High and White Villages in the Alpujarras

When we first decided on Spain, a friend recommended the book “Driving over Lemons” by Chris Stewart which introduced me to the Alpujarra region of Granada and it became a place I hoped we could visit on our travels.


Leaving the heat of Granada, we were pleased to find ourselves climbing as we drove to Capileira, the town I had chosen for our sojourn here. We stopped off for a break in Lanjarron which was buzzing with Sunday tourists. The town reminded me slightly of the tourist villages in Australia’s Glass House Mountain area with the same tourist vibe.

Terrain, roads and mountains of the AlpujarrasAs we climbed and climbed towards our destination, I realised that Chris was going to have to cycle these roads and getting back each day would definitely be a climb; thankfully, he wasn’t too fazed by the prospect.

Arriving at last in Capileira that Sunday afternoon, this tiny village was packed full of tourists, but we managed to (finally) find a car park after some hairy driving around and up very narrow streets to our hotel.

Tiny streets, bunting going up

The village was a collection of white houses perched on the hillside, bunting hanging in preparation for a festival starting later that week. We wandered around the streets finding a lovely garden restaurant with views over the valley where we would enjoy dinner later that evening. Cooler than Granada, it was still very pleasantly warm.

Sunset dinner at CapilieraThe following day we planned a walk down to the next village of Bubion along a lovely rural trail, taking in views down the valley and hearing the sheep bells as they wandered their own paths below us.

I had scoured the “things to see” guides so we headed off on a driving adventure (sadly no lemons in sight) along some of the cycling routes Chris had discovered; excellently maintained roads winding their way around the hills, climbing and rolling down again – spying small villages where the locals gathered for the market vans to arrive that day. Then to a tiny tiny village from where many walkers head off on the numerous hiking trails of the region. We were headed (blindly) to find a natural spring of gassy water, passing the local community laundry of years past, then by chance finding the spring where the water ran constantly from the tap, fizzing and gurgling as the carbonated H2O spurted out.

Community laundry
Natural fizzy water

Lunch was enjoyed in a shaded terrace in Pampaneira towards Capileira, enjoying the local flavours of the area and taking in the local handicrafts.

Hand loomed rugs

We loved our time here, enjoing the tranquility of the surroundings and the “temperate” climate (high 20’s rather than the low 40’s we had experienced in Granada). The views of the mountains and steep valleys and, as we left to travel towards the coast again, more valley and lake views. This was an excellent destination to take a break and definitely recommended for getting away from the normal tourist trails.

Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira (and snow on the Sierra Nevada)
Pure water
Natural springs
Valley views
Departing the Alpujarras

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