We really loved visiting all the amazing white villages of the Alpujarras – the Moorish houses, classic old towns, the natural scenery, the tapas… But there is no question that bizarre Soportújar is far and away the most unique village in the area.
After the Moors were defeated and expelled by King Felipe II, Soportujar was intentionally repopulated with Galicians from northern Spain. And, apparently, these new residents brought with them a wide range of unusual traditions, pagan ceremonies and, according to their suspicious new neighbours, some rather sinister sorcery. Late night rituals, inexplicable occurrences, shifty looks – the evidence was practically overwhelming.
Now, regardless of how much truth there was (or IS) to any of this, modern-day Soportújar has wholeheartedly embraced their reputation for the supernatural, leaning way into it and turning themselves into a very popular day trip destination. Residents (of which there are less than 300) are referred to as brujas/brujos (witches/warlocks) and the village is full of fantastic sculptures, witch themes and magical legends.
Which is not to say Soportujar doesn’t have plenty of other charms. It features steep, narrow streets, whitewashed houses, atmospheric “tinaos” (covered walkways), great bars and exceptional views up to the Sierra Nevada mountains and down over the valley to the coast – it is a lovely place.
But, let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to ignore the witch stuff. So, if you’re looking for a straight-up traditional Moorish village, continue on to Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira in the Poqueira Gorge. But if you are in the mood for some weird, fun photo ops, well, Soportújar is definitely the place for you.
Soportújar Spain Map
Click the star to save this map to your Google Maps – then find it under Saved/Maps (mobile) or Your Places/Maps (desktop)
Things to do in Soportújar Spain
Just walking around this unique town and seeing all the strange sculptures and monuments can feel like enough of an event. So you’ll definitely want to start with the Soportújar witch walking tour (unofficial name) but after you’ve had your fill of that, there are also some other activities to keep you busy, especially if you choose to spend a night or two.
Walking Tour of the Witch-Themed Monuments
Weird place, better start with the weird stuff.
Baba Yaga Witch
This big statue of a witch’s head, the Bruja Baba Yaga, represents a Russian sorceress with a reputation for eating bratty kids.
In fact, this is the very sorceress who lived in the crazy little house with the chicken legs (no, that’s not a typo) located further into the village (more to come below). Unfortunately, it appears that her powers did not extend to effective dental care.
Here you get a two for one, starting with an outstanding viewpoint, Mirador de Soportújar, featuring exceptional views out over the hills below town.
Then you also get to enjoy a fountain where two witches – master and apprentice, apparently – are hard at work boiling up something in a huge cauldron. A potion? Possibly. Some naughty children? You never know. Just some soup? Most likely.
Dragons are very trendy these days, making this fountain a very popular stop. Oh, and the water is supposedly a magical aphrodisiac and drinking it will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Of course, if the first part is true, that surely increases your odds of the second, magic or not. And I’m not sure if any of it has to do with where the water appears to be coming from.
El Pozo de los Deseos
Tucked away in a cramped corner, you’ll find this famous wishing well. Visit at your own peril, though, since it isn’t so much a “wishing well” per se, as a magical well that bestows bad luck on people who arrive and DO NOT throw in a coin. Supernatural extortion, I suppose you’d say.
La Escoba Mágica
A very large statue of a Magic Broom, presumably belonging to one of the witches. Although it seems to me that the “magic” part is a bit redundant. I mean, why would anyone bother to make a statue of some regular broom?
There is no wild backstory to the huge Serpiente Malifica, as far as I know. It’s just a really big, not very friendly snake.
The Calderos Mágicos are picturesque examples of where all the real, roll-your-sleeves-up and get dirty magic happens.
One of the coolest statues in the village, the massive Araña Tejedora de Sueños allegedly guards the upper barrios of the village (although apparently not from tourists).
This giant Black Widow Spider represents the local legend that said if a spider fell into the flame of a candle it meant there were witches nearby. Other telltale signs were boiling cauldrons and an unusual number of flying brooms.
Fuente del Chorro
For some reason, this popular spot is known as the Jet Fountain, rather than the Ludicrous Little House with Chicken Legs. Which was allegedly the ridiculous home of the unattractive Bruja Baba Yaga we talked about above (do terrible teeth ring a bell?).
There is a riddle by the fountain that is supposbely impossible to solve while standing underneath the house (and between the super-creepy legs). Maybe that’s true, which explains the fountain thing, but if you felt the need to describe this place to a friend, you would still definitely start with the chicken-leg house.
Hansel and Gretel House
Also known as the Casa de Caramelos (Caramel House), this place is a spitting image of the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel.
Era de los Aquelarres
While most of the previous sites are all close together in the lower part of the village, it is a bit of a climb to reach the Mirador Aquelarre (Coven Viewpoint). But, hey, there are nice sculptures, including of an owl, a cat and a spell book, plus a less nice, more unsettling, statue of a skull.
And this is reputedly where some of the most important coven meetings took (take?) place, something to do with it being an ideal place to land flying brooms, possibly. Which is probably why there is a statue of exactly that, plus an odd recreation of a witch’s quarters where she seems to have knocked over her jar of change.
Anyway, the views are nice.
Cross the Puente Encantado de Soportújar
Ok, that covers the main bruja highlights (although, trust me, you’ll still spot more as you wander) so we’ll move onto some of the more standard, white village stuff. Starting with this cool little pedestrian bridge near the cemetery.
Oh, what’s that? The name means “Enchanted Bridge”? And the bridge is supposedly haunted? Yes, of course it is.
At the end of the bridge you’ll find the Witch’s Eye Cave, supposedly the centre for all things witchcraft have taken place in Soportújar over the centuries. First, you cross the “haunted bridge” (obviously) before entering the cave where you’ll find a lot of information, some handy spells and potions, and even a sorceress. Ok, just a figurine of a sorceress, but still.
Buy Local Handicrafts
Soportújar has an entire shop that sells mostly hundreds of different knives, for some reason, and is surrounded by oak forest, meaning lots of beautiful wood handicrafts. Witch-themed or not, your choice. But probably witch-themed.
Stroll Down Calle Zanjilla
Just past the wishing well you’ll find “the narrowest street in Spain”. Except that it’s not, really, according to several fairly reputable sources. But it is definitely “pretty narrow” and a good spot for photos (in case you haven’t taken enough yet), and there are nice views of the valley from the end of the calle.
The official-looking sign also claims it is “the most magical street in Spain”, which is much harder to dispute. And the entrance to Los Naranjos tinao is emblazoned with an ominous warning, “De dias las brujas puedes vez, pero marchate antes del anochecer”, meaning “You can see the witches during the day, but leave before nightfall”. Which is maybe why it’s so hard to find a decent hotel in Soportujar.
Walk Under the Tinaos
With the village’s name derived from “soportale”, meaning “place of arcades”, it is not surprising that you will find many atmospheric covered walkways, or tinaos, scattered throughout the village. The steep terrain meant homes were often built on top of each other, and the tinaos served as walkways between the upper levels and provided sheltered lanes for those below.
Tinaos are common throughout the white villages of Andalusia, although those in Soportújar are the only ones where you have to be alert for magical serpents and mischievous witches.
Peek in the Iglesia Parroquial Santa María la Mayor
While it’s not like Mudejar-style Catholic churches built on the ruins of former Arab mosques are exactly rare in Andalusia, this one right in the centre of Soportujar feels almost exotic among all the witch paraphernalia.
Plus, there is a nice tiled fountain and, if you venture inside, a very impressive wooden altarpiece.
Visit the O Sel Ling Temple
Just a few kilometres away geographically, but much farther philosophically, is the ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery of O Sel Ling. Still thriving today, it is devoted to Buddhism through seclusion, meditation and self-reflection.
Located alongside the beautiful Poqueira Gorge, even if you’re not immediately in search of enlightenment you can still enjoy fabulous views back across the valley to the Poqueira villages of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira, up to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and on a clear day even down past Soportújar and Órgiva all the way to the Mediterranean.
Hiking to O Sel Ling and back is about 10 km with 650m of elevation gain that takes most people 3-4 hours.
Tour the Other White Villages of the Alpujarras
Despite the disappointing lack of the supernatural, the other white villages of the Alpujarras are still fascinating, offering old town architecture, traditional culture and amazing views. Here is a brief overview of the best villages in the Alpujarras, 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 popular mineral 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.
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.
Bubión is the next village up the gorge from Pampaneira and is exceptionally photogenic, manageably small, and has a lot of impressive flowers and some fairly weird cats.
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.
Head Out on a Hike
The hike to O Sel Ling is a nice one, or there are several other good trails around Soportujar if you feel like getting out and stretching your legs.
Soportújar to Carataunas – Órgiva
10 km / 3 hrs / 480m elevation gain
It is just a short 15-minute jaunt down to the clean, orderly village of Carataunas, which lacks old town charm but features one of the cutest churches in the area. After going downhill a bit farther, the trail flattens out for an easy walk along the river into Órgiva.
Those numbers are for the return trip but if you want to make it easier, you can walk down and take a bus or taxi back up to Soportujar (1-1.5 hrs).
Dique 24 Waterfall
5 km / 2 hrs / 280m (return)
A nice, rural hike up to a 30-metre waterfall (and back).
Soportujar Forest Trail
9 km / 3-4 hrs / 560m (loop)
This longer option follows a scenic loop through the hills above Soportujar that includes the Dique 24 waterfall.
Hike to Lanjarón
12 km / 5-6 hrs / 950m (one-way)
Lanjarón is famous for its life-enhancing mountain water and the very popular spa and mineral springs at Balneario Lanjarón. So it is worth visiting on its own, plus the walk between Soportújar and Lanjarón passes through beautiful hills and valleys.
A bit of a workout, but the views are worth it. You can catch the bus back to Soportujar from Lanjaron.
Trek the GR7
Or if you are interested in a multi-day hike, you may want to tackle the Alpujarran section of the epic GR7 long-distance route. The entire trail runs all the way from Tarifa, Spain to northeastern France (3,300 km in total) and the southern variant passes all the way along the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada from Lanjarón to Válor and is considered one of the most scenic sections in Spain.
With amazing scenery, easy-to-follow trails and welcoming villages, this stretch 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
Where to Stay: Soportújar Hotels
Most people just stop in at Soportújar on their tour of Alpujarras villages and don’t stay the night so we don’t have any specific hotels we can recommend in the village. However, there are some great choices only a few minutes drive away in Lanjarón, Órgiva or Pampaneira.
Hotel Balneario Lanjarón
The nicest hotel in the Alpujarras and one of the top spas in Spain, the 4-star Hotel Balneario Lanjarón is the ultimate health and wellness getaway. Withs 6 different mineral springs, a thermal spa and a wide range of health treatments from muscle health to back pain to beauty to stress relief, there is a little something for everyone.
The Hotel Alcadima is the second-best choice in Lanjarón and offers a relaxing stay with both indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and extensive gardens.
Pick from rooms with balconies with views over the valley or an indoor Andalusian courtyard.
Hotel Taray in Órgiva
Also called Hotel Taray Botanico, the gardens and pool are the stars of the show and the perfect places to relax after exploring the area. If you have your own car, the free on-site parking will come in handy. The friendly and helpful owners will make you sure that you get the most out of your visit. It’s a bit out of town but that’s why its so peaceful. Try to get one of the rooms with a terrace!
Estrella de las Nieves in Pampaneira
The Estrella de las Nieves hotel is on the edge of Pampaneira with a beautiful view of the Barranco de Poqueira. You’ll enjoy cooling off in the pool on hot days, the views from your private balcony and the tasty breakfast. If you are there in the colder months, their heated rooms are a nice touch.
Where to Eat: Soportújar Restaurants
This Alpujarran village is famous for its roscos fritos (donuts covered with sugar and cinnamon), a typical sweet made in various traditional ways, although they are all delicious.
On the main road into town just before the Fuente de las Brujas, this traditional taberna is a great choice for local food, great tapas and a friendly welcome. Pick a table on the street for the best people watching.
Los Toneles de la Buja Bar
A witch-themed bar with seats inside and on the courtyard. We stopped and enjoyed a few tapas for a light lunch.
On a Saturday around noon the place was full of frazzled-looking dads clearly pounding as much beer as they were allowed before being hauled back out for more family photo ops.
Festivals and Events in Soportújar
Of course, as a Spanish village, Easter and Christmas are widely celebrated. But there are plenty of other Soportujar fiestas, as well.
In January, the Día de San Antón (Saint Anthony Day) features sausages roasted over huge bonfires.
Every summer, the Feria del Embrujo (Haunted Fair) is all about the witches, yet again, with music, processions and all sorts of kitschy supernatural stuff.
El Día de San Roque is a more standard religious festival that takes place in August.
Finally, in November and early December, the Muestra de Teatro Aficionados de la Alpujarra celebrates music and art all over the Alpujarras for a month.
How to Get to Soportújar
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.
If you don’t have a car, 3 Alsa daily buses run between Soportújar and Granada (1.5-2 hrs).
Driving distances and times:
Granada to Soportújar: 60 km / 1 hr
Lanjarón to Soportújar: 20 km / 30 min
Órgiva to Soportújar: 10 km / 20 min
Pampaneira to Soportújar: 8 km / 15 min
Bubión to Soportújar: 12 km / 20 min
Capileira to Soportújar: 13 km / 25 min
Pitres to Soportújar: 14 km / 25 min
Pórtugos to Soportújar: 16 km / 30 min
Trevélez to Soportújar: 30 km / 45 min
Bérchules to Soportújar: 55 km / 1.25 hr
There is very little parking in town so check for a spot in the small lot next to the Era de los Aquelarres or grab anything you can on the outskirts on your way into town.
But, from what we saw, people just park any place they can find room within town so you could cruise through once and try your luck. I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of parking attendants (but there also aren’t many spots).
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
When to Visit: Soportújar Weather in Las Alpujarras
While the rest of Andalusia gets very hot in summer, Soportújar’s slightly higher elevation in the Alpujarras foothills (940m) keeps it from getting quite as hot in summer. It can still reach 30C in summer but nights are comfortably cool and there is almost no rain in July and August.
In mid-winter it can get quite cold, with average temperatures ranging from 4-14C in December and January, with considerably more rain.
In general, the best time to visit the Alpujarras is between May and October, with the shoulder seasons best for serious hiking, climbing and trekking.
Soportujar is very popular on the weekends, with lots of day trippers visiting from Lanjarón, Órgiva and even Granada, so if at all possible, try to visit on a weekday.
On the one hand, Soportujar is a perfectly nice little Andalusian pueblo blanco, with good views, mazey streets and Moorish architecture. On the other hand, it is chock-full of witches. And the spooky things that tend to congregate around witches (such as giant spiders and houses with chicken legs).
So, you know, pros and cons.
Other Useful Posts You Might Like: