Located near the fascinating city of Granada, Sierra Nevada is Spain’s largest natural park, covering an area of over 850 square kilometres. Its wild expanse is home to some spectacularly located settlements, including the famous cluster of villages known as the Alpujarra. Read on for our pick of the Sierra Nevada’s most beautiful towns and villages.
Clinging to the dramatic foothills of Mount Mulhacén, Capileira is the highest of a three-strong cluster of villages in the Poquira valley, on the Sierra Nevada’s southern edge. It is one of the most popular and beautiful settlements in the Alpujarra area, packed with rustic whitewashed houses and pretty, flower-filled streets.
Heading downhill from Capileira on the winding mountain road, you soon arrive in Bubión. This is one of the smallest villages in the Alpujarras and charms with its cosy tapas bars and its lovely old houses, whose chimneys scent the air with woody smoke. You can also enjoy some awesome views of the park’s highest mountains from Bubión.
After taking in the delights of Capileira and Bubión, roll downhill for a few minutes to reach Pampaneria. Although the most touristy of the Aplujarra villages, it has lost none of its country charm, with a maze-like network of mysterious lanes weaving between small, flower-covered houses. The gorgeous main square is a great lunch spot.
The resort town of Sierra Nevada itself is found in the centre of the park, an hour’s drive from Granada. It is principally a skiing town and is busiest during the season, from November to May, but is also lovely to visit during the quieter months. Pick a spot on a sunny terrace and soak up the amazing views that unfold in every direction.
The first of the Aplujarra villages that you come to on the road from Granada (a mere half an hour from the city) is Lanjaron, where Spain’s first ever bottled water company was founded (unsurprisingly, it’s called “Lanjaron”). Water is also at the heart of this lovely town’s annual Fiesta del Agua y Jamon, which kicks off on the 23rd June with a giant water fight in the main square.
The highest settlement in the Alpujarras region (at 1,476 metres) is Trevélez, an arrestingly attractive town within trekking distance of Mulhacén’s 3,478-metre summit. As well as being a great start and finish point for conquering mainland Spain’s highest mountain, it’s famous for its superb cured jamons, so order a plate with your post-trek beer.
Located just under 50km east of Trevélez, Mairena is one of the most unspoilt of the Alpujarra settlements, where the 40,000-odd residents live in a close-knit, communal way that hasn’t changed for generations. Surrounded by wonderful hiking tracks, it’s truly a place to come if you want to forget about the rest of the world for a while.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.