Published on April 18, 2016 | by Andrea Guerriero0
Exploring The Alpujarras on Foot
It is often said that the best way to experience life is to walk through it. The slow pace of a meander through our world offering up the opportunity to smell those beautiful metaphorical roses. Nowhere is this idea more easily proven than in the Alpujarras.
Nestled beneath the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, the Alpujarras lie in Spain’s warm and rustic southern region, just outside the world famous city of Granada. Their delicate, beautiful and untouched nature makes them the perfect place to discover why walking truly is the best way to experience the world.
Experience the Trails of the Alpujarras
The Alpujarras have made a name for themselves as being one of the finest walking destinations in Europe, characterised by luscious greenery, rustic charm, and isolated location. Here, walking and climbing trails wind their way through steep valleys and gorge, up and over the foothills and slopes of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, all interspersed between quaint little whitewashed Spanish villages.
The experience of exploring the Alpujarras is one difficult to beat anywhere in the world, let alone Europe. Terrain in the region varies, and while you can spend as much time as you like wandering the green hillsides and forests, taking in the vibrant plant life and wildflowers, for those seeking a bit of a challenge there is plenty on offer too. As you draw closer to the striking Sierra Nevada the trails become rugged and mountainous, great for those looking to test themselves.
One of the Alpujarras most interesting qualities is its unique eco-system; you won’t find the same mix of plants and wildlife anywhere else in Europe. The delicate and quiet nature of this natural beauty spot also makes it an incredibly romantic location. Imagine, the sweet smell of wildflowers swirls in the breeze whipped up in the deep valleys, as you and your partner stand looking out over the hillsides and to the mountains beyond. It’s a peaceful and unforgettable experience, better shared with no-one but your significant other.
Encounter the Non-Human Locals of the Alpujarras
You need only stray a short distance beyond the villages and trails, or look just that little bit further into the distance, to experience up close the wildlife of the Alpujarras. Given its remote and rural location, it will probably come as no surprise that animals, not people, rule the slopes south of the Sierra Nevada.
When visiting the region be on the lookout for small larks, swallows and colourful bee-eaters as their silhouettes dart across the sunlit sky, or perch upon the branches of the trees that cover the hillsides. You’re also likely to spot wakes of the impressive vultures or lone booted eagles as you explore the most rural trails. The kings of the sky in the Alpujarras, however, are the mighty golden eagles. Often found hunting in the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, they an awe-inspiring creature to behold and so easily viewed while exploring the region on foot.
Looking to the rustic hillsides of the Alpujarra and away from its bird-filled sky, the two most striking creatures you are likely to happen across are the Iberian ibex, a large horned goat, and the wild Spanish boar. The ibex, in particular, is an intriguing sight. This sure-footed mountain goat hops around the landscape, as comfortable grazing on the hillsides as they are ascending steep mountain ridges.
Gorge on a Unique Piece Spanish Culture
The architecture found in the foothills of the Alpujarras is unique to continental Spain. The houses here feature flat clay roofs and whitewashed stone walls, adorned with ornaments, artwork, plants and strange dome topped chimneys, and are only found here and in the desert regions of Morocco.
Here, in this picturesque rural setting, life is slow and peaceful. The Alpujarras provide everything it’s residents need to stay independent from the rest of Spain, farmland, fertile soil, constant flowing waters from the Sierra Nevada and plenty of game to eat. This has meant the region has remained untouched by the clutches of the modern world, allowing the villages of Alpujarra to retain their original 15th-century characteristics.
Cut away from contemporary culture, protected by deep-cut gorges, mountains and a lack of roadways, the famously hospitable people of the Alpujarras live happily in, and continue to breathe life into, this remote, inaccessible and beautiful corner of Spain. Experience the best walking and hiking destinations with Mountain Walking Holidays.