The village of Bérchules is made up of two smaller areas: Bérchules and Alcútar. The village is largely a working orchard, served by many different water sources. The sources of the river Guadalfeo, the river Chico and the river Grande are all located here, making it an ideal location for trout fishing. The name Bérchules is said to come from the Arabic word for orchard: berchul.
The village is typically alpujarreño and very similar to others in the surrounding area. It’s narrow, steep and staggered streets have adapted to the terrain, whilst the traditional whitewashed houses have flat slate roofs. There are various different fountains to visit: in the plaza, in the church, in the silversmiths and Las Carmelas. Las Carmelas is the most popular thanks to the legend told in the village: that any soltero (single person) who drinks from the fountain won’t be single for long!
Things to see
In addition to the fountains, la Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, is definitely worth visiting. It was built between the 16th and 17th centuries over the remains of an old mosque. Take particular notice of the beautiful coffered ceiling and the Moorish style tower. In Alcútar, the church is dedicated to Santa María la Mayo. This church is also Mudejar in style; it was built at the end of the 18th century and has high viewpoints from which you can enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding area.
Located in a privileged position in the south of the Sierra Nevada natural park, Bérchules is able to offer some amazing beauty spots. The spring Fuente Agrial is situated in a lush area of chestnut and poplar trees, it is part of a recreational area. To get there, you take a forest track and a wooden bridge over the río Grande.
Hikers can choose from a few different routes around the village and its outskirts. One of these is la Ruta de la Vereica Misa, which joins together Bérchules and Alcútar, it is often used by residents of the two neighbourhoods to attend religious events. Other routes include Junta de los Ríos and Acequias de Bérchules.
Hotels in and around Bérchules
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If you want to try the typical delicacies of the berchuleras, you should ask for trout caught in the river, a local speciality along with hams, sausages and cold meats. Migas (a dish made with breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil), as well as the dish called sobrehúsa de habichuelas (a dish made with onion, pepper, garlic and green beans amongst other ingredients) is one of the most typical dishes of the area. Many of the sweets and desserts here have been made following old Morisco recipes.
In Bérchules, they do things a little differently when it comes to fiestas. Instead of celebrating Nochevieja (New Years Eve) on 31 December, for many years it has been celebrated in August. For el Día de San Marcos, on 25 April, residents and various animals come to take part in the traditional pilgrimage into the countryside. The patron saints days in honour of San Pantaleón take place on 27 July in Bérchules. In Alcútar, the patron saints days take place in the first half of August in honour of Santo Cristo de la Misericordia.
Bérchules is 100km from Granada city. From here, take the A-44 (direction Armila-Motril, then leave at exit 164 to join with the A-348. Continue until you pass the Cádiar crossing, to join with the C-332 and then the GR-421.