The next day after a slow-go visit to the second highest village in Spain (Capileira) in Las Alpujarras of the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia and its idyllic little sister (Bubion), we visited Pampaneira, which turned out to be much more charming for us than the first two. Here it is in pictures.
It’s travel-day 7 of 23 of our family camping road trip, number 4, this summer from Spain to Poland! We are on the way to Trevelez–the highest village in Spain that you can reach by car, apparently.
Pampaneira was the most charming of the highest “pueblos blancos” (white villages) that we have visited so far in La Alpujarra mountains of Granada.
Colorful “blankets” of sorts, with varying traditional quilt-like patterns, hang in between houses and over the main plaza; make for excellent shade and decoration. From the scorching Andalusian summer heat in the mountains, these brightly colored overhangs, like flying carpets in the mountain breeze, give a bit of respite, if not outright salvation.
The boys zigged and zagged through the narrow, winding, sloping streets. They wanted to jump from rooftop to rooftop of the traditional village houses that look like those in the Rif mountains of Morocco.
You can enjoy a pleasant lunch at Plaza de la Libertad, an understandably touristy spot, but still has a little more of something of its own to make it more idyllic and restful at the same time.
There’s a great place up the hill called La Alpujarrena to get local artesan souvenirs and foodstuffs like the mountain version of sherry/wine, cured meats, honey and organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Walk up and down through the little streets until you see the one off of Plaza Libertas with mointain water running down the middle of the uphill street.
They like their flowers here that go very well with the stark whitewashed walls, door screens that keeps the air inside cool and keeps the flies out and flat roofs, again reminiscent of Chefchaouen (without the blue) and the Rif mountains of Morocco.
There are quite a few little charming plazas with well-balanced mix of souvenir shops, restaurant and traditional-looking houses, as well as quiet little corners to rest and ruminate, if you will.
Paseo (passage/little street) of Federico Garcia Lorca lies towards the edge of the village. It has some of the poet’s writings that may fuel yet the writer in each one of yous.
Little rainbow flags hang on street lamps. . . well, almost everywhere. I wonder what the extent is of this gay-friendly village.
There’s a playground with a cool, vertical three-level slide right behind the church, smack dab in the town center.
There are about six parking places in this town (that we spotted). The town porbably (and understandably) wanna make sure it capitalizes on tourists visiting the primary destinations of the highest white villages of Spain– Capileira (nearby) and Trevelez, further out.
If you have time, don’t forget to pass by the witch town of Sojour or somethng like it.
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 towards Orgiva–the gateway town to Las Alpujarras–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. We 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: Trevelez
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!
Last Stop: Capileira, Bubion
You can visit Pampaneira along with the other white villages of Capileira and Bubion in a day. For us, slow-go family travelers (with KIDS!), it would be too much. In this sunny south side of the Sierra Nevada–the artist-trap mountains of Granada–we’d like to especially take it easy. . . you know, like Sunday mornings.
Thanks for checking us out!