ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Peaceful camping in this rustic campsite… in nature, surrounded by old-looking, “giant” olive trees, with goats at the farm next door for entertinmemt, if you are lucky. Camping Orgiva is where you can meet a lot of interesting people on the crossroad to the “La Alpujarra”, especially if you spend some time at the bar/restaurant whose staff was excellently laid back and colourful. Read the full review below.
Here’s our travel-day 5 of 23 days, in pictures. . . with ramblings from the road and a review of Camping Orgiva–our first camping in las Alpujarras to help with all you happy campers out there. Big Smile! If you need more info, text follows at the end of the pictures. Enjoy!
From the Roman ruins of Acinipo near Setenil de las Bodegas, on the road to the white villages in the Alpujarras–the highlands in the south of Granada, we had to stop by a little-known coarse-sand beach with wild waves called Playa de Maro to say goodbye to the water in this part of the world.
It’s the last time we’re going to see the Mediterranean for some time because from here on, we’re heading inland and towards Poland. Unlike the other three family camping road trips we have taken from Spain to Poland and back again in the past summers, this one is one way only.
After a family GAP YEAR. . . that turned into over four years, living in Jerez de la Frontera, it’s finally time for our semi-nomadic family to move again. This time, to Poland. For how long? We don’t exactly know.
ROAD RAMBLINGS (On the road to La Alpujarra)
It’s good to see the kids develop friendships with other camping kids, like ours did at Campoing Orgiva in Setenil de las Bodegas. You know, even for a day. And really like each other run around, play around and say goodbye, and have that understanding that, hey, we’re moving on and that’s ok. We had a great time anyway. See you again another day. Another time.
And then what else? After a fantastic and educational visit to the Roman ruins of Acinipo and a quick swim (or more like a battle with the strong waves and the coarse, rocky sand) at a tucked away beach Playa Maro, we drove 50 minutes inland and up the small, winding mountain roads, to our first stop in a little town called Orgiva.
We ended up in our secondary campsite surprised because Google map says we had 12 more minutes to go. But I saw the sign for “camping” and I thought that’s it. So, I turned the car around which is not recommended in this small, dual-lane, snakey mountain roads.
Difficult maneuver, but we managed and ended up in this quite surprising little campsite. It’s low-key. Price is 36-something euros. Big enough pitch but nothing fancy.
One surprising thing about camping in the mountains (of Las Alpujarras) is that it was actually not as cold as we thought it would be. We’ve camped in places with single-digit degrees (Celsius) temperature in Maastricht, Netherlands and 3 days of the cold-and-wet in the land of extinct volcanoes in France.
Right next to the camping’s parking lot is a restaurant which seemed to be the locals’ favoured watering hole. In fact, last night, during the Euro Cup semi-finals Denmark versus England there were many locals there, or at least they looked like locals.
It’s great to see the game with everybody else cheering, to our surprise, for Denmark! We thought they would cheer for England because, well, they sounded British.
It was a good game but the highlight was the waiter and the characters of the people around. It started with the waiter who looked like a skinnier version of Mel Gibson. He was a space cadet with mixing up the orders, and you can see it in his eyes. Looked like he’s been smoking a little too much poritos.
We ordered a beer and Tinto de Verano. 15 minutes later he comes back with tapas but without the drinks. How can I be there when I’m here, he says. Then the boys ordered Nestea and Coca-Cola.
So he comes in and comes back out, muttering all ideas in his head in a funny manner. It’s like a stop-and-go animation. Then he returns with pizza and plops it on a table. Shanghai New Castle. Oh no, we didn’t order that, we say.
No? Huh. Come on, take it anyway. It’s yours, but then he comes back, picks it up and gives it to its rightful owner. Finally he returns with our drinks and tapas. No, we didn’t order that!
Oh, NO? again he says. Take it anyway, he says, almost like a deja vu with the pizza thing. Take it anyway. It’s FREE! And Omaha [??] that’s when we realized we forgot that we are in the province of Granada–the land of FREE tapas served with every drink! Ole!
In that case, we’re going to have to drink more. And suddenly we were quite happy, you know? The tapas were satisfactory, nothing fancy. But it’s such a good concept that we we’d always wanna have for ours. If we ever have our own bar, or whatever in Poland or wherever, we’ll sure to incoporate it. FREE tapas for every drink at least for the first one, right? And that’s what we’re thinking here. Maybe it’s just for the first one.
Our dear Mel Gibson just comes and goes. He disappears for what must have been 20 minutes or so. Everytime he shows up he’s holding something but he forgets who ordered what.
He comes to our table again, beers in hand. Did you guys order a beer again? No, we still have half full, is it now? And so he started giving one to our son, half joking, fully enjoying life. Then he looks around looking lost again. He looks really stoned.
Then there was this family with two young adults with two kids. The father is a skinhead (more like shaved head with punk getup) and the mom is very pretty, very classic beauty, like in 1930s America, you know? Skinny and pretty with full make-up liner and pale skin and moves like royalty. There’s what look like a three-year-old daughter and another one in the stroller who never actually made any sound.
They ordered a couple of pizzas, big ones and then, at some point, out comes Mel Gibson with their pizzas, walking past them and straight towards our table. He tried and tried to tell us that we ordered pizzas. No, no! Skinhead yelled. It’s over here.
Mel says “I’ll be there” and turns to us. . . “Anyway, do you want pizza? Do you want the pizza, though?” All night long, our dear waiter Mel was like that. It looks like the locals knew that Mel is fucking around. Maybe that’s part of the charm of the place. That’s entertainment!
He’s not always a smiley one though. Looking for the restroom I stumbled upon another section indoors with a bar and much fewer people in a little terrace on the other side of where we were. It was dark with a seedy kind of shady. It was Eurocup halftime.
Mel was rolling his, I guess, cigarette or maybe a joint by the entrance while arguing with with a woman alone. The blonde woman was pretty but much older. He was loud while she wasn’t saying anything much. That was the area for singletons, eight in all, most sitting at least a bar stool apart but having almost a single conversation among them. Classic happy bar talks, except Mel and his woman.
There was also a man dressed in long pink gown there. He was all dolled up with makeup. A transvy? There’s also another one who looked like a pro, I don’t know. It’s real shady on the other side. Not like where we are with just a bunch of people drinking?
Although, among us, there’s that old hippie guy in his bicycle with carriage with a group of people talking vivaciously in loud Andalusian style. I thought he was with them and it turned out he was just by himself, sitting with them. He was so skinny he looks like the vocalist for a German industrial band called Das Ich, or like a starving prisoner of war, you know, but with long dreadlocks.
He was just looking at people with a happy grin. Maybe he knows this group of younger kids in front of us wearing all black and stuff. Obviously, they were Stoners. And that was not a guess. They smoked like three joints in the course of the football match, like two hours there.
One of them was like a robot sitting in front of the big television, right in the middle of the outdoor patio. He’s basically hardly moving. And all the rest look normal. Suddenly, in joins “Blondie”, plops herself inbetween the tables of the Stoners and Skinhead’s family, gives Skinhead and his 1930s pale-face wife kisses on the cheeks with a high-tone laugh for trails. I guess, they’re all friends She speaks English to Skinhead and the wife and , Spanish to the group.
She was a big-bone girl, wearing tit-showing blouse, shorty shorts and boots. You know the kind that says “I’m the center of attention”. Talks like it. Laughs like it. Looks around like it. But then she got in a way. She sat right in the middle of the tables and the patio, blocking everyone’s views of the Eurocup match and laughing out loud. She’s like, you know, the alpha, the end, the wannabe star of the night.
“Hey, look at me. Look at me.” her whole demeanor screams. And she’s wearing the white complete contrast to the black-clad crew, right? High blonde wearing white long socks up to the knees and big bubble butt, jingling and full makeup.
Robot, the quiet one of the Stoner clan, looked like he wanted to strangle her.
Alright, great night! Some points. A couple with kids and family that ended up in a dancing and singing contest because, well, they’re drunk! The fathers started it, of course. Yeah, it’s a fantastic night, man. By the way, this all happened at the outdoor seating of the restaurant, right next to the parking lot, with great views and backdrop of the mountains. Lone swiss woman at camp. Michael J Fox and Sean Connery, sardines, chicken wings and not a word was spoken. Two elderly woman behind. one a witchwitch. t h e other a bitch… later with the 2 latino cooks. Write a short story for corto film called on the road, alpujarras.
All right, that’s it. I think I better go because I gotta help with breakfast.
REVIEW of Camping Orgiva in Las Alpujarra, Granada
Here’s a summary that may help you plan your stay at the gateway to the Alpujarras. Orgiva is not an impressive town. Bigger population. Lots of hippies and hikers. There is an open market on thursdays at the main plaza. Camping Orgiva is a laid back rustic campsite. Camping in nature, surrounded by real old looking and huge olive trees. There’s a farm next door with goats for additional entertainment, if you are lucky.
AND NOW, the actual categorical review of Camping Orgiva below:
NOTE: In case you’re wondering. . . NO, we have not received (nor expect to receive) any form of compensation or freebies or anything at all for reviewing or mentioning this or any others on our blog. We do because it may be helpful to you and others. And it’s fun too!
What we like about this campground?
CHARM–in a word this is what Camping Orgiva is about. It is a small camp site with old, almost artfully developed, olive trees surrounded by fields with mountain views. Oh, and don’t forget about the lively and colourful atmosphere at the bar/restaurant, if you choose to interact.
What we don’t like about this camping site?
Insect bites is a b@tch! It’s unavoidable. Just make sure you have repelants. The bathroom is a bit old and tight space.
Below-average price at €34.64 euros (tax included) for a family of 4 (2 kids–1 under 6) in a 4-person tent with electricity at the beginning of the summer season (first week of July). It was €30 at the last camping in Setenil de las Bodegas.
[To Be Added] Breakdown: €x.xx per night for a pitch that is big enough for a 4-person tent, a car, a table and cooking ware, and then some more! €x.xx for an adult, €x.xx for children between 3 and 12 years old.
How’s the pitch? Square plot/pitch in nicely separated sections that offer some sense of privacy. No problem with our now-bigger, 4-person tent, car, dining area and two tables. Big enough pitch but nothing fancy.
We actually occupied two pitches, named A and B. I suppose it’s for caravans. It was a little tough to to put the pegs into, but we made managed to put (and later, pull) them all though one was bent and the other one hit a really tough rock.
Hard ground with a lot of pebbles and rocks. Pitch was covered with just over overused or over-driven grass and groundcover greens. On the far end of the camp were little cabins/bungalows for rent.
There are two big-enough swimming pools with rather cold water–this is mountain camping after all! But still it did not scare away the kids, especially needed in this land where it can get already quite hot at 10 o’clock even in the summer shade.
The bigger pool is from 1.2 to 2.4 meters where an elderly Dutch woman seemed to be enjoying her sunbathing with wide open legs. The pool was too cold for the kids; 10 minutes is about all they could take.
The other is a kiddie pool–too shallow for our kids . My 8-year old ended talking with a Canadianman who told us about the Orgiva market on Thursdays. Otherwise, it is not an impressive town with a bigger population. Lots of hippies and hikers.
Playgrounds are always a nice family-friendly addition that our children appreciate . . . what child wouldn’t?!?
Here, there was a small enclosed playground for young children. It has a slide with a houselike structure and a bridge. Big enough to do other things that kids can do in that enclosed space, next to a parking lot in front of a restaurant. There’s hardly any shade.
You can easily spot the entrance to Camping Orgiva from the road. Watch out though because the two-lane mountin road is narrow and winding… and the turn into the camping lot came up unexpectedly for us that we missed it. Slow down as you approach and you will be able to turn safely.
The entrance has a sign with the name of the camping site, along with the restaurant sign in red “El Camping”. The flag poles had the EU and Rainow flag that is easily spottable, especially if you are coming from the north.
There’s a big parking lot to the left of the entrance next to the restaurant that should make it easier for campervans and caravans to turn into. Once you pull into the entrance, the reception would be right ahead, across from the bar/restaurant on the left. There’s a gate inbetween to access the camping grounds.
Shade is especially helpful when camping in the summer in Andalucia. You’re in Spain after all! Here there’s sufficient shade over pitches. Some tent sections with trees in all four corners. Lots of shade from full-grown trees all over the place and in each corner of a section for tents. We had a bit of sun on our tent for a little while but the tent quickly cooled off. We are camping in the mountains after all!
Almost none. But the separated sections with plenty of space between visitors, and the sparse population still give some sense of privacy. The outer border of the campsite had chain-link (see though) fences.
Bathrooms are nice and clean but old with exposed wooden beans at the entrance giving it that quaint rustic look and solar panels on the roof. There’s hot water.
This campsite has been here for a while, you can tell, you know. It’s got old facilities but they’re quite clean. It comes with plenty of toilet paper. Believe you me, there are plenty of camping sites out there that do NOT provide this most essential product of modern civilized society!
Each section (males vs females) with prefabricated small shower stalls for 4 or 5 people–one wheelchair accesible–with a bench to put clothes on. About six toilet stalls with tiled separators.
NO PROBLEM with hot showers and nor water drainage.
NO separate FAMILY or KIDS’ WC/bathroom which, admittedly, is a novelty for camping sites, but NOT unusual for family-friendly camping sites in Spain.
Dishwashing and clothes-washing areas are sufficiently clean, just outside teh bathroom areaThere were six sinks for washing dishes and six for washing clothes. There is a separate and small laundry room with one washer and dryer and also a refrigerator, a chair, a table and a microwave.
DINE or DRINKS
The camping’s restaurant with so much character and life is called “El Camping” with plenty of shaded outdoor seating area, that extends well into the parking lot and a separate, more intimate area inside. You might NOT like shade, but it could be a life-saver in the summer. YOU’RE in SPAIN after all!
Remember: FREE tapas for every drink! It’s great place to watch football matches. It’s right along the main road to the upper Alpujarras with plenty of parking that also gets local traffic.
WIFI everywhere. Works great, fast, free (or at least no additional costs)!
One set of laundry and dryer machines are some additional amenities, for additional pay of course.
There was a fridge, freezer and microwave in a small room with a single table and chair. It is not usual for camping sites to have these extra benefits for campers’ use. They are very helpful for guests.
TIPS for Camping Orgiva in Las Alpujarras
To be able to use the swimming pools, make sure to bring swimming caps/headgear (you know, those little things you put over your head to make sure your hair does NOT get into the pool, and if you have it on too tight, your eyes start to squint like you’re a drunken runaway monkey. . .) Yup, that one!
Although it was not really needed (or enforced) here, it would do you good to bring them with you when camping in Spain (maybe even France) to save you money, just in case the camping site that you ended up in has a pool and are strict about enforcing the so-called regulations, if there are in fact any such thing.
what to do near CAMPING Orgiva in Las Alpujarras
So, what to see or do nearby? Hiking, trekking whateverchamacallit. You’re in the mountains, of course. We made this campground our base for exploring the must-see white villages of Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira. Together with the following recommendations, you can easily spend 5 days here, more if you wanna have some relaxing visit. And remember you ar only about 32 kilometers to the nearest beach (Playa de la Charca/Salomar.
Check out this video of FREE things you can do with kids in the Sierra Nevada. . . in the snow!
Castillejo De Órgiva--The remnants (i.e crumbled walls) of the little castle from the 10th and 11th centuries that is difficult to access with loose ground/earth. There’s a tower and Arab wells. Although in poor condition, it still offers magnificent views of the Guadalfeo River and nearby towns. 2 minutes/1.5 kilometer drive south from Camping Orgiva.
Puente de los Siete Ojos–Old bridge, over the Guadalfeo Rive, still in use as a road. Nice photos can be taken from below when the river carries water. The bridge was rebuilt over the old bridge that was buried by all the land washed away in the famous Santa Ana storm. On the south bank of the river, past a small tunnel towards Vélez de Benaudalla and Motril there is a small viewpoint from which you can see the southern face of the Sierra Nevada. Source: Pablo Carballo and Miguel Garcia (GMAP Local Guides). Apparently, the water is nice to swim in as well. 350 meters south of Camping Orgiva.
Orgiva–described as the “gateway to the Alpujarra” that connects the coast of malaga with Granada and the white vilages of the southern Sierra Nevada (NO, not the one in the United States!!!). Only 35-some-kilometers to the beach (Playa Granada) in Motril and an hour-drive to the center of Granada (63.5 kilometers). Open market Thursdays is a good time to replenish your camping food supply and possibly discover knick-knack keepsakes. 5-minute drive/2 kilometers north of Camping Orgiva.
Further north is Hoya de la Mora in the Sierra Nevada–The southernmost part of Europe, where you can ski or sled or do your snowy things down a mountain and swim in the Mediterranean sea within one hour of each other. With over 300 days of strong Andalusian sunshine here in southern Spain, you would not think that there would be snow. Think again!
The Sierra Nevada, about a one-hour drive from the city of Granada, boasts the southernmost point of Europe where you can ski, sled and snowboard as late as early May. You can literally hit the snow slopes all morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon. 1.5-hour drive/92 kilometers north of Camping Orgiva.
Next Stop: Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira
Onwards, upwards. . . . to Andorra! Here’s the first half of our family camping road trip. . . number FOUR! 1,617-something kilometers from Jerez de la Frontera, detour to Bolonia, then Setenil de las Bodegas, the white villages of the Alpujarras, the caves of Guadix, Baeza, Ubeda, Ossa de Montiel, the hanging houses of Cuenca, Lake Caspe and finally the little country of Andorra. . . at least for the first half of this trip!
Thanks for checking us out!