Here you are high in the mountains, it’s walking and horse riding countryside (difficult to beat anywhere in Europe).
There are, of course, lovely high mountain Moorish villages to visit, Capileira, Bubión (a couple of kilometres further down the valley) and Pampaneira to name but a few.
As well as being very beautiful Moorish villages, all are geared for catering for the walkers and high mountain nature lovers who frequent them; there are bars, restaurants and little shops a plenty.
Further down the valley, 40 minutes away, Órgiva is an interesting – many would call it unique – mix of modern Spanish, more traditional Alpujarran characteristics and seekers of an alternative lifestyle. It’s an eclectic mix and all the more interesting for it.
Here there’s everything from supermarkets and pizzerias, banks and building suppliers, camp sites and petrol stations. The weekly (Thursday morning) market is well worth visiting.
The Costa Tropical is 1¼ hours away. The closest beaches are at Salobreña. Further along the coast, there’s bigger Almuñecar, the beautiful bay of La Herradura and then the much more “international” resort of Nerja at the start of the Costa del Sol. With a strong British presence (you can have a curry here … ) it boasts 16 kilometres of beaches with powdery sand and sparkling clear water.
On this stretch of coast you can choose between fairly isolated, beautiful coves or any one of the different sized resort towns. Cheerful, peaceful, laid back places in the best tradition of the Spanish seaside, a relaxed lunch at one of the beach bars is highly recommended – even in winter if the sun is shining!
1½ hours away, Granada is, of course, a must-see city. Soaring high above is the spectacular back drop of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains. And what a city lies below, a city of classical beauty, the jewel in the Spanish Crown.
The mesmerising Alhambra Palace and its exquisite gardens, one of the world’s greatest wonders; the narrow, cobbled streets and beautiful walled gardens of the ancient Arab quarter, El Albaicín; the magnificent Cathedral, just one of many superb examples of Renaissance architecture; the caves of Sacramonte, nostalgic legacy of the gypsies.
A city which inspired García Lorca, Andalucía’s finest poet, it is, above all, a people’s city, full of life and colour, energy and fun.
On the northern slopes of Sierra Nevada, top class skiing is 1¾ hours drive away. This can be excellent but avoid weekends, when the Granadinos swarm up from the city.
If wonderful mountain scenery is your thing, then stay right here in Las Alpujarras! Between the highest mountains in Spain and the Mediterranean Sea, this is a joyous land of sunshine, snowy mountains and some of the most splendid scenery imaginable. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Las Alpujarras offers some of the finest mountain walking, horse riding and cycling anywhere in Europe. There are fabulous riding stables with excellent horses just a kilometre away from the house.
And, of course, here you are reasonably well placed to travel to the ski resort high in La Sierra Nevada.
On the Costa Tropical, activities on offer include scuba, cavern and technical diving, as well as horse riding and tennis, paragliding, climbing, and abseiling.