The valley of the river Lecrín (El Valle de Lecrín) is a region in the province of Granada in southern Spain along the ancient gateway from the Mediterranean coast to the city of the Alhambra. During the reign of the Muslims the pass through the Sierra Lujar, which lies between Granada and the Mediterranean Sea, was an important checkpoint to control the traffic of all kind of products.
Since ancient times the region has always played an important role in history, as it was the only southern access route to the city of Granada. It is there for no wonder, that during centuries many battles took place and villages where devastated time after time because of the wars between different civilizations. The remains of several castles and fortresses from the Arab time are the silent witnesses of the violent past of the region.
Orange and lemon trees, grape vines, fields full of all kind of crops and orchards with olive and almond trees form part of the evergreen landscape of this fertile valley. That is no wonder, because the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada are nearby and water to irrigate the fields is abundant all year round due to the melt-water in spring and early summer.
In the last decades the area has become increasingly popular amongst tourists from all over the world. That is no wonder, because the Valle del Lecrín offers some of the most amazing views of the Sierra Nevada and the Lake Beznar. Due to the abundance of water and the excellent climate the flora and fauna of the valley are also exceptionally varied, including some subtropical species difficult to find at these altitudes in other parts of the world.
El Valle del Lecrín is strategically situated for travelers arriving by plane with the airports of Granada, Malaga and Almeria only a short drive away by car. It is an ideal holiday destination for people looking for a relaxed holiday, but it is also very popular amongst hikers, nature lovers, bird watchers, cyclist and people who enjoy any kind of outdoor activity like rock climbing, canoeing or horse riding. Tourist spending a holiday in the area are able to ski on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the morning and spent the afternoon sunbathing on the beaches of the Mediterranean Coast, the Costa Tropical.
The eight principal towns of the valley are Albuñuelas, Dúrcal, El Padul, El Pinar, El Valle, Lecrín, Nigüelas and Villamena, however there are a total of 17 villages and towns in the region if we count all villages and hamlets such as Restábal, Béznar, Cónchar or Salares.
Other villages belonging to the Lecrin Valley are Pinos del valle, Izbor, Tablate, Melegís, Acequias, El Chite, Mundujar, Murchas, Talará and Cozvijar.
The village of Durcal is built on the steep banks of the river of the same name. It is protected from the cold north winds by the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, which reach an altitude of more than 3.000 meters above sea level.
Durcal was founded during the Muslim rule of Al-Andalus, the southern part of Spain. After the siege of Granada by the Christian Kings many Muslim families fled overseas to the northern part of Africa or into the more remote areas of the Alpujarras with difficult access for the Christian soldiers. Visitors can enjoy the typical way of life of the locals in any of the historical districts of the village, like La Plaza or La Ermita.
Albuñuelas, a typical white village at the foot of the sierra de Albuñuelas is a privileged location offering a landscape full of pine forest and olive trees. The visitor will be surprised by the constant sound of the countless little streams and springs and the flora and fauna of this natural paradise, with species like blackbirds, partridges, deer and mountain goats. The narrow winding streets, its picturesque corners and squares reminds us of the Arab past of the village.
El Padul is located 13 Km. from the capital of the province. The different civilizations which have inhabited the area since pre-historical times have left an important cultural and monumental heritage in the village.
The lagoon of Padul, a protected area for birdlife, is one of the most interesting natural attractions of Padul. The swamp, also one of the most interesting wetlands in southhern Europe, is very important from an ecological point of view. It includes the southernmost peat bog of Europe were remains of mammoth and other pre-historical animals have been found.
Almost all villages of the valley have different places of interest, most of them of Arab origins like castles or mills. The churches in the villages date back from the period after the Reconquest of Al-Andalus by the Christian troops, however the narrow winding streets of the villages, the typical courtyards and the town architecture remind us of the Arab past.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and the Valle del Lecrín, or the nearby Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada offer some of the best walking trails in Andalusia. The monumental city of Granada, with the world famous Alhambra is only a short drive away.
Cortijo Bamel is a lovely rural holiday cottage in Dúrcal approximately 20 minutes by car from Granada. It is an ideal starting point for hikers, because the Sierra de Nevada National Park is lamost on the doorstep.
Casa Tagomago is a traditional village house in the Lecrin Valley with spectacular views of the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
Hostel Almora is a charming little hostel with sleeping capacity for 6 persons in one shared bedroom and a separate double bedroom.
Viasur is a local spanish travel agency specialized in rural tourism in the Lecrin Valley and the Alpujarras.