Located just outside Granada, the Sierra Nevada is Spain’s largest natural park. Most of its picturesque towns and villages host a weekly market, and touring these is a great way to explore the area and meet the locals. Read on for our pick of the best markets in the Sierra Nevada.
Every Monday, the beautiful Alpujarran village of Pampaneira hosts a flea market (‘rastros‘ in Spanish). Pretty much everything is on offer here: antiques, pictures, clothing, toys, household items… If you’re really lucky, you’ll pick up a typical handwoven Alpujarran rug – a jarapa – for a bargain price: the perfect take-home souvenir or momento.
Located just up the road from Pampaneira, Capileira is the highest of the three Alpujarras villages that nestle in the Poquiera gorge (tiny Bubión separates them). On Saturday mornings, its quaint streets come alive with the weekly mercadillo (street market), where you’ll find everything from fruit and vegetables to clothing. Afterwards, head to Plaza Calvario for tapas.
Enshrined in literary history by Gerald Brenan’s South from Granada (1957), Yegen is one of the smallest and least touristy villages in the Alpujarras. Twice a month, on the 6th and the 21st, most of its 450-strong population turn out for the mercadillo, the stalls of which bring normally-quiet streets to life. Blend in among them and you never know what you might find.
Located at an altitude of 1,476 metres (4,843 feet) above sea level, Trevélez is the highest of the Alpujarras settlements, famous for its delicious cured jamón. Every Wednesday, its central square hosts one of the biggest mercadillos in the Sierra Nevada, attracting bargain hunters from all over the Alpujarras. Before leaving, make sure you try a tapa of the local jamón, ideally with a cold beer.
No market aficionado visiting the Sierra Nevada will want to miss the weekly extravaganza that occurs in Órgiva. One of the lowest Alpujarra settlements, this quirky, bohemian village holds its market on Thursdays; foodies will love the giant sacks of colourful spices, the dried peppers that are used in many regional dishes and the locally-produced olive oil and honey.
Famous for its bottled water (which flows from nearby mountain springs), Lanjarón is the first Alpujarra village you reach on the mountain road from Granada. Its Friday morning mercadillo is a great social occasion for locals, who stock up on fresh produce as they exchange the latest gossip. After joining them, check out the ruins of the town’s Moorish castle.
From Lanjarón, it’s a 45-minute drive east to Pitres, the capital of a cluster of six Alpujarras settlements known as La Tahá de Pitres. Friday is also market day in this pretty little town, with residents and visitors haggling over locally-grown fruit and veg, flowers and dried goods. The unofficial tradition when you’re done shopping is to head to the main square for tapas.
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