Hiking and walking through Las Alpujarras
The best way of discovering a region is one step at a time, by visiting its towns and villages, immersing yourself in its countryside and getting to know the local people. Hillwalking in Alpujarras has become very popular in last few years as a pleasant and healthy way of discovering village and rural life in the Alpujarra of Granada.
The routes in this guide are indicated by signposts and direction arrows marked on the ground. Each starts at a point where there is an information board with a visual display of the whole route supplemented with technical information, topography of the route and other information on difficulty, etc.
We hope that you enjoy these walks around the Alpujarra of Granada, and that they help you get to know this region better as you walk through the marvellous landscapes of the routes.
19 Selected Walking Routes
Los Mineros - Miner's route - Orgiva
This suggested route is more than just a path: It is a journey through the mining history of the Sierra de Lujar. Mining has been the backbone of the economy in this region since time immemorial, and was especially important in Orgiva from 1800 to 1989.
Begin by followin the track through the forest, and after a few meters turn right to begin the ascend, following a path for about three kilometers. This is the path which the miners from Orgiva had to use every day to travel to work at the mine. The first stage is very demanding, as the steep path gains height vey quickly. Rest stops offer superb views over the region of Alpujarra.All along the path you will find information boards which explain th mining history of the are which the path passes through. The surrounding vegetation here consists of a thick carpet of rockrose, gorse, rosemary and thyme.
Whe you reach the path that you need to take to begi n the descent, pause for a moment to think of the lives of the mine workers. At this point, they still had a lon walk ahead of them to get to work, and they had to arrive there at dan to begin their working day.
The descent route which the path follows offrs the chance to enjoy the delightful countryside which is spread out before you as you descend gently, with Orgiva and the highest peaks of the Sierra nevada as a backdrop.A alk of five kilometres along the path will bring you back to the starting point.
La Atalaya - Pampaneira
This is a very picturesque route, which passes thrugh some areas of dense and varied vegetation. Most striking among this is a large grove of chestnut trees. It also passes many ruined and abandoned country houses known as cortijos, and their adjoining terraced farmland.
Follow the track which starts from this point on th emain road for about 700 metres, and then cross the river by the bridge which is next to the Public recreation area. Begin the ascent up a path which zigzags across the slope.
A few minutes after beginning to climb, veer towards th left on a path that will take you to a forest trail, which you then follow to the right to continue the route. This area offers some excellent view of the three villages of Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira, with the mountains in the background.
After about 2 kilometres the path leads to the "Cortijo de Banuelo". The descent from here is along a track which lead back to the bridge crossed at the outset.
Pitres Ferreirola - Pitres
This route involves a tour of part of the ditrit of La Taha, taking in several of its villages including pitres, Capilerilla, Mecina, Mecinilla, Fondales, Ferreirola and Atalbeitar, which date back to Roman times. Here you can enjoy a peace and tranquility which simply isn't found elsewhere The walk begins in Pitres, the capital of this group of villages, where you can see the charming tower of the church which was built on the foundations of an ancient mosque.
From here, drop down along a path which has an excellent view over the Trevelez River. This leads to the village of Mecina, where you need to take the first side streed heading right to get to the mainroad, by which you reach Mecinilla.
Cross the village aiming for the lowest point, where you will find another path which leads to Fondales. Thi i reputed to be one of the purest villages in the region of la Alpujarra, as its original architeture has been preserved virtually intact. In the highest part of the village, wher eyou will come across a square, continue by going left to get to the gully through which the Bermejo River flows.
Cross this and follow the trail which lopes up towards Ferreirola, a tiny village of ancient houses and public laundries, which has and unusual natural spring of sparkling water. The last stage of this walk follows the same route as the Gran REcorrido GR-142, one of the European long-distance walking routes, which runs between Lanjaron (Granada) and Finana (Almeria).
Molino Altero - Trevelez
The starting point for this route is Plaza del Barrio Medio in the area known as Molino Altero. From here, walk towards the sports centre and then leave the village of Trevelez heading in the direction of the Trevelez River.
All along this stage of the journey you will notice many terraced fields full of crops, which is the reason why this path continues to be well used by the local farmers.
As you walk, if you look towards the right, you will see the peak and gully of Penabon mountain. Once at the river, take the path which leads off to the right to begin the return journey to the Barrio Bajo de Trevelez, where you can discover the church.
Acequia - Berchules
This trail offers the walker the chance to discover one of the oldest and most ingenious systems for conserving and transporting water in the whole Alpujarra region: the Acequias, or aqueducts. These irrigation channels carry water from high rivers and streams direct to the fields of crops in the region, and in doing so sutain the majority of the ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada.
Part of the route follows the Camino Real, the old public highway which, crossing the Sierra Nevada, used to take travellers to Granada. It was also used for moving livestock up to grazing pastures on the high slopes of th emountains in summer, during which season the people of Alpujarra would stay at their country cortijos and grow crops.
Nowadays, the most widespread crop grown here is kidney beans. one section of this route follows part of the aqueduct called Acequia Real, and in the surrounding area you will come across leafy groves of chestnut trees and fertile grazing pastures.
After ascending a slope which is quite steep to begin with, the route begins to level off, and arrives at the reservoir. Here, the path runs alongside the lowest aqueduct, gaining height slightly until it reaches the point where th eorute veers round towards the left and ascends to the highest queduct. you then need to retrace your steps to return, first to the reservoir and then to the village of Berchules.
Note that the routes on the way there and back are partly on the same path.
Junta de los Rios - Berchules
Leave the village via the path called Junta de los Rios which is part f the old road to Lanteira, and old route used by herdsmen, which linked the regions of Alpujarra and Sened.
The people of Alpujarra used this route for exporting silk, fruit and vegetables and for importing cereals. Follow a track for some time next to and aqueduct, then leaving behind the Tajo del Campanario on your right, continue to the spot known as "Junta de los Rios Chico y Grande", or Meeting of the Big and Little Rivers.
As you continue along this route you will see on your right, on the other side of th eGrande River, the "Tajos del REyecillo", a cave which pvovided shelter and a hiding place for the last of the Moorish Kings, Aben Aboo.
The path climbs up the east flank of Cerro Picacho, passing the ruins of several abandoned cortijos.
As you ascend, it is well worth stopping for a moment to look behind you and reflect on the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Moving onwards, the route passes by the "Cortijo Haza Llana" and finishes at "cortijo Los Pollos".
Acequia Alta - Mecina Bombaron
The paths known as Acequia Alta and Acequia BAja (the upper and lower aqueducts) together make up a route which has a gentle incline, and takes the walker through a chestnut wood which is home to many ancient and gigantic specimens of these noble trees (some of the trunks measure more than 8 metres round the perimeter).
The best time for doing these walks is during the "Fiesta de las Castanas" (the festival of the chestnuts), which takes place early in November or at the end of October.
The higher path, Acequia Alta, offers excellent views of the whole valley of the Mecina River.
To follow the route, take the path up the gradual slope and, after passing the "Balsa del Castillo" reservoir, cross the "Barranco del Molinillo" ravine. Moving onwards, pass the "Cortijo de los Llanos" on the left. The route finishes a few metres further on after crossing the "Barranco del Avenal" ravine.
Acequia Baja - Mecina Bombaron
The paths known as Acequia Alta and Acequia Baja (the upper and lower aqueducts) together make up a route which has a gentle incline, and takes the walker through a chestnut wood which is home to many ancient and gigantic specimens of these noble trees (some of the trunks measure more than 8 metres round the perimeter).
The best time for doing these walks is during the "Fiesta de las Castanas" (the festival of the chestnuts), which takes place early in November or at the end of October.
The lower path, Acequia Baja, leads to the Mecina River, which winds its way along the valley in the shade of the chestnut woods.
This is a short route with a gentle incline, dominated by the aqueduct which runs parallel to the path. After less than two kilometres you will reach the source of the aqueduct in the Mecina River, and this marks th end of the route.
La Salud - Yegen
In the short distance that this route covers, you will be surprised by the diversity of bird species which can be seen. This route first traverses high, barren countryside before dropping down beneath the shade of the ancient chestnut woods.
As you stroll along this pleasant path, you will see many different cortijos, some older and some more recent, which blend into the landscape of the Sierra.
Halfway along, the route passes the "Fuente de la Salud", or Fountain of Health - whose water should not be drunk - next to the "Barranco de la Salud", to which landmarks this route owes its name.
Finally, it leads through a scenic wood of holm-oaks and comes out at the main road between Yegen and Valor, which marks the end of the route.
Gerald Brenan - Yegen
This is one of the favourite routes of Gerald Brenan, a British writer who adopted this town as his home for several years, and immortalised it in his works.
The route begins next to the one-time houses of this author. Go down through the village streets until you get to the lowest part, where you will find the Camellona fountain, which is also a laundry.
From here, set off down the track which leads to the Penon del Fuerte, an 11th century fortress in which the last Moors from Yegen took refuge. This is a massive, imposing rock with a flat top, which juts out some fifteen metres above the valley.
The route returns along a path which passes the Sillon del Moro (Seat of the Moor), and finishes in the highest part of the town.
Joplon - Laroles
This is a route characterised by stark contracts: from fertile market gardens dotted with orange trees and ancient olives, to semi-desert areas; from wooded river banks to scrub land carpeted with rosemary, thyme, lavender, cacti and prickly pears.
You can stop for a rest at th epItin fountain, pause to take in the spectacular scenery from Penon de Picena, or loose yourself in the winding streets of this village, which is said to be the oldest in this part of the region of Alpujarra.
The route begins on the road to Mairena. Some 650 metres after it crosses the Laroles River, leave the road and take the path which leads off to the left (if you are walking towars Mairena).
This will take you to the village of Picena, which you need to pass through. The route finishes by returning to Laroles by a steady ascent along the Camino Real, the old public highway from Picena.
El Castano - Laroles
This route involves walking along a path which departs from the "Mirador de la Ermita" viewpoint, and ascends, passint the campsite on the right hand side and the marked on the left, until it reaches the path called Camino de la Loma, which it then follows. When you reach and altitude of 1,200 metres the views are unsurpassable, as you can see almost the whole region of Alpujarra : westwards towards Granada and eastwards towards Almeria.
This route transports th ewalker back to times gone by, when it was the path used by herdsmen and the Canada Real which linked the regions of Alpujarra and Marquesado de Zenete, or as they were known at the time "La Abuxarra" and "El Sened". The former exported silk, wine and vegetables, and the latter cereals.
At an altitude of 1,350 metres, cross the Laroles River and begin the descet to one of the most striking natural landmarks in this district; an ancient chestnut tree which stands next to the Laroles River, with such enormous branches that they fall almost to the ground.
The route then follows part of the GR-7 long-distance walking route for a while, and also the Acequia Real, which brings irrigation waters to Mairena and Jubar. Further on, join the Camino Anduron, which, even though it is the steepest descent route, still passes through areas of typical mountain farmland.
Eventually this will bring you out at the highway. Turn left onto this road in order to return to Laroles, not forgetting to first stop off at the Rio Laroles Recreation area.
Tedel Cojayar - Mecina Tedel
This route leaves from Plaza de la Iglesia in Mecina Tedel, and passes down Calle de la Fuente. It comes out at a path which descends very abruptly, hemmed in by the steep sides of "Las Umbrias de Mecina", and leads to the Rambla de Cojayar.
Cross this and follow the path, which will lead you to Cojayar.
This route was the most widely used connecting road between the settlements of Mecina Tedel and Cojayar, which nowadays have been integrated into the village of Murtas.
La Solana - Murtas
This is a unique route, the likes of which can only be found in the Sierra de la Contraviesa. It offers magnificent scenery which changes constantly throughout the route.
To follow this route, go up th emain streed until you reach the road that links Murtas with Mecina Tedel. Cross this and carry on down a laneway which will bring you back to cross the same road.
Continue by following a track that skirts round to the left of Pico de Molino de Viento.From here you will get a stunning view of Alpujarra, including the villages of Yegen, Valor and Ugijar.
Further along you will enjoy beautiful views towards the sea and, at the end of the route, a panoramic landscape with the village of Murtas at the foot of the scene.
Chorrillo - Turon
Beginning at the medical centre, set off th the left (south) along a country road which leaves the village and heads towards Cerro del Portachuelo. Three hundred metres alond the road you will come to the Chorillo fountain and the Shrine to Saint Lucia.
A little further on, branch off down the path on your rightand in this way gain the highest point of the route, which for a few metres follows the highway between Turon and Murtas.
Immediately afterwards, take the track which leads off to the left and skirts round the aforementioned peak, and start going back to Turon, passing en route the Plomera fountain. During the ascent you will see some spectacular views of Turon and its surrounding countryside.
Cabrahigo - Turon
Beginning at the medical centre, set off along a country road which leaves on the right (to the west) and which leads to the Animas Shrine.
Continue along this route and cross the highway with care to arrive at "Cortijo de Cabrahigo".
Before getting this far, the path becomes a rougher track. after passing "Cortijo de cabrahigo" you will come to the cortijo "El Marchal de Abajo", in the area which is also known as el Marchal.
Here you will find a natural fountain of fresh water, which is NOT drinking water.
The route returns along the same path.
Pedro A. de Alarcon - Torvizcon
This route offers you the chance to relive some of the adventures, exploits and caprices that the great writer from Granada, Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, experienced in 1872 during his journey through the region of Alpujarra in the company of his mules, from which he was inseparable. These experiences were captured with great charm and narrative skill in his famous book "The Alpujarra: Seventy Leagues on Horseback Following Six Days by Stagecoach".
In actual fact, you will be following on of the hardest stages of the author's journey: the ascent to the top of la Contraviesa from the village of Torvizcon, along the path by the same name, and the steep "Cuesta de Barriales" a hillside shich the author named "the Contraviesa Staircase". You will eventually arrive at the famouse summit of "Cerro Chaparro". From here you will be able to see, as from a bird's-eye view, the whole expanse of the Alpujarra region: the Sierra nevada to the north, Sierra de Gador to the east, Sierra de Lujar to the west and , to the south, the Mediterranean Sea.
During the route you will also be able to enjoy the shade provided by the trunks of the many holm oaks which you will find interspersed with olive groves, vines, fig trees and almond trees, which are reminders of the prosperous agricultural past of the Sierra de la Contraviesa, which it has enjoyed even since the time of Moorish occupation.
Pedro Antonio de Alarcon himself sand the praises of the fruits of these lands, waxing lyrical in his book: "Such figs, such almonds, and such grapes !"
Panjuila - Almegijar
This route begins in Almegijar, one of the villages in the region which has best preserved its typical Alpujarra architecture and identity, with its steep, narrow streets and its houses with their flat slate roofs.
Here you can visit the 17th century church, which has a very beautiful altarpiece. You will also find a fountain and a public laundry from the same period, which have recently been restored. The route begins along a narrow road which runs from Almegijar to Notaez. After about 900 metres, take the dirt track which leads off on the left.
Follow a gently rising slope which leads to the highway from Almegiar to Castaras (A-7208), and which passes through the captivating countryside of the valley of the Guadalfeo River and the vineyards of the Sierra de La Contraviesa.
La Cuesta - Almegijar
On leaving the village, a short and steep descent leads to the Guadalfeo River.
This is the most important river in the whole region of Alpujarra, and divides it into two areas: Upper Alpujarra and Lower Alpujarra.
The path that this route followshas great significance, as it links the upper and lower areas of the region.
All along the descent, you can enjoy the scenic countryside of "La Contraviesa" and the valley od the Guadalfeo River, which we get deeper and deeper into as the path unfolds.