There are essential towns in the geography of Granada that give another meaning to the word Granada. Sometimes, it means setting a timer in which it is enough to discount a few seconds to think of the Alhambra, the Generalife Gardens or the walls of Albaicín. And others, let your thoughts fly like birds to Sierra Nevada, the source of Riofrío or the Mirador del Fin del Mundo (end of the world’s viewpoint).
Actually, saying Granada should be taken as a warning, a warning about the need to be prepared for this and much more, because attached to this word come mountains and sierras… Karstic places of lands eroded by time, gardens, rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, beaches, lighthouses and coastal viewpoints to wait for the sunset. The word Granada has many meanings, visions and villages, in which each stop is an invitation to continue.
White houses scattered throughout the mountains, viewpoints overlooking fields and an infinite horizon that invites you to fly. Montefrío greets the traveler from a castle on a rocky landscape, from a course of rocks and oak forests.
Declared one of the seven wonders of Granada, Montefrío appears as a postcard, but fascinating and real. With a gastronomy headed by its well-known cheese, Montefrío is a town that houses alternatives for all types of tourism. It is possible to know the history through its historical buildings, the churches of the Encarnación or San Antonio, or the Casa de los Oficios. But it also emerges as an alternative to practice active tourism, hiking or horse riding and breathe nature in its purest form.
This gateway to the western part of the Alpujarra region evokes springs, fountains and streams, and gives its name to one of the best known and best rated spas in Spain. The narrow layout of the streets and the architecture, characteristic of the area, full of Moorish vestiges, adapts to the flow of the Lanjarón river and to a terrain sculpted in the mountain.
In its urban center stand out different archaeological remains, such as the castle ruins, from which the Muslim captain threw himself before surrendering during the conquest of the place by Fernando the Catholic. Lanjarón also worked as a strategic point in the defense against the French in the Independence War. Now it has changed those functions for those of a haven of peace, a gateway to rest and endless walks, a place to return to.
Declared a historic-artistic site since 1976, Guadix is known for being one of the most beautiful villages in the province. Its proximity to Sierra Nevada allows visitors to hike. Guadix, full of places to visit, does not disappoint anyone. Starting with its famous cave houses or its beautiful cathedral. Its streets suggest a centuries-old history of churches and palaces, and even an Alcazaba of the 11th century.
The Palace of Villalegre or the Palace of Peñaflor, both from the 16th century, as well as the Town Hall, are a must-see. Then head towards the Convent of the Clarisas and Santiago, without forgetting the churches of Magdalena and Santa Ana or the facade of the old Lonja. The possibilities are endless in this millenary human settlement.
From a Moorish castle to beautiful beaches with all the flavor of the Mediterranean, there are thousands of corners to explore in Solobreña. One of the most beautiful spots of Granada. A walk through its streets means finding monuments at every step, from the top, in its 10th century Nasrid fortress, to the Mediterranean Sea.
The parish church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, from the 16th century, is another of the most beautiful locations. And the Paseo de las Flores wraps the road with color. It is possible to say goodbye to Salobreña in the Bóveda Medieval, former entrance of goods, but not before taking a last look at the sunset.
Trevélez ham is well known, and the town has been recognized as a protected geographical indication. In the village there is a succession of white houses of mud and slate, that form a particular old town full of surprises. Also, the Trevélez River Valley gives this municipality a unique and striking natural environment.
Its location, almost 1500 meters above sea level, in the emblematic Mulhacén, makes it the roof of Spain, and a place to come face to face with the wildest nature. The Pico del Rey or Siete Lagunas are not only natural landscapes, but also unforgettable memories.
Located on a high hill, between the two accesses to Sierra Nevada, La Calahorra is one of those villages presided by a castle. It is impossible to say no to a visit. From the high part you can go down, strolling between steep paths that offer priceless views.
It belongs to the region of Guadix, less than 20 km away from the capital of the region, and a strategic point between Granada and Almería. From there, Don Rodrigo de Mendoza governed the lordship of which La Calahorra was the capital, and now, centuries later, thousands of skiers access the Puerto de La Ragua. Heritage, nature and adventure, the perfect combo for this small spot in the sierra.
Castril is an Andalusian village, dressed in immaculate white, standing on a rocky landscape in the Sierra de Castril and bathed by a river. An ancient wall and a bridge testify, along with the name of the town, possibly derived from castrum, the Roman influence on the area.
In the heart of the region of Huéscar, Castril de La Peña is the birthplace of trails. The springs of the river Castril, the Magdalena or La Cerrada are essential, and windows to unforgettable views. It is a landscape itself, contemplated from the Natural Monument of La Peña, from which a panoramic view of the place can be appreciated. Indeed, it is one of the most beautiful enclaves of the province of Granada.
The Arab thermal baths, seated on the ancient Roman baths, are one of the attractions of the region of Alhama. The same cultural overlap, Arab and Roman, can be seen in the Alhama Castle, located on top of a citadel. But this corner of Granada was inhabited long before the arrival of both peoples.
To find the first traces of civilization in this town in the Sierra de Tejeda, we must go back to the Neolithic, whose echo is found in the Cuevas de la Mujer, de los Molinos or del Agua. There are also different religious buildings, highlighting the Church of Santa María de la Encarnación, del Carmen or de las Angustias. A Roman bridge, an aqueduct or the old house of the Inquisition, are the icing on the cake.
Pampaneira was a refuge for the Moors of Granada during the persecution of the Catholic Monarchs, and now is a refuge for lovers of history and nature. This enclave of the Alpujarra was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1982, due to its ability to remain unchanged over time. It has retained all its essence and charm. In its streets faith takes shape in the Parish Church of Santa Cruz, a mix of Mudejar and Renaissance of the sixteenth century.
The Plaza de la Libertad is the first step from which to walk to the Barrio Bajo, where the farmers’ houses and the old tinaos await, before getting to La Calle Real. From there, it is only necessary to walk along the Paseo Federico García Lorca to glimpse a panoramic view, one of those that remain etched in the eyes forever.
Finding a place from which to contemplate the Mediterranean Sea and Sierra Nevada is possible in the Alpujarra village of Bubión. There, on clear days, the view is lost over the roofless houses that populate white streets full of flowers. As in the nearby villages, the typical tinaos, over doorways or houses, are the protagonists of the landscape.
The Loom Workshop, the Museum of Agriculture or the Alpujarreña House will serve as a starting point to learn more about the traditions of the region. The Mudejar style also has a place in the tour of Bubión, in the Church of the Virgen del Rosario, from the 16th century. Centuries of history and nature come together in this town declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1982.
Strolling through this small town belonging to the municipality of El Pinar you might think that you are walking through a village of the Alpujarra of Granada. White streets, tubs and flowery courtyards await here. Almost entirely pedestrian, the town center is a perfect place for a quiet walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Inside, you can visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception, or its Tower, declared of Cultural Interest since 1985.
The Lecrín Valley is an irresistible location for hikers, even more so if they want to discover historical spots. Between mountains, like a scar crossed by bridges, the Old Bridge and the New Bridge, the village of Izbor emerges, another example of how history and nature complement each other.
This list of unforgettable villages shows that Granada also means leaving behind the capital to talk face to face with places that await the traveler as a gift of art, history, gastronomy and nature. The surprise is part of a route, where you only need to close your eyes and point to a place on the map, letting chance and the beauty of the landscape do the rest.
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