The Alpujarra of Granada, a unique natural environment


The picturesque and beautiful region of Alpujarra includes the area that stretches between the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the sea, where white and luminous villages follow one another staggered on the slopes. The Western Alpujarra or Alpujarra of Granada is more rainy than the eastern one, in the province of Almería, which is more arid and its relief more moderate. The so-called Alpujarra Alta is of singular beauty, in the most mountainous part, which remains almost intact since the Muslim domination for being an area of difficult access, until recently. These towns of the Alpujarra maintain an original Berber architecture, with cubic type houses, protected from launas (waterproof clay plates), apart from narrow and steep streets. The golden legend transpires, also, in the environment.

Trevélez is the highest town of the Alpujarra, at 1476 meters above sea level, at the foot of the Mulhacén peak, famous for its tasty hams, cured by the cold air of the area. Nearby are Capileira and Pampaneira, and halfway between both towns, the Barranco of Poqueira, between the peaks of Veleta and Mulhacén, with breathtaking views. In Capileira, the Alpujarreño Museum has been installed, where you can admire the famous jarapas and samples of local pottery, and in Bubión, an ancient craft loom and a flower workshop. Many other villages dot the unmistakable landscape of the Alpujarra, all of great charm: Válor, Yegen, Bérchules, Busquístar, Pórtugos, Pitres, Lanjarón (famous for its medicinal waters), etc. Órgiva is the capital of the Alpujarra of Granada. In this town there is a beautiful 16th century church, the Palace of the Counts of Sástago, of Andalusian inspiration, and, in the outskirts, the Old Mill of Benizalte. But the biggest attraction of the Alpujarra is, without doubt, the possibility of making endless excursions (on foot, on horseback or in 4x4) for this incomparable landscape that has become a highly appreciated area for rural tourism for its unique beauty and own idiosyncrasy.

The Alpujarra is a magical place, with rugged landscapes that make their way south from the highest place of Sierra Nevada, with spectacular and hidden towns that masterfully skip an almost unlikely orography.

White villages with charm and alternative atmosphere of the Alpujarra

Something has the Barranco of Poqueira that falls in love. Some of the most beautiful villages of the Alpujarra are on this ravine, Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira. The three form a wonderful Historical Artistic Set at the foot of Mulhacén and Veleta, the two highest peaks of the Iberian Peninsula.

"Traveler, stay to live with us", so says the sign at the entrance of Pampaneira, the most mentioned before the question of which is the most beautiful town in the Alpujarra. But there are real wonders beyond the Barranco of Poqueira, for example Lanjarón, a spa town from the Alpujarra, famous because of the mineral-medicinal qualities of its waters, something that could explain the longevity of its inhabitants.

Órgiva, for its part, is the traditional capital of the Alpujarra Baja and the gateway to the upper half of the Alpujarra.

Trevélez, one of the highest villages in Spain and Europe, at almost 1,500 meters above sea level, can not miss in this list of villages from the Alpujarra. Famous are their delicious hams, cured with the mountain air.

Finally, Válor and Yegen, especially relevant the latter, which inspired the writer Gerald Brenan in his already legendary book "To the south of Granada", a declaration of love to this land of the Alpujarra.


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Traditional festivals of the Alpujarra

Among the many popular festivals in the Alpujarra during the year, one of the favorites is the Feast of the Mauraca, which is celebrated in Pampaneira and other towns in the region on November 1. The Feast of the Mauraca in the Alpujarra consists of gathering chestnuts and then roasting them in a bonfire together with the other neighbors of the town and nearby towns. There are also traditional dances, sings and competitions are held.

Very popular are also the Moors and Christians Festivities in the Alpujarra, with songs and dances that show the richness of Alpujarran folklore.

In Órgiva takes place the Fair of Tourism, Crafts and Food "Made in the Alpujarra", which includes samples, tastings and workshops. It is an important tourist, economic and agri-food event in the province of Granada and that the Junta de Andalucía is increasingly promoting as a regional asset from the Alpujarra.

An interesting gastronomic event in the Alpujarra is the Cañonera Tapa Route, in Lanjarón. In Cáñar every 28th of December the Music Festival of the Mozuelas takes place, of very old tradition, in which the boys sing to the girls of the town and then everything ends in a great meal together. And in Yegen the patron saint festivities of the Blessed Child are celebrated in January.

Finally, as in many places of Andalusia, in the Alpujarra international events are celebrated during the year such as the European Wine Tourism Day, the European Handicrafts Days and the International Day of the Museums of Andalusia.


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Nature and landscapes of the Alpujarra

The charm of the Alpujarra lies in its rebellious, wild and uncouth appearance, which is perceived both in architecture and in the rugged mountainous landscapes dotted with villages, gorges, ravines and cliffs.

And of course, the proximity from the Alpujarra to Sierra Nevada is its maximum attraction of nature. Finding a protected natural space that is both a National Park, a Natural Park and a Biosphere Reserve is not easy. The place is very special from the environmental point of view and contain an exceptional representation of fauna and flora. Sierra Nevada meets all the requirements and the Alpujarra seems recumbent on their skirts. An interesting suggestion is to make an excursion to the Mulhacén.

Take the trip to Granada to see Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarra is always an excellent idea that you will not regret.


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Gastronomy, crafts, architecture and folklore of the Alpujarra

The gastronomy in the Alpujarra would not be the same without the pig. The ham of Trevélez and other sausages derived from this animal are the maximum gastronomic exponent of this region and its meat is used to prepare typical dishes such as stews, soups and crumbs.

There are many shops to buy typical gastronomic products of the Alpujarra, some of them of gourmet quality.

The crafts in the Alpujarra is not only a tourist attraction, but a way of life and an important source of income for its inhabitants. Órgiva and Pampaneira are the two best towns to buy handicrafts in the Alpujarra. Typical are carpets, tapestries and jarapas, but wicker baskets and products of esparto, wood, ceramics, leather and metal are also made.

The Phoenicians and the Romans inhabited these lands, but it was the Arabs who left their eternal legacy in the Alpujarra of Granada. They are owed not only the names of the towns, also their architecture staggered in height; the labyrinthine, winding and narrow streets; the acequias as a system of irrigation channels and water transport; and, of course, the popular tinaos and terraos of the whitewashed houses of an unpolluted white from the Alpujarra.

The terraos in the Alpujarra are the roofs of the houses, which are staggered and serve to support the next house. Very peculiar also its chimneys, which provide personality.

As for the tinaos in the Alpujarra, they are an architectural solution that consists of a system of beams on the street, creating passages and arcades that are of course transitable and public, on which there are built houses or private rooms.

On the other hand, you will find an offer of flamenco in the Alpujarra wider than you imagine: sale of handmade guitars, shows of famenco and even flamenco workshops.


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Museums and activities in the Alpujarra

In the Alpujarra of Granada there is also a place for museums. In Capileira is the Museum of Arts and Popular Customs Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. And in Lanjarón, the Honey Museum of Granada.

Wine lovers who will visit the Alpujarra can find in the town of Murtas the Enological Museum of La Contraviesa, as well as the Alpujárride Wine Thematic Center, in Torvizcón.

Horse riding excursions, bike routes, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, multi-adventure, caving, canyoning, bungee jumping, 4×4 routes, skiing, snowboarding, orientation and even free flight are sports and active tourism in the Alpujarra, which you can carry out without leaving this unique natural environment.


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