Imagine doing yoga in the great outdoors, surrounded by some of Spain’s tallest mountains. Imagine clean, pine-scented Alpine air mingling with a sultry sea salt breeze infused with orange blossom each time you inhale.
This heady mix exists in Órgiva, 52 kilometers south of Granada, 29 kilometers north of the Mediterranean coast, and set deep in the Alpujarras mountains of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in southern Spain.
Órgiva is a mountain town that, like its Alpine-Mediterranean air, mixes traditional Andalusian and New Age international cultures. The blend is like green tea and mint, olives and sherry, churros and chocolate.
Best of all, Órgiva is home to one of the most earthy and beautifully offered yoga retreats I’ve encountered in my travels, Yoga Under the Sky.
In the heart of such a diverse, New Age, and organic farming scene and town, Yoga Under the Sky is in the perfect setting to offer organized or tailor-made retreat options for one person, couples, or groups.
Set near the Chico River that flows through town, Yoga Under the Sky offers many modalities of yoga styles and a terrific roster of talented, compassionate, and certified yoga teachers and massage therapists.
You can contact Yoga Under the Sky to arrange for an organized retreat (such retreats are on their website) or to create a retreat of your own that will address your and your partner’s particular needs. The staff also suggest great lodging and dining options.
Essentially, Órgiva is the retreat setting and within it are several rural and village houses for week-long stays as well as several all organic, local produce, and regional wine-serving eateries. The town has a vibrant energy and there is a lot happening any day of the week throughout the year.
Photo by diluvi.
My favorite place to stay is Casa Rural Jazmin. Though “casa rural” means “rural house,” it is a lovely old stone farmhouse in town that is surrounded by a garden filled with fruit-bearing trees, such as pomegranate and lemon, and a refreshing swimming pool.
Casa Jazmin has four rooms, each with a private bath. The two proprietors are warm and welcoming and every morning they get up early to create a unique, healthy, and homemade breakfast that is often served in the garden.
Rooms for two people, including that breakfast for two, are between 48-70 euros. Given that you are in the heart of town and everything is central, in spite of the wonderful rural feel of the place, you don’t need your own wheels to get here or to stay here.
It’s an easy downhill saunter to yoga sessions, to the bus stop for buses to Granada, Malaga, Motril, or to other Alpujarran destinations, and shops and markets are all within a few hundred yards away in the town center.
Photo by Joi
Organic Dining Out in Órgiva
For such a small town, Órgiva has terrific dining out options that won’t kill your budget. Here you’ll find places where organic, Slow Food, and Buy Local, Buy Fresh drive the standard meal.
Three favorites are Café Libertad, El Limonero, and Café-Tetería Baraka. The latter is a fun hangout run by local Sufis that offers diverse vegetarian cuisine, a variety of tea, as well as other non-alcoholic beverages, including natural fruit juices and smoothies.
Organic Food Markets in Órgiva
Everyday is market day if you go to the central covered market near the Plaza de la Alpujarra in the heart of town. Therein you’ll find the organic farmers, wine makers, bakers, and cheesemakers.
But the highlight is the weekly open-air market on Thursday mornings, on the long, narrow plaza on the northern end of town (the uphill end, near Casa Jazmin).
It’s a riotous and colorful gathering of farmers, clothes-sellers, and craftspeople. Dogs, guitars, and long-haired and short-haired folks alike mingle and embrace their hybrid traditional and alternative ways of living and eating.
Photo by judepics.
Getting to Órgiva is easy.
It is 52 kilometers south of Granada. By car, take the A-44/E-902 south of Granada and after 34 kilometers exit east for Lanjarón. Follow signs to Órgiva. Or, just get on a bus in Granada destined for Órgiva, costing fewer than 5 euros one way.
Alternately, Yoga Under the Sky can arrange for a taxi to pick you up at Granada’s airport and deliver you to Órgiva for 50 euros. While this might sound like a lot, it’s a bargain for a private driver and no car rental. Still, the bus is pretty easy.
Adventures Beyond Yoga
Take the local bus from Órgiva to Pampaneira, a twenty-minute ride, and hike from the mountain village of Pampaneira to Bubión and on to Capileira. You can either hike back to Pampaneira for the bus, or take the bus from Capileira to Órgiva. In all places, you will find ample cafes for a tapa and refreshment. Beer or chilled fino sherry are favorites. Drink lots of water, too.
Consider a silent meditation retreat at the O Sel Ling Tibetan Buddhist retreat, between Órgiva and Pampaneira. If you go as a couple, you will need to do this stint in separate huts and in silence.
Photo by pasotraspaso.
Granada is an easy 45-minute bus ride away from Órgiva, so you can make a fun day-trip to the city and soak up the magical Alhambra fortress-palace complex and hit the streets in the old neighborhood of the Albaicin.
Albaicin is filled with vegetarian and organic restaurants, especially along Calle Nueva Calderería, the center of Granada’s alternative, progressive, New Age, Bohemian scene. A day trip can be a boon if you are traveling during the peak summer season, when finding lodging in Granada can be stressful.
Relax, secure a week or two at the Casa Jazmin in Órgiva, do some yoga, eat locally, and unpack just once in your peaceful mountain retreat.
The author of this article, Beebe, was recently featured in 50 Inspirational Travelers. If you liked Beebe’s guide to Orgiva Yoga, please be sure to read her surf guide to Asturias, a lovely rural section of the Spanish coast.
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