Some call it Las Alpujarras, others La Alpujarra – whichever, this well-kept secret location is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. High mountains and sheltered deep valleys with craggy outcrops make for a varied landscape. The snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada just behind the Alpujarras produce the beginnings of the rivers that flow through wooded valleys to the Mediterranean Sea. Mountain goats, foxes, wild boar and eagles inhabit Las Alpujarras.
Las Alpujarras are enchanting and no matter the time of year, there will be plenty to keep your attention in this magnificent landscape. In winter it is cold, but log-fires keep homes cozy. The snowy peaks provide excellent ski runs. In Spring there are wonderful perfumes from the superb wild flowers and splendid pine trees. The stunning pink and white almond blossom and the heady scented orange and lemon blossom make the prettiest of pictures. In the summer it is hot with cooling breezes and because of the altitude the heat in mid-summer is not oppressive making for pleasant days in the sun. As the trees change in Autumn under the clear blue skies they are an artist’s dream palette. The mountain air is the cleanest in Europe.
The Moors took refuge in these hills maintaining their customs and way of life for well over a hundred years after they were expelled from Granada in 1492 by their Christian conquerors. The Catholic King & Queen, Ferdinand & Isabella. The Moorish legacy is to be seen everywhere in distinctive Berber architecture, with flat roofed buildings painted white and topped with interesting chimney pots. In addition there is an intricate irrigation system, known as “acequias”, which are channels and waterways managed by gates and built to capture the melting snows and provide water to keep the landscape green and fertile.
Orgiva the capital of The Alpujarras is a lively, market town where every modern-day need can be met. Shops, banks, restaurants and stunning countryside within walking distance make for an ideal base from which to explore Las Alpujarras. Orgiva and most of the little villages in Las Alpujarras celebrate saints days with fiestas which can last from one day to a whole week of revelry.
Travel up to the Poqueira Ravine to the white villages where you can pick up local souvenirs. You will find locally made hand-painted pottery, fabulous “shaggy” rugs and wall hangings or air-cured jamon (ham) from Trevelez
Pampaneira has a 16th century Parish church and a lovely plaza with comfortable shady bars which serve excellent tapas where you can sit and while away a sunny afternoon. In Bubion the wars between the Christians versus Moors are celebrated by a re-enactment .
Another interesting trip is to the spa town of Lanjaron, where you can take the water! On 24th June there is a Water & Ham Festival. You are likely to get very wet with locals throwing buckets of water from their balconies and out of doorways. Later everyone sits down to a sumptuous feast of ham with plenty of wine to wash it down! Sounds like fun! However, the spa water has important minerals to treat a variety of ailments – so pick up your own bottle full from the fountain for public use in the street.
For a holiday in striking scenery with plenty to do to fill the days, Las Alpujarras would be difficult to beat.