On this tour we concentrate on the more remote and unspoilt sector of the Alpujarras east of Trevelez. We believe the character and charm of villages such as Berchules, Yegen and Mairena compare favourably with more accessible, and consequently more visited, places such as Pampaneira, Capileira and Orgiva. The countryside is still typical of the Alpujarras: compact villages of flat-roofed, whitewashed houses perch on terraces or cling to the steep southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, commanding extensive views across to the Sierra de Gador and the Mediterranean Costas beyond; each village is fed by and depends on Acequias, long channels constructed long ago by the Moors to bring clean fresh water from springs far away up in the mountains. The acequias are (for the most part) still carefully maintained by the village authorities. Above the acequias the landscape is parched and brown in summer (except where there are patches of oak or pine woodland); below the acequias the irrigated terraces are intensively cultivated and dotted with vast and spreading chestnut trees. As you walk the Camino Real (Royal Trail) linking the villages of the eastern Alpujarras you may be able in season to pick nuts, figs or mulberries from wayside trees. Another fruit crop widely cultivated in this area are autumn raspberries. There are opportunities to walk up peaks of the Sierra Nevada massif such as Penabon and Morron (2756). This leisurely self-guided walking tour makes use of 4 centres, so you don't move on each day; but when you do your luggage is transported so you walk light.
The tour is graded moderate; the terrain is not difficult but there are some long ascents and descents. This self-guided tour is not available to solo travelers. Fitness: The walking should present no difficulty to anyone in good general health who is accustomed to hiking.
An arrival transfer can be arranged from Almeria or Granada Airports to Mairena (1083m). After lunch take the time to stretch your legs and wander around the village. The village is a typically Moorish style cluster of flat-roofed houses with oddly shaped chimneys. The gleaming whitewash is a particularly attractive feature, although it is a said to be a relatively recent addition to the Alpujarras villages.
Accommodation: A renovated and modernised village house with a garden and pool. Your hosts David & Emma have lived in the village for many years now and apart from enjoying the delicious local food cooked by their chef they will be happy to show you round their own organic finca as well as take you for an impromptu visit to the village olive mill or the beautifully restored local church of Jubar. The house is furnished throughout with local antiques. Each bedroom has a balcony with a spectacular view and ensuite facilities. Dinner is served on the terrace or by an open fireplace. If you arrive late on day one and miss lunch, this will be provided before departure on day eight.
Today’s walk takes you from the village of Mairena along the old Camino Real to the picturesque hamlet of Nechite. From here you continue to Valor which is one of the larger villages in the Alpujarras where you may be able to pick up some Valor goats cheese and local figs. From Valor the route takes you down to the natural springs of Cuesta Viñas where you can revitalise yourself with the naturally iron-rich waters. From Cuesta Vinas it is uphill to Yegen (1050m). Yegen (pronounced 'Yeah-hen'), is perched on a ledge with an immense view. On arrival in Yegen you will be picked up and transferred to Valor for your overnight accommodation.
Accommodation: A local house entirely refurbished, the hotel in Valor is situated in the old church square. Its roof terrace offers spectacular views of the area. Rooms have ensuite facilities. An evening meal is included, served in the hotel or in the traditional village restaurants.
After a short transfer back to Yegen, the walk continues along the Camino Real. Beyond the hamlets of Montenegro and Golco you ascend to the larger village of Mecina Bombaron. You cross a ridge before descending to cross the Rio Chico and a final short ascent to Berchules (1350m), a beautiful and unspoilt village with a lot of character and fine views.
Accommodation: Spend two nights in a small family-run 2 star hotel, all rooms have ensuite facilities. The hotel is renowned for its restaurant with local specialities such as partridge in picante sauce but we do not include dinner here, as there is a selection of restaurants in the village to choose from.
This is a half-day’s walk so there is plenty of time to relax as you follow this gentle track up the valley on what used to be the main route for cloth merchants making their way on horseback to Granada. The half-way point is the ruins of an old Moorish silk factory and there is a pleasant flat area of grass where you might like to have a picnic. The suggested route back follows the waterway but at points you need to have a head for heights as in places the hillside drops quite steeply. If there is no water in the waterway you can walk in the aceqecia itself.
Today's walk traverses high grassland typical of the Alpujarras, you gain more height than you have done on previous days of the tour, to almost exactly 2000m. You then descend steeply through pine forest to Trevelez (1550m). As you descend the great mass of Mulhacen (at 3479m the highest peak in mainland Spain) looms ahead of you across the valley. The village of Trevelez claims to be the highest in Spain; nobody however disputes the superiority of its Serrano hams, which benefit from long curing in the cool mountain air.
Accommodation: A small family-run pension in the upper part of this prosperous high-mountain village. All the rooms are ensuite.
There are a few walks you can do around Trevelez before returning to Mairena.
Option 1: In clear weather, attempt Penabon Peak - this easy summit, similar to Skiddaw or Blencathra in the English Lake District. It lies on a branch ridge leading south from the main Sierra Nevada ridge. 7 h
Option 2: Walk up the deep valley of the Rio Trevelez. A good trail leads for many km into the heart of the Sierra Nevada National Park. You can follow the path to a height of 2000m or more with no fear of losing the way. 4 h
Option 3: A shorter intermediate walk following another good trail with fine views on the west side of the Rio Trevelez valley to the Rio Culo de Perro. 4 - 5 h.
In the afternoon you will be met at the hotel in Trevelez and transported with your baggage by road to Mairena for the remaining two nights of the tour.
One possibility in good weather is the ascent of one or more of the peaks above Mairena on the main Sierra Nevada ridge: Morron Peak (2756m) and possibly also San Juan Peak (2730m). In this case use can be made of transport from Mairena to the Puerto de la Ragua (2038m). It is a steep ascent to the summit. During the long more gradual descent back to Mairena it is possible to observe mountain goats, wild boar and deer, which roam freely at these heights. Peak of Morron 5 h, peak of San Juan 8 h. There are also low-level walks in the vicinity of Mairena. or a chance to join in one of the activities on offer such as impromptu cookery demonstration, visit to the local bodega or to local weaver’s and silk producer’s house.
Depart Mairena after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share