The highest of the three villages in the Barranco de Poqueira, at 1,436m, Capileira is a good base for walking in the gorge itself or up to the Sierra Nevada. Its twisting, steep streets are dotted with many springs gushing with fresh mountain water and there are superb views of the Poqueira gorge and the Sierra Nevada everywhere you look. With a population of 600, it′s also the largest of the three villages in the Poqueira gorge – the others being Bubión and Pampaneira – and it has a good choice of accommodation and bars.
Capileira′s remote location meant that Moorish rule arrived relatively late here, as did that of the Christians, who conquered the village centuries later. In the early 16th century, the Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction of the village church, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, on the site of a former mosque. The original church was replaced with the current Mudéjar-style building in the 18th century.
On Calle Mentidero is the village′s museum, the Museo Etnológico Pedro Antonio Alarcón, which has exhibits of local handicrafts and dress and a display on the 19th-century writer Alarcón, from Guadix, who published an account of the Alpujarras, Viaje a la Alpujarra. It′s open 11am-2.30pm Tuesday to Sunday.
For the most outstanding views of the village and the Poqueira gorge, head north towards the river and you′ll come to the Eras de Aldeire, a series of old threshing floors that were used for wheat and barley. On the southeastern edge of the village is a viewpoint (mirador) from where you can see down the Poqueira valley to Bubión and Pampaneira and north to the Veleta peak.
At the top of the village is the best hotel in Capileira, the three-star Finca Los Llanos, with magnificent views from all of the rooms and apartments and from the attractive swimming pool. Just beyond Capileira is Cortijo Catifalarga (958 343 357), a stone guesthouse on a farm with fabulous views and occasional live music in its bar. There are also several basic accommodation options in the centre, including Mesón-Hostal Poqueira. There are good restaurants at all these hotels. If you′re vegetarian, eat at the Casa Ibero on Calle Parra.
Eco Decora drone video
Watch an intersting video on Capileira and its group of local women who are decorating the town for the fiestas with recycled plastic, a new art from called Eco Decora. This video has the best drone footage ever taken of Capileira. Capileira video.
Mt. mulhacen ascent from Capileira
For a truly away-from-it-all experience, you can stay in the mountain refuge beyond Capileira, the Refugio Poqueira (958 343 349). Located at 2,500m en route to Mulhacén peak, there are spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras.
If you want to hike up to Mulhacén you can take a bus from Capileira (in summer only) to the Mirador de Trevélez. From here (2,700m) you can climb up to the peak (3,479m) and down, in time to catch the return bus.
If you don't want to take the bus, there is a path that leads all the way to the summit, starting in Capileira.
Read our concise Mt. Mulhacen Guide.