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The White Villages Drive PDF Print E-mail
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Scenic Drives

This is a lovely drive around many of the white villages of the Las Alpujarras.  There are lots of beautiful views of the Sierra de la Contraviesa, and the drive goes both high up into the hills and down low into the valley bases and over rivers.

It takes about 3-4 hours to complete, allowing for regular stops to explore several of the villages, and to take photos of the views.  This is a circular drive, and on good, relatively wide roads, (apart from one stretch that involves a thinner windier road down to the valley and up the other side.  This road is still safe and clear however).  There are many villages and towns along the way, but the main well-known ones are Orgiva, Torvizcon, Trevelez, and the 3 mountain villages of Pampaneira, Capileira, and Bubion.  It is a good opportunity to visit other lesser-known villages however, and to discover their charms.  The drive is begun in Orgiva, but as it is circular you can obviously begin wherever is most convenient to you. 

Leave Orgiva by the A348 down to the ‘Seven Eye Bridge’ over the river, and turn left towards Torvizcon.  This is an attractive road; viewed from a distance it snakes away along the hillside, resembling a river curving along in bends.    Pass the Helicoptor Pad belonging to the Forest Defence Team, and continue to follow the road as it travels alongside gentle sloping hillsides, in contrast to the craggier mountainside roads elsewhere.  You can often see the curves of the old road alongside you, and there are lovely views back to the town of Orgiva, nestling in its valley surrounded by a forest of trees.  It is also nice to look down to the riverbed below, and up to the snow-capped mountains above.  

At the junction take the road signposted Torvizcon (still the A348), and continue along the base of the Sierra de la Contraviesa.  Torvizcon is a friendly town, hidden between the hillsides, almost unseen until you are upon it, and has a nice little village square.  Continue on the road past Torvizcon, and shortly afterwards take the small road down to the left, signposted Almegijar (GR413).  This is a thinner windier road down to the valley base, and is quite twisty.  Some care is recommended, however there is enough width for two vehicles to pass.  Follow this road as it reaches down to the bridge over the Rio Guadalfeo, and up the other side of the valley, passing olive groves.  The road is very quiet, with abundant animal and birdlife, and has fantastic views down the valley and across to Torvizcon, and the Sierra de la Contraviesa and Sierra de Lujar.  The village of Almegijar is reached next and is well worth a visit, with tiny narrow streets full of white-washed houses, a nice church (Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Salud), with seats outside to watch the inhabitants passing in the village square.  The village is in a lovely setting with pretty views, and is very quiet and peaceful.  On the entrance and exit to the village there is a sign for the ‘Paseo de la Cruz’ which is a tree-lined walkway leading to a panoramic viewpoint marked by a white cross, overlooking the village and its views; definitely well-worth a look.

After Almegijar continue to follow the road towards Trevelez.  This is a delightful quiet road to travel along.  It passes the isolated houses seen from the ‘La Taha walk’, and then go through an interesting abandoned village.  There are beautiful views across to the villages of Busquistar, Portugos, and Pitres and across to the tips of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 

Just before the junction with the larger GR421 to Trevelez, there is a nice place to stop and look at the views; there are pretty ruined farmhouses, the cultivated fields along the Sierra de la Contraviesa towards Torvizcon, and the snow-capped mountain of Mulhacen behind Trevelez.  Turn left at the junction and follow the road down a gentle descent to the town of Trevelez.  There are plenty of appealing views of this town as you approach it, and then take the bridge over the pretty Rio Trevelez and into the town.  Trevelez is another town well-worth a visit; it is bigger than some of the others along the route, but is still attractive, sat in a gash in the gorge.  It is famous for being ‘the highest village in Spain’, and is a starting point for walkers and skiers beginning the route up the Sierra Nevada.  It is also famous for its Jamon Serrano.

Continue along the road out of Trevelez and onto the village of Busquistar, which is an extremely pretty white-washed place.  It is set in a dramatic gorge, and seems to hang there overlooking the wonderful views.  Just from the carpark, you look down across the flat rooftops and into the gorge and valley below.  This village deserves an exploration, and has a very pretty white church, as well as being the starting point of several walking paths.

The next villages you pass through are Portugos and Pitres which are attractive white villages, not much frequented by tourists and have a very ‘real’ feel to them.  After Pitres, you can make a detour to visit the villages of La Taha valley.  There is a thin road left down to Mecina-Fondales, and Ferreirola, which are very beautiful with steep narrow streets, and houses with beams spanning across to the other side forming little tunnels.  This is the starting point for the ‘La Taha walk’.  The GR421 road continues on however round the hillsides towards the three famous mountain villages of Pampaneira, Capileira, and Bubion.  There is an extremely good viewpoint just as the road curves round to the right, (with space to park), which has a dramatic view of these white villages and the Sierra Nevada mountains behind, as well as beautiful views in the other direction of the hills and valleys.  The three villages nestle in the Poqueira Gorge, seemingly tumbling down the hillside, each house almost on top of the one below it.  They are all extremely beautiful villages and well-worth a visit.  There are lovely rug shops in all the villages, but in particular at Capileira; the highest, least-frequented and quietest village which has amazing views over the rooftops and down the gorge to the other two villages.  Pampaneira also has several nice shops selling beautiful pottery and ornaments, rugs and clothes, jams and honey, etc, and all the villages have a maze of tiny narrow streets that you can wander round.  (The road goes through Pampaneira, and if you want to visit the other two villages then take the road to the right, GR441, before Pampaneira, just after the petrol station).  After Pampaneira, continue descending to the Rio Poqueira and over the bridge, and then up the other side of this spectacular gorge.  As the road continues there are detours possible to visit the villages of Soportujar and Cañar up winding roads to the right; both traditional old-fashioned, charming villages situated high up in the hills with dramatic views down to the valley below, and even a glimpse of the sea from Cañar.  Follow the road as it descends to Orgiva, with several views down to the town and across to the dramatic Sierra Lujar behind, as well as sights of the snaking road to Torvizcon that you drove along earlier.  On arrival in Orgiva there are several bars and cafes to relax in, as well as many sights to see; such as the twin-spire church and village squares.  This is also the starting point for the ‘In, Around, and Above Orgiva Walk’.



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