Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia

Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia
Image by Ben n Rebecca McIntyre via Flickr

Explore the beautiful realm of Las Alpujarras, an enchanting region tucked away in the heart of Andalusia. While the names Seville and the Alhambra may be familiar to you, Las Alpujarras remains a hidden gem. It is just as captivating but not as widely known. This region boasts a series of idyllic white villages surrounded by wondrous landscapes, providing ample photo opportunities and offering some of Spain’s finest hiking trails.

Las Alpujarras has a fascinating history. It was one of the last parts of Spain to have a significant Muslim population. Their influence can be seen in everything from the stunning buildings to the delicious local food.

Throughout this article, we will delve into several of the most delightful villages in Las Alpujarras. Discover places like Capileira, Bubion, Pampaneira, Trevélez, and Pitres, each with its own unique character.

So, get ready for an exciting trip through Las Alpujarras, where the past, traditions, and some of the wildest nature combine just for you to enjoy.

key takeaways

  •  Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira are the most famous white villages of Las Alpujarras.
  • You can get to the Alpujarras by car or by bus from Granada.
  • The Alpujarras are some 70 km away from Granada and it takes around 75 min. to get there.
Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia

Day trip from Granada : Great way to visit Las Alpujarras

Why visit Las Alpujarras?

There are many great reasons to visit Las Alpujarras.

  1. It’s an easy day trip : First, the region is easily accessible from Granada. It’s the perfect place to visit, if you want to see more of the province than the splendor of the Alhambra, whether for a day trip or a longer stay of 2-3 days.
  2. For the gorgeous landscape: The alpine villages offer the best views of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.
  3. For the scenic drive: Travelling through this area, you’ll drive along winding mountain roads, passing through charming villages one after another. What make these hamlets so special is their style, characterized by Moorish flat roofs and chimneys. You won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else in Spain.
  4. To try Trevelez’s famous jamón : One of the highlights of the trip is seeing the large ham dryers that have made Trevelez famous. More than just seeing, you can learn everything about the 4 crucial stages of making the jamón serrano : Salt, Dry, Slice, Eat!

Plus, coming across balconies filled with flowers inside the village and enjoying the presence of lemon, orange, olive, and almond trees outside of them, it’s truly remarkable how a place so high up in the mountains could be so floral and fragrant. They’re worth the trip alone!

Image by Daniel Keding via Flickr
Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia
Image by Daniel Keding via Flickr


The village that caters to tourists

As you explore the beautiful Alpujarras, the first town you’ll come across is the quaint Pampaneira. It acts as the entrance to the Alpujarras and is usually the first place people visit when going up the mountains. Despite its small size of 300 people, Pampaneira is known for having lots of tourist facilities.

Typically, as you travel further east, you’ll find fewer tourists.

While you’re discovering the Alpujarras, be sure to keep a lookout, as this region holds many surprises. If you look closely enough, you might see the agile mountain goats. Such wild beauty is is quite rare in popular tourist spots like Andalusia.

In Pampaneira, there’s a local place called Nevadensis that offers various outdoor activities. They have knowledgeable guides for hiking in the Sierra Nevada and equipment for exploring the area. They are one of the best options for experiencing the nature of the region. And if you’re seeking thrills, the company offers exciting canyoning trips down the Rio Verde.


The prettiest white village in the Sierra Nevada

Among the picturesque towns nestled in the breathtaking Poqueira gorge, Capileira proudly holds the title of being the highest and most northern village in the area. Because it is located far away from other places, it was one of the last to be affected by Moorish rule and, later, the reconquista; The place was so remote that Muslims and Jews chose to seek shelter there following their expulsion by the Catholic monarchs.

Nowadays, Capileira has become a popular place for tourists to visit, attracting people from all over the world. It is often considered the most beautiful among the white villages in the Sierra Nevada region. It is a lively center for people who love hiking, offering convenient access to the magnificent mountains, especially the famous Mulhacén. (The highest peak in Spain.) The journey from Capileira to the summit of Mulhacén covers a distance of more than 24.5 kilometers and takes two days, requiring an overnight stay at a mountain refuge.

The best view in Capileira can be found at the Eras de Aldeire. This beautiful mirador, situated north of the village, offers a panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada that is unmatched anywhere else in town. It’s the perfect spot to pause, reflect, and truly appreciate the beauty of this place that feels like it’s at the edge of the world.

Image by EK McConnell via Flickr
Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia
Image by EK McConnell via Flickr


The village that feels untouched

Tucked away halfway between the scenic villages of Capileira and Pampaneira, you’ll find Bubion. While it may not have the highest elevation, the most stunning views, or the famous ham, Bubion is actually quite enjoyable because of this.

With its small folk museum, Casa Alpujarreña, and a handful of craft shops, the atmosphere here simply feels more authentic. Perched high in the Poqueira gorge, this white village evokes images of the quaint houses found on the volcanic landscapes of the Greek islands.

Being conveniently situated between two of the area’s most popular destinations, it would be a missed opportunity to overlook the charm of this town.

Image by Ben n Rebecca McIntyre via Flickr
Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia
Image by Daniel Keding via Flickr


The village with the best views

Pitres lies to the east of Capileira, Pampaneira, and Bubión. While these neighboring towns reside in the picturesque Barranco de Poqueira, this town finds itself in another gorge: La Taha. Interestingly, Pitres offers some of the best views of the entire region of Las Alpujarras!

If you don’t feel like mountain climb on this trip, fear not! you can still have a great time hiking to Tajo Cortés. It’s a beautiful ravine with a stunning 15-meter waterfall that makes for a nice change of scenery.


The village with the famous Jamón Serrano

Divided into three barrios hugging the mountainside, Trevelez proudly holds the title of being the highest village in both the Alpujarras and all of Spain. It is also famous for its delicious Jamón Serrano (cured ham). However, when it comes to looks, it might not be as pretty as its reputation for food.

 If you decide to spend a day in Trevélez, you can start with a short hike in the mountains. Afterward, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at Restaurante Piedra Ventana. Before going back, Don’t miss the chance to explore one of the local ham-drying companies and discover the secrets behind their renowned product

Alternatively, Trevélez can serve as the starting point for a full-day hike to Mulhacén. Since it’s higher up, the hike from Trevélez is shorter than the one from Capileira.

Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia

Small Group Tour from Granada : See Lanjarón, Pampaneira, Bubión, and Capileira.

Trevelez and the famous Jamón Serrano
Image by Open Minder via Flickr
Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia
Image courtesy of Linn Haglund from Andalucia Hiking

Hiking in Las Alpujarras

The Alpujarras region offers three popular hiking routes:

  • hiking to the top of Mulhacén from Capileira
  • hiking to the top of Mulhacén from Trevélez
  • hiking between the towns of the Poqueira Gorge

If you’re not an experienced hiker but still want to enjoy trekking between the towns, the best option is to start in Capileira and hike downhill. This route follows the GR7 trail and takes about four hours to cover the 7 km distance to Pampaneira.

You don’t have to worry too much about water. Along the way, you’ll find fountains where you can refill your bottle. It’s important to wear good shoes and be prepared as hiking in the region can be challenging.

So, leave your flip flops behind and make sure you have the necessary gear for a pleasant hike.

Hiking in Mulhacén
Image by Johannes Schwanbeck via Flickr
Hiking in Las Alpujarras
Image by Nigel Jones via Flickr

Where are the white villages of Las Alpujarras?

The Alpujarras is a beautiful region located in the southern part of Spain, specifically in the provinces of Granada and Almería. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Las Alpujarras borders the Costa Tropical and is easily accessible from the surrounding towns in the area.

The closest airport is the Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX).

Being in a colder climate, I wouldn’t recommend it as a year-round destination. The weather, for hiking and exploring the towns, starts becoming more pleasant from April onwards.

How to get there?

By Car

If you’re going to the Alpujarras by car, get ready for a road that twists and turns as you go up the mountains. But don’t worry, the road is usually safe and easy to drive on. When you arrive at one of the towns in the Alpujarras, you can usually find parking spaces near the entrance.

The Alpujarras are some 70 km from Granada (1 hour 15 min.) and 140 km from Almería (2 hours).

By Bus

If you prefer using public transportation, there’s a bus service that connects Pampaneira, Bubión, and Capileira. This bus also goes to Trevélez, making a stop at Pitres along the way. It’s important to note that there’s no public transport beyond Trevélez, whether it’s along the mountain slopes or going up them. You can buy bus tickets directly on the bus, at each stop along the route, or in advance.

All buses leaves from Granada and are operated by Alsa.

Las Alpujarras, the White Villages of Andalusia

Get your bus tickets to Capileira

Side Note

For people with reduced mobility, consider limiting your travel in the Alpujarras region to Orgiva. Unfortunately, the streets on the towns higher up down the road are rather unforgiving and harder to naviguate.

Where to stay in Las Alpujarras

The best place to stay is without a doubt in Órgiva.

Mid-rangeAlpujarra SecretFrom € 107 / night
Mid-rangeCasa JazminFrom € 94 / night

Las Alpujarras Gifts and Specialties

The Alpujarras region has a rich tradition of weaving. Skilled artisans create beautiful textiles using traditional techniques, resulting in intricate patterns and designs. If you’re looking for a unique gift, consider a Jarapa, which are the thick and beautiful carpets you’ll often come across in the streets.

In addition to weaving, the region is also renowned for its chocolate, leather goods, cured ham (a must-try, obviously), and Alpage cheese.

Image by Nigel Jones via Flickr
Las Alpujarras Gifts and Specialties
Image by Matt Batchelor via Flickr