Trevélez is located at the highest point in La Alpujarra. It is the highest village in Spain at 1476 metres above sea level (measured from the town’s Plaza de la Iglesia, in Barrio Medio). Its other neighbourhoods, Barrio Alto and Barrio Bajo, are not as high and they drop down by more than 200 metres.
The hospitality and cuisine in Trevélez are outstanding, and the local ham, recognised as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), is unsurpassed. Some industry experts have the opportunity to visit the town to learn the craft of curing meats.
The town centre itself is of great interest. Its peculiar framework conserves the typical architecture of La Alpujarra, with its steep streets, small white houses with flat roofs and the typical ‘tinaos’.
The surrounding natural area is very rich and includes the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the Siete Lagunas, the Pico del Rey, the Alcazaba, Vacares, the Cerro Pelao and the Mulhacén. This area is ideal for hiking and other nature-related activities, including trout fishing in the Río Trevélez.
Its most important local festival is the one of the Virgen de las Nieves, celebrated on 5th August. The locals of Trevélez go on a pilgrimage up to the Mulhacén at night in order to watch the sunrise from the highest peak of the Sierra Nevada.
It is difficult to pinpoint the origins of this area, but it is believed that the first inhabitants settled here before the arrival of the Muslims. There are also differing opinions regarding the town’s name. Some believe that the village is named after the three Vélez brothers, who were the first settlers here and lived in different parts of the valley. Another version goes that the name is of Iberian-Latin origin and refers to the valleys (‘velex’) where the village is situated: the valleys of the Río Chico and the Río Grande.
The first written reference dates back to the Mozarab period in the 9th century, when the area fell under the Jurisdiction of the Taha de Juviles. After the Reconquista the town supported the Moorish uprising; when the rebellion was put down the Moors were expelled from the area, which was repopulated with Christians from other parts of Spain. Before suffering the consequences of the Muslim uprising, the town had one large mosque and two Rabitas, and the area enjoyed excellent wheat and barley harvests. In later centuries, thanks to its climate, Trevélez developed an important pork industry and today is famous for its delicious hams.
The local ham is world-class. The most typical and delicious local dish is trout with ham. Also worth a try are the Migas de pastor, the Papas a lo pobre con longaniza, the Olla de papas y matanza, the Potaje de castañas and the Choto al ajillo. If you have a sweet tooth you can try the Torta Real.