Las Alpujarras, Andalucia
Las Alpujarras form the foothills of Spain’s highest mountains, the Sierra Nevada, where white Andalucian villages dot the hillsides under cobalt skies and dazzling light.
Your first encounter with the Alpujarras will be unforgettable. Driving inland from the coast at Motril you will turn to the west at the Rules reservoir on to the mountain road along the northern flanks of the Sierra Lujar, affording magnificent views across to the Sierra Nevada, Spain’s highest mountains. Approaching from Granada, another spectacular road will take you through the spa town of Lanjarón, famous for its spring water.
Our base will be in and around Órgiva, the western gateway and principal town in the area. Órgiva, with its beautiful twin-spired church, is an eclectic and bohemian mix of the real, working Spain and retreat location, attracting ex-pats from all over Europe. It sits at an altitude of 450 metres in the fertile Guadalféo valley surrounded by sweeping mountain slopes blanketed with olive, lemon and orange groves.
Órgiva is conveniently placed for excursions to the higher mountain villages and wild valleys.
Above Órgiva are sleepy white villages off the beaten track: Cañar and Soportújar, and the Buddhist retreat centre O Se Ling. Higher up still is Pampaneira, famous for its rugs and crafts, and Capileira, starting point for many spectacular walks onto the Sierra Nevada. Nearby Trevélez is renowned for its serrano ham and at 1476m is the highest village in mainland Spain.
The secluded valleys to the east of Tijola appear remote and inhospitable but contain a remarkable energy and spectacular views. For many the area will come alive as the location for Chris Stewart’s book “Driving Over Lemons”. In the early springtime, almond and cherry are in blossom, and fruit trees are heavy with oranges and lemons in such profusion that they do often lie in the road to be driven over, though many seem to avoid them deliberately. Autumn brings pomegranates, walnuts, almonds and the final ripening of the olives for harvest in November and December.
Protected to the north by the Sierra Nevada mountains and to the south my the coastal ranges of the Costa Tropical, La Alpujarra has a Mediterranean climate – one of the sunniest in Europe with 300 days of sunshine and low humidity. Expect deep blue skies and dazzling bright sunlight. And we may encounter some amazing lenticular wave clouds over the high sierras.
From March onwards, daytime temperatures start to climb into the twenties, making a spring break feel like the best of May and June in the UK. Evenings are cooler in the spring.
Average rainfall in March and April is around 32mm over 8 days, usually confined to a few sharp showers (compare London’s 40mm over 18 days).
At the end of March equinox we will have 12 hours of daylight, of course, expanding to 13 hours by early April.
Where are Las Alpujarras
Órgiva is located at the western end of the Alpujarras.
Travel by Air
- Granada: The nearest airport is at Granada (78km – one hour by road). Granada is served directly from the UK by British Airways from London City.
- Málaga: For more choice of flights from most of the budget and charter airlines, Málaga may be more convenient (130km – two hours by road).
- Madrid: If you wish to extend a holiday at either end of our workshops, Madrid will offer the greatest choice of flights and travel options. (470km – 5 hours by road)
Travel by Train
Spain is well served by high-speed rail links. You might consider travelling from London to Paris via Eurostar, then onwards to Granada via Madrid. See Seat 61 for comprehensive travel information. See Bus Transfers below.
At present we are unable to provide transportation during your week with us. That is likely to change in the future.The best way to get around conveniently and make use of your free time whilst in Órgiva will be to hire a car.
There are excellent car hire facilities available from all Spain’s major airports. Prices start at £60 approx. per week, but do read the fuel deal and insurance small print before you sign.
We can put you in touch with other workshop guests if you wish to arrange a car hire share.
Transfer by Bus
The Alsa bus company offers a comprehensive and inexpensive service across Andalucía.
- Málaga to Órgiva direct: departs 15:00; duration 3 hours; cost just €15 one way per person. Leave sufficient time after your flight arrival to get the airport shuttle to the city centre bus station.
- Granada to Órgiva: departs hourly (approx.) between 08:30 and 20:00; duration 1 hour 45; cost €6 one way per person
Our base for our core Alpujarras workshops in Órgiva is La Estrellita, a spacious four bedroom Moorish-style villa built around a large shaded courtyard, with lots of character, a totally private, large walled garden with magnificent pool, olive, orange trees, and superb mountain views.