What to do and what to see in Capileira

Along with Bubión and Pampaneira, the municipality of Capileira is part of the Artistic Historical Set of the Poqueira Gorge, it is the highest village of the three, almost 1,500 meters above sea level and from it you get impressive panoramic views to the Poqueira Gorge. From the different viewpoints it has, and specifically from the Eras de Aldeire, you can see the north of the Poqueira Gorge, the summits of Mulhacén and Veleta, the only place in the area from which you can enjoy such a magnificent view. The municipality of Capileira is part of the Sierra Nevada National Park and from here you can access the summits of the Veleta and Mulhacén peaks, the entrance to the Sierra Nevada on the southern part.

The town of Capileira is the second highest town in Spain, with an altitude of 1,436 meters. Its urban area preserves the traditional Alpujarra architecture and is divided into three neighborhoods. The white houses with flat roofs give shape to their steep and zigzagging streets, dotted with numerous fountains with their crystalline waters that come from the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It borders the municipalities of Pampaneira, Bubión, Pórtugos, Trevélez, La Taha, Monachil, Lanjarón, Güejar Sierra and Dílar.

History of Capileira

The origin of Capileira comes from the times of the Goths and its name has Latin origin since it comes from capillaris-e which means head or hair and indicate the highest point of the Poqueira Gorge.

Although the origins of the locality correspond to Phoenicians, Romans and Visigoths, the ones that left more legacy in this land were the Arabs. The Berber architecture stands out.

In the villages of Bubión, Capileira and Pampaneira there is a legend about an enchanted princess who wanders through its streets and is feared, especially by men. This princess waits to greet them at dusk and enters the mind of everyone who returns the greeting, stealing the dream.

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What to see in Capileira

It is worth a walk through the town, walking through every street and every corner, where we always find something that surprises us, a balcony full of flowers, a terrao, a viewpoint, etc.; refresh or drink water in the more than 10 fountains that dot the urban area or admire its monuments. Among all these stand out:

Parish Church Santa María de la Cabeza: It was rebuilt in the 17th century. Inside it can be seen a baroque altarpiece in gilded wood of the 17h century and an image of the Virgin of the Head donated by the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century.

Pedro Antonio de Alarcón House-Museum: Founded in 1972 and restored in 2013, it is dedicated to the life and work of the famous accitano writer, as well as functioning as a museum of Alpujarra customs and practices. There are also two public laundries under the Fountain of Hondera and the Fountain of La Pileta, which were in use until 1965.

Perchel Viewpoint: This is a small viewpoint at the entrance to Capileira where you can get good views of the entire Poqueira Gorge. It has an irregular floor, surrounded by forge and wood, paved with stone slabs. Here the ceramist Morales Alguacil made some paintings of Hipólito Llanes.

Eras de Aldeire: It is a viewpoint in which to contemplate both the Poqueira Gorge and the summits of Sierra Nevada, Mulhacén and Veleta; as well as other peaks of the National Park.

Washings of Capileira: It is one of the most charming corners of Capileira. These are washing batteries that were in use until 1965. They are currently in very good condition.

Other places of interest are the Maestro Nevot Park, the High Summit Information and Interpretation Center of the Sierra Nevada National Park, the Mentidero Street, the Espeñuelas Viewpoint and the Tajo of the Devil.

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What to do in Capileira

Capileira, like the other two villages of Poqueira Gorge, Bubión and Pampaneira, enjoys a privileged natural environment, with splendid landscapes of lush vegetation and extraordinary views that allow us to enjoy tours of different lengths. We explain here two short trips, which will last a little over 1 hour each and offer no special difficulty. Both cover a small part of the Poqueira Gorge on the side where the town is located and they allow us to enjoy magnificent views to the mountains, as well as a landscape with abundant water and vegetation.

Walk to Abuchite Bridge: This trail starts on the outskirts of the town and takes us to one of the enclaves that cross the Poqueira River, communicating the two slopes of the Poqueira Gorge. The distance to travel is approximately 1 km of walking, alternating the plain and the slope. The path runs along a path of vegetation, fields of crops, fountains and ditches.

Walk to Chiscal Bridge: Its purpose is to enjoy a journey that begins outside the town of Capileira and takes us to Chiscal Bridge one of the enclaves that connects the two slopes of the gorge and that crosses the Poqueira River. The distance to travel is approximately 2.5 km alternating the plain and the slope and, approximately, about 75 minutes of walking.

Apart there are different routes to perform:

Route of La Cebadilla: It is a circular route that runs through the Poqueira Gorge. This trail joins a curious nucleus of houses with La Cebadilla.

Route of the Water: It crosses different sources of Capileira that collect their water filtered by aquifers from the same Sierra Nevada. The Arabs were the ones who built them and currently have a double function, to transfer the water for agricultural irrigation and to recharge the aquifers from which the springs flow. The fountains that we can find are: Cold Fountain, Fountain of the Road, Fountain of La Pileta, Fountain of Ramón Torres, Fountain Hondera, Fountain of the Cerecillo, Fountain of Las Espeñuelas, Fountain of the Cherry tree, Fountain of the Old Pantheon, Fountain of the Calvary, Fountain of the Cube and Fountain of the Track.

Poqueira Gorge Route: This route runs between the municipalities of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira, and it allows you to contemplate one of the most beautiful corners of Spain. It is a route of 9.8 km with an estimated duration of 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Sulayr Trail: This trail consists of 300 km of circular route that are divided into 19 stages in which you can appreciate the beauty of the landscapes and towns which are part of them. The trail is connected to other places such as the Dornajo Visitor Center or the Cortijuela Botanical Garden. It is the backbone of the basic network of trails in Sierra Nevada and a symbol of union between the Natural Park and the National Park. It runs between two provinces, six counties and sixty municipalities, among which is Capileira.

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Traditional festivals in Capileira

In the visit to Capileira you can take advantage to enjoy some of the celebrations held in this town.

Night of San Antón: Held in January, with the ignition of the traditional bonfires.

Festivities of the Virgin of the Head: They take place every year on the last weekend of April in honor of the Virgin of the Head, patron saint of the town.

Day of the Virgin of the Snows: It is celebrated on August 5, where the Virgin of the Snows moves in a procession from the village to the Mulhacén walking.

Chestnut Festival: The City Council organizes a large nightly mauraca in the Calvario Square, where neighbors and visitors participate tasting roasted chestnuts and drinking anise and mistela until dawn.

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Gastronomy of Capileira

From the gastronomy stand out the loaves of bread cooked in a conserved Arab oven; the poor potatoes, the choto capilurrio, the fennel stew, the sausages, the hams, the blood sausages, the slaughter meat for the loin and the ribs in the center. For dessert we can highlight the hood or capirote.

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