Inland and rural areas

Inland Andalusia and Rural Andalucia are becoming increasingly popular with those looking to buy a property or business in Spain. Indeed many people who have lived on the coast are now moving inland in search of a more authentic Spanish way of life. 

There are thousands of fantastic locations to choose from, some have a reasurring ex-pat presence but you can still find great places in which you will only hear Spanish spoken.  We have provided some information on a tiny selection of inland locations below. 

The Lecrín Valley

The Lecrin Valley is 25 minutes south of Granada. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty with vast skies and stunning vistas. Its rolling hills topped with Moorish watch towers, tiny hermitages and aromatic pine forests, its deep ravines, precipitous cliffs and abundance of water form the backdrop to the soft greens of olive plantations silhouetted against extraordinary red hillsides, glistening dark green citrus groves and delicate, spindly almond trees.

In January, the first whispy clouds of pink and white almond blossom appear, later on the orange blossom fills the valley with a heavy perfume and the oranges and lemons glow. Spring flowers are abundant, blues and purples compete with the astonishing red of the poppies. Later still, yellow broom dominates the hillsides and passing flocks of goats release the scent of wild lavender, thyme and rosemary. Pomegranates, the symbol of Granada, make their exotic appearance in late August and September, although the fiery red blossoms have provided colour from spring onwards.

The valley consists of approxiamelty 20 (or maybe more) white washed villages of all sizes, from bustling villages with plenty of bars and restaraunts to sleepy villages. The geography of the area gives the valley a unique climate which is why the valley is covered in citrus trees ladened with fruit which rolls all over the paths and roads and smells divine. When we visited in February we were literally driving over lemons (and oranges)! The largest villages are Albunelas, Melegìs, Dùrcal and Niguelas each has its own charm and distinct atmosphere but all of them are tranquil and beautiful. They all have nice narrow streets that usually lead ton a little plaza, where you might find a Moorish church. The majority of the villages date back to when the Moors settled in the Granada area. These villages are still traditionally Andalucian and tourist free, get used receiving free tapas (ham and bread, pork stew and ribs) with every round of drinks.

Niguelas is built on the bottom slopes of the Sierra Nevadas making it lush and a great base for walking. Melegìs is built across the valley looking onto the Sierra Nevada's and across a lovely and unspoilt Lake Bèznar. Mondùjar has ruins of an Arab castle where the kings and queens of Granada were buried and an XVIC church, with a particularly fine Mudéjar ceiling. Dùrcal and Padul are larger towns, with churches, hotels, restaurants, banks, cash machines, daily market, bars, night-clubs, mountain bike hire shop and thermal springs.

This area makes a fantastic base for those who really want to get away from it all. However Grandada city, skiing and the beaches are all within 30 minutes of these tranquil villages.

The Alpujarras

La Alpujarra (sometimes Las Alpujarras) is a mountainous district in Southern Spain, which stretches from the south of Granada along the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains East to Almeria. The region consists principally of valleys which descend at right angles from the crest of the Sierra Nevada on the north, to the Sierras Almijara, Contraviesa and Gádor, which separate it from the Mediterranean Sea, to the south. The region is one of great natural beauty, and it is sometimes referred to as "The Spanish Switzerland".

Because of a warm southerly climate combined with a reliable supply of water for irrigation from the rivers running off the Sierra Nevada, the valleys of the western Alpujarras are among the most fertile in Spain, though the steep nature of the terrain means that they can only be cultivated in small fields, so that many modern agricultural techniques are impractical. They contain a rich abundance of fruit trees, especially grape vines, oranges, lemons, persimmons, figs and almonds.

The eastern Alpujarra, in the province of Almería, is more arid, but still highly attractive. The region was the last refuge of the Moors, who were allowed to remain there long after the fall of Granada in 1492. Following the Morisco Revolt of 1568, the Moorish population was forced from the region after the Moriscos used it as a military base. By order of the Spanish crown, two Moorish families were required to remain in each village in order to demonstrate to the new inhabitants, introduced from northern Spain, the workings of the terracing and irrigation systems on which the district's agriculture depends. The influence of the Moorish population can be seen in the agriculture, the distinct cubic architecture (reminiscent of Berber architecture in Morocco's Atlas Mountains) the local cuisine, the local carpet weaving, and the numerous Arabic placenames.

The largest villages in the district are Lanjarón, with its ruined castle and chalybeate baths, Órgiva, Ugíjar, Laujar, Berja. All are situated at a considerable elevation, and Trevélez, at 1476 metres above sea level, is the highest recognised town in Spain. The three white villages in the gorge of the Rio Poqueira, Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira, have become recognised tourist destinations; however there are many other equally traditional villages of similar appearance, for example those in the La Taha municipality to the east of the Poqueira gorge. The steepness of the land means that the houses in the villages seem to be piled on top of another, and their characteristic flat roofs, distinctive roofed chimneys, and balconies (tináos) extending across the steep narrow streets give them a unique and picturesque appearance. Among the agricultural specialities of the region is a variety of air-cured ham, especially associated with Trevélez.

Loja

This large, historic town is situated in the west of the Province along the A-329 54 km from Granada City. Present day Loja is a busy, vibrant town with a large commercial centre and many facilities, amenities and shops. Modern buildings sit side by side with historic monuments such as the Muslim fortress as well as various smaller points of historic interest including the Fountain of 25 Jets, the Jaufin gateway and the 16th Century bridge that crosses the river of Genil.

Montefrio

Montefrio was declared a Town of Historical and Artistic Interest in 1982 and forms part of the Poniente Granadino - The Last Frontier of Al-Andalus. The town sits at just over 830m above sea-level in a landscape made up of mountainous slopes and olive groves with a skyline dominated by the monumental El Centinela. The history of Montefrio dates back to at least the Roman times and archaeological evidence uncovered at the nearby Las Penas de los Gitanos suggests a human presence in the area going back to the Neolithic Age.

This picturesque town is comprised of many steep, winding streets lined with white-washed houses that give the visitor a sense of times gone by while the hub is centred around two main squares, the Plaza de Espana and the Plaza J. Anotonio which almost merge as one and it is around the latter that the main shopping area can be found. Due to its inland location Montefrio has remained relatively untouched by mass tourism making it very much a 'locals' town that has retained a typically Spanish feel and charm.

Zafarraya

Zafarrya is located along the A-341 in the west of the Province just under 80km from Granada City and about a 20 minute drive from the larger town of Alhama de Granada. The economy of this small, sleepy town is mostly reliant on farming and agriculture and, due to its out of the way location and size, facilities and amenities are rather limited. However, Zafarraya is an attractive town with a real sense of community and is surrounded by beautiful unspoilt countryside. Its proximity to the Natural Park of Las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama make this an ideal base from which to enjoy many outdoor activities while the oppurtunity for enjoying watersports can be found at the nearby Lake Bermejales.

Alhama de Granada

A pretty, ancient spa town perched precariously at the top of a ravine from where the Rio Alhama carves through otherwise rolling countryside. Alhama de Granada overlooks a spectacular lush gorge famous for its hot springs, thermal baths and its picturesque location. Indeed, the name of the town, al hamma, means ¨baths¨ in Arabic, and you can bathe in the warm water, which gushes out of the river bank in the woods below the town.

The town boasts several fine churches built after the Re-conquest, one of which possesses priestly vestments which are said to have been embroidered by Isabel herself. This unassailable fortress perched above a deep canyon was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1482. This was the one of hardest blows for the Muslims in the Kingdom of Granada. The episode inspired the famous poem ¡Ay de mi Alhama! A tour of the Arab quarter is a wonderful experience for the senses.

The town is close to the Bermejales Lake, an area of outstanding natural beauty, with views back to the Sierra Nevada. The tranquil lake and peaceful, picturesque towns and villages (such as Jayena, Fornes, Arenas del Rey, Zaffaraya & Jatar), of the region have a peace and charm to them that makes you feel immediately welcome. Relatively unknown and under developed, this area attracts many new residents, which are easily enchanted by its quiet beauty.

Lake Bermejales

The Bermejales Lake area is one of outstanding natural beauty. The tranquil lake has views of the Sierras in the distance and peaceful villages that make up this unspoiled area. Traditionally remote, but now benefiting from a large and ongoing investment in the local infrastructure, this area is increasingly being opened up. Málaga and Granada airports, have now been brought within a short commute.


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