A brush with witchcraft in the Alpujarras

The call of the kids

Are we there yet? Is it much further? We're bored! 

All the familiar calls from the back seat. The 'I Spy' has lost it's attraction, the songs have been sung, the fidgeting has started. When you can take it no longer - usually about the point where they start to poke and pinch each other - take the kids to Soportújar - and you won't hear another word!


Where is it?

Set high in the Alpujarras mountains, but just 68 kms from the bustling city of Granada, get to Soportújar from Órgiva, taking the road out of town to climb higher towards the villages of the Poquiera Gorge. We were on that recent Easter trip to taste the chocolate of Pampaneira, and stopped off because the sign to Soportújar is so pretty, it's a little model of the village on the side of the road. Or was it something else that called us? Was that a cackle?

What's the attraction?

Hubble bubble, toil and trouble. Fire may burn and cauldron bubble. Yes, there's another reason to visit this very pretty and seemingly harmless village, and you'll see it as you approach the entrance to it.

On the right you'll see a wooden walkway and a sign - stop and have a look...

sign to cave

The cave

The wooden walkway leads up to a cave - but no ordinary cave. This is known as the Cave of the Eye of the Witch, and a good reason for all children to start behaving. Peer through the darkness inside and you'll see cauldrons and broomsticks...wah! What's it all about? Cross over Puente Encantado, the mountain stream gushing past underfoot, and down the other side.


The legend

The village of Soportújar has a legend. It goes like this:

In years gone by, any child who wandered outside of the village unaccompanied would be snatched by the local witch's coven and taken to the cave of The Eye of the Witch. There they would meet their grisly end, and the witches would sell their fat to the local dairyman the next morning, to be turned into milk, cream and cheese. I told you the kids would be well behaved here! It's thought that the legend was started to stop local kids from wandering off too far from the village- and I dare say it worked just fine!


The village

Go a little further on with your now well-behaved children, and pass the carved tree trunk on the left, look out for the owl set into the top. Boardwalks and prettily planted verges take you to the car park, and you can explore. This little village has made it's name on the spooky legend and is making the most of it today, to bring in tourists and Wicca fans alike.  The place is teeming with friendly black cats! Everything has an association with witchcraft, and there's a Witch Museum. Even the bar is called Bar Romero (Rosemary is a favourite herb of witchcraft) It was probably Café Juan or something before the idea set in! Lovely coffee - hold the cream though :)



In the middle of August, they hold a Fiesta de la Bruja - a witch festival. Choose your best pointed hat, cloak and broomstick and join in. Another way to look at a little black dress I guess...

They dust them off for Hallowe'en too, even local TV has got in on the act and covered this village of witches.


Further on are the three villages of the Poqueira Gorge, Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira. These are hugely popular with tourists in the summertime - many coaches pass by this little village on the way there - but you can stop off and scare the kids for an hour or so - you never know, it might just put a spell on you!