Atarfe is located in a unique natural environment, surrounded by mountains and agricultural land. The village has always been rich in culture, since its roots in the Neolithic era right up to the present day. It is one of the most famous villages in Granada province - its origins date back to around 10th century B.C, making it the earliest settlement in Granada.
Atarfe is home to the remains of some unique 6th century B.C Tartessian defensive walls, which the public is still able to see. Remains of this kind are uncommon in Andalucia after the destruction of the War of Independence and the Civil War, so this site is well worth a visit.
More recent, but equally attractive cultural sites include the Roman site of el Cortijo de las Monjas and el Pago del Marugán. However, the most important of these sites is Medina Elvira; a Roman city established between 8th and 11th century A.D that later led to the creation of what we now know as Granada. The remains of the Medina Elvira are still visible and open to visitors, with guided tours available.
At the heart of Atarfe there are many monuments worth visiting, such as la Ermita de los Tres Juanes where you’ll find the Museo de Ciencias Naturales (Museum of Natural Sciences). Alternatively, take a walk up the nearby hill to visit la Ermita de Santa Ana, which was previously home to a cemetery. Also worth visiting is la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Encarnación, which was built over the remains of an Arab mosque.
Nearby is the Sierra Elvira, where lovers of hiking can take a route which goes around the whole mountain. El Parque de Sierra Elvira has an artificial lake with thermal springs with a temperature of 28ºC. Many tourists take advantage of these therapeutic waters for their relaxation and health benefits.
As in other villages of the Alpujarra mountain regions, you can buy traditionally made textiles. These include carpets, tapestries and rugs, as well as ceramic and clay artefacts.
The agricultural roots of the area are evident in the village’s traditional dishes. For example, you can sample las papas en columpio (a dish made with potatoes and eggs), ensaladilla de la Sierra (a local salad dish) or tortillas de habas (bean omelette). For dessert, try tirabuzones rellenos de natillas, ringlet-shaped doughnuts filled with custard.
Atarfe’s main celebrations and fiestas take place in June in honour of la Virgen del Carmen.
If you are looking for a fantastic 18 holes in Atarfe, be sure to have a look at the Medina Elvira Golf Course which is both perfect for beginners while also offering experienced players a challenge.
Atarfe is just 11km from Granada city and can be reached directly by the N-432.