Bubión is one of three terrific little villages in the wildly scenic Poqueira Gorge. Located in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains in La Alpujarra region of Andalusia in southern Spain (got all that?), Bubión is tiny (400 inhabitants) and easily overlooked. Which would be a shame, though, since it is a charming, atmospheric place with outstanding views.
If the amazing scenery of the Rio Poqueira below and the two tallest peaks in mainland Spain above (Mulhacen at 3,482m and Veleta at 3,394m) weren’t enough, Bubión is also a classic Moorish village. Featuring narrow, twisting alleys and white houses with flat roofs, it can feel like you’ve step back in time to the Middle Ages.
Along with nearby Capileira (2 km above) and Pampaneira (4 km below), Bubión is part of a designated Conjunto Histórico Artístico (Historical Artistic Complex). Surrounded by gorgeous natural forests, hills and small traditional farms, the villages of the Poqueira Gorge were among the very last Moorish villages to fall to the Christian reconquest. Their isolation and defensible hillside locations helped them hold out nearly a century past the official conversion in 1492.
The name “Bubión” is Latin for “land of oxen” and, although you are more likely to see goats and cows than oxen these days, it is still a very agricultural area, with the villages retaining a more Arabic feel than most in the region. Plus, there are really weird amount of cats. Suspicious cats, too, not the cuddly ones.
Located conveniently close to Granada and directly on the main GR7 long-distance European hiking path, Bubión is popular with both trekkers and nature lovers.
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Things to do in Bubión, Spain
Bubión is a tiny village so a visit will only take about an hour or two, although if you choose to spend a night or two there are also plenty more things to keep you busy.
Stroll the Streets
Like with every fantastic white village (pueblo blanco) in Andalusia, one of the most enjoyable ways to pass the time is simply by wandering the maze of superb Moorish winding streets and alleys.
Bubión boasts lots of local crafts and most of the houses are brightly decorated with colourful flowers. Of course, very little of this is visible from the main road so it is important to head down into the heart of the village or you could miss the best parts.
Enjoy the View from the Mirador
Views are plentiful in Bubión and surrounds but this wide-open terrace viewpoint up at the north end of the village near the Coviran offers the best panoramic look at the entire Poqueira Gorge.
On a clear day you can also get a good look at the Sierra Nevada mountain range and all the way down to the Mediterranean.
Stop for Tapas
They take their tapas seriously in these parts and every café, restaurant or bar will have a good selection of tasty snacks.
Bubión is one of the many Spanish towns where ordering a drink entitles you to some free tapas, even when your free snack seems like it might be worth more than the drink itself.
Visit the Fuente de la Hondera
Also known as Fuente Barrio Bajo, this ancient fountain with two separate spouts serves as a combination laundry spot and, well, water fountain. The important thing is that it looks cool.
Relax on the Main Square
As with all the white villages, the main square is the focal point of all Bubión social activity. It also has a nice fountain and is surrounded by welcoming restaurants with outdoor terraces, the stately Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) and the informative Casa Alpujarreña Museum.
If you are planning to walk to Capileira, the main trail starts here.
Check out the Casa Alpujarreña Museum
This beautiful, two-story traditional house has been transformed into a fascinating museum featuring over 500 displays of old Sierra Nevada items.
From furniture, tools and utensils to clothing and even a classic wine press, this delightful museum offers a riveting glimpse into the history of the Poqueira Gorge.
Peek Inside the Virgen del Rosario Church
The basic, Mudéjar-style Iglesia de la Virgen del Rosario was originally built in the 16th century but was destroyed during the Moorish rebellion and significantly rebuilt in the 17th century. Then the 1804 earthquake came along and, wouldn’t you know it, it needed to be rebuilt again.
A rather simple parish church, it is nonetheless features an impressive tower and is considered one of the most important buildings in Bubión.
Shop for Local Products
For such a small place, Bubión seems to produce and sell a lot of quality local specialties. From pottery and art to classic carpets and blankets, eager shoppers will be sure to find plenty to tempt them.
As far as food, it is also renowned for its ham, cheese, honey, mushrooms, jam and grapes, which seems like a surprisingly eclectic mix, if you ask me.
Explore by Bike
Alpujarra Bikes is owned and run by a long-term expat English couple and is the best place in the area to rent high quality mountain bikes. They have a wide range of options from rugged off-road bikes to sleek street models to modern e-bikes, with choices to fit adults and children of all experience levels.
As avid bikers themselves, the owners can provide lots of info on trails in the area, plus handle repairs and sell any accessory you might need.
Stop by the Loom Workshop
Alpujarran carpets are famous for their quality and unique style and they have been made the same way for centuries on the two traditional looms found in this restored Moorish home. Telar de Jarapas Hilacar actually has some of the last traditional looms still in use in Andalusia.
Pop by the Hermitage of San Antonio
This classic hermitage was only recently restored and features impressive images of San Antonio and San Sebastián. Located along the Barranco de Cerezo (Cherry Ravine) on the way down the hill into Bubión from the east, its history dates back to the 1940’s when children’s first communions took place here and were celebrated with chocolate and pastries.
The Hermitage of San Antonio laid in ruins from 1953 until its restoration and reopening in 2006. It is also referred to as Ermita de San Sebastian.
Explore the Poqueira Gorge
Although lovers of Moorish architecture will no doubt love the villages of the Poqueira Gorge, there is no question the natural scenery is the true highlight. With a network of good hiking trails and scenery that never stops, every Bubión visitor should try to get out for a walk in the gorge.
The snowmelt from Mulhacen and the rest of the Sierra Nevada pours down the gorge, keeping it green and lush most of the year. The most popular hikes are from Bubión to Capileira on the Atalaya Trail (1 hr uphill, 30 min down) and from Bubión to Pampaneira (30 min either way), both easy to find from the villages or you can look them up on the GPS below.
However, to see the Barranco de Poqueira more thoroughly (and to make sure you don’t miss any of the best viewpoints) you should try the Poqueira Gorge Loop. This roughly 3-hour route passes through all three villages on the east side (Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira) before returning down (or up) through the quiet farmland on the west side of the gorge. The views back across to the villages are magnificent.
Hike the GR7
Okay, maybe not the whole GR7. That is over 3,300 kilometres from Tarifa, Spain to northeastern France. But the Alpujarran variant of the GR7 passes all the way along the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada and is considered one of the most scenic sections in Spain.
With amazing scenery, easy-to-follow trails and perfect trekking weather, hiking the GR7 between Lanjarón to Válor can be done in a week or less, staying in one great village after another along the way.
For an overview of the area and how to hike the Alpujarran section of the GR7, check out Hiking the GR7: The White Villages of Spain’s Sierra Nevada
Tour the Other White Villages of the Alpujarras
Even if you aren’t the long-distance trekking sort of person, the white villages of the Alpujarras are still a great place to visit by car (or even bus, assuming you are a patient person). Here is a brief overview of the best villages in the Alpujarras (in our opinion), going west to east coming from Granada.
Lanjarón is the first place you’ll reach coming out of Granada and is famous for its delicious, clean spring water and spa. Lanjarón is the origin of the famous Spanish bottled water of the same name. It is bigger than most of the other villages but still has plenty of Moorish charm.
Down in the next valley is Órgiva, the main commercial centre of the Alpujarras region. It is bigger and less attractive than those in the mountains but has good restaurants and accommodation, plus they throw a mean festival.
Soportújar, on the other hand, is completely bizarre, having fully embraced a complicated set of myths and legends involving witches, warlocks and, apparently, some giant spiders? Memorable, I assure you.
Pampaneira is the lowest village of the Poqueira Gorge and the first place you’ll reach coming from the west. It is typically lovely, very compact and has some fascinating little alleys split by water channels.
At the top of the gorge is Capileira, a steep village somewhat inconveniently split into upper and lower sections (and with confusing trail markings). The views down the valley are incredible, though, especially at sunset.
The first town over the ridge along the GR7 from Bubión is Pitres, a friendly little place with a wonderful square and some nice bars and cafés.
Not far from there is Pórtugos which, to us, felt like the most natural and authentic of all the white villages of the Alpujarras. Kids playing, guys drinking beer, locals waiting for the grocery store to reopen after siesta.
Trevélez is the gateway to the Sierra Nevada national park and mountains and boasts a dramatic location at the very top of a scenic valley. Its maze of narrow white streets is somehow even more interesting than most and they are VERY proud of their ham.
Bérchules was the starting point for our 5-day Alpujarran trek – a delightful, quiet place full of fountains, local shops and surprising viewpoints.
Where to Stay: Best Bubión Hotels
Villa Turistica de Bubión
You can enjoy the seasonal outdoor pool, the fantastic gorge and terrific mountain views at the Villa Turistica de Bubión. This hotel has options ranging from a double room to a 2-bedroom villa with a kitchen so everyone should find something to suit them.
Hostal Rural Las Terrazas de la Alpujarra
This guesthouse has a terrace offering superb mountain views. Enjoy the beautiful garden and central location of the Hostal Rural Las Terrazas de la Alpujarra. The rooms are simple but still have everything you need.
How to Get to Bubión in the Alpujarras
Unless they are hiking the GR7, most people visit the Alpujarras by car, either their own or a rental. With so many great towns and villages in the area we highly recommend renting a car for a few days to cover more ground and set your own schedule. We find Discover Cars usually have the best deals in the area.
Coming from Granada and turning off the main highway near Lanjarón, you basically follow one road through all of the villages listed here.
If you don’t have a car, there are three daily Alsa buses from Granada that pass through all the villages, including Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira. They take about 2 hours to Bubión and continue on to Pórtugos, Trevélez, Bérchules and the villages farther east.
Driving distances and times:
Granada to Bubión: 75 km / 80 min
Lanjarón to Bubión: 25 km / 40 min
Orgíva to Bubión: 20 km / 30 min
Soportújar to Bubión: 12 km / 20 min
Pampaneira to Bubión: 4 km / 5 min
Capileira to Bubión: 2 km / 2 min
Pitres to Bubión: 7 km / 10 min
Pórtugos to Bubión: 10 km / 15 min
Trevélez to Bubión: 20 km / 35 min
Bérchules to Bubión: 40 km / 1 hr
Famously beautiful Granada is the closest major centre and main base for heading off into the Alpujarras. Filled with amazing historic sights, gritty neighbourhoods and outstanding viewpoints, Granada is, nonetheless, mainly known for one incredible attraction – the Alhambra.
Possibly the most impressive historic complex we’ve ever visited and, I assure you, that is saying something.
Click here for The 17 Best Things to Do in Granada
Bubión Spain History
Founded by the Romans, Bubión was a relatively quite place until the 7th century Moorish invasion. Their rule lasted for over 800 years until the Christian reconquest of 1492. Along with many of the Alpujarran villages, Bubión held out longer than most under Aben Humeya, only falling for good in 1571. As punishment, however, the entire populace was expelled and replaced by Spaniards from different parts of the country.
During the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s, all three Poqueira Gorge villages were notable for remaining Nationalist even while most surrounding towns fell to the Republican forces.
January features a festival dedicated to San Anton and Easter is an important holiday like everywhere in Spain. The most interesting festival of the year in Bubion Spain, though, is the Burial of the Fox in August. This involves the main character being filled with fireworks, paraded through town and, eventually, blown to bits.
The Autumn Fair (officially known as the Feria de Artesanía, Turismo y Agricultura Ecológica) takes place in October, then the lively Chestnut Festival (Fiesta de la Mauraca) is celebrated November 1st with raucous dancing, traditional singing and, of course, both roasting and eating large quantities of chestnuts (along with plenty of anise liquor).
When to Visit: Bubión Weather
At 1,350 metres above sea level, Bubión is known for comfortable summer temperatures (although it can still reach 30C+ in July/Aug), clear skies and low humidity.
Of course, the winters (and even shoulder seasons) can be quite cold. There is a fair bit of rain and snow in Bubión in the winter (especially November), although it rarely settles in and the weather tends to change quickly.
Temperatures in Bubión Spain vary from 19/31C (low/high) in July to 3/12C in January.
Another tiny but enjoyable Alpujarran white village, Bubión is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy the outdoors in a glorious natural setting in a quiet little place near the mountains. With a terrific climate, excellent hiking and a surprising variety of culinary specialties, Bubión is an excellent choice to escape the busy tourist cities of Andalusia.
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