The Lecrin Valley, south from Granada
















The Lecrin Valley lies to the south of Granada, 15 km from the city of Granada, 20 km from the Mediterranean sea and is the gateway to the Alpujarra. This valley is accessed via the national road N-323, today the A-44 Bailén-Motril motorway that runs from North to South. The Lecrin Valley, located in the National and Natural Park of Sierra Nevada, is a strategic place to stop and rest in an idyllic setting. It is a place where you can discover the nature and diversity of the lands south of Granada.

Among today’s need for speed and turbulent times there is a haven of peace and quiet in our valley, where it is possible, at least for a time, to forget the fears that oppress the heart of man. Here, tradition and landscape come together in harmony to make one of the most beautiful places, creation beyond the wildest imagination of any poet. Allow me to take you on a literary journey in which, as real as this Guide you are reading, it appears that time has stood still, listening to the soothing waters in the shadow of the orange trees. And when you look up, look out of the window and are lucky enough to see the immaculate blue sky, broken only by the odd white cloud, it is easy to write, easy to dream and it is even easy to live.

How marvellous and it isn’t in Seville! From the top of the Giralda, with the air heavy with mountain scents, rosemary thyme, sage and salt from the sea breeze of the Mediterranean, from this natural minaret at our feet the Guadalquivir river, among orange and lemon groves, bringing cool waters from the Sierra del Sulayr and the perfume of the orange blossom deep in the Lecrin Valley.

It is certain that some say that everyone boasts of the beauty of their land, placing it on an unreachable pedestal for other corners of the globe, however, if the reader has visited or passed through the Lecrin Valley, they will know that my modest words do not stray from the truth.

How much has and will be written about this valley! The Guide that you have in your hands is the key to enter the open garden and a paradise. Over the next twelve chapters we will open up the Lecrin Valley and two chapters include the capital, Granada.

The title of this guide, The Lecrin Valley, South from Granada, is a compendium of information on our valley and a reminder of Gerald Brenan, the British Hispanist who visited us in the 1920s, searching for a house to stay from Padul to Orgiva, which he referred to as western Alpujarra and was enchanted with the village of Nigüelas.

Our riches are the people and landscape, which we discuss in the first Chapter. The tectonic plate that is the Valley gives a wide diversity of landscapes, resulting from the pure and rich waters that run from its springs along ravines and rivers. Water is a revitalising element of our land and the second chapter is dedicated to this. The Mediterranean climate, modified by altitude and orientation, allows the existence of a large variety of landscapes and microclimates. The third chapter presents protected spaces of the Natural and National Park of the Sierra Nevada.

Chapter fours tells of the History with details of the past as a starting point in evaluating and constructing our lives. Chapter eleven includes some of our distinguished men who used to wander along forgotten paths. Farming and industry linked to our way of life has been based on points of agricultural history in the Fifth Chapter.

Historical-artistic heritage is presented in the Chapters dedicated to mills, churches, hermitages, castles, palaces, seigneurial houses and bridges. It is the central nucleus of the guide and in this section we find information to better understand our heritage.

Road, paths and shortcuts comprise the communication network of the Lecrin Valley, where walking like Brenan used to, we can discover routes such as the GR-7 between Tarifa (Spain) and Athens (Greece), Route of Sulayr in Sierra Nevada with 300 km. trajectory. Likewise, it is possible to walk around each village and its outlying neighbours as well as by the Lagoon.

On the website you can find different routes around the region and information on them. Each village has immense possibilities for the walker, as Antonio Machado wrote.

The twelfth chapter Let’s Party! Leads you through our annual festival calendar. The thirteenth chapter is dedicated to the city of Granada, in which we try to give an insight into its Renaissance and Baroque monumental heritage. In the final chapter we visit the Alhambra and Nazrid art.

I would like to thank all the collaborators that have made this work possible, firstly those who wrote the Chapters, proof-readers, translators and those involved in the digital photography course of the Mancomunidad and Regional Government. I must make special mention and thank José Valero Padial for his work from the website of the Mancomunidad, allowing access to articles, excursions and photographs to complete this guide. May thanks to the mayors and ministers of the municipal areas of the Lecrin Valley as well as members of the Mancomunidad of the municipal areas, who have enabled this project to become a reality.

And so, now let’s start our guided tour.

Félix Manuel Martín Gijón y

Francisco Manuel Martín Padial

Guide Coordinators: Lecrin Valley, South from Granada.