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A Walking Week with Chris Stewart

Las Alpujarras – land of olive and almond trees
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Life in an Alpujarran Village
If you cannot make this special week, we offer 7-night stays at the Casa de las Chimeneas (without Chris), which also give you unique insights into village life in the Alpujarras.
  About Las Alpujarras >Las Alpujarras owes its unique character in part to its geography and in part to man’s attempts to tame the landscape. High above towers the Sierra Nevada, Europe’s second highest mountain range, whose eternally snow-capped peaks contrast with the green of Las Alpujarras, the steep-sided river valleys on the Sierra’s southern slopes which run down towards the sea. Early settlers toiled to cut terraces into the slopes, and these were refined by the Moors, who developed an intricate irrigation system – still in use today – and introduced lemons, oranges, peaches and pomegranates. They also built the Berber-style villages so typical of the area – rectangular stone buildings with flat roofs and tall chimneys. Each season has its own charm, be it the spring almond blossom, the tinkling of mountain streams in summer, or the glorious autumn colours of the oaks and sweet chestnuts. The area is well known for its cured hams, which owe their superb flavour to the purity of the mountain air.
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • walking and cultural holiday in the company of author Chris Stewart
  • local walks and trips accompanied by Chris and other guests
  • feel part of the community, with insights into local ways of life
  • excellent regional gastronomy – learn to cook Alpujarran dishes
  • enjoy lunch at Chris and Ana's farm, El Valero
  • rewarding and varied walking
  • airport transfers included


This fascinating week takes place where the almond-coated hills of Las Alpujarras flank the southern slopes of the dramatic Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains in mainland Spain. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, watered by the ancient Moorish irrigation systems that are a testament to the area’s long and colourful past, and peppered with whitewashed villages which tumble down terraced slopes.

Your base for this holiday is Mairena, one of those Alpujarran villages whose hard-working inhabitants adhere to a simple way of life, based upon a sound knowledge of the terrain and climate, and seemingly untouched by the passage of time.

Your time in Mairena is spent in the company of award-winning author Chris Stewart who not only accompanies you on a number of scenic walks and excursions that explore this alluring corner of southern Spain, but also spends the week at the hotel as a fellow guest, sharing his views, thoughts and memories. Chris and his wife Ana will also kindly invite you to have lunch at their remote farm, El Valero, which features heavily in his writings.

The tall peaks create a dramatic backdrop beneath which to explore, while back at the hotel warming dishes such as migas (olive oil polenta eaten with sardines) await you after your revitalising walks in the warm mountain air of early autumn.

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Spain
 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
°C 11 12 15 17 22 27 32 32 28 21 15 11
mm 53 55 47 52 37 26 10 7 20 51 64 61

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

On the upper slopes, temperatures will be cooler than those shown above. The almond groves blossom in mid-February, while the orange trees blossom in March. The best time for flowers is April to June.