The province of Granada has it all – culture, coast, nature, and beautiful white villages. Between the Costa Tropical and the Sierra Nevada natural park lies the enchanting Valle de Lecrín with authentic and charming white villages.
The Valle de Lecrin has a perfect location; between the coast, Granada, and the Alpujarras. The valley is situated on the south-western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. You can drive to the city of Granada in 45 minutes, to the ski slopes of the Sierra Nevada in an hour, and to the coast in half an hour. The valley borders the Alpujarras. And because of its microclimate, winters are milder and summers are milder than in much of the rest of the province.
Fragrances and colours
The valley, from which the region takes its name, is located on the south-western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. In this fertile area, bordering the Alpujarras, orange and lemon groves perfume the air with the intoxicating scent of orange blossom in spring. In January, the almond blossom turns the valley pink.
Route along the villages
The Valle de Lecrín consists of eight municipalities: El Padul, Dúrcal, Nigüelas, Villamena, Albuñuelas, El Valle, El Pinar and Lecrín. The most populous municipality in El Padul, the most extensive is Albuñuelas, and the traditional and historic capital, with the most amenities, is Dúrcal. The 17 whitewashed villages are scattered across the picturesque countryside around the Beznar reservoir. Each one has its own charm, is picturesquely beautiful, and wonderfully peaceful.
The valley breathes history with its farms, old flour mills, and Moorish influences. You can go for lovely walks, but the area is also popular with cyclists.
There is a beautiful route through the villages of El Padul, Dúrcal, Mondújar, Lecrín, Melegís, Restábal, Saleres and Albuñuelas. On the route, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Beznar reservoir and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. El Padul is a wetland of international importance and a paradise for birdwatchers. A visit to the valley is also worthwhile in autumn and winter, not only because of the beauty of the landscapes but also because of the mild climate.
Valley of happiness
Thanks to the mountain water that flows from the Sierra Nevada through the centuries-old Moorish irrigation systems into the valley, it is a green and fertile area. Besides orange and lemon trees, you will find pine, olive, and almond trees. Avocados and figs are also grown there and delicious wine is made. Because of this abundance, the Moors also called the Valle de Lecrín the ‘Valley of Happiness’.
The strategic importance of the valley
Since ancient times, the valley has played an important role in the history of Andalucia, because it was the only southern access route from the Mediterranean coast to the city of Granada. Time after time, many battles took place here and the villages were destroyed. The remains of various castles and fortresses from Moorish times still bear witness to its violent past.