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Rustic Blue Holiday Guide to Capileira

Lively in summer, magical and mysterious in winter, Capileira epitomises the high mountain life in Las Alpujarras …

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Capileira is the second highest village in Spain A view of the village The church at its centre Hard at work! Fresh veg, by the bag full! Looking over the village and down the Poqueira Ravine Two of many!
Capileira, Las Alpujarras



1.435 metres (approx. 4,700 feet)

Distance from Granada

80 kilometres

Distance from the Coast

52 kilometres

Patron Saints

La Virgen de la Cabeza

Fiesta Dates

Fiestas Patronales: last weekend in April

Romería (pilgrimage) de Mulhacén: nearest Sunday to 5th August

August fiesta: 2nd weekend in August


High in the mountains, winters can be cold (frosts are common and occasionally snow falls in Capileira) but also very beautiful. In the main it's a delightful climate with 300 or so days of sunshine each year, very low humidity and daytime summer temperatures usually closer to 30ºC, but always a welcoming few degrees cooler than lower parts of Andalucía



The village is a beautiful maze of ancient dwellings, their cats and geraniums, hens and goats, nooks and crannies, fountains and sudden, dramatic views - both down the valley and up to the mountain backdrop of Sierra Nevada.

If one village epitomises Las Alpujarras it is Capileira. Spectacular from afar - a white crown on the great Poqueira Ravine - its architecture characterised by 250 years of Moorish occupation and its culture by centuries more of hardship, it has developed today into a pretty, friendly place, popular with visitors seeking remote beauty coupled with good facilities.

Capileira is the second highest village in Spain, moulded onto the mountainscape 1,435 metres above sea level.

Its old streets - happily too narrow for cars - entwine and criss-cross their way a full hundred metres down the side of the gorge.

It's an enchanting maze of ancient dwellings, their cats and geraniums, hens and goats, nooks and crannies, fountains and sudden, dramatic views - both down the valley to Capileira's attractive sisters, Bubión and Pampaneira, and up to the mountain backdrop of Sierra Nevada, where blue skies meet pure white snow cresting the peaks.

High in the mountains

The last and highest village in the Poqueira Ravine, it's a popular stopping place for walkers and other nature lovers. A host of small bars and restaurants, craft shops and night spots make it an enjoyable place to stay.

While it has embraced rural tourism with enthusiasm and has a host of small bars and restaurants to serve visitors, craft shops and even night spots to suit differing tastes, it remains a village with a strong identity, dedicated to the well-being of its own families.

At weekends the main Plaza is the province of local children playing, accompanied by their mothers, grandparents, dogs and all, while you or I may stroll across to "El Castaño", for example, for a meal or a tapa (or two). Or a glass of fresh orange juice or costa wine (and a tapa or two) under the shade of trees on the terrace of Bar "El Tilo."

Major fiestas are boisterous affairs that everyone takes part in but there are also minor fiestas that knit the barrios, or neighbourhoods, together. On one night in January, when pigs have been slaughtered and converted into sausages, the inhabitants of each barrio (district) gather quietly round a bonfire in the street to eat and drink, watch the flames and share a few hours of company.

Magical nature

Cherry, walnut and grand old chestnut trees, rivers meeting in a thunderous spray, pine forests amid mountain magic where wild ibex roam, eagles soar above and, everywhere, an extraordinary wealth of wild flowers and butterflies.

The 'mauraca' in November is a more collective affair. Be warned, tradition demands that the hot roasted chestnuts be washed down by hefty measures of anis …

The Alpujarrans are a hardy lot with healthy appetites and they expect visitors to require feeding properly so generous platefuls are set before you! A wide variety of meat and vegetarian dishes are to be had, as well as revived Moorish recipes and excellent pizzas.

An interesting shop by the church, "La Alacena," is a cellar stocked with cured mountain hams, goat's cheese, almond cakes, barrels of wine, honeys and pastries and has a little bar tucked round the back for those who wish to sample first.

An old wood-fired bakery is another lovely surprise, in the morning the baker may be heard playing the lute or guitar while the oven heats up.

Another baker's, a butcher's, an estanco (tobacconist's, but it also sells brushes and stockings … ) and two supermercados ensure that people are well supplied.


Thanks to the generosity of an American benefactor who lived here many years ago, the village has always welcomed and nurtured its thriving community of musicians and artists.

There's also a 3* Hotel, Finca Los Llanos, a bank with cash dispenser, pharmacy, doctor's surgery, a museum and a number of shops selling clothes, rugs, Moroccan lamps, ceramic ware and other artesanía. "Muy Buenas" pub, among others, has an internet service.

Behind the scenes and quietly making its own valuable contribution, is an active community of artists and musicians, for which thanks is due to Freddie Wildman Jr, a somewhat eccentric American who made Capileira his home more than thirty years ago.

His generosity with free housing for artists (including Victor Erice who went on to win the 1973 Cannes palme D'Or) was matched by his generosity to the local community. He paid many of the villagers medical bills because they were too poor to afford their own care. In those far-off days, only he and the local doctor had motor cars, tough subsistence farming was the lot of most men, laundry was still handwashed by their garrulous wives in the outdoor lavaderos, and electricity (here only since 1956) was a novelty. How times change!

Fantastic hiking

One of the most enchanting and beautiful mountain regions in the world, the marvellous countryside all around is some of the best walking and horse riding terrain you could ever wish to find.

Perhaps the greatest of Capileira's assets is the opportunity for fantastic hiking no matter which direction you go in. Horse riders on Rustic Blue's week-long riding holidays explore the very best of the area too.

The village dwindles immediately into marvellous mountain countryside all around. Tracks and mule paths are shared by shepherds and ramblers alike, heading down to the river past cherry, walnut and grand old chestnut trees, up to the head of the ravine where rivers meet in a thunderous spray, or up higher and into the National Park, through pine forest and scrub oak to protected lands, where herds of wild ibex roam, eagles and other hunters soar above and an extraordinary wealth of wild flowers and butterflies are close at hand.

Higher still, winter snows lie thick until late spring, when the summit of Mulhacén can be reached at 3,481 metres (over 11,000 feet). A refuge on Mulhacén provides a rest and overnight spot.

Capileira is situated on the southern skirts of the Sierra Nevada where it enjoys a Mediterranean climate without the humidity that pervades the coast. It affords a relief and escape from the heat of high summer and perfect walking temperatures in spring and autumn. There can be terrific sunny days in winter, too, but being at high altitude it is cold at night so hearty log fires are in order.

Lively in summer, mysterious in winter, Capileira truly is a magical place.

Holiday villas

Holiday villas in the high Alpujarras

  • ZA 37(5) - Sleeps 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 830€ to 940€

  • 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.

    from 510€ to 730€

  • 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 510€ to 580€

  • 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 510€ to 580€

  • 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 510€ to 580€

  • 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 510€ to 580€

  • 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.


More photos

More photos of Capileira

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