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White Villages in Andalucia | Pampaneira

in Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 4 Jun 2020
The square in Pampaneiro Textiles - a cottage industry Drying peppers, tomatoes and garlic for the winter Storm gullies in Pampaneira

White Village and Cottage Industry

With a population of 300 or so the tiny white village of Pampaneira, perched at 1060 metres altitude in the Alpujarras, does not exactly hum at night. But night life is not what visitors to this place want. Many are walkers, others are there to experience, for a day, traditional rural life in an isolated village.

Although Pampaneira dates back as far as Roman times, the name itself derives from pampinarius meaning producer of small bunches of grapes, the street plan is clearly Berber. It was the Moors that introduced the now forgotten, in the Alpujarras, industry of silk making and the Christians from as far afield as Leon and Galicia who were shipped in to repopulate the area after the conquest that brought with them the gaudy coloured rug manufacturing cottage industry you see today. 

The narrow, pretty, whitewashed streets with vibrant planters and baskets are centred around the main and only square with its scattering of cafes and bars. Colourful umbrellas shade the morning coffee crowd from the searing summer sun blazing down from an azure blue, cloudless sky. 

In autumn the flat roofs of many houses are strung with peppers and tomatoes drying in the mountain air whilst below the souvenir shops sell locally made textiles, leather goods and ceramics. Honey, cheese and ham are produced nearby. It all looks and sounds idyllic, one might even dream of living here.

However there are signs that all is not quite so ideal all year. Notice the, not so much storm drains as storm gullies, that wind down the steeper streets. They are designed to carry a lot of water. In extremis the streets themselves act as tributaries carrying water from the slopes above into the river in the Barranco de Poqueira gorge below. The long, round, capped chimneys, almost a trademark of the Alpujarras region, guarantee a good draw in high winds. The altitude promises snow in winter. Notwithstanding the drawbacks it is all very charming.

So charming that, in 2006, a Junta funded institution with the improbable name of the Association of Historical Settings and Popular Architecture of Andalucia introduced a programme that involves twenty three villages of Andalucia; Alajar, Almonaster la Real, Aroche, Linares de la Sierra, Zufre, Cazalla de la Sierra, Constantina, Guadalcanal, Bujalance, Dos Torres, Montoro, Pedroche, Bubion, Capileira, Castril, Pampaneira, Arquillos, Banos de la Encina, Guarroman, Montizon, Vilches, Velez Blanco and Velez Rubio. The programme is part of the Sustainable Tourism Programme, ‘Conjuntos Historicos de Andalucia’, (Historic Settings of Andalucia) and its aim is to create a competitive tourist destination.

Go to Explore Granada Province
Return to Twelve White Villages travel guide

More in the Twelve White Villages travel guide

White Villages in Andalucia | Guide to the Medieval Town of Aracena
White Villages in Andalucia | Guide to Casares, a typical Andalucian white village
White Villages in Andalucia | Cazorla in the foothills of the Sierra de Cazorla
Guide to Cortes de la Frontera on the edge of the Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural
White Villages in Andalucia | Frigiliana, Andalucias prettiest white village
White Villages in Andalucia | Guide to Gaucin, a beautiful white village
Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural | Guide to the beautiful white village of Grazalema
Guide to Jimena de la Frontera, a white village gateway to the Alcornocales Parque Natural
Mojacar - One of the 50 Most Beautiful Villages in Spain
White Villages in Andalucia | Setenil de las Bodegas famous for cave dwellings
White Villages in Andalucia | Zahara de la Sierra, in the Sierra de Grazalema Parque Natural

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Submitted by Dick on 4 Jun 2020
Definitely Chris Stewart country