Opinions agree that our part of the Alpujarras offers a great opportunity for relaxing and slipping into the rhythm of the world around you. To help you, we have made sure the accommodation is comfortable and have provided a good range of reading material and games. Sun chairs and special places in the garden will also help you unwind.
When you are ready to venture out, these are some of the activities you might like to consider.
The Alpujarras is a fabulous area for walking, whether you are interested in high altitude treks or casual meandering around the fascinating unspoilt villages. The GR7 path (Gran recorida, long distance footpath from Athens to Algeciras) passes a few hundred metres from Cortijo Opazo and there is an extensive network of other tracks to choose from. The paths are usually sign-posted and are often old mule tracks - so the steepness is no more than a loaded mule can manage! We provide you with a folder of excellent walking guides and maps of the area. This includes some of our favourite walks that you can follow.
There are tourist information offices in Pampaneira and Capileira. For much of the year (after the snow line has retreated) there is a bus service from Capileira up into the high Sierra Nevada mountains which allows you access to the National Park, the summits of Mulhacen and La Veleta, the Caldera refuge and other wilderness areas.
There is a superb open air swimming pool in Pitres. This is open to the public from June until the end of September - there is an admission charge. The pool is surrounded by grassy areas for relaxing and sunbathing, and has a pool-side bar and restaurant for the occasional (or frequent) refreshment or ice cream. The pool is seldom crowded, even in August, and is a delightful facility to have within walking distance of your accommodation.
Close by there are several rivers, streams, waterfalls and natural pools where you can enjoy a splash and a swim in the most natural way there is.
At just over an hour's drive the Mediterranean coast of the Costa del Tropical can be enjoyed for a relaxing day on the beach. The closest resort is the Playa de Granada at Motril - a large expanse of sand with easy parking on the beach front - but a little further exploration reveals hidden coves, still undeveloped, or small town beaches with excellent seafood restaurants.
The city of Granada is about 1hr 15mins by car and is a must for anyone who has never visited it before. Steeped in the history of the Moors the Alhambra Palace is a magical experience and offers a glimpse into Spain's past. It is advisable to book your tickets in advance. The city itself is extraordinary and many hours can be spent wandering its narrow streets and enjoying tasty tapas.
Whilst our local villages of Pitres and Pórtugos have little more than food shops, bars and restaurants, close by are the villages of the Poquiera Gorge, which themselves have a vast array of rugs, pots, clothes and other artesan products as well as excellent local wines, cheeses and of course, the famous dried ham (Jamon Serrano) which can be tasted and enjoyed in almost every village.
Above the city of Granada and a further 30 minutes drive is the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada. This is a worthwhile day's excursion from Cortijo Opazo. Slopes open from early December and remain open well into April. Parking, hire of ski and snow board equipment, and lift passes are easy to organise on arrival. There are numerous lifts and the queues move quickly. Slopes are well prepared with liberal use of snow canons when required. The resort is at a high altitude going from 2100 metres up to 3300 metres, so wrap up warm.
If bike riding is more to your taste this area is very popular with mountain bikers. Cycling is 'big' in Spain and many a weekend the roads are populated with brightly glad competitors. Locally there is an extensive network of mountain tracks that are excellent for off road cycling.
There are also opportunities for canyoning, paragliding, and white water rafting in the area, and there are a couple of good scuba diving schools on the coast. If you want any more information about these opportunies just let us know.
Andalucia is a particularly rich area for bird spotting at most times of the year as it is located on a major migratory path. Scarcely day goes past when it is not possible to see an eagle of some description flying majestically through the sky or hovering over the valley. At time the summer air is full of the mysterious cry of the bee easters, and we have on a few occasions been mesmorised by the sight of squadrons of vulutres passing overhead.
We are situated on the edge of the Siera Nevada national park, a protected world heritage 'biosphere'. The selection of wild flowers to be seen is impressive, from Dianthus Hispanicus, Digitalis Obscura, to Phlomis Purpurea and so many different types of orchid. On the high mountain pastures you may be lucky enough to see the bright blue Gentian Alpina, and at about 2000 metres above sea level, the Crocus Nudiflora, or Nevadensis.
Over 100 different types of butterfly can be gound in the Sierra Nevada - small wonder due to the great variety of plant life. Ones we have seen in our garden include: Peacock, Swallow Tail, Fritilary, Provencal Fritilary, Dark Green Fritilary, Painted Lady, Common Blue, Small Copper and the fascinating Humming Bird Moth.
The Alpujarras is a popular destiantion for artists of all sorts and people find it a very creative area. Surprisingly, the small village of Pitres has its very own Casa de Arte run by local working artists. If you wanted to spend the day working with an artist this could be arranged, but the opportunities for just putting up your easel or opening your sketch pad are tremendous.
The quality and ever changing nature of the light in the Alpujarras make it a fascinating experience for photographers, challenging yet very rewarding for a practised eye.
The fiestas are the life blood of the villages; to understand Spain one needs to understand the fiestas. Scarcely a month goes by without there being a fiesta in one village or another, and often a weekend will arrive when there are several, all happening at once. The highest concentration of fiestas happens in August, when many Spanish come back to their home village to spend time with their families. Music is an important element, as are fireworks and huge shared dishes of paella.
Otherwise, there is a healthy programme of music taking place during the year, usually organised by the town halls but also by bars, individuals and art groups, such as the Music in the Mountains festival that takes place throughout the Alpujarras