As featured in The Times Top 50 Holidays in Spain



Irish Times

Walks The Walk -

excerpts from Irish Times, 6 October 2012


GO SPAIN: A short bus trip up the mountains from the Costa del Sol lies a paradise for ramblers, writes Éanna Brophy

“That’s how we discovered the Tahá Valley (in La Alpujarra), a walker’s paradise where even the faint-hearted need have no fears: just bring adequate boots and clothing. The area, which came under the old caliphate of Granada, has a sprinkling of pretty white villages within walking distance of each other, along tracks used for centuries.”

“Getting to La Tahá is easy. Pick up a hire car at Malaga airport, take the motorway to Granada, then turn east and head for the spa town of Lanjarón. Several miles, and many twists and turns further on you’ll see the picturesque white towns of Pampaneira, Capileira, Bubión and Pitres – the last being the stopping-off point for the Tahá valley.”

“Casa Ana proved ideal. Anne Hunt came there in 2003 and fell in love with the place. The 400-year-old stone house has been stylishly converted, and a second house is let out for groups…The terraces, which look out over a ravishing prospect, are perfect for relaxing after a ramble in the hills.”

“The walks range from the undemanding to the steepish. Walking poles or a stout stick are recommended. You are never far from a refreshing drink of water: every village features a battery of public taps where you can fill a bottle (or a bucket) of the stuff that comes gushing out of the higher mountains.”

“Meanwhile, back in the pastoral Tahá valley, you can always hear the Trevélez river cascading through the gorge far below. Along these walks you still find traces of the ancient Moorish presence. The acequias, or irrigation channels, harness the mountain springs and still bring the water to farms and smallholdings – and there are also wide stone platforms called eras which were used for threshing.”

“The length of a walk is up to yourself: you could just go “there and back” to another village in less than an hour, or try a circular five-hour walk that involves a bit of panting up zig-zag paths up a mountain called Corona, which is a bit taller than Carrauntoohil.”