Blog: El Paraje de las Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada walks · nature · culture · events · publications · weather
blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

31 December 2010

Winter 2010-2011 cultural programme Alpujarra de la Sierra

See leaflet full size

related key words: Invierno Cultural Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

21 December 2010

Centro Temático del Vino Alpujárride in Torvizcón

Yesterday, the 20th of December, the first stone was laid for ´Alpujárride´ - Centro Temático del Vino that will be built high above Torvizcón on one of the hill tops of the Sierra de la Contraviesa. This centre will contain a winery, an interactive museum and a restaurant. It is an initiative of Ignacio Nestares who mentioned in his speech that five generations of his family have been making wine at fince Juan de Reyes. After his grandfather had died there were a number of years that he did not visit the cortijo, but one day when he went back with his father and he became fascinated with the idea to continue with the tradition of wine making. Visiting other bodegas the idea grew that he not only wanted to reinstate the seven hectares of vineyards and make good quality ecological wines, but that he also wanted to develop a centre that would be attractive for visitors in more respects. The result is this idea of an interactive museum  in which all aspects related to the history of wine making in the Sierra de la Contraviesa will be explained making use of the latest technology. People will be invited to participate in the harvest and gastronomic workshops will be organized. The aim is that people who visit ´Alpujárride´ will have a singular, unforgettable experience.
We think that its location is flabbergasting and will already leave a lasting impression on everybody visiting the centre. It is situated on the top of a hill at an altitude of 1,389 metres, four kilometres from Haza del Lino. Looking southwestwards you see Monte Salchicha with an altituted of 1,545 metres the highest mountain of the Sierra de la Contraviesa. North- and eastwards you can contemplate the majestic Sierra Nevada and southwards the enchanting Mediterranean Sea. The local linear walk Ruta Pedro de Alarcón that starts in Torvizcón passes right at its doorsteps. Arriving at a place like this after having climbed seven hundred metres through vineyards, almond, fig and olive groves will be unique. We are looking forward to it. The first phase is expected to be completed in June 2011. In the meantime we would like to wish Ignacio and his family all the best with their project.

Official start of the Alpujárride proyect with Ignacio Nestares (to the left), David Moreno the mayor of Torvizcón and José López Gallardo as Diputado de Turismo de Granada laying the first stone.

Above the GR-5204 at about km-4 you can already see the white containers on the construction site. Alpujárride will have a unique location to attract visitors to the Contraviesa part of the Alpujarras.

Related articles:
- Wineries of the Alpujarras
- Museums and private collections in the Alpujarras

Related links:
- Discurso Ignacio Nestares
- Nota de prensa

Related key words:
Museo interactivo, interactief museum, interactive museum, enoturismo, wine tourism, wijn toerisme

19 December 2010

Coast to Coast Charity Walk from April 27th to May 17th 2011

One of the guide books in which our accommodation is mentioned is Walking in Andalucía by Gunter Hunter-Watts, a walking guide that covers the Alpujarra, Los Alcornocales, Aracena, La Axarquía, Cazorla and Grazalema. Over the last few years, the writer criss-crossed the mountains of southern Spain for another reason. The fruit of many years of research is a new guide book: The Andalucían Coast to Coast Walk - From the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean by way of Inland Spain.

In general we write posts on things related to the Alpujarra and Sierra Nevada, which is not the case of this walk from Maro (close to Nerja) to Bolonia (close to Tarifa). The reason why we do like to mention Guy´s new book is his initiative for a fundraising for children in Nepal. Yesterday we received an e-mail of the author with the announcement of a Coast to Coast Charity Walk that will take place from April 27th to May 17th 2011. Guy intends to do all 21 days of the walk and there are already a few people that signed up for the whole walk of 430 kilometres. Guy invites people to join him on the walk or to support the initiative by making a donation. More information can be found on the announcement of the charity walk and a sponsorship form and Coast to Coast on facebook.

Related keywords: Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

16 December 2010

Murtas, viewpoint of the Contraviesa

Not all our guests can or like to make long walks. We therefor want to give a suggestion of a tour by car through the Contraviesa. This is a mountain range we look at from ´El Paraje´ and where most of our wines are made. From Bérchules you drive down to Cádiar from where you climb up the Contraviesa. On the top you turn left towards Murtas. While you drive on this quiet country road you have an excellent panorama of many Alpujarran villages and the summits of the Sierra Nevada to the left and the Mediterranean Sea to the right. After having passed bar-restaurant and winery Cuatro Vientos you arrive at a crossroads Venta del Chaleco with a sign of the Cerrajón the Murtas, the second highest top of the Contraviesa. Passing a cheese factory it is possible to drive up almost to the very top at 1,507 metres; you need to walk about fifteen minutes (see our map).
People that would like to stretch their legs for a little bit longer, could consider the short local walk ´La Solana´ (see our post Sendero Local La Solana in Murtas). To get to the starting point of this circular waymarked walk of four kilometres, you pass through Murtas and continue until you see a sign ´centro the población´. To your left you see a wooden bench (if it is still there) and a marker post of the Sendero Local. The changing scenery during this short stroll, of the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra de Gador, the Mediterranean Sea and the Cerrajón de Murtas is really unique. On the way back you pass through Murtas which has a bar at the back of the church that serves good food.
Continuing the tour, we pass Mecina Tedel and Cojáyar. These two villages are connected by a waymarked Sendero Local, a local walk with a considerable height difference. (see details of this linear walk on the web of the Mancomunidad de los municipios de la Alpujarra Granadina)  The next village that we pass is Jorairátar. This a picturesque village with a pleasant bar, La Maruja, right at the entrance. It has a very interesting museum, but this can only be visited on appointment. To get back to ´El Paraje´ from Jorairátar, we follow the A-4348 back to Cádiar. This Contraviesa tour of 66 kilometres is highly recommended in February and March when the almond trees are blossoming (see our post Almond blossom in February).
This tour is also a suggestion for people who like road biking.

P.S.The small white dot at the far right of the photo is our casa rural El Paraje.

Related links: map of the Alpujarras.

13 December 2010

Local walk PR-A 70 Pueblos del Poqueira

We know of our own guests that many people that decide to spend a few days in the Alpujarra like to visit the Barranco de Poqueira. Quite often people are interested in combining a stroll through the picturesque villages of this beautiful valley with a short walk. We were therefor happy to learn about a ´newly´ signposted Pequeño Recorrido developed by the Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada connecting Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira. More information on this Sendero Pueblos del Poqueira PR-A 70 can be found on the website of the Junta de Andalucía. On the map of this walk it is not made clear whether you can cross to the other side of the valley at point 6. Before arriving at Capileira (point 6 on the map) there is a sign indicating ´Puente El Molino´. It turned out to be surprisingly easy as well as beautiful to follow the indications and cross the bridge. At the other side there is a sign of the PR-A 70 indicating the way back to Pampaneira. Having two circular walks everybody can decide how to combine visiting the Poqueira villages with some hiking. The ´low loop´ is about 6 kilometres and the first part coincides with the GR-7. Both routes follow the old ´Camino a Bubión´. At the Plaza Libertad in Pampaneira a GR-7 waymark can be found. Going up Calle Estación, you pass an old wash house and climb up Calle Principe or Calle Real to get to the starting point. On the street map or ´plano´ of Pampaneira the starting point of the ´Camino a Bubión´ can be found. On the street map of Bubión we indicated where the PR-A 70 enters and leaves the village. The ´high loop´ that passes through Capileira is about four kilometres, but it is also possible to return to point 6 on the map in order to shorten the walk. On the street map of Capileira it is indicated with number 4 where you enter the village and number 3 is where the local walk leaves the village (coincides with the GR-240 or Sulayr).

The PR-A 70 is quite well waymarked with signs indicating the distances to the villages and wooden posts with yellow-and-white waymarks. Where needed we placed a few extra cairns.
Nevertheless, about 200 metres of the path that steeply descends to the river before getting back to Pampaneira are seriously damaged (See our own map between 13 and 14!)!
While doing any of the walks that use the Pampaneira river crossing, like the Sendero Local La Atalaya, you need to be aware that you need to cover this difficult steep stretch with lose slates. Without clear visibility, good hiking boots and mountain walking experience this part is not to be recommended.
Take into account that the waymarking (again!) has only been done in one direction! You can get lost walking back if you did not look back every now and then. (No problem with our GPS track data of course)
We have not done the ´high loop´ yet, but we heard at the Punto de Información de Pampaneira that this walk can be done without encountering any difficulties.

9 December 2010

Sendero Monterrey Laujar de Andarax

Laujar de Andarax is a village in the Almería province that we planned to visit for a long time and today we finally came around to do it. Thanks to the new Almería-Lanjarón road the travelling time is now only forty-five minutes and the weather forecast for today mentioned twenty-four degrees, sunny and no wind. A perfect day to check out one of the walking routes starting from this village that is quite well-known for its wines. The Sendero Hidroeléctrica is famous, but we heard at the Centro de Visitantes that it is not maintained as there are some steep stretches that are not considered safe enough. We decided to do the shortest of the two ´official´ short  local walks (signposted with yellow-and-white waymarks) of which we received copies at this visitor´s centre, namely the Sendero Monterrey (pdf folleto 3,86 mb) a circular walk of nine kilometres. The first three kilometres you follow a beautiful small path through a dense pine forest. Although you do not climb much more than three hundred metres, the views are fantastic once you come in a more open lanscape with grape vines growing at 1,200 metres. The return route is for a great part on a wide dirt track with fantastic views. We could not cross the Río Andarax easily, but we think this was exceptional. The holes of the bridge were blocked, so that the water ran over it in stead of underneath. Besides, the river was probably very swollen because of the amount of rainfall last week in combination with the melting snow. The snow that covered the Almirez (2,519 metres) and the Pico del Buitre (2,465 metres) a week ago has all been gone by now. A few hundred metres after having crossed the river with some difficulties the path has disappeared - probably as a result of the heavy rains last winter - and it looks as if you might need to cross the river again. This is not the case though, you need to stick to the left bank of the river for 200 metres although there is no clear path any more. The rest of the track and the two bridges that you need to cross are no problem. We are impressed by the beauty of this valley and will definetely go back to check other routes in the area.

Our ´regulars´ know that we add new walks like this to our file with descriptions. For new readers it might be nice to know that we make our own maps, callibrate them and put our GPS data and waypoints on top of them. (click here for our GPS data of this walk). At waypoint 9 we investigated the situation of the damaged dirt track to find out that sticking to the left bank of the river does the trick. We did not edit (delete) this part of our GPS data.

Related keywords:  Alpujarras, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, berchules, B&B, hotel

3 December 2010

Fiestas de la Matanza 2010

Tomorrow Mecina Bombarón organizes a Fiesta de la Matanza with an exposition, a tasting of pork delicatessen, and all sorts of other activities (see program).

On Sunday the 5th of December there are two other villages that celebrate ´slaughter festivities´ with ´degustaciones´, namely Turón (see program) and Órgiva (see program).

Related links:
- Article from the Ideal by Rafael Vílchez: Ugíjar, Turón, El Padul, Yegen y Mecina Bombarón organizan ferias y fiestas para el puente