As featured in The Times Top 50 Holidays in Spain (February 2014)


Walkers Ibex Bee Eaters River and Mountains Griffon vulture Capileira Orchid

Walking with Nature


Next holiday:

28 May – 3 June 2017 (6 nights)

The Sierra Nevada is famous for its snow capped peaks and deep valleys – a true walkers’ paradise. But there’s even more to the area than this. Look up and you might see a Golden Eagle soaring in a vast blue sky. Look down and the ground may be carpeted with alpine flowers, home to many exotic butterflies. Look around and you could make eye contact with a Spanish Ibex or a glossy-coated fox.


With over 2000 plant, 60 bird and 270 insect species the diversity of the wildlife in the Sierra Nevada is staggering. This is mainly due to large differences in altitude (from 500m in the lower market towns of the Alpujarras to nearly 3,000m in the high summits), and climate (the hot summers of the lower Alpujarras contrast with virtually arctic conditions in the winter peaks).


To make sure you don’t miss these wonders of nature, expert guides Richard Hartley and Kiersten Rowland will lead you on five days’ of walking, exploring a range of altitudes and a variety of habitats. Richard and Kiersten run one of the top guiding companies in the area, and for the past 14 years have been studying the wildlife of the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarras, and its habitats. Their knowledge and enthusiasm is unsurpassed.

What you might see:

Plant life: there are 2100 catalogued plants of which 80 are endemic including the Sierra Chamomile (Artemisia Granatensis) and extremely rare Sierra Nevada Poppy (Papaver Lapeyrousianum). We’ll visit the borreguiles (a fragile and unique ecosystem which is home to many of the endemic species including for example Gentians (Gentiana Boryi), Thin-spurred Butterwort (Pinguicula Nevadensis) and Gravel Birdsfoot (Lotus Glareosus).


Birds: Over 60 bird species inhabit the Sierra Nevada. Commonly seen birds of prey include the Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Short-toed and Booted Eagles. Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons and Goshawks are also frequently spotted, as well as the Griffon Vulture. You may even catch a glimpse of a Lammergeier as these rare vultures have been successfully re-introduced in a neighbouring mountain range.


At lower altitudes the skies are alive with Bee-eaters and Golden Orioles. Other species include the Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Hoopoe and Sardinian Warbler, to name but a few.


Mammals: these include the Spanish Ibex, Fox, Wild Cat, Stone Marten, Genet, Snow Vole and Wild Boar.


Butterflies and insects: there are 270 unique insect species, with over 100 endemic to these mountains. Of the 120 butterflies recorded, some of the most exceptional are the Spanish Festoon, the Sierra Nevada Blue and the Parnassius Apollo (subsp nevadensis).

Walks include:

  • River valley habitats – exploring the Rio Trevelez valley
  • High Mountain “Borreguiles” at the magnificent Siete Lagunas (Seven Lakes) site
  • Around the white villages of the Taha de Pitres: pathways through meadows and woodlands
  • Pine forest habitat at the Hoya del Portillo, high above the famous white village of Capileira
  • Gorges and moorlands in the Poqueira gorge

(Please note we may have to modify the schedule due to weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control.)

Walking: level of challenge

The walking is moderate in standard but taken at a slow pace to make the most of all there is to be seen. The walks will suit anyone used to regular countryside walking, with a reasonable degree of fitness.

Prices - 2017

Prices: €995 per person sharing a double or twin room, €1195 for single accommodation.

Price includes: bed and breakfast, picnics and lunches, dinners, wines with dinner, local transport and guides.

Price does not include: flights, airport transfers, some refreshments.

Please note: the walking groups are small so early booking is strongly recommended.

For further information and bookings please email Anne at Casa Ana or call:

Tel: 0034 678 298 497


See also "Walking with a Camera" and "Walking with Chris Stewart" guided walking holiday.


"Hi Richard – Just returned from a great weeks walking in The Alpujarras. We have had a wonderful time thanks in no small part to Andy, Kirsten and yourself. Great experience, grand company and fantastic photos. All of your input very much appreciated."

Gerald B, September 2016


"Hi Kiersten & Richard, just wanted to thank you both for your most wonderful support & also my enjoyment on the recent Alpujarra walks!"

Alena J, September 2016

Table with view
Table with view
Table with view