South of the Sierra Nevada range and north of the Sierras of Lujar, La Contraviesa and Gador, lie the Alpujarras Valleys. We have been exploring the valleys and mountains of the Alpujarras since 1990 – we’re pretty sure even the locals don’t know the trails like we do! Our leaders return again and again to this still hidden and little known area of Andalucia.
Capileira, where we stay, is already at 1300m, a pueblo blanco perched above the Poqueira Gorge and the landscape is that of mountains and terraced lands of orchards, vines and olives, irrigated by surrounding deep gorges. There are numerous walks from the village with a myriad of fine scenic paths diverging in all directions. This rugged yet stunningly beautiful area includes mainland Spain’s highest peak, Mulhacen, at 3479m the Iberian Peninsula’s highest mountain, which owes its name to the days when these valleys were cultivated by the Moors. Weather permitting we will stand on top of it, surveying the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and looking south to the Mediterranean.
Another hike, starting at the hotel, follows the pathways between six local villages, where red peppers and onions dry in the sun against white-washed walls and life moves very slowly. The circular Route of the Acequias takes us deep into the wild and remote valley beneath Mulhacen following ancient irrigation channels.
From Trevélez, at 1700m the highest village in Spain, we follow the ridge between Peña Bon and the Pico de Fuentefria along the GR 240, the long distance footpath which takes its name ‘Sulayr’ from the name the Moors gave the Sierra Nevada – the Mountains of the Sun.
Capileira is a charming small village, with it cobbled alleyways, craft shops and restaurants serving typical Alpujarran food. ‘¡Aqui se come muy bien!’, as the locals say.