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Rustic Blue Guide to Las Alpujarras

Between the highest mountains in Spain and the Mediterranean Sea, Las Alpujarras is one of the most enchanting and beautiful regions in the world …

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A view from above Capileira Roses and geraniums spill from every nook and cranny Pampaneira Driving under lemons Time-honoured friends Spring brings a Monet show of colour Characterised by flat roofs and prominent chimney pots the architecture is unique in Europe

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Las Alpujarras

Map of spain showing Las Alpujarras region.

Las Alpujarras

Description

From the snows to the sea

From the peaks of Spain's highest mountains to the southern sierras and the Mediterranean beyond, Las Alpujarras is one of the most enchanting and beautiful regions in the world.

Between the highest mountains in Spain and the Mediterranean Sea, Las Alpujarras is one of the most enchanting and beautiful regions in the world.

Some call it Las Alpujarras, others La Alpujarra: whichever you prefer, it's a joyous land of sunshine, snowy mountains and some of the most splendid scenery imaginable.

From the spectacular 'lunar' terrain and snow-capped peaks (which rise above 10,000 feet), the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada slopes southwards, traversed by deep, wooded river gorges and truly wonderful countryside.

Pine forests on the higher slopes give way to chestnut, walnut and cherry trees, which in turn give way to almonds, olive groves and vines, then to orange and lemon, pomegranate and quince in the valleys below.

The mountains rise up once more in La Contraviesa, like a last wave before the coast, only to fall steeply into the tropical coves and palm-fringed beaches of the Mediterranean, far below.

The high mountains have their own special beauty: wild and brooding in winter, they come alive in early summer with the scents of wild herbs and the spectacle of tiny, brilliantly coloured flowers, many of them unique to Sierra Nevada.

Something magical

These mountains have a power which everybody who comes here feels. Perhaps it is in the quality of the light, or the brilliance of the stars at night, the purity of the mountain air or the crystal-clear spring water?

Altitude and sun have combined to evolve more endemic botanical species in Las Alpujarras than in all the rest of Europe.

Mountain goats, wild boar, foxes, eagles, goshawks and partridge inhabit the sierras. Mules and donkeys still labour in the fields, sheep and goats graze the hillsides. Trout fill the rivers.

From the snows to the sea, there are panoramic views in every direction, from the peaks of Veleta and Mulhacén to the southern sierras and the Mediterranean beyond. At sunset, the Rif mountains of Morocco are sometimes clearly visible, 200 kilometres away across the sea.

There is something else too … something indefinable. To the Spanish, "Las Alpujarras" rings of magic, and there is a natural power which these mountains have and which everybody who comes here feels. Perhaps it is in the quality of the light, the brilliance of the stars at night, the purity of the mountain air or the crystal clear spring water?

Whatever it is, it is something which remains more than just the beautiful countryside, the time-honoured local customs, the peacefulness and the warm Andalusian sun …

Legacy of the Moors

The Moors took refuge in these hills and resisted here for well over a hundred years after they were expelled from Granada in 1492. Their legacy is to be seen everywhere.

The Moors took refuge in these hills and resisted here, 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. Las Alpujarras was their final battlefield in Spain.

Their legacy is to be seen everywhere: in the distinctive architecture of the mountain villages and in the intricate system of irrigation waterways which they built and which still keep the landscape green and fertile, fed by the snows melting high in the sierras above.

The architecture of the little mountain villages is unique in Europe and is identical to Berber originals in the Atlas mountains of Northern Africa. With dwellings characterised by flat roofs and prominent chimney pots, the villages were built by the Berber settlers whose creation imitated and followed the half-natural, half-man made designs of their own mountain lands.

Beautiful in their simplicity, the villages appear to tumble haphazardly down the steep hillsides, connected by a labyrinth of narrow, winding cobbled streets. A picture to behold, glistening white in the sun, roses and geraniums spilling from every nook and cranny. Bubión and Capileira are classic examples.

A natural paradise

A joyous land of sunshine, snowy mountains and some of the most splendid scenery imaginable, there are more endemic botanical species in Las Alpujarras than in the rest of Europe combined.

Just a few kilometres from the Costa Tropical, the climate is typical of Andalucía - warm and sunny with crystal-clear blue skies throughout most of the year. The mountain air is the cleanest in Europe and, because of the altitude, the heat in mid-summer is not oppressive, as it can be in much of southern Spain. It can be cold in the higher mountain villages in winter, but incredibly beautiful too.

As the seasons change, so does the appearance and character of this magical mountain world. Winter is the most dramatic. Snow lies thick on Sierra Nevada, occasional rains enrich the green life of the earth, amazing cloud 'dragons' swirl up the valleys and the sunsets are a joy. A log fire at night is a must!

Late January sees the first swathes of blossom: pink and white almonds, and soon spring arrives for real, putting on a Monet show of colour in the valleys. The sun warms the countryside and there is a fresh liveliness in the pure mountain air.

Summer time is fiesta time! Each little village celebrates its own festival and for some this marks out an itinerary in itself of dance and fireworks, saints and wine. For others, the high mountain villages are a haven away from the coastal heat.

The gentle peacefulness of autumn follows; rich in colour, usually warm and sunny. Grapes are ripe on the vine, walnuts, chestnuts and mushrooms can be picked by all. Higher up in the hills, the nights begin to cool, while below in the valleys, where the microclimate is semi-tropical, swimming pools are sometimes still in use throughout October.

The historic city of Granada is "just down the road", skiing facilities on the north side of Sierra Nevada are now world-class, the Mediterranean coast is less than an hour away. From the snow to the sea … Las Alpujarras.

Towns & Villages

Towns and Villages

Bubion

If you enjoy high mountain peace and beauty, the little Moorish village of Bubión is the place to be.

Sitting proudly in the midst of the incredibly beautiful Poqueira Ravine at 1.350 m, all around is glorious nature, views are far, wide and very handsome …

Capileira

Spectacular from afar - a white crown on the great Poqueira Ravine - its architecture characterised by years of Moorish occupation, Capileira today is a pretty, friendly place, popular with visitors seeking remote beauty coupled with good facilities …

Orgiva

The largest town in the area (pop: 5,000), Órgiva is a little market town with a cosmopolitan and eccletic mix of peoples and lifestyles, an interesting mix of modern Spanish and more traditional Alpujarran characteristics. Many would call it unique …

Holiday villas

Holiday villas in Las Alpujarras

  • ZA 37(1) - Sleeps 2

    On its own 17 acres of magical mountain terrain this magnificent farmhouse divides into five self-catering rental apartments. With glorious nature all around, fantastic views and much more, this apartment is a great place for a couple.

    from £470 to £520

  • ZA 35 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    Sunny and modern, hidden away behind trees, this little cottage enjoys the best of both world's, in the countryside yet just a few minutes walk into town. It's a lovely spot, a place to spend days and evenings outdoors, lounging by and taking dips in the inviting pool.

    from £560 to £870

  • ZA 91 - Sleeps 4

    A great little holiday home, neat and pretty inside, this really is a place to enjoy the wonderful outdoor spaces. The garden is really delightful with centenary olive trees growing among orange, lemon, banana, palm, bamboo and other tropical delights.

    from £590 to £990

  • ZA 92 - Sleeps 2 & a child

    Close enough to town to be able to stroll there whenever you feel like it, yet far enough away to enjoy the tranquility of the wonderful nature all around, this is a perfect little holiday hideaway for a couple. It's all very neat, tidy and cheerful.

    from £560 to £780

  • ZA 16 - Sleeps 9

    This charmingly restored old farmhouse has the most beautiful gardens, complete tranquillity and breathtaking 360º views of Sierra Nevada and the surrounding mountains. A wonderful oasis of magical mountain splendour.

    from £1,660 to £1,970

  • ZA 43 - Sleeps 4 & a child

    Surrounded by fabulous natural beauty and with Sierra Lújar as a dramatic backdrop, this traditional Alpujarran countryside property has been extended and refurbished throughout. Tasteful and comfortable enough inside, outside it´s heavenly!

    from £680 to £1,330

  • ZA 26 - Sleeps 4

    An excellent example of the traditional architecture of Las Alpujarras, this stone-built Moorish cottage enjoys uninterrupted views of the wonderful countryside of the Poqueira Ravine. A magical place for a holiday.

    £490

  • ZA 53 - Sleeps 6

    Simple modernity predominates inside, but it is sunshine and the outdoor life that characterise life here in the warm, semi-tropical microclimate of the Guadalfeo valley just five minutes from town.

    from £740 to £850

  • ZA 14 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    This old rustic cottage on an almond orchard beneath a rocky cliff is just above the tiny mountain hamlet of Atalbeitar. Completely renovated, its original thick stone walls, traditional beam-and-stone ceilings and all its lovely old nooks and crannies have been carefully retained.

    from £420 to £840

  • ZA 15 - Sleeps 4

    Surrounded by beautiful countryside and enjoying splendid views from its semi-tropical gardens, this restored and extended property offers rustic accommodation in a delightful setting. Relax by the pool, enjoy the perfumed blossoms and take in the views.

    from £650 to £1,100

  • ZA 24 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    This lovely cottage is hidden among olive and orange groves in a peaceful, rural location. Very nicely decorated using traditional, rustic colours and touches, it is a perfect retreat from life's hustle and bustle. Lovely gardens and an inviting pool complete an idyllic scene.

    from £650 to £1,150

  • ZA 42 - Sleeps 4 or 6

    This attractive property looks out far and wide over the Guadalfeo river valley. Thoughtfully restored, newly fitted-out and pleasingly decorated, it represents one of the prime holiday homes in "Driving Over Lemons" country outside Órgiva.

    from £720 to £1,170

  • ZA 18 - Sleeps 2

    This comfortable and very pretty stone-built cottage has a privileged location, situated in a delightful spot with superb views. At the foot of the Moorish village of Bubión, it's as peaceful as can be here, just gorgeous nature all around, a magical mountain paradise.

    £490

  • ZA 78 - Sleeps 2, 4 or 8

    High, high up in the Sierra Nevada, this lovely old farmhouse has one of the best views imaginable, mile upon mile of magnificent mountain terrain, the Mediterranean and Morocco far beyond. In spring and autumn the main farmhouse is made available for smaller parties at discounted rates.

    from £650 to £1,810

  • ZA 20 - Sleeps 4 & 2 children

    A no-frills, authentic experience of the Alpujarra of old. There is no mains electricity, there are no shops or bars in this tiny hamlet, you will need to fetch drinking water from the spring by the river. The house is very simply furnished but has more character than a Cervantes classic.

    £350

  • ZA 77 - Sleeps 4

    In a secluded, rural location in the lower foothills of Las Alpujarras, this purpose-built holiday property has an attractive bungalow-style feel. Neat and bright, it´s a fresh and cheerful little holiday home, ideal for a small family.

    from £520 to £820

  • ZA 11 - Sleeps 10 plus a child

    This beautifully converted farmhouse offers a rural retreat that´s conveniently close to town. Well-equipped to accommodate a large party, there are plenty of private corners for ´time out´ away from the group too.

    from £880 to £1,760

  • ZA 37(5) - Sleeps 2 or 4

    A beautifully beamed, tiled and fitted out apartment which features finely detailed woodwork and superb Moorish style throughout. If you like mountains, incredible views, stunning scenery and glorious nature this is the place to be.

    from £590 to £790

  • ZA 67 - Sleeps 4

    Just below the church, in the oldest part of the village, here one is transported back to the Spain of days long gone by. This lovely old Moorish house in a magnificent Alpujarran setting has been restored and extended to create a spacious but still very traditional home.

    £510

  • ZA 38 - Sleeps 2/3

    In the original heart of this classic Moorish village, just below the church and the plaza, this unpretentious house has authentic berber style and genuine character. Great views too, encompassing the rural bliss of the surrounding mountains.

    £290

  • ZA 19 - Sleeps 4 to 8 / 12

    A traditional Alpujarran house in the heart of Bubion. Ideal as a base for walking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits - being placed at the foot of Spain´s highest mountain, Mulhacén. An economical, yet spacious town house for groups or families alike.

    £490

  • ZA 12 - Sleeps 6 to 10

    This farmhouse, set in lovely gardens, has been completely renovated by its British owners. Inspired by Spain's Moorish past, the attention to detail and design is fantastic. Echoes of Granada's Moroccan style are subtly present almost everywhere you look. It's beautiful.

    from £1,300 to £2,570

  • ZA 22 - Sleeps 4, 6 or 8

    This creatively designed and luxuriously decorated modern villa is really impressive, offering style and quality throughout. Remote and very secluded, it enjoys panoramic views of the vast bowl of mountain countryside which rises up spectacularly all around.

    from £1,330 to £2,340

  • ZA 45 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    This traditional, cheerfully rustic, stone-built farm cottage enjoys marvellous panoramic views. As one client wrote, "A great opportunity to experience the simple pleasures of life in a 400 year old mountain dwelling, with what must surely be the most beautiful view in the whole of Spain!"

    from £510 to £660

  • ZA 37(3) - Sleeps 2

    With magnificent scenery all around, this quality apartment for a couple is one of five here on this beautiful farmhouse estate. Just birdsong and the distant clinking of goat bells to keep you company, the scents of lavender and rosemary pervading the crystal-clear mountain air.

    from £420 to £460

  • ZA 37(4) - Sleeps 2 & 2 children

    An excellent, self-contained apartment on a huge and incredibly beautiful estate high in the Sierra Nevada. Great style, lovely gardens and pool. Views, down to the Sierras de Lújar and Contraviesa with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, are breathtaking.

    from £470 to £520

  • ZA 75 - Sleeps 2/3

    In a quiet corner, not far from the village square, this traditional home with its beamed ceilings and handmade floor tiles is friendly and charming. Here you will enjoy the genuine atmosphere of the beautiful Alpujarra mountains and one of its most popular villages.

    from £330 to £380

  • ZA 28 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    An unpretentious but cosy little house situated in a quiet street on the edge of one of the smallest of the high mountain villages in Las Alpujarras. A place to relax and enjoy the wonderful nature all around.

    from £340 to £430

  • ZA 37(2) - Sleeps 2 & 2 children

    Designed by a renowned expert on classical Moorish work, this is one of five beautiful apartments within a fabulous farmhouse estate high in the mountains. Lovely gardens and hundreds of square miles of magnificent, wild and brooding scenery to revel in.

    from £470 to £520

  • ZA 10 - Sleeps 4 to 10

    This huge village house has been restored and reformed with style, taste and imagination. Quite simply, it's beautiful! Retaining all its magnificent old character, it's exquisite, a work of art. Just part of its charm, it has a little Arabic-style hamman indoor pool.

    from £730 to £2,280

  • ZA 95 - Sleeps 2 or 4

    An authentic 500 year old Alpujarran dwelling in the tiny hamlet of Capilerilla, high in the ancient Moorish district of La Tahá. As rustic as can be, it offers a peaceful and relaxing reminder of rural times gone by.

    from £360 to £390

More photos

More photos of Las Alpujarras

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