From a slow-go visit to the white villages in southwestern Sierra Nevada–the second highest village in Spain (Capileira) in Las Alpujarras, its idyllic little sister (Bubion), and the colourfully charming Pampaneira, we headed east to Trevelez–the highest village in Spain. Or is it, really? Here it is in pictures.
At 3,479 meters abovesea level Mulhacen is the highest mountain in Spain and the Iberian peninsula. And what about Trevelez? At 1,486 Trevelez meters was thought to be the highest village in Spain until Valdelinares, at 1,690 meters in the province of Aragon claimed that honor.
It’s travel-day 8 of 23 of our family camping road trip, number 4, this summer from Spain to Poland! Eight days on the road and we are still in Andalucia!
What to get in Trevelez apart from its rejuvenating tranquility? Get ham/jamon! In fact get a whole LEG of it. You can’t miss it. It’s everywhere here! They have lots of storehouses here and you can smell jamon in the air. Apparently, Trevelez is a great place to AIR-DRY cured pork leg and meats because of the dry climate in the high altitude. Unfortunately, we could not take them in the car on the long road to Poland with us, unless we wanna end up smelling like one.
If you are hungry and get there, like us, during siesta (between around 2 and 6 pm) when the few bars and restaurants would be closed, don’t worry. You can get some grocery at Coviran on calle Carcel in Barrio Alto or (recommended) some great embutidos, fresh breads and empanadas at Panaderia/Pasteleria Federico).
From Camping Trevelez we thought it best to mini-trekking nature walk through a cut through that took us along a stream, through the trees and grassy fields. Ooooffff! A 15-minute walk actually took at least half-an-hour with kids. Some areas of the walk were a little hairy, if not outright dangerous with a steep fall down the mountain. In the end, our only casualty was one kid sliiping and falling into the water–a welcome surprise in the Andalusian summer heat and good training for future (more ambitious) hikes.
On saturdays, plaza del mercado open-market offers fruits and veggies straight out of car/truck trunks of highland farmers. Highly recommended. A great way to support local economic development. C’mon now! It’s not easy to make a living at the top of the highest villages in Spain, as charming as they look!
There’s a “Fabrica de Embutidos” and “Almacen de Jamones at Plaza Barrio Medio that should be worth checking out. Unfortunately, they were closed when we got there.
Village life. When we sat down under a shaded bench at Barrio Alto, right next to where a monument of jamon, the calming sound of a sleepy village was interrupted by a truck that carried a stack of hay up and down the narrow, uphill, winding streets at high speed, skillfully avoiding octagenarian pedestrians and cars, even narrowly missing a dog. The steely eyes and blank stare of this highland race car driver-on-a-tractor says it all, “I gonna finish this shit before siesta. . . or my wife’ll let me have it. . . again!” The old man who was trying to take a nap next to us just glared at him.
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.
what to do in Las Alpujarras
So, what to see or do in western part of the Alpujarras? Hiking, trekking whateverchamacallit. You’re in the mountains, of course. If you are into mountain hiking, the peaks of Mulhacen and Alcazaba of the Sierra Nevadas are less than a day’s walk according to experienced travelers. Not yet for us . Hey, we’ve got young kids!
Check out this video of FREE things you can do with kids in the Sierra Nevada. . . in the snow!
If you are in Trevelez, the must-see white villages of Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira are a little more than haf-an-hour away (west). And remember you are only about 1.5 hours to the nearest beach (Playa La Caleta de Salobreña).
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: Guadix Caves
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 Stops: Capileira, Bubion, Pampaneira
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!