The Alpujarra is one of the most attractive destinations for International Green Tourism. No wonder considering its stunning scenery, beautiful fertile valleys and characteristic villages. The mountainous region La Alpujarra consists principally of sheltered valleys and gorges which descend at right angles from the ridges of the Sierra Nevada on the north, to the Sierras Almijara, Contraviesa and Gadór, which separate it from the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The region is one of great natural beauty because of a warm southerly climate combined with a reliable supply of water for irrigation from the rivers running off the Sierra Nevada, the valleys of the western Alpujarra are among the most fertile in Spain. Due to the steepness of the terrain, it means that they can only be cultivated in small fields, so that many modern agricultural techniques are impractical. One of the reasons that this region has remained so authentic. The valleys are oasis of greenery and contain a rich abundance of fruit trees, especially grape vines, oranges, lemons, persimmons, figs and almonds. The eastern Alpujarra, in the province of Almeria is more arid, but still highly attractive.
The cultural interest of the region lies in its fifty-odd villages, which were the last stronghold of the Spanish Muslims, or Moors. Soon after the Castilians took Granada in 1492, all the Moorish people were forced to convert to Christianity. Those who refused took to the hills, settling in this remote, inaccessible area. The Alpujarra villages, all unique hamlets, have retained their traditional Berber architecture - terraced clusters of grey-white box-shaped houses with flat clay roofs - which is still common in the Rif and Atlas mountains of Morocco. Beside this the influence of the Moorish population can not only be seen in the distinct cubic architecture but as well in the local cuisine, the local carpet weaving, and the numerous Arabic place names.
Perhaps the most picturesque villages are the famous trio which cling, one close above the other, to the slopes of the Barranco de Poqueira, where red peppers and tomatoes are still set out to dry on the flat clay roofs, among the tall round chimney pots. The village Pampaneira, at the bottom, bustles with crafts shops and restaurants, as does Bubión, half way up the slope, with its massive square church tower standing on a plaza of rough paving stones. But to savour the authentic Alpujarra, go to Capileira at the top of the valley - the name is an Arabic derivation of the Latin word for head or top - and walk down from the road into the lower streets of the village, where the rocky streets, overhanging passageways and sagging, stone houses have still not been remodelled and prettified for contemporary living. Another must-see area is the Balcón de la Alpujarra, formed by the whitewashed villages of Cañar, Soportújar and Carataunas. One of the main towns in the district is Lanjarón with it’s ruined castle, also known as the Puerta de la Alpujarra, the perfect spot to relax in its renown mineral water baths and Órgiva, the capital of the region on the lowlands, distinguished by its Moorish style. Trevélez, whose main church is at 1476 metres above sea level, is the highest recognised town in Spain, famous for his ham and the typical Moorish pastries and cakes. Due to the steepness, all the villages are built spaced out and facing south, to make the most of the gentle Mediterranean climate. The cobbled, winding streets give them an unique and picturesque appearance, which has inspired already many painters and writers. And are ideal to go for a stroll and breathe in calmness and tranquillity. Time really does seem to have stopped in the Alpujarra.
The Alpujarra is the ultimate walkers paradise which has numerous trails where you can experience stunning views and an abundant wildlife. Also is The Alpujarra famous for its excellent bird watching - the colourful Hoopoe with its stark, haunting cry, is a common sight. And what about discovering places of hidden beauty on horseback or even on mountain bike? Or would you like to spend your time in a more creative way by joining art classes in an inspiring environment? If you feel the need to invest in yourself you can choose for a personal- or yoga retreat in a timeless atmosphere… Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find it here in the Alpujarra. Isn’t it about time to discover the unspoilt natural beauty of all this?
Sustainable or "Green" Tourisme
The region and the villages offer something for everyone. The inspiring landscape with its contrasting views, the rich environmental heritage as well the open friendliness of the people make this an ideal location to spend holidays in many different ways. Undoubtedly always with respect for nature, culture and customs of the local people. Your decisions and actions can contribute to preserve the natural environment. Aren’t we all aware of the importance in maintaining and, if possible, improving the environmental quality?