Alpujarras – 30 min
The Alpujarra is a natural and historical region in Andalusia, Spain, on the south slopes of the Sierra Nevada and the adjacent valley. The average elevation is 1,200 metres (4,000 ft) above sea level. It extends over two provinces, Granada and Almería; it is sometimes referred to in the plural as “Las Alpujarras”. There are several interpretations of this Arabic-origin name: the most convincing is that it derives from al-basharāt (البَشَرَات), meaning something like “sierra of pastures”. The administrative centre is Órgiva.
The Sierra Nevada runs west-to-east for about 80 km. It includes the highest mountain in mainland Spain: the Mulhacén at 3,479 metres (11,414 ft) As the name implies, it is covered with snow in winter. The snow-melt in the spring and summer allows the southern slopes of the Sierra to remain green and fertile throughout the year, despite the heat of the summer sun. Water emerges from innumerable springs; human intervention has channeled it to terraced plots and to the villages.
Olives are grown on the lower slopes, and in the valley below which extends from Órgiva to Cadiar, through which flows the Guadalfeo river. The plentiful water, milder climate, and fertile land favour the cultivation of grapes, citrus, and other fruit. There is also a developing production of wine on the hills between this valley and the sea, and almond trees thrive on its southern slopes. The eastern end of the Alpujarra, towards Ugijar in the province of Almería, is much more arid.