Walk the walk
After all this exercise, food and drink are called for. There are a few restaurants in the area, each with its own ambience. In Mecina village we stumbled (almost literally) upon the hugely popular La Cueva de Mora Luna, a roadside cafe and piano bar where the owner Carlos Anibal di Palma Acuña (from Uruguay) made us feel very welcome. He and his family serve drinks (with free tapas) and good food, including delicious homemade pizzas and cakes. The decor is eclectic and idiosyncratic, the walls festooned with family memorabilia, old movie posters, postcards and many photographs.
One of these framed snaps shows Carlos and some of his family posing for the camera with a familiar-looking woman, who, he said, was a frequent visitor there about three summers ago. “Yes,” he assured us, “she and her husband were in here several nights, joining in the singing and dancing.”
We looked closely again at the picture, and yes, it was definitely former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
WHEN TO GO:April/May or September/October are best.
GETTING THERE:Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly to Malaga, and the main car rental companies have desks at the airport. By bus: There are a few direct buses from Malaga airport to Granada, or you can take the shuttle bus into Malaga’s bus station to catch hourly buses to Granada. Buses from there to Trevélez serve the Alpujarras.
PLACES TO STAY:Hotel Sierra y Mar A hotel with nine bedrooms and a large living-room, library and kitchen for the use of guests. Wifi available. Double room costs €62 (single €42). Calle Albaycín, 3, E-18414 Ferreirola (Granada), tel: 0034-958-766171, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Casa Ana B&B accommodation overlooking the Tajá valley. Average double-room price €68. Calle Artesa, Ferreirola, 18414 La Tahá, Granada, tel: 0034-958-766270, casa-ana.com
Cortijo Opazo This house near the villages of Pitres and Pórtugos has two apartments. A feature is the beautiful garden. Ctra Atalbéitar, 18415 Pórtugos, Granada, tel: 0034-958-064018, cortijoopazo.com
PLACES TO EAT:La Cueva de Mora Luna Atmospheric cafe-bar serving tapas and freshly-cooked meals. Mecina-Fondales, Granada, tel: 0034-958-765202
L’Atelier Well-regarded vegetarian restaurant owned by French-born chef Jean-Claude Juston. Calle Alberca, 21, 18414 Mecina-Fondales, Granada, tel: 0034-958-857501, ivu.org/atelier
OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Mountain biking Ciclomontana offers group and individual holidays. Weekly centre-based trail riding holidays start at €500 approx per person. Fondales, Granada, ciclomontana.com
Horse riding Sierra Trails, based in Bubión, organises holidays on horseback. Prices start at €487. Dallas Love Stables, 18412 Bubión, Granada, tel: 0034-608453802, spain-horse-riding.com