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Experience
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Insight to the High Alpujarras

Rural villages, delicious food and artisan visits

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 small rural village on the sunny southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. 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 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 Brennan, 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.
Activity Level
alt
You enjoy being outdoors in the fresh air, communing with nature and discovering the world at a relaxed pace. Short countryside strolls or sightseeing on foot make you feel good. You enjoy cities with art and culture and like to develop an interest in your surroundings. You are reasonably fit and healthy. No previous experience is required. Where walking is involved you can expect up to 5 miles of walking on well made paths with up to 300m of ascent.



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  • Dates, Prices & Holiday Information Sheet (PDF)
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    Date
    04 Jun 2017
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    Level A
    Depart From
    Birmingham, Manchester, London (Gatwick)
    More Info
    Status
    Limited
    Price From
    £1,285
    Date
    15 Oct 2017
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    Level A
    Depart From
    Birmingham, Manchester, London (Gatwick)
    More Info
    Status
    Available
    Price From
    £1,285
    Date
    06 May 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    Level A
    Depart From
    Birmingham, Manchester, London (Gatwick)
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    Status
    Available
    Price From
    £1,285
    Date
    03 Jun 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    Level A
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    Provisional Date Only
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    Status
    Provisional
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    Date
    14 Oct 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    Level A
    Depart From
    Provisional Date Only
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    Status
    Provisional
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  • Itinerary & Map
    04 Jun 2017 - 11 Jun 2017

    Day 1 - Mairena
    Transfer to Mairena from Malaga Airport. Depending on the arrival time we may have an orientation walk round the village, a climb to a look out point to see ancient threshing circles. We'll have some pre-dinner drinks and a talk about the week ahead.

    Day 2 - Mairena
    On the first day we walk along the waymarked route GR7 for half an hour up to the neighbouring village of Jubar. This tiny traditional hamlet boasts the oldest church in the area which dates back to the 12th Century and was both a mosque and synagogue before it became a church. We rest for a while to enjoy the view and our host will tell you a little about the history of the Alpujarras and the Moorish heritage before going in to see the ancient murals inside. The walk then continues for a couple of hours walking up the Laroles valley, along a waterway under the ancient chestnuts and down into Laroles itself. After a picnic en-route we then stop for refreshments at a local bar and finish the day by walking on the old route of Don Duran for another hour back to Mairena.

    Day 3 - Mairena
    Today starts with a walk across the terraces down to the Las Chimeneas farm. Here, amongst the almond and olive trees is there a shelter and yoga Shala which makes a great base from which to explore the several hectares of land picking seasonal produce and with luck, the foraging of the makings of our salad for lunch. For those who would like to participate, there will be an hour's introduction to yoga at the Las Chimeneas Shala. Lunch is then a paella cooked outside with the Las Chimeneas chefs. After a suitable pause to digest we finish the day with a climb above the village on the old route that used to be the villagers' route to take their herds of animals to graze in the low Sierra.

    Day 4 - Mairena
    Today's trip is down to the little known but fascinating city of Almeria. The 90 minute drive takes us through the wine and orange growing area of the Alpuarras to arrive mid morning to explore the city's amazing food, fish market and to enjoy coffee and churros. We lunch at a traditional tapas bar in the old town and walk up to the Alcazaba or citadel which has fantastic views over the port and Mediterranean. We finish the day with a mint tea and cakes at one of the city's many Moroccan tea shops before heading back to Mairena and the mountains.

    Day 5 - Mairena
    Nestled in the valley 400 metres below Mairena is the market town of Ugijar. It is a pleasant downhill walk through the almond and olive groves and through the amazing sandstone rock formations and cliff faces. We have time to explore the small but insightful local museum before enjoying a light lunch of tapas. In the afternoon we walk out to the award winning bodega of Buenavista Veleta wine for a visit and wine tasting.

    Day 6 - Mairena
    Heading out west from Mairena, once again on the long distance trail GR7 we come to the old silk producing village of Valor. Here we will visit Lola and her traditional village house where she still works on her ancient family looms to produce brightly coloured carpets. As well as an explanation of the silk industry and demonstations you can also try your hand at spinning and weaving. After a picnic lunch under the old Moorish bridge next to the stream we walk up to the artisan cheese factory to see how the milk produced by the area's numerous small goat herds is made into artisan cheese. In the evening before dinner we will pop in to say hello to Adolfo at Mairena's local olive mill with a talk about olive production, olive oil and farming.

    Day 7 - Mairena
    On our last day we drive 20 minutes to the village of Yegen, home of the British writer Gerald Brenan for much of the century after the first world war. On the fringe of the Bloomsbury set, Brenan was visited by both Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey as he describes in this book South of Granada, an exceptionally good introduction to life and traditions in the Alpujarras. We are able to see his house before walking La Ruta de Gerald Brenan which is a dramatic two hour loop beneath the village. We finish the day with a visit to a Sierra ham drying centre with shop before heading back for our final evening

    Day 8 - -
    Transfer to Malaga airport for our return flight


  • Accommodation

    We stay at the delightful Las Chimeneas in Mairena which has been lovingly restored by its British owners. The collection of buildings exudes rustic charm and quirky characteristics. Excellent breakfasts and dinners made with local produce are taken here. Lunches are also included in the holiday cost.

  • What's Included
    • Return flights and airport transfers.
    • En suite accommodation with breakfast and dinners at the hotel.
    • Picnic or tapas lunches.
    • All local transport costs.

  • Holiday Highlights
    • Learning to cook Alpujarran style.
    • Walking in Laroles Valley for views across the Sierra Nevada.
    • Enjoying traditional tapas in Almeria.
    • Enjoying local produce on various artisan visits.

  • Travel Information & Regional Departures
    • Arrival transfer by road (c2hrs 30mins).
    • Flights: Gatwick-Malaga (c2hrs 45mins), British Airways.
    • Manchester and Birmingham-Malaga (c3hrs 15mins), Monarch Airlines, supplement from £40.
    • UK add-on flights and upgrades available, please ask for a competitive quote.

  • Holiday Photo Gallery
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  • Private Group Enquiry

    Planning a holiday for a group? For a quote or to simply enquire about the possibility of booking this holiday for your Walking Group please fill out the enquiry form below and our dedicated Private Group Department will get in touch with you shortly to discuss your options.

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Activity Level
alt
You enjoy being outdoors in the fresh air, communing with nature and discovering the world at a relaxed pace. Short countryside strolls or sightseeing on foot make you feel good. You enjoy cities with art and culture and like to develop an interest in your surroundings. You are reasonably fit and healthy. No previous experience is required. Where walking is involved you can expect up to 5 miles of walking on well made paths with up to 300m of ascent.



YOUR STORY STARTS HERE ...

Please select a departure date







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