When the Moors were expelled from Granada, they retreated to the Alpujarras, the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Immerse yourself in this hidden region of rural Andalucia, sampling the food, learning how to cook and walking through olive groves and vineyards. Peppers and corn dry in the sun against white-washed walls – this is simply another way of living.
We fly to Malaga and transfer to Mairena, a traditional rural 'white village' in a remote location in the Alpujarran mountains. The views over the surrounding countryside are just beautiful. Life here is lived at a relaxed, slow pace and much has remained unaffected by modern influence - the land is still worked by mules using techniques influenced by the Moors. Every viewpoint is a delight - almond and olive terraces, fertile plains, fragrant jasmine and mountain streams - a simply idyllic setting.
On our first full day we’ll walk to Jubar to visit its church and learn how the area has been influenced by the Moors and the Civil War. We’ll then walk to Laroles Valley for some wonderful views. We have a morning touring the Finca at Mairena and an optional yoga class before we forage for ingredients for our outdoor paella cookery demonstration with local cooks, Sole and Conchi (who also cook your delicious food each evening!).
We have a day visiting Almeria where we’ll visit the fish market and food hall, the Alcazaba and a traditional tapas bar – there may also be time to sample some Moroccan cakes. Another day we walk to the market town of Ugijar for a tapas lunch followed by a walk to an award winning bodega for a wine tour. In Valor, we visit a family weaving workshop and a cheese factory and one evening we will visit the Mairena olive mill and have a presentation on local olive production and farming.
Our final day will be a visit to Yegen, former home of writer and Hispanist Gerald Brenan, author of ‘South from Grenada’. We’ll walk above Yegen, spend time in the village itself and see where the Sierra ham is dried, gaining an insight into the production of this local delicacy.