Souvenir-hunting in southern Spain’s spectacular Sierra Nevada natural park? Read on for our pick of the best places, where you’ll find everything from handmade rugs and leather goods to locally-produced jamón and cheese.
The best souvenir to take home from the Alpujarras – a cluster of lovely villages which spreads itself out along the southern edge of the park – is one of the colourful, handwoven rugs typical of this area. Known as “jarapa” rugs, they are arrayed outside most of the gift shops in Pampaneira, Capileira and Trevélez, but you can buy them in practically any of the Alpujarras. Designed to provide insulation during the region’s cold winters, they’ll liven up any floor back home.
Travellers with a sweet tooth musn’t leave the Sierra Nevada without visiting Abuela Ili, an artisanal chocolatier with outlets in the Alpujarra villages of Pampaniera, Capileira and Lanjarón (as well as in Granada itself). The smell of homemade chocolate entices you in from the street and, once inside, you can try anything you like before making a purchase. That the chocolates are beautifully wrapped means they make great gifts, as well.
Trevélez is the highest of the Alpujarra settlements, nestling at an altitude of 1,476 metres (4,843 feet) in the foothills of Mount Mulhacén, the Iberian Peninsula’s highest mountain. It’s famous for its jamón (the dry air here is ideal for curing meats), so head to Jamones Cano González for a tasty souvenir to take home. As well as the town’s flavour-packed speciality, this delightful shop also sells locally-produced cheese, olive oil and wines.
Just a couple of doors down from Cano González is another of Trevélez’s finest jamón retailers. A family business founded over forty years ago, Jamones Embutidos El Chorillo specialises in the cured sausages and hams for which the town is famous, as well as local cheeses, all of which are irresistibly arranged along the main counter. Chorillo can also deliver legs of jamón abroad, if you’re worried you might not have room in your suitcase.
Piel J Brown is a classy leather workshop located on one of Capileira’s liveliest streets. The brand also has a store in Marbella and sells exquisitely-made bags, belts, jackets and wallets for both men and women. It’s not especially cheap – most of the handbags come in at around €70 (USD$81), for example – but the quality of material and craftmanship mean you’ll be taking home a souvenir that will last years.
The joy of exploring the Alpujarras region by car is owed to the fact that you can stop whenever you see something you like, whether it’s a picturesque mountain village, a spectacular view, or a rickety roadside stall selling local produce. The latter are dotted all over this area’s winding mountain roads: often kept by local farmers, they sell fruit, hams, honey, olive oil and wine, making them ideal if you’re after a souvenir bearing the unique stamp of the Sierra.
Tucked away off one of Pampaniera’s tiny backstreets, Bodega La Moralea is an Aladdin’s cave of Alpujarran goodies, from wine and olive oil to cermaics and spices. As the name suggests (bodega=winery/old-school bar), this cave of wonders is not just a shop – it’s also a tapas bar where you can enjoy a cold one and plate of jamón on the tiny terrace out front. The perfect Alpujarran one-stop-shop.