Paterna del Río


by Saskia Mier

Paterna del Río is the home of the unique recreational areas of Fuente Agria and Guarros, also known as the Baños de Santiago, the thermal waters of which are said to be particularly effective on skin complaints. It has about 370 inhabitants.


The name of Paterna seems originate to in Paternum or Paternus, although the remains of Iberian swords found in the Gaviarra mines cast doubt on this assumption. The dramatic and challenging landscape of La Alpujarra meant that its Arab occupation took some centuries, but the Mozarabic population was very important in the times of the Caliphate. In 913, the young Caliph Abd al-Rahman III had to cross Sierra Sulaira (Sierra Nevada) through Puerto de la Ragua to quash a group of rebels who were fighting for the independence of the region and gained strength in the Castle of Juviles. More>


Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista
The Mudejar church was built in the mid-sixteenth century and is one of the oldest in La Alpujarra never to have been restored or rebuilt. With three naves separated by rectangular pillars and an advanced main chapel, this beautiful sanctuary reflects the passing of the years. The golden altarpiece reflects the light that enters through its small windows, providing a resplendent brightness over the carving of the infant Jesus, making us contemplate divine miracles. Located on Calle Iglesia.


Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
The Mudejar chapel was built between 1662 and 1667, with a rectangular floor plan and wooden coffered ceilings. Its state, after the collapses of 2009 and 2010, is very precarious; combined with administrative sloppiness and a lack of concern for Andalusian historical heritage, the building seems condemned to gradual disappearance. Legend has it that the chapel was built there because a traveller, coming to the town with the image of the Virgen de los Remedios, had to stop in the town. Despite its small size, the icon’s weight began to increase dramatically until the traveller could no longer move it. Located approximately 1km south from the town, off the AL-5402.

Fuente Agria
A beautiful recreation area, viewpoint and complex of natural activities that invites us to rest and recharge with a refreshing bath. On its descent to the baths, the water crosses the Cerro del Almirez, where the old iron farms are found. This enriches the water with minerals and gives it the distinctive colour visible in the pools. Very close to these is the Barranco de Paterna, an ideal place to enjoy abseiling between its ferruginous waterfalls. Located north of the town, off the AL-5402.


Paterna del Río has a varied gastronomy, with dishes worth trying such as potaje de hinojos (fennel stew), migas (breadcrumbs served with pork), choto al ajillo (garlic goat), sobreusa de papas y arroz (potato and rice stew), puchero de nabos (turnip stew), potaje de castañas (chestnut stew) and gazpacho de parva. Sweet treats include pan de higo (fig bread), meloja (treacle pudding), torta de chicharrones (pork crackling sugar bread), and rosetas (honey pastries).


Popular festivals in Paterna del Río are Fiestas Patronales en Honor de la Virgen de los Remedios, Fiestas en honor al Santo Cristo de las Penas and Fiesta de la Castaña. More>   


The tourist office is located in the town hall. More>



The neighbouring villages to Paterna del Río are Bayárcal and Láujar de Andarax.