from our community

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  • Danish first
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English first
Irvington, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Equitours' Alpujarra Ride in Spain”
Reviewed May 21, 2013

We just returned from a wonderful horseback riding vacation, which we booked through Equitours. The riding facility is owned by Dallas Love, who is an expert rider and very gracious host and guide. It is a strenuous trip, as advertised, but well worth it for experienced riders. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable, so it is necessary to come prepared. Accommodations were simple, but charming and located in the beautiful high-altitude villages that dot the region. As is usually the case on these trips, we enjoyed the company of other hardy travel companions, with whom we rode and dined each day. The horses were fit, well schooled and properly suited according to each rider's ability. I highly recommend this trip for anyone looking to get off the beaten path and spend days in the company of horses and horse people.

Visited May 2013
5 Thank Maralyn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“The Beautiful Region of La Alpujarra, Granada, Spain”
Reviewed August 19, 2009

This wonderful location is a mountain range in Southern Spain. Situated overlooking the Mediterranean Sea it is the second highest mountain range in Europe. Most of it is now protected and is a National Park. The backdrop to La Alpujarra is the magnificent Sierra Nevada with its snow capped peaks. Well, from late October through to June anyway. You can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon on the beaches of Salobrena.

The whole of the Alpujarra is much as it has been for centuries. True there are some obvious modernisations that have taken place. Roads and power cables for example. But the basic infrastructure is much the same.

First occupied by the Romans they were the first to build aqueducts in the area to aid irrigation of the land at the lower levels. The Moors developed this system 900 years ago and created an intricate system of water irrigation by following the contours of the land. The irrigation channels are called acequias, many of them are still in original state. However, because they take a great deal of maintenance the acequias are now being repaired with polythene piping and concrete channels.

The acequias were used for irrigation of the land on the steep slopes of Las Alpujarras. The land was terraced to allow for the mountain people to grow a variety of crops and fruit trees. Today, much of this form of agriculture has unfortunately died away. With only a handful of farmers managing the land as it once was.

The acequias, unlike the rivers that have cut huge gorges into the soft rock, flow continuously throughout the year.

Where the rivers have cut through the rock and created these gorges magnificent scenery beholds the visitor around every bend in the road; especially the final hairpin bend on the road into the Poqueira Barranca. Ahead lay the three popular white villages of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira; which is the second highest village in Spain. Snow covers these villages for much of the winter. These villages are a must visit for anyone staying in a property within a one or two hour drive. See photos here

A very good place to stay in La Alpujarra is Orgiva. It is the capital of the region yet is not a huge town. It has everything you need for your stay. Banks, supermarket bars etc. The area around Orgiva has a good number of properties available for rent all at very reasonable rates. Many have their own swimming pool too. Take a look at some of these great properties on a web site El Palomar Casita de Rosa Cortijo Olivio

The region around Orgiva is a walker’s paradise. You can follow predetermined routes, follow the dry river bed up or down, follow the acequias as the follow the contours.

Orgiva is centrally placed for doing lots of things. The spa town of Lanjaron with its relaxing spa baths is a short drive, Trevelez, the highest village in Spain and where some of the very best cured hams are produced is further up the mountains past Pampaneira and Pitres. Torvizcon, is a small village where Saffron is harvested from the crocus fields. It is just a short drive out the other side of Orgiva and East along the bottom of the Sierra de Contraviesa.

You can purchase locally produced wine, goats’ cheese, carpets/rugs and a whole host of artesian products. All available at reasonable prices from the white villages or Orgiva.

Granada is now only a one hour drive away. Where you can visit the ‘must see in your life time’ La Alhambra Palace. Granada has a fantastic shopping centre and is also home to the famous Albaicin, the old Arab quarters of the city.

The great thing about this region is that you spend a wonderful peaceful time in the mountains and yet within forty five minutes you can be sun-bathing on the beaches of Salobreña and Almuñecar on the Costa Tropical. The people of the Alpujarra have a saying “We have our head in the clouds but our feet in the sea”.

I have only briefly touched on this wonderful location. All of the towns named in the article are situated in the Western Alpujarra. There is myriad of other beautiful villages if drive from West to East along the twisting mountain road to the far end of La Alpujarra through Yegan and on to Laujar de Andarax.

The region is excellently accessible from three airports; Granada one hour to the north, Malaga 1hour forty five minutes to the west and Almeria 1hour 30minutes to the East.

Here are some photos I have taken on my many trips to the region. Unfortunately, I lost many of my photos in a computer crash. I suppose that is another reason for me to go back there soon.

Some books on the region worth reading. Gerald Brenan – South from Granada offers a great synopsis of life in the pre Spanish Civil War years in La Alpujarra. Three books by Chris Stewart offer a good incite into modern Alpujarra life. Driving Over Lemons, Parrot in a Pepper Tree and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society. See photos here

I have visited La Alpujarra on a large number of times. My visit was as a mature undergraduate student in 1997. I immediately fell in love with the region. In winter you ski in the morning on the Sierra Nevada and sunbathe on the beaches in the afternoon. What a holiday!

21 Thank pepe1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“a fantastic guide who has yurt”
Reviewed June 27, 2008

We just came back from a horse trek in Sierra Nevada. As a guide that we had made our trip unforgettable, i thought i should let you know about this humble guide. He speaks good english, has 4 horses and a beautiful yurt! in the mountain near Juviles where you can sleep looking up starry sky.
Josemiguel Varverde Tel# mob 686 600 381 casa 958 769 038

2 Thank anmaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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