Las Alpujarras are part of the Sierra Nevada, a mountainous area lying between Granada and the southern coast of Spain. The eastern Alpujarras are largely undiscovered by tourists. Casa La Ladera is inbetween Válor and Yegen.
Heading east from Casa La Ladera
The first village you come to is Válor a typical whitewashed Alpujarran village built on the mountainside. In the sixteenth century it was a centre of Moorish resistance against the approaching Christians. The annual Fiestas Patronales in mid-September is a colourful, vibrant, noisy re-enactment of the battles between the Moors and Christians, though these days in the interests of democracy there are two battles fought so each side can emerge victorious.
Although Válor is relatively small it can still offer a few nice bars where you can stop for refreshment and in summer it has an excellent municipal swimming pool.
About 6 kilometres west of Valor you come to the small town of Ugijar, the capital of the Alpujarras. It is a very traditional Spanish market town with good shops, bars and restaurants and a week long fiesta held in October.
Heading west from Casa La Ladera
The first village in this direction is Yegen, made famous by Gerald Brennan in his book South from Granada. Yegen is another delightful Alpujarran village where you could spend time exploring, walk down the narrow roads and see what you find.
If you keep heading west you come to Mecina Bombarón, a typical Alpujarran village. Past Mecina Bombarón you can head to the small town of Cádiar and onwards to the Sierra de la Contraviesa or head up to Bérchules and onwards to the village of Trevélez, famous for its snow cured hams, restaurants, bars and gift shops.
The Alpujarras are a rich and fertile land which has been worked for perhaps as long as two thousand years and there are still many traditional farms (Cortijo), bodegas and small holdings producing organic fruits, vegetables and wine.
The region has many insects and butterflies are common, as are reptiles and amphibians. Most birds found here are also known in the UK, some beautiful exceptions are the hoopoe, the golden oriole and the bee-eater. Occasionally buzzards, eagles and other birds of prey can be seen following the thermals and flying lazily through the mountains. Mammals are rarely seen but there are wild boar, foxes, badgers and ibex. From February to June the mountains are ablaze with colour from wild flowers and there are many orchids and aromatic herbs.
There are a large number of fiestas in this region and if you wanted you could spend time travelling from fiesta to fiesta. There are fiestas to celebrate various harvests, almonds in August, chestnuts in October and olive in January plus each village celebrates its saints day.
A few weeks before each fiesta the local village gets spruced up for the celebration. Houses are white washed, walls painted, railings painted and the village generally tidied up. Before the fiesta there will be fund raising events, often paella cook-ups where a share of a huge communal paella will be available to all for a few euros. Colourful bunting is arranged around the village, the church is decorated with flowers and a special palanquin for the statue of the local saint is decorated with lights and flowers.
Check all Fiestas in the Alpujarra here