(Baza Region of Altiplano, Granada Province)
Freila is the smallest of the villages in the Altiplano region of Granada. At an altitude of 804 metres above sea level and with a population of just over 1,000 you can locate it in GPS zone 30S and the map reference is X:05 08 10 / Y:41 53 70. The municipality of Freila covers an area of approximately 74 m2.
Surrounded by the remains of old Moorish fortress walls built during the 12 th and 13 th centuries, this pretty little village with sparkling whitewashed cottages, many of which are original cave houses, is an exceptionally idyllic spot in Andalusia. Historically important and surrounded by unspoiled nature, Freila offers the visitor a journey back in time and the chance to see a real Andalusian village with its traditions and customs intact.
How to get to Freila
Driving from Granada City, take the A92N motorway towards Murcia. After approximately 80 kilometres - beyond Guadix and before the town of Baza take the exit which is sign posted to Freila.
What to expect of Freila
The village is steeped in ancient history and the natural surroundings are simply stunning. From the church square, there are breathtaking panoramic views over the Negratín reservoir, where there are many water sports available for the whole family. Freila even has the very special feature of an inland beach. Advantage was taken of an inlet from the nearby reservoir to construct the beach at Cortijo del Cura. In this rural hillside village, you have the best of worlds, being able to enjoy sailing, swimming, canoeing, etc., without leaving the clear air and tranquillity of the mountainside. This is a must for those who prefer to avoid the summer crowds of the coastal areas. The incredible landscape offered by the Badlands can sometimes take on a distinctive surreal and romantic quality. The mystical reddish, desert tones are particularly striking around the time of sunset.
Places of Interest
Negratín Reservoir and Jabalcón Mountian
Within very close range of Freila, is the Negratín reservoir and all it offers in the way of water sports (including canoeing, sailing and swimming), the Natural Park of the Sierra de Baza, the Jabalcón Mountain and not far away from the renowned Cazorla Natural Park.
There are some exceptionally interesting and picturesque parts of the village, such as the Barrio del Pozo, Paraíso and Castillo where the houses are predominantly cave dwellings. Throughout the history of the village of Freila, these beautifully sculpted houses have been honed from the hillside rock face and now provide surprisingly comfortable accommodation. Many have all mod cons and some are renovated to suit a simple but modern lifestyle. In the inner parts of the village there are one-storey cave dwellings, originally built during the Moorish times, while the ones on the outer rim, built on two or more levels, representative of the style of the later Christian settlers. Many of these wonderful houses are available for rent or for sale and are enjoying something of a re-discovery amongst discerning artists and those in search of tranquillity.
La Torre del Maruq (The Maruq Tower)
This ancient lookout tower is not only a wonderful monument and testament to the historic past of Freila, but is also a delight to the senses as it blends in beautifully with one of the most outstanding landscapes in Andalusia. In the midst of pine trees and looking across water to a dramatic backdrop of reddish rocks, the scene is set to gently transport visitors back centuries in time.
Although now in a state of ruins, what remains of this castle (dating to the 12th and 13th Centuries) has become emblematic of Freila. Its image is now symbolic of this proudly traditional community.
Traditions and Fiestas
The people of Freila are keen to maintain their traditions and this is reflected in the local cuisine, as much as it is in the simple way of life today. As in many parts of rural Andalusia, the religious festivals are very much woven into an important part of the villagers’ lives.
The Romeria (Pilgrimage) de San Marcos is the symbolic meeting of the Virgen de los Dolores with her son, Jesus Christ, on the Saturday night of Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week).
During the first week in August the village celebrates the Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.
The Freila weekly market is held each Monday morning at the Plaza de la Iglesia (Church Square). You can buy good local produce and other bits and pieces at very reasonable prices – or simply go along to soak up the bustle of the village market day atmosphere.
For further information on Freila, contact the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall):
Ayuntamiento de Freila
Plaza de San Marcos
Tel: 958 865 201 / 958 865 233