Translated by Emma Cattle and Fiona Flores Watson
The municipality of Murtas is situated at more than 1,500m, making it one of the best vantage points for viewing the whole area - from the peaks of Sierra Nevada until the Mediterranean coast.
The village sits at the foot of the highest peak in the Sierra de la Contraviesa, known as Cerrajón. Many people visit its two famous caves - La Gotera, in the north face, and La Vieja in the south. Behind the Venta del Chaleco, in the Cerro del Minchal, you can find another cave said to be so big that no one knows where it ends.
Murtas has many other interesting places to visit, including the remains of the Castillo de Juliana which are located on a rocky outcrop on the Rambla de Cojáyar. The Ermita de la Santa Cruz chapel signifies the entrance to the village centre and was built in the 19th century. The Iglesia Parroquial de San Miguel is one of the most important religious monuments in the whole of the Alpujarra. Built in the 18th century, following the neoclassical style, visitors should pay special attention to the red marble decoration inside.
The most famous dishes from Murtas are its pastries and cakes, including traditional alpujarreño and morisco sweets such as los soplillos (meringues) and cuajados. Murtas is also known for its wines, and it is one of the villages in the Contraviesa whose wine has the Designation of Origin "Costa". The wines, young and fruity and often made in family wineries, are of very high quality and environmental value, and make the perfect accompaniment for one of the tastiest dishes in Murtas: conejo al colorín (a dish made with rabbit, garlic and peppers).
If you want to experience the fiesta atmosphere first-hand, you should visit Murtas in May, when the village celebrates Fiesta de la Santa Cruz, with the traditional battle between the Moors and the Christians. This takes place on 3 May along the mountainous route taken by the pilgrimage to Mecina-Tedel. "Torvo" is a traditional celebration which takes place with festivals and competitions. This involves a duel, but through singing and improvisation, accompanied by music and dancing, rather than fighting. The aim is to respond to your opponent as quickly as possible - arte de repentizar (the art of ad-libbing). The verses tend to be biting and sarcastic.
Murtas is 118km from Granada city. Take the A-44 (direction Armilla-Motril) and join up firstly with the N-323 and then with the A-346, A-348 and A-345. The latter will take you to the GR-SE-30, and you must finally take the GR-SE-29 to the centre of the village.