The Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada
The Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada run seamlessly into each other , but they are actually really two different areas, not only in nature but also in terms of atmosphere. Sierra Nevada is rugged, uninhabited and includes the high mountains in this part of Spain. The ‘High Alpujarras ‘ belong to the southern flank of the Sierra Nevada and start from the highest peaks. The ‘low Alpujarras ‘ start above the villages on the south side and extend to the Sierra de Contraviesa. The Alpujarras ( probably derived from the Arabic Al – Busherat which means ‘pasture’) are green, intense, fertile and inhabited thanks to the beautiful white villages . There are multiple local routes through the area that are easily connected to each other. This area can also change very quickly on its way to the Refugio del Poqueira. In May 2004 three Dutch people were killed in a massive snowstorm. Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain of the Iberian Peninsula and is part of the Cordillera Penibetica, that runs through to Gibraltar. The area is about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Fourteen peaks in Sierra Nevada are higher than 3,000 meters and until 100 years ago, there was still a glacier, the Corral de Veleta, which immediately was the southernmost glacier in Europe. The south area of the highest peaks of Sierra Nevada is known as the Alpujarras, a very green, beautiful and sometimes wild place that is separated from the Mediterranean by the Sierra de la Contraviesa.
The core of the Alpujarras consists of 80 villages. The area can be subdivided in La Alpujarra Alta ( the upper part of the Alpujarras) and La Alpujarra Baja, where wine, almonds and figs come from and where the villages are . Since 1989, the Alpujarras belongs to a large natural park: Parque Natural Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras have a very rich flora and fauna. About 200 types of plants, 40 of which are endemic, can be found in the mountains and survive cold Winters in the snow.
Whoever wants to walk in this area can possibly make a journey of several days. An example of this is described in a good article at Oppad, which includes overnight tips. And what’s funnier than relaxing in La Posada del Angel in Ojén after these exhausting days? Do you need more tourist information about the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada? * Oficina de Turismo Pampaneira, Plaza de Libertad, 18411 Pampaneira, Granada. T: (0034) 958763127. * www.alpujarras.eu (international website about The Alpujarras). The walking information is not complete. * www.andalucia.com/villages/alpujarras.htm: Nice site about Andalusia with a separate section about the Alpujarras. There is also a video of the white villages.