After a 30-minute taxi transfer to Yegen, you’ll continue on foot to Mairena, passing through a few Alpujarran villages and craning your neck right to admire the shifting panorama.
Today begins with a taxi transfer (30 minutes) to Yegen where the hike begins. British writer Gerald Brenan lived in Yegen throughout the 1920s and the village remains proud of their celebrity resident. Before beginning the walk be sure to wander the streets (which are largely unchanged since he was here!), and maybe visit the museum dedicated to him, housed in an inn where he stayed.
While Mairena boasts the romantic nickname, ‘El Balcon de la Alpujarras’ (the balcony of the Alpujarras), any one of the other villages along today’s hike could also justifiably claim that title. They each gaze out from their lofty perch on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, staring across the undulating foothills and the deep canyons gouged out by rivers. The east-west orientation of the mountains ensures spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
The footpath which connects these villages occasionally plunges into gorges only to climb steeply out the other side, however much of the hike contours gently along the mountain slopes, enjoying the ever-changing panorama on your right. The abundance of water nurtures life here and so you’ll pass through orchards laden with ripe olives, bursting figs and plump pomegranates, and past blackberry bushes and mulberry trees which beg you to eat them.
Enjoy a sundowner on the terrace in Mairena while watching the lengthening shadows of the foothills with (on a clear day) the shimmering Mediterranean Sea beyond.
There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.
There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.
Much of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
There is a short section after Nechite where a stream runs down the path. Take care on this section and remember rocks can be slippery when wet.
Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the steep ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.
Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.
Points of Interest
Casa Museo de Gerald Brenan
British writer, Gerald Brenan, was escaping his middle-class English life and trying to pursue his simple passions of reading and writing when he first arrived in Yegen in 1920. This ‘poor village, high above the sea, with an immense panorama in front of it’ was the perfect discovery and soon became his home. Located in the inn where he once stayed, the museum in Yegen hopes to keep his memory alive and record the details of his stay.
Cuesta Vinas Fountain
Friendly rivalry exists between these villages with each proclaiming their water to be the freshest, but the water in the hamlet of Cuesta Vinas, which you will pass after 2.5 kilometres, verges on magic! The village fountain releases 4 streams of water, each one naturally carbonated and containing differing levels of iron. Now's your chance to be a water connoisseur and sample each spring.
Food and Drink
After leaving Yegen, today’s route passes the traditional Alpjuharran villages of Valor and Nechite after 5 and 7 kilometres respectively. Valor has a few restaurants where you can enjoy lunch, while there is nowhere to buy food in Nechite. Both villages have fountains where you can refill water bottles.