Route through Las Alpujarras in Granada: mountain daytrip, legends, medicinal waters and ham
Las Alpujarras are a group of municipalities that extend between the Sierra Nevada National Park and the Mediterranean Sea in Granada, Andalucia. These towns take refuge under the towering Mulhacen and Veleta Mountains. The whitewashed façades, the flat slate or stone roofs and their narrow streets transform them into a unique landscape full of springs and legends that, over the centuries, has attracted travelers from around the world.
Hidden among deep valleys and ravines, they still retain all the Arab charm of centuries past, at a height of 2.000 meters. We propose a healthy getaway for you to breathe clean air and for you to live firsthand the charm of these Alpujarra villages, where it seems that time has stopped.
Interesting Facts about the Alpujarras in Granada
- The word “Alpujarras” comes from the Arabic “Al-Bugshara,” which means “pastures in the heights.”
- The Granada Alpujarras stretch over 70 km from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and comprise more than 20 villages and hamlets.
- The region is known for its white houses with flat roofs, built during the Arab domination. These houses are designed to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.
- The Alpujarras are famous for their production of serrano ham, made from pigs fed on acorns. The ham from Trevélez, a village in the Alpujarras, is considered one of the best hams in the world.
- The region boasts several hiking trails offering stunning views of the mountains, valleys, and villages of the Alpujarras. The most popular trail is the GR-7 route, which traverses the entire region.
- The area is also home to numerous springs and sources of fresh water, which are a blessing on hot summer days.
- The Alpujarras have been inhabited since prehistoric times and have been occupied by Romans, Arabs, and Christians. The mix of cultures is reflected in the architecture, gastronomy, and traditions of the region.
- During the Spanish Civil War, the Alpujarras were the scene of one of the last battles between Republican and Francoist forces. Many villages were destroyed, and the region suffered a great loss of human lives.
- The region is also famous for its festivals and celebrations, such as the Fiesta of Moors and Christians in Cádiar, the Livestock Fair in Ugíjar, and the Feast of San Juan in Lanjarón.
- The Granada Alpujarras are an ideal place for those seeking an authentic and tranquil experience away from mass tourism. The region offers a unique combination of natural beauty, culture, and history that make it an unforgettable destination.
For hundreds of years they had the reputation of being invincible, as many people tried unsuccessfully to conquer Las Alpujarras. The Arabs were the only ones that made them theirs and thus they were until the XVIth Century. Still, their customs and traditions have been preserved to this day. The origin of the word Alpujarra is Arabic and translations such as “Land of Grass”, “The Quarrelsome”, “The Fortified One” or “White Mountain” have been considered.
On this occasion we are going to do a route by car through the most emblematic villages of Las Alpujarras, for you to fully immerse yourself in a place where it seems that time does not advance. On this occasion we propose you make an excursion from Torrox, which offers the possibility of living beach and mountain in one day, thanks to its strategic location between Granada and Malaga. Let’s go!
8:30 am. Departure from Olée Holiday Rentals
Our journey starts from Olée Holiday Rentals Apartments (between Torrox and Nerja), but if you prefer to enjoy the Marbella coast or relax in Estepona, there’s no problem! You just have an hour and a quarter from Marbella to Torrox and an hour and a half in you are in Estepona.
If we have put comfortable clothing and footwear and carry water and something to protect ourselves from the sun in summer and the cold in winter, we are ready to leave for the Alpujarras. We just have to follow the A-7 highway, towards Nerja and continue along the A-44.
The road to Lanjaron will take us about 50 minutes; our advice is for you to have your camera ready because the change in landscape between the beaches of the Maro Natural Park and the mountainous relief of Granada offers a contrast worthy of being immortalized.
9:30 am. Lanjaron
Lanjaron is the first town we will visit on our day’s journey. It is the largest and most populated municipality we will visit and its name comes from the pre-Roman word ‘lanchar’, which means a place with abundant water. It is well known for its neomudéjar style seaside resort, from which medicinal mineral waters spring and fountains, where water doesn’t stop running, are distributed throughout the town. We advise you to drink from all!
In addition to the Lanjaron resort, some remains of the Arabian castle built between the XIIth and XIIIth Centuries are preserved and you can visit the parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of the Incarnation), with a Mudéjar layout, and La Capuchina garden and spring.
We will stop here to eat something and get ready for the day ahead. In Lanjaron you will not have trouble finding a bar or an inn in which they give you a good breakfast. We recommend La Casita de Papel Restaurant to taste toast with oil and ham.
12:00 pm. Pampaneira
After 20 km, from Lanjaron, we enter the Poqueira Ravine to reach this village that, along with Capileira and Bubion, are the three most popular and charismatic locations in the region.
Pampaneira is a white village of about 350 inhabitants, 1.058 meters high. It is worth walking through its narrow streets and visiting its market with plenty of typical handicrafts and food, like the shop of Abuela Ili (Grandma Ili) which is specialized in artisan chocolate.
Nor can you go away without seeing the Gothic Temple of Santa Cruz, with a wooden Mudéjar style roof and the Calle del Agua, a narrow stone walkway through which a river of water flows.
If you are single, do not forget to make a mandatory visit to St. Anthony’s Fountain, better known as Chumpaneira. The mural that is over the pipes has the following description “It has such a magnitude that, a bachelor who drinks with the intention of marrying does not fail, because he has a girlfriend at once. You’ll see!”
02:30 pm. Capileira
Capileira is located at 1.436 meters and it is the ideal destination for photography lovers because from here you will have the best views of the whole trip, in the Perchel Lookout. It is interesting to visit the parish church, with a Mudéjar style, the Calvary Square, the Alpujarra Museum of Popular Arts and Customs and the Ethnology Museum “Pedro Antonio de Alarcón”.
This town is where we will stay for lunch. We will stop at the Poqueira Inn, where they serve local food and typical dishes such as the Alpujarra plate, the crumbed loin of luff or kid with garlic. And from here we will continue our way about 23 km to Trevelez, our last village on the route before returning to Torrox.
05:00 pm. Bubion
Bubion is at 1.7 km from Capileira, where you will find spectacular panoramic views at an altitude of 1.296 meters above sea level. It is a town with a long tradition of craftsmanship. Its narrow and steep streets invite you to visit the Artesa de los Moros, a large upright stone, 2 m high, with a hand carved gap which is 70 cms deep and 80 cms wide. Its mystery is the origin of its use. But it is believed that the Arabs used it to knead bread. You can also taste the teas in the purest Moorish style at La Batería Tea House, accompanied by homemade goodies.
However, we do suggest you look twice before entering these towns! Legend has it that both in Bubion like in Pampaneira and Capileira, an enchanted princess who is dreaded, especially by men, wanders in the evenings waiting to greet them and she gets into the mind of anyone who will return the greeting, stealing their sleep.
07:00 pm. Trevelez
Trevelez is in dispute with the odd Spanish municipality for being the highest of the peninsula. Its dry and cold climate is ideal for producing the famous ham that bears its name. We suggest strolling around the town center as it retains much of its Islamic attributes and a typical Alpujarra architecture. And after, of course, sit in any establishment and order a plate of Trevelez ham.
10:00 pm Arrival in Torrox
After tasting the delights of the Alpujarras ham, it’s back to the apartments. An hour and a half, approximately, is what separates us from Torrox. We will do it by the A-346 that connects with the A-44 and again, with the A-7.
We advise you to dine at one of the many bars on the edge of the beach while you rest from the intense day at the mountain. What more could you ask for?
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WHERE TO STAY
If you’re thinking about getting away one day to these so charming towns, check the offers of Fuerte Hoteles. Stay at the Olée Holiday Rentals apartments, between Torrox and Nerja, and you will have the Alpujarras closer than ever and you will also be able to enjoy the Granada Mountain and the beach and the mild temperatures of Malaga on the same day.