An Andalusian Experience

Horse trekking in Granada

On Horseback in the High Sierras

Trail-riding in the verdant Alpujarras on the southern slopes of Granada’s Sierra Nevada

Dramatic landscapes, rushing streams, towering snow-capped peaks, meadows that are a riot of wildflowers, ancient villages that seemed transplanted from the Atlas mountains of Northern Africa... few places can boast as much poetic beauty as the Alpujarras range, on the southern slopes of Granada’s Sierra Nevada. And the best way to capture all its charm is from the saddle of a horse.

Thanks to its unspoilt scenery and mild climate, this is one of the best places in Europe for horse trekking. Small groups of enthusiasts can enjoy organized treks following old paths which have never known the noise of a car engine, staying at rustic country inns or camping out under the stars. A number of well-established companies offer guided horse-riding tours. The oldest is Cabalgar Rutas Alternativas, based in the picturesque village of Bubion, standing at 4,265 feet. Started in the early 80s, it was one of the first enterprises to offer this kind of alternative travel in southern Spain, and since then has allowed thousands of adventurers from all over the world to discover an Andalusia they barely imagined existed.
Starting from Bubion, routes can last a couple hours, a couple of days, or up to a week or more. One itinerary travels up winding bridle paths to the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Spain’s tallest. On another, longer route, riders set out from the eastern extreme of the Alpujarras to discover timeless mountain villages with mysterious-sounding names like Alboloduy, Cadiar, Laroles, Laujar de Andarax. The longest route ranges several hundred kilometres from Bubion, across the mountains, and into the eerie scenery of the Tabernas desert in Almeria, ending on the volcanic Mediterranean coastline of the Cabo de Gata.
Traveling this way, it becomes crystal clear why the Alpujarras has exerted such a strong attraction on visitors, including the British writer Gerald Brenan, who based his book South from Granada on his experiences in the region. Today, a number of facilities exist to cater to environmentally-conscious travelers, including country hotels (such as the Villa Turistica complex in Bubion) and self-catering rural guest houses.

CONTACT
Cabalgar – Rutas Alternativas – 18412 Bubion (Granada), Spain. Tel. 34 958 763 135. Fax 34 958 763 136

Nearest airport: Granada (40 miles, 65 km)

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Copyright 2000 An Andalusian Experience. Text by Mark Little. Photography by J. D. Dallet  - A Freelance Spain production

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Copyright © 2000-2006 Mark and David Little & J.D. Dallet