The Alpujarra is possibly one of the most famous regions in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Declared a Natural Reserve by Unesco, it is worth visiting the area for its deep-rooted traditions, the closeness of its people to the land and its atmosphere capable of transporting us to another era.
More and more visitors, foreigners and locals alike, are arranging their itineraries to include a day trip to the villages of the Alpujarra among the things to see and do in Granada.
My invitation is that, once you have exhausted the basic Granada itinerary, which includes visiting the Alhambra, seeing the fabulous Cathedral of Granada and taking a tour of the Albaicin, you are encouraged to explore beyond the city.
Spend a day exploring the Sierra Nevada and the beautiful villages of the Alpujarra.
A guided tour departs from the heart of Granada to take travelers through breathtaking unspoiled landscapes and traditional villages of southern Spain.
You will have the opportunity to travel along beautiful trails aboard a private transport that leaves the city early in the morning. In the south of the province of Granada you can explore the most emblematic villages of the entire area belonging to the Alpujarra of Granada.
Once at your destination you will have time to explore on your own, admire the vernacular architecture, learn about the craftsmanship and, of course, taste the delicious food.
Recommended if... you are visiting Granada for at least three days or more, and want to take advantage of a day to get to know a different Spain. This product offers you all the facilities including transportation and personalized guide during the whole excursion.
1. How to book an excursion to the Alpujarra from Granada
In my experience, the best way to sign up for this type of experience and get the most out of it is to hire the services of a local company, with expert guides who know their town and the surrounding area inside out.
Granada, as you would expect, is among the most touristic cities in Spain, which is why there are so many local companies and operators that offer this and other services to the thousands of visitors that come every season.
My advice is to take advantage of the facilities that the internet puts at our disposal and use the free services of online search engines. This way you can get the best providers, compare offers and read reviews before paying a single euro.
2. Duration of the excursions to the Alpujarra from Granada
Due to the distance between the two destinations, excursions to the Alpujarra from Granada usually take between 8 and 10 hours.
Keep in mind that the time may vary slightly depending on the company you hire for the excursion and that aspects such as the travel itinerary or the number of destinations to be visited will directly affect the duration and, in some cases, the price to be paid.
To make the most of the day, the companies that make the excursions to the Alpujarra leave Granada early, usually around 08 h or 09 h to return at the end of the day, just before sunset.
It is a full day excursion and it is not possible to do it in less time. Personally I do not recommend it for friends who are going to be only two days in Granada or less, since in that case it is better to explore the highlights of the city and leave the Alpujarra for a next visit.
3. What will I see on this type of excursion?
Touring the villages of the Alpujarra is a once in a lifetime experience. Here is a small list.
The beautiful craftsmanship of the Alpujarra is a sample not only of the creativity and customs of its people but also of their intelligent way of subsisting. For periods of time these villages were isolated from the large urban centers, which forced them to find creative alternatives to bring money home.
Just as in the beautiful Palacios Nazaries, the enormous influence of Arab culture in the Alpujarra's constructions is palpable at every step, but instead of large civil constructions, you will find vernacular architecture with a smaller budget.
Possibly the most striking feature of the Alpujarra area is its spectacular scenery; Granada's imposing Sierra Nevada mountain range meets the characteristic mountain villages to offer the visitor an atmosphere of peace that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Granada. This alone is worth the visit.
4. How much does a trip to the Alpujarra from Granada cost?
You must take into account that the price can vary a lot depending on the company you choose for the excursion. In general terms the cost of an excursion to the Alpujarra can be classified according to the type of excursion you are looking for.
- The traditional excursion has a base price of 55€ per traveler. It is a group excursion in private transport from Grada.
- The semi-private excursion has a base price of 79€ per traveler. It is an excursion in small groups (maximum 8 people) and with private transport from Granada.
A visit to the Alpujarra is, without a doubt, among the best excursions to do from Granada. The best part? It is possibly cheaper than you expect, as Granada is generally a cheap city when it comes to sightseeing.
5. What are the must-see villages in the Alpujarra?
Below I offer you a selection of the villages that are worth visiting on a visit to the Alpujarra. Certainly it is a somewhat personal selection because when of the best villages of the Alpujarra. Each traveler returns from the excursion with his own list of favorites.
It is one of the most famous villages and the gateway to the Alpujarra of Granada, a region characterized by its cultural mix. Be sure to visit the Plaza de la Alpujarra and its beautiful tinaos.
Considered by many as the most beautiful village of the Alpujarra, Pampaneira joins the two neighboring villages (Bubión and Capileira) to form the area known as the historic site of the Barranco de Poqueira.
It is well worth a visit to admire the narrow steep streets and traditional white houses that characterize the Alpujarra region.
Located about 1,300 meters above sea level, Bubión is a beautiful and small historic site with only 400 inhabitants.
It is located right in the middle of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada area. Here you will find primarily vernacular architecture in which it is possible to notice the influence of the Berber villages of the desert.
Located in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada and bordering the Lecrin Valley is Lanjaron, a small town with only 4000 inhabitants famous for its wickerwork and handmade carpets.
Trevélez is a village of Roman origin full of impressive stories and blessed with amazing landscapes. It is worth walking its steep streets and getting lost in its ancient neighborhoods.
6. Why is it advisable to do an excursion to the Alpujarra from Granada?
The Alpujarra of Granada is located only 120 km from the city of La Alhambra. For this reason, the connection between both destinations is much easier than you can imagine. Due to its proximity, Granada is the best city in Andalusia from which to undertake a trip to this area.
In my personal experience the organized tour gives you numerous advantages ranging from transportation to and from the city; the company of an expert guide and finally the opportunity to meet other travelers with the same interests as you.
7. What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting the Alpujarra on my own?
There is much to see and admire in the Alpujarra area, so a guided tour is highly recommended. From the history of the Alpujarra, which shapes its customs and way of life, to its unique architecture, with its cubic shape and flat roof, which is said to be related to the typical architecture of the desert villages.
The guidance of an expert, able to take you directly to the points of greatest interest, will be of great value. Especially if you are a traveler who is in the city of Granada for a short time and want to make the most of your days of exploration.
However, if you are going to be in Granada for a long time and have plenty of time to explore on your own, then take advantage of this great opportunity and spend at least a weekend in the Alpujarra area.
8. How to get to the Alpujarra from Granada?
You have several different alternatives to get to this area of the country and you will be able to choose one or the other depending on the time you have to explore . Here are the most common alternatives.
Travel by car from Granada.
Now if you travel by car to Granada or you decide to rent one after your arrival, you can use this means of transport to get to the Alpujarra and explore the villages of this area on your own. From Granada there are three main routes to consider.
- Taking the A-44 and A-348: A route of 1h 50 minutes duration and approximately 118 km distance. Considered the fastest.
- Taking the A44 and then the A7: A route of 1h 50 minutes duration and approximately 156 km of distance, you will have amazing views of the Iberian Sea.
- Taking the A-92 followed by the A-337: A route of approximately 2 hours duration and 117 km of distance that crosses the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Travel by public transport from Granada.
If you decide to travel by bus the company ALSA runs this route every day several times a day. You will have to take the bus at the Granada Bus Station.
However, be aware that public transport in this area of Granada can be quite uncomfortable. The best connected villages are Lanjarón and Órgiva, for the others it is best to go by private transport, especially if your aim is to see more than one village in a day.
9. Where to eat in the Alpujarra?
A stop to enjoy a good meal is a mandatory requirement of any visit to the villages of the Alpujarra. In this area of Granada, stews and stews made in the traditional way and locally harvested products stand out.
Generally the organized excursions to the Alpujarra do not include food in the price of the excursion, so here is a selection of some of the best restaurants in the area, hoping you can get to know some of them.
- Alcadima Restaurant: Located in the village of Lanjarón. The gastronomic offer includes a variety of typical dishes and tapas of sausages from the Alpujarras, as well as a rich variety of barley beer.
- Bodega Asador El Lagar: One of the most charming restaurants in the Pampaneira area. The gastronomic offer includes traditional and homemade food with excellent value for money and located in one of the most charming streets in the area.
- El Corral del Castaño Located in Capileira, the outdoor terrace of this restaurant is beautiful. Ideal if you go to Granada in summer. The gastronomic offer includes a huge variety of typical dishes made with an innovative and modern touch.
- Restaurant Plaza 6: The Restaurant Plaza 6 is located in the main square of the village of Bubión with spectacular views of the central area, including the town hall of Bubión. The gastronomic offer is composed by typical food of the area with an original touch.
- Teide Restaurant: Located in Bubión, Tedie is a popular restaurant that serves diners in a spectacular garden terrace. If you visit it be sure to try their delicious homemade desserts, the best in the area!