The Village of Pampaneira
The Mountain Village of Pampaneira, High in the Alpujarras...
High up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and nestled within the Poqueira Gorge lies one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in Spain"... Pampaneira.
And Pampaneira isn't the only pretty village found along the edge of this ravine, the two neighboring villages, Bubión and Capileira (each about one kilometer apart), are equally as beautiful. Capileira is ALSO included on the exclusive "Prettiest Villages of Spain" list.
** Beautiful Pampaneira streets and colorful locally woven rugs.
With only 340 inhabitants, Pampaneira is a popular tourist destination for both Spaniards and foreigners because of its unique Berber architecture, ancient Alpujarra culture, gorgeous mountain vistas, and proximity to the famed Poqueira Nature Preserve and hiking trails.
Why Visit Pampaneira? The entire Poqueira Gorge area, with its stunning natural beauty; waterfalls, bridges, and hiking trails combined with two of Spains loveliest villages, Pampaneira and Capileira just 2-kilometers apart, make Pampaneira (and the whole Poqueira Gorge area) NOT to be missed!
People love the historic white houses with flat roofs and typical Berber chimneys, and the arched passageways or 'tinaos' that are covered in beautiful flowers year-round. The traditional locally-made crafts are also a big hit including, pottery, colorful textiles and rugs, and delishous specialty food items.
Contents on This Page
- What is the Poqueira Gorge?
- Where is Pampaneira?
- Where to Stay in Pampaneira?
- Famous Alpujarran Cuisine - Where to Eat!
- What to Do in Pampaneira?
- Get Lost in its Beautiful Winding Streets and Alleys
- Visit the Top Sites in Pampaneira
- Join a Tour to Pampaneira
- Hiking in Pampaneira! - The Walks
- Biking in Pampaneira - Where to Rent
- The Tourist Office
- When to Visit Pampaneira
- How to Arrive
- A Brief History of Pampaneira
What is the Poqueira Gorge?
The Poqueira Gorge is a deep ravine that is located just under the two highest peaks in Spain, the Mulhacén and La Veleta. It lies within the Sierra Nevada National Park at more than 1000 meters above sea level.
The gorge is famous for its lush vegetation, giant old oak and chestnut trees, the Poqueira river that runs through its center, and incredible hiking trails with views of the Poqueira villages and waterfalls below.
** View of the Poqueira Gorge from the Atalaya hiking trail. Villages can be seen in the distance.
Because of the beauty and uniqueness of the area, it has been declared a "Conjunto Histórico Artístico" by the Spanish government, an area of particular artistic and historical importance, and has won the National Tourism Award twice.
Where is Pampaneira?
Pampaneira sits in the southeastern corner of the Province of Granada, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's the lowest of the towns within the Poqueira Gorge and just 68 kilometers from the capital city of Granada.
Pampaneira is also located very near to the Mediterranean coast, specifically the Costa Tropical. It's just over an hour from the primary Costa Tropical towns of Almuñécar, Motril, and Salobreña and is easily accessible by well-maintained roads and highways.
Where to Stay in Pampaneira
Where you stay is going to depend on what you plan to do while in the area. If you are planning on doing one of the hikes, I highly recommend you stay in the village of Capileira, that way you will be going in the easiest direction... down! We passed some people on the Atalaya Trail that started at the bottom of the gorge and they were having a VERY rough time! --- Check Places to stay in Capileira here.
Capileira also has more options in terms of hotels and house rentals. That being said, Pampaneira does have some nice accommodations... These are your three top choices:
Rent a Pretty Cottage or Berber Home
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What to Do in Pampaneira?
1. Get Lost in its Beautiful Winding Streets and Alleys
The first thing you will notice upon arriving in Pampaneira, which sets it apart from other Spanish villages, is its historic Berber architecture. The characteristics that stand out are the typical whitewashed houses with flat roofs and smokey chimney-pots. Its pretty cobblestone streets are narrow and steep and adorned with hundreds of pots spilling over with flowers of every sort.
** (1) The houses in Pampaneira with their characteristic flat roofs and chimneys (2-3) Pretty streets and tinaos.
Another very Moorish influence you will see is the "Tinao" or tunnels that run under the houses that are held up by wooden beams and slate. As well as the water channels that run through the middle of the streets that were once used as part of an irrigation system.
2. Visit the Top Sites in Pampaneira
The top places to see while you're in the village of Pampaneira are:
- La Plaza de la Libertad - This is where all the action happens! The Liberty Plaza is right smack in the center of Pampaneira and where you will find all the best shops, restaurants, cafes and more...
- Iglesia de Santa Cruz - This is Pampaneira's main church that sits right at the center of Liberty Plaza. It dates to the 16th century and was built in the Mudéjar style. The interior boasts a wooden coffered ceiling and gilded altarpieces dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.
** The Church of Santa Cruz in Pampaneira's main square and one of the many artisan shops.
- Craft Boutiques & Workshops - The Alpujarra area is known for its locally crafted textiles and pottery. You will find an abundance of brightly-colored blankets, rugs, and beautifully woven clothing. There are also numerous pottery boutiques and shops dedicated to other local crafts and homemade food products like jams, honey, wines, and cheeses.
- Chocolate Abuela ili - Chocolate is another delicacy the Alpujarras is known for, and you will find this fantastic chocolate shop right across from the Santa Cruz Church in Liberty Plaza.
** The "La Chumpaneira" fountain and the historic "lavandero" or laundry house.
- Fuente de San Antonio "La Chumpaneira" - Directly across from the church you will find this interesting fountain. The plaque above it reads: "A source of virtue and powers such that when an unmarried man drinks from this fountain, he will marry without fail; he will instantly find a girlfriend. Try it and see!"
- Lavadero de Pampaneira - Located just above the Plaza, overlooking the church, you will find the ancient town laundry house. The building is still in great condition and from there you will enjoy beautiful views of the town below.
3. Join a Tour to Pampaneira
There are so many fun tours to take advantage of when visiting Spain. If you're not sure about getting to the Alpujarras on your own, you also have the option of joining a Day Tour that leaves from Granada.
There are also numerous outdoor activities and tours you can join if you're feeling adventurous, like rafting, hiking, cycling, or even a Four-Wheel Drive Safari... a few are listed below. See them all here...
Famous Alpujarran Cuisine - Where to Eat!
Like typical mountain fare, Alpujarra cuisine is hearty. Pampaneira gets very cold during the fall and winter months so what most people crave are hot dishes that will warm you through. The most popular dish you will find is the Alpujarreño Platter which consists of grilled potatoes, fried eggs, baked peppers, and several different types of locally made sausages. The "Patatas a lo Pobre" or Poor Man's Potatoes" is also a classic and is simple yet delicious.
Two of the restaurants we enjoy the most while in town are...
Hiking in Pampaneira! - The Walks
One of THE TOP activities in and around the village of Pampaneira is hiking and trekking! One of the best hikes is the Atalaya Trail that does a circuit around the gorge and through each of the three villages. We did this with our kids and it was FABULOUS! The entire hike takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes, but we also stopped for lunch and a bit of shopping in Pampaneira.
- The Atalaya Trail - For more information on this trail read our guide on our full-day hike.
- Pampaneira to Bubion - If you are looking for a shorter hike, you can take the path that leads out of Pampaneira and heads up to the next village in the gorge, Bubion. The hike just takes a quick 20-minutes, but a warning... it is ALL uphill.
- Capileira to Pampaneira - This is probably the easiest hike and the one to choose if you want something pretty quick, easy enough for the kids, and going DOWNHILL. The entire hike will take you about 40-minutes, 20-minutes between each town, and you can also take your time and tour the villages on your way. If you don't want to hike back up taxis are available for the quick 5 KM ride back to the top.
** Pampaneira Bridge and Waterfall in the Poqueira Gorge.
Biking in Pampaneira - Where to Rent
Location - Calle de La Carretera 51 Bajo, 18412, Bubion
Tel: +34 858 85 70 34
Fri - Sun: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Email address: email@example.com
Alpujarra Bikes, established in 2016, is a bike shop in the Alpujarras on the main road into the high mountains of Mulhacen and Veleta, including the highest cyclable pass in Europe at 3200m. They have bicycles to rent (road, xc, enduro, electrica, children's) and a full workshop for repairs and services. They also stock a wide variety of spares, sports nutrition, and clothing.
NEVADENSIS / SIERRA NEVADA NATIONAL PARK
Address - Freedom Square, 18411 Pampaneira (Granada)
Tel: 958 763 127
MOUNTAIN ACTIVITIES AND TOURISM: 659 109 662 & 659 843 157
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 – 14:00
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEVADENSIS sells maps of all the local walks in the area and also specializes in a multitude of outdoor activities in the Alpujarras and the Sierra Nevada Ski area. They offer guided tours for walking/trekking, horseback riding, four-wheel-drive excursions, rock-climbing, and mountain biking.
|# of inhabitants:||~ 350|
|Distance to Granada:||68 km|
** The Pampaneira Church (Iglesia de Santa Cruz) and town from above.
Other Important Information You Should Know About Pampaneira
1. Pampaneira has been Chosen as One of the "Prettiest Villages in Spain"!
Pampaneira has been chosen by the Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain as one of the most beautiful villages in the Granada province, the other village being its neighbor to the north, Capileira.
2. Pampaneira Fiestas
The Autumn Fair (Feria de Artesanía, Turismo y Agricultura Ecológica) - On October 12th, Pampaneira holds a giant fair, the biggest in the area, where you will find a wonderful assortment of locally made Alupjarra products, including textiles (colorful rugs and blankets), crafts, soaps and candles, jellies and jams, jars of honey, Moorish pastries and more...
The Chestnut Festival (Fiesta de la Mauraca) - On November 1st Pampaneira holds its famous chestnut festival (which also takes place in neighboring villages). It is celebrated by roasting chestnuts over an open fire and dancing and singing to traditional Alupjarra songs. The roasted chestnuts are later enjoyed with a warm anise-flavored liquor.
3. When to Visit Pampaneira
Pampaneira can get quite chilly in the winter months being so high up in the mountains. So, the best time to take advantage of the great outdoor activities is definitely spring and fall. The months of May and June are ideal for hiking as the entire gorge is in bloom with bright yellow scotch-broom and red poppies.
- During May and October, you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F).
- The hottest season is in June, July, August, and September.
- Pampaneira has dry periods in June, July, August, and September.
- The warmest month is July with an average maximum temperature of 33°C (91°F).
- The coldest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 12°C (53°F).
- November is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you are not a big fan of rain.
- July is the driest month.
4. How to Arrive
Pampaneira is located just 68 kilometers south of the city of Granada and the Granada airport.
- From Granada - Driving from Granada and south on the main N-323 highway towards the coast, look for the signs indicating "Las Alpujarras" and "Lanjarón" as you pass over the mountains. Exit the highway and head towards the left (east). Roads will be clearly marked. After passing the town of Lanjarón and just before entering Órgiva, look for the sign indicating directions to Pampaneira, Capileira, and Bubión. Take a left and follow the road straight up into the mountains.
You will love the views on the way up, provided you are not bothered by heights. From this turn, it should take about 20 to 30 minutes to reach Pampaneira. Although Pampaneira is not far, the road is winding and you can't drive fast. Pampaneira is the first town you will come to in the Poqueira Gorge.
- From Malaga - take the N-340 highway east towards Almuñécar, Motril, and Almería. In about an hour after passing Almuñécar and when you reach Salobreña, take highway N-323 towards Granada. Pampaneira is located only 50 kilometers from Salobreña. As you climb the mountains and pass a dam and a lake on your left, look for signs indicating "Las Alpujarras" and "Lanjarón". Exit the highway and head towards the right (east). From here follow the directions noted above from Granada.
- From Almería - take the N-340 highway west towards Málaga and Almuñécar. When you reach Salobreña (before Almuñécar), take highway N-323 towards Granada. Follow the directions noted above.
6. Pampaneira - A Brief History...
Although Pampaneira’s origins date back to the Roman period, its unique architecture and customs were greatly influenced by its later inhabitants, the Moors.
It is thought that the name "Pampaneira" comes from either the Latin word "pampinus", meaning "branch" and referring to its fertile land or "Pampinarius", meaning "producer of pámpanos" which translates to "land of vines". In either case, Pampaneira was clearly named for the lushness and abundance of its surrounding lands.
The "-eira" ending, which you see as well in the name "Capileira", was later added by the Arabs.
- It all started when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand defeated the Moors in Granada. The once-great kingdom fell and the Moorish King and his people fled to the Alpujarras and settled in the village of Pampaneira.
- The Moorish people lived in the Alpujarras for 76 years in peace.
- In 1568, a local landowner decided to rebel against the new Christian King, Felipe II. The Moors revolted but eventually turned to infighting amongst themselves and were finally expelled from Spain in 1609 by Juan de Austria.
- After the Moors final exodus, the towns were repopulated with a Christian population coming from Leon and Galicia. Only two Moorish families were allowed to stay in each of the villages to show newcomers how to work the land.
- Today, Pampaneira's current inhabitants are ancestors of the Christian repopulation in the sixteenth century.