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Rustic Blue Holiday Guide to Orgiva

The capital of Las Alpujarras, Órgiva has a cosmopolitan population and an eccletic mix of peoples and lifestyles …

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Órgiva The countryside all around Órgiva is stunning The twin towers of its 16th Century church Down by the river, just below town An interesting mix of ancient, traditional and modern styles Market day The town from distance
Órgiva, Las Alpujarras
Population

5,040

Altitude

450 metres

Distance from Granada

59 kilometres

Distance from the Coast

30 kilometres

Patron Saints

San Sebastián

Fiesta Dates

San Sebastián 20th January

Féria Grande at the end of September / beginning of October

Festividad del Santísimo Cristo de la Expiración, two Fridays before Good Friday

Climate

Situated at just 450 metres above sea level, the climate here is milder in winter than it is higher up (frosts are rare, snows unheard of) but hotter in summer. Approx. 300 days of sunshine each year, low humidity and daytime summer temperatures usually around 30 to 35ºC. An early afternoon breeze in summer usually takes the edge off the high temperatures

Description

At the crossroads

Four roads depart from Órgiva: one leads south to the Mediterranean coast, another heads west, leading on to Granada. The third takes one to the remoter villages of the Eastern Alpujarras; the fourth winds up high into the mountains.

Órgiva is located on the southern slopes of the Natural Park of Sierra Nevada. Situated in the valley of the Rio Guadalfeo where it joins with the Rio Chico, it is effectively "the capital" of the Western Alpujarras.

With a population in excess of 5,000, it is the largest town in the area and is primarily a commercial centre supplying the entire region. It is an interesting mix of modern Spanish architecture and lifestyles combined with more traditional Alpujarran characteristics. Many would call it unique.

Órgiva is a natural communication centre: four roads depart from here, one linking Las Alpujarras with Salobreña and the Costa Tropical to the south; another heads west, through Lanjarón, leading on to Granada.

A third one, through Torviscón, takes one through the foothills of the Contraviesa into the remoter villages of the Eastern Alpujarras; the fourth winds up into the Sierra Nevada, ascending to Pampaneira, Bubión, Capileira, Trevélez and the other high mountain villages.

Busy and bustling

With the discovery of the Alpujarras as an unspoiled and very beautiful holiday destination, Órgiva has developed the neccessary service support to cater for a very wide catchment area.

Like most settlements in the area, it's early origins are surrounded in mystery. It was given to the dethroned Moorish King, Boabdil, after he lost Granada to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Later it played a very important role in the war between the Moriscos (the expelled Moors) and the Catholics, when Abén Humeya organised an uprising against Phillip ll. The Moriscos were eventually and finally expelled in 1609.

Thereafter, Órgiva, in common with the rest of the Alpujarras, was quickly forgotten and left to languish in economic decline. Some monuments of earlier days remain, with the 16th Century Palace (Palacio del Duque del Arco) and 16th Century Parish Church the most obvious.

The much more recent discovery of the Alpujarras as an unspoiled and very beautiful holiday destination has dramatically reinvigorated the town's economy. Taking full advantage of its geographical position and communications network, it has developed service industries to cater for the needs of a very wide catchment area.

Cosmopolitan

All seem to live harmoniously here, local dumper-truck drivers alongside tai-chi practitioners; traditional Spanish Catholics alongside Zen Buddhists. It's an eclectic mix and all the more interesting for it.

Something else happened too: it has become a home-from-home for all manner of travellers and seekers of an alternative lifestyle. By some miracle, all seem to live harmoniously here, local dumper-truck drivers alongside tai-chi practitioners; traditional Spanish Catholics alongside Zen Buddhists. It's an eclectic mix and all the more interesting for it. At a rough guess, the first language of, maybe, a quarter of the population, is … English.

And, in amongst all of this, was Chris Stewart, who settled here many years ago, bought a little finca and raised his sheep. He was writing, too, and his books, "Driving Over Lemons" and "A Parrot in the Pepper Tree" have brought these times to life.

A bustling, busy place - by Andalusian standards - Órgiva now offers everything from small supermarkets and pizzerias, banks and building suppliers to camp sites and petrol stations.

The pizzaria is an excellent spot for lunch or dinner, inexpensive and with a big garden where you can eat al-fresco. We hear good reports of the restaurants 'Limonero' and 'El Molino' too.

Joy in a sunny land

The countryside all around, in the fertile Vale de Órgiva, is wonderful. Swathes of orange and lemon trees, olives and pomegranates, bougainvillea, morning glory and jasmine bring joy to a sunny land.

But our personal favourite is simply to take a seat outside any one of the cafe / bars which spill onto the pavements of the main street (which doubles up as the main plaza) for coffee and tostadas and simply watch the world go by.

With such a cosmopolitan population it is hardly surprising that the traditional weekly market in Órgiva (held each Thursday morning) is now a thriving affair and an excuse for many to go into town to meet up with friends. Definitely worth a visit, if only to discover what Órgiva is all about.

And whatever one makes of Órgiva - no one would ever describe it as 'beautiful' but it has plenty of admirers - it's a perfect base for discovering the essence of Las Alpujarras.

The countryside all around, in the fertile Vale de Órgiva, is wonderful. Swathes of orange and lemon trees, olives and pomegranates, bougainvillea, morning glory and jasmine bring joy to a sunny land.

Surrounded by mountains (the Sierra Nevada to the north, Sierras Lújar and La Contraviesa to the south), it's a rural paradise.

Órgiva itself is not high up (only some 450 metres above sea level) and with excellent communications it's easy to travel from here - into the mountains, down to the coast, or across country to Granada.

Unlike most of the towns and villages of Las Alpujarras, Órgiva doesn't have a summer fiesta. Instead they content themselves with San Sebastián Day, celebrated on the 20th of January and the Grand Fair (Féria Grande), celebrated at the end of September / beginning of October.

Santísimo Cristo de la Expiación Day is another excuse to let off the fireworks - and they certainly do - celebrated two Fridays before Good Friday.

Holiday villas

Holiday villas in the low Alpujarras

  • 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 690€ to 1,220€

  • ZA 87 - Sleeps 6 to 10 + 4 Children

    This lovely and very neatly renovated, 200 year old farmhouse gleams white and bright in the midst of joyful countryside, its buildings ranging around pretty gardens which overlook the crystal-blue waters of the fabulous swimming pool below.

    from 1,240€ to 2,910€

  • 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 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 610€ to 930€

  • 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 850€ to 1,300€

  • 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 610€ to 860€

  • 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 1,620€ to 1,930€

  • ZA 21 - Sleeps 20

    The estate consists of four separate properties: the owner's house and three rental cottages called Bodega, Veleta and Campana. And while not professing to be of high luxury, the ambience is comfortable, light and airy while at the same time being quirky and full of character.

    from 2,870€ to 3,930€

  • ZA 17 - Sleeps 6 to 8

    The house is in the whitewashed and stone style typical of a traditional cortijo cottage of this area, crisp and neat and well maintained. The extensive private gardens are extensive and delightful, making it ideal for a relaxing family holiday.

    from 850€ to 1,300€

  • 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 620€ to 1,050€

  • 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 550€ to 850€

  • 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 1,250€ to 2,470€

  • 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 £590 to £1,170

  • 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 1,750€ to 2,280€

More photos

More photos of Orgiva

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