The Alpujarra is possibly one of the most famous regions in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Declared a Nature Reserve by Unesco, the area is worth visiting for its deep-rooted traditions, the closeness of its people to the land and its atmosphere that transports 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 Granada Cathedral and taking a tour of the Albaicín, 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 travellers through the stunning unspoilt landscapes and traditional villages of southern Spain.
You will have the opportunity to explore 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 Alpujarra area.
Once at your destination you'll have time to wander around on your own, admire the vernacular architecture, learn about the craftsmanship and, of course, sample the delicious food.
Recommended if... you are visiting Granada for at least three days or more, and want to spend a day exploring a different side of Spain. This product offers you all the facilities including transport and a personalised guide throughout the 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 one of the most touristic cities in Spain, which is why there are so many local companies and operators offering this and other services to the thousands of visitors who flock to the city each season.
My advice is to take advantage of the facilities that the internet has to offer and use the free services of online search engines. This way you can get the best providers, compare offers and read reviews before you pay 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.
Please note 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 run the Alpujarra excursions leave Granada early, usually around 08 h or 09 h, and 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 will only be in Granada for two days or less, as in that case it is better to explore the highlights of the city and leave the Alpujarra for a later visit.
3. What you will see on this type of excursion
Visiting the villages of the Alpujarra is a once in a lifetime experience. Here is a short list of some of them.
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 centres, forcing them to find creative alternatives to bring money home.
As with the beautiful Palacios Nazaries, the enormous influence of Moorish culture on the buildings of the Alpujarra is palpable at every turn, but instead of large civil constructions, you will find vernacular architecture on a smaller budget.
Possibly the most striking feature of the Alpujarra area is its spectacular scenery; Granada's imposing Sierra Nevada mountain range combines with the characteristic mountain villages to offer visitors an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity 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 should bear in mind that the price can vary a lot depending on the company you choose for the excursion. Generally speaking, however, 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 traveller. This is a group excursion with private transport from Grada.
- The semi-private tour has a base price of 79€ per traveller. This is a small group tour (maximum 8 people) 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's possibly cheaper than you'd expect, as Granada is generally a cheap city when it comes to sightseeing.
5. What are the must-see villages in the Alpujarra?
The following is a selection of villages that are well worth a visit to the Alpujarra. Of course, this is a somewhat personal selection as it is one of the best villages in the Alpujarra. Each traveller returns from the excursion with their own list of favourites.
It is one of the most famous villages and the gateway to the Alpujarra of Granada, a region characterised by its cultural mix. Don't miss the Plaza de la Alpujarra and its beautiful tinaos.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful village in the Alpujarra, Pampaneira joins the two adjoining villages (Bubión and Capileira) to form the area known as the historic complex of the Barranco de Poqueira.
It is well worth a visit to admire the narrow steep streets and traditional whitewashed houses that characterise the Alpujarra region.
Located at about 1,300 metres above sea level, Bubión is a small and beautiful historic town with a population of only 400 inhabitants.
It is located right in the middle of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada area. Here you will find mainly vernacular architecture in which it is possible to notice the influence of the Berber desert villages.
Located in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada and bordering the Lecrin Valley is Lanjaron, a small town of only 4000 inhabitants famous for its wickerwork and woven rugs.
Trevélez is a village of Roman origin, full of impressive history and blessed with breathtaking scenery. It is well worth a walk through its steep streets and getting lost in its old quarters.
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 travel to this area.
In my personal experience the organised tour offers you numerous advantages ranging from transport to and from the city; the company of an expert guide and finally the opportunity to meet other travellers 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 desert villages.
An expert guide, able to take you straight to the points of interest, will be invaluable. Especially if you are a short-term traveller in the city of Granada and want to make the most of your days of exploration.
However, if you are in Granada for a longer stay 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 part 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.
If you are travelling 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 lasting 1 hour 50 minutes and approximately 118 km in distance. Considered the fastest.
- Taking the A44 and then the A7: A route of 1h 50 minutes duration and approximately 156 km distance, you will have amazing views of the Iberian Sea.
- Taking the A-92 followed by the A-337: A route lasting approximately 2 hours and 117 km through the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Travel by public transport from Granada.
If you decide to travel by bus, the ALSA company runs this route every day several times a day. You will have to take the bus from 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 use 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 must on 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 organised 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, in the hope that you will get to know some of them.
- Restaurant Alcadima: 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 of the area.
- El Corral del Castaño Located in Capileira, the outdoor terrace of this restaurant is beautiful. Ideal if you are visiting Granada in summer. The gastronomic offer includes a huge variety of typical dishes made with an innovative and modern touch.
- Restaurante Plaza 6: Restaurante 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 consists of typical local food with an original touch.
- Restaurante Teide: Located in Bubión, Tedie is a popular restaurant serving diners in a spectacular garden terrace. If you visit, be sure to try their delicious homemade desserts, the best in the area!