About one and half hours' drive from Sierra Nevada ski resort, along a route which circumnavigates the mountains, is the south face of Sierra Nevada known as Las Alpujarras.
These are the lower mountains that lead up to the Sierra Nevada from the sea, and are home to some of the most exquisite white villages in the region, where it feels as if time has stood still.
One of the most renowned is the award-winning picturesque village of Pampaneira.
Though it has become popular with Spanish and foreign visitors in recent years, it still retains loads of original character, with narrow streets winding up the mountain side, flat slate roofed houses, and waterways running down the centre of many of its cobbled streets.
The village overlooks a deep gorge from an altitude of 1000 metres with views up to the snow on the Veleta peak in the Sierra Nevada. The setting is idyllic. Many rural traditions are still just as much in evidence as in decades gone by.
Following the road up from Pampaneira, you arrive at two equally picturesque villages, Bubion and Capileira.
From Capileira, the road continues as a rough dirt track (suitable only for walking or four-wheel-drive vehicles), up onto what is the highest road in Europe, passing by the tallest peak in Spain, the Mulhacen (3,481 metres) and on to the Veleta (3,398 metres) before finally dropping down into the ski resort itself and further on to Granada.
Please note that due to the National Park status of the Sierra Nevada, special permission must be granted to drive the full route (not recommended in winter due to snow!).
Slightly further around and deeper into the Alpujarras, another superb little village is Trevelez, the highest village in Spain at 1,400 metres and well known for its character, stunning views and locally cured mountain ham.
Wherever you visit in the Alpujarras, don't forget to try the jamon serrano, which is one of Spain's best known and most delicious culinary delights.
Another traditional dish is the plato alpujarreño, a hearty campesino dish consisting of jamon serrano, spicy chorizo sausage, morcilla blood sausage, fried egg and patatas a lo pobre (poor man's potatoes), a fry up of potatoes sautéed in olive oil with onions and green peppers. This is definitely a dish for a large appetite!