Depart from the pier for a scenic drive to Las Alpujarras, or The Grasslands, where whitewashed towns cling to the southern flanks of the Sierra Nevada, bisected by deep valleys and gorges that run all the way down to the Mediterranean. The Alpujarraregion is renowned for its unique mini-ecosystem; its terraced farmlands are constantly irrigated by the snowmelt from above, creating a high-altitude oasis of greenery dramatically contrasting with the arid foothills below.
The cultural interest of the region lies in its dozens of villages, which were the last stronghold of the Spanish Muslims, or Moors. You'll stop for photos at Presa de Rules and pass through Orgiva before arriving at Pampaneira village, which lies almost 5,000 feet above sea level. Pampaneira has retained its traditional Berber architecture of terraced clusters of grey-white box-shaped houses with flat clay roofs, a style that is still common in the Rif and Atlas mountains of Morocco.
The name Pampaneira derives from the Latin "pampinarius," meaning producer of vine shoots, andindeed vineyards once grew within the current city limits. You'll have an hour at leisure to explore here, with or without your guide. Driving back through the village of Orgiva, you'll have 45 minutes in Lanjarón, before you head back to the port of Motril.
Important Notes: Travel time to Las Alpujarras is approximately 1½ hours each way.