Andalucia

La Alpujarra – Pitres to Laroles

The Alpujarra is a region in Andalucía lying south-east of Granada on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada and with an average elevation of 1,300 meters. Its 52 villages, which still display their Berber origins today, were the last stronghold of the Moors, finally expelled in 1586.

Click here for our walk from Lanjarón to Pitres. Click here for a map if the GR7 in Granada.


Pitres to Trevélez 15.2 klms, 6 hours

We left Pitres at first light to beat the afternoon rain. Every day this walk gets better – today through a couple of tiny pueblos (Atalbéitar, Pórtugios & Busquístar) and then a climb to 1820 meters, mostly on earth paths compacted by years of use.

Trevélez is famous for the quality of its hams – the cold climate due to its altitude (~1500m, the highest village in Spain) makes for ideal conditions for air drying them.

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A village in the valley below Pitres

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Early morning fog in the Alpujarra

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Pórtugos - tinao allows access from one row of houses to another

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Busquistar - every roof flat, except the Church

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High altitude grape vines produce some nice wines

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A beautiful old earth path, compacted by centuries of use

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Path below the pine trees

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A traditional remote high altitude farm house with threshing platform in front

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The GR7 had been cut by a landslide, but now open

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Locals pick the wild mushrooms that appear after rain

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Trevélez - the top part is 200 meters higher than the lower part

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The famous Trevélez hams air drying

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Every house has red peppers drying

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Trevélez trout, ham and potatoes


Trevélez to Cádiar 18.7 klms, 6 hours

Another crack of dawn departure – clear skies and a cold 4°C but a stiff 500 meter climb out of the valley up to 1800 meters soon warmed us. Great walking on quality earth track and a beautiful narrow gravel path cut into the cliffs between Juviles and tiny Timar but here the trail deteriorated and at one point disappeared, requiring a bush bashing steep scramble up to an acequia (water channel) that we could follow to Lobras. From there we had about 2 hours of tiring climbs and descents on not so great path.

Arrived exhausted in Cádiar to discover the only hotel in town, which we’d pre-booked by phone a week ago, was closed until tomorrow – went to the ayuntamiento (town council) who rang the owner to open it for us.

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Autumn colors at Trevélez

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Path climbing out of Trevélez

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Spotted a mountain goat

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Heading east at 1800 meters, the Mediterranean in the distance

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The cliffs between Juviles and Timar

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Path around the rugged ravine

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Flat roofs of Timar waterproofed with launa, a grey flinty clay from the region

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Timar, 50 inhabitants

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We followed a water channel to Lobras after the GR7 path disappeared

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Lobras

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An old threshing platform

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Cádiar - the villages are all starting to look the same!


Cádiar to Yegen 16.5 klms, 6 hours

The pueblos of Cádiar, Narila, Alcútar, Bérchules, Mecina Bombarón and Yegen are all around 1100 meters, but mostly separated by rugged deep ravines requiring steep climbs and descents. We had 1,000 meters of up and 900 meters of down – a hard day but made enjoyable in places by beautifully constructed old stone paths. After having it all to ourselves for the last 5 days we met our first other walkers, a UK couple heading the opposite direction.

In Yegen our hotel was closed today, but the owners were there to let us in and made us a great home cooked lunch.

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Narila's St John the Baptist, mudéjar style constructed 1548

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Now in the eastern Alpujarra the land is becoming less fertile

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Grape vines growing on a Bérchules house

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Bridge uses the same construction method as the house roofs

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Up the beautiful old stone mule path

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Leaves are turning yellow

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GR7 Way Marker - Bérchules looks close but it's over an hour away down & up

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Traditional roofs in this area use course pebbles

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Mecina Bombarón - 660 hab

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Tiny Golco is noted for its church, one of the oldest in the Alpujarra

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Desert like mountains on the way into Yegen

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Yegen's water fountain

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Gerald Brenan, British author of South from Granada, lived here in the 1920s


Yegen to Laroles 15.7 klms, 5 hours

A pleasant walk through Valor and Nechite. But by Mairena we’d had enough so we cut it short (by 1.5k) by taking the road instead of the GR7 the last 4k to Laroles – nice views and warm in the sun.

Finally at the very end we got the typical Alpujarran dish that we’d been searching for – goat stew in garlic sauce – delicious and worth the 90k walk!

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From this spring near Válor comes 4 different tasting waters

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Roman bridge into Válor

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14th century Ermita at Válor

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More peppers drying in the sun

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Nechite with the rugged Sierra Nevada behind

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Rough stone track to ...

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... Mairena - houses built to catch the morning sun

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Our final destination, Laroles, with extensive terraces below

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Finally got to try Choto al Aijillo (goat stewed in garlic) with potatoes