Here’s our half-day visit to Capileira and Bubion in pictures, on travel-day 6 of 23 of our family camping road trip, number 4, from Spain to Poland!
We had a late start of a day and only managed to leave camp to visit the white villages of Capileira and Bubion after 2 in the afternoon in the sunny south side of the Sierra Nevada–the artist-trap mountains of Granada. That’s what happens with our kids and swimming pools and too much chill time at a rustic campsite… in nature, surrounded by old-looking, giant olive trees with goats at the farm next door for entertainment. Pampaneira had to wait til the next day.
As the second highest town in Spain that you can drive to (1,436 kilometers above see level) Capileira is a must-see destination for these self-styled, semi-nomadic family. The bucolic nature if the village itself, with its traditional white-washed houses in terraces along the mountain sides, is pretty much what there is to see here.
The panoramic views are impressive, both the drive along the narrow, winding mountain roads up to the villages, as well as at the top of the village itself. Beautiful views of the traditional flat-roof houses, reminiscent of Chefchaouen (without the blue) and the Rif mountains of Morocco.
Word has it that because of its location, Capileira was the last village to be conquered by the Moorish people and later reclaimed by the Christians. After the fall of the Muslim kingdon of Granada, Capileira and the nearby white villages were the last to fall under the Christian reconquest around 1568. Then, that was the end of Muslim rule in Spain and the Iberian peninsula.
Capileira must be a hiker’s or trekker’s paradise. Not us! Hey, we have young kids. Besides, it’s our aim to get fit this year. In the meantime, on our first days in La Alpujarra, we climb the mountains … in a car. ; )
Other than that, there’s not much else here. Almost everything is a hotel or an apartment for rent, restaurants and souvenir shops. Can’t blame them. There’s not much work in these villages apart from tourist-related ones.
TIPS for Visiting the White Village of Capileira in Las Alpujarras
Here’s a couple of pointers to make your slow-go visit to the second highest village in Spain a bit more stressless and therefore enjoyable.
- Don’t trust the little castle on Google maps. It leads to a nice overlook/viewpoint of the town, but NOT to a castle. It leads to an entrance of trails for hikers/trekkers (senderistas).
- If you want ro get something significant to eat… almost everything closed for siesta, between 16 and 20kl… even restaurants. That means = NO FOOD! But if you end up here at this time and need some grub, FEAR NOT. Head to COVIRAN–a local grocery store where you can also buy local artesan (Alpujarran) foodstuff like cheeses, cured meats and crafts for souvenirs.
- PARKING: There are 4 FREE parking areas that, for the most part, are “dirt” parking (i.e. not ccement or asphalt). See map. At the northern end of the village has more parking spaces than the side-street parking at the bend at the southern end. If you are coming from the south and the parking at the bend is full, slow down. The entrance to the next parking lot would come up quickly to the left. The biggest one is more towards the east, but is not on the main road from Bubion.
Bubion–the SmalleR of the Two White Villages
Bubion was pretty much the same as Capileira, but much smaller. There was a sole restaurant alon the road, decorated with flower pots. It was closed too. So, there goes our lunch.
After the overlook, where you can read about the significance of the town. . . in Spanish (Geez! Wouldn’t it be helpful to the visitors if there were some kind of translations in 1 or 2 other major language?).
In search for something else, we headed to the Ermita of…. an off-the-beaten path mountain refuge. And … it was closed.
Too bad (may actually be somewhat good) that it was a cloudy day. Visibility was poor. At the same time, it was NOT HOT because the clouds tempered the Andalusian summer sun.
Where to STay When Visiting These White Villages of Spain?
Well, my dear smart husband confused the camping sites, made a sudden hairy turn on the narrow winding mountain road, and we ended up in #campingorgiva.
And what a nice mistake and a pleasant surprise! This campground is fantastic place with the best and most entertaining bar service! In fact “Mel Gibson” himself served our drinks! The resemblance was uncanny! He made our evening delightful, even though Denmark lost the Eurocup match that night!
Check out the pictures and read more about it here on our review of Camping Orgiva in the Las Alpujarras of Sierra Nevada, Granada.
Make note: we are not getting paid (nor do we expect to get anything) for mentioning this camping site. That’s just had a very nice stay at this place.
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: 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!