The Lecrin Valley
This area is mainly formed by small villages, which, in some cases, have less than 200 residents. These are tranquil and unspoilt and are ideal destinations for lovers of rural tourism and outdoor sports such as hiking, fishing, caving, mountain climbing or hunting, amongst others.
The town of Padul is an ideal destination for lovers of nature and adrenalin sports. Located in the Sierra del Manar, the foothills of Sierra Nevada, the area offers visitors activities such as hiking, horse-riding, mountain-biking, paragliding and hang-gliding. Padul also has the advantage of being very close to the capital city of Granada. Along the various routes leading to the Sierra del Manar, you can see a number of viewpoints over Sierra Nevada and the Valle de Lecrín, such as Cruz de la Atalaya. Other interesting stops are the Barranco de las Rajas, Silleta de Padul – a pine tree with five trunks and el Puerto de las Carabelas. La Laguna is an important wetland, and contains peat bogs where scientists have discovered the remains of prehistoric animals. From an architectural point of view, there are various buildings in Padul which might be
of interest to tourists. The Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María la Mayor is one of these, built in the 16th century with a Moorish style doorway. Inside, there is a beautiful baroque style altarpiece from the second half of the 18th century and another in renaissance style. Also worth visiting is the Castillo de los Condes de Padul, a stately home from the 17th century which is similar in style to the Palacio de Carlos V in the famous Alhambra palace in Granada. Visitors might also be interested in the Fuente de los Cinco Caños, an arcaded fountain and communal washing area from the mid 16th century, and the popular Calvario, with its large stone crosses made in the 18th century. The residents are very proud of their old train station, which formed part of the line from Granada to the coast. A plaque commemorates the first day a train arrived in the
village: 10 February 1923. Lovers of traditional crafts will enjoy the handmade glass products made in the village. Visitors who want to get a typical taste of the paduleña diet should try choto al ajillo (veal with garlic), chuletas adobadas (marinated pork chops), embutidos (cured meats and sausages) and the many different types of tortillas, including collejas, onion or traditional ones made with potatoes or ham.
The village of Dúrcal is a perfect location for lovers of rural tourism, hiking and other sports; it also has a rich historical heritage for those who prefer a more cultural type of tourism.
The village is located in the Dúrcal River valley, on the slope from the Sierra Nevada and in the fertile Valle de Lecrín. The land in Dúrcal was used for growing sugar throughout the Arab occupation, along with orange and lemon orchards which still
remain today. At one time, the largest cable car railway in Europe was located here; however, it was taken down at the end of the 1950´s. An iron bridge remains, known as puente de lata, which was built by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel tower) and was constructed at the same time as the cable car network. This bridge, over the deep bed of the Dúrcal river, is now one of the best areas for bungee jumping. From an architectural point of view, other monuments of interest are: the Puente Romano, a bridge dating from the 1st century; El Molino, a one hundred year old mill that now houses the Museo Gastronómico Andaluz; La Ermita de San Blas, from the 16th century; El Fuerte de la Alcazaba, known as the Torre de Márgena (tower of Márgena) which is found at the foot of the Cerro del Zahor; the ruins of the Castillo Medieval (medieval castle) situated on the Cerro del Peñon del Moro and known as El Castillejo; El Pilar de la Plaza, constructed at the time of Isabel II of Bourbon in the 19th century and La Iglesia Parroquial de la Inmaculada Concepción, built in the 16th century. Dúrcal has a few other sites of possible interest to tourists, such as a clay pigeon shooting field, a motocross circuit, a farm school and two thermal springs: Baños de
Urquizar and Vaca Mía. The main attraction of the diet in Dúrcal is the locally sourced ingredients that they use to make traditional dishes, for example aceite de oliva (olive oil), cereales (cereals), almendras (almonds), carnes provenientes de la caza mayor y menor (meat which has come from hunting), naranjas (oranges) and limones (lemons). The fiesta calendar in Dúrcal is marked by el Día de San Blas, celebrated in February,
el Día del Hornazo, between March and April, la Romería de mayo, in May, and la Fiesta de San Ramón Nonato, in August.