The drive up from the desert of Tabernas towards Velefique is beautiful. The scenery changes dramatically, as you travel gently upwards the rocks become darker and the slate houses contrast with the greenness of the prickly pears and yellow grass.
Velefique comes into view in an elevated position overlooking its fertile valley with many cultivated allotments. The village is at the base of the Sierra de los Filabres on their south western side. Above the village the mountains rise steeply up to their jagged rocky summit, and if you wish, you can drive up to the very top.
From the summit the views are spectacular and tracks leading into the pinewoods or across the open slopes are ideal for walking or cycling. Wild boar and ibex live in this wonderful wilderness, the latter are protected, but the wild boar hunters are very much in evidence during the season.
There is often snow up here in the winter and families drive up on Sundays to enjoy the pristine beauty and take part in snow fights with their excited children.
Velefique played its part in history during the Moorish occupation, a sect called the Jarichí fled here from Cordóba and their presence had a big effect on the life and beliefs of the villagers.
In the middle of the 12th century, the famous Islamic poet, Sidi Abuh Ishaq Ibrahim made his base here and years later a powerful politician by the name of Abul Barakat Ibn Alhavy, lived for some time in the village. He lived until the great age of 108 and apart from attaining the rank of Cadí of Granada, he wrote books, amongst them a history of Almeria.
The village fell into ruin after the Moors were forced to flee, and when the village was slowly repopulated, many of the locals made a living from the cultivation of mulberry trees and the silk industry. But the isolation of Velefique was a problem for the people of the 20th century, many of whom emigrated, leaving the village almost deserted, the same as others in the neighbourhood.
Nowadays, owing to new roads, Velefique is easy to reach, but that isolation of centuries past is one of the reasons why the village is so unspoilt and attractive. It is as if time has stopped here. The grey slate houses rise above very narrow streets; the roofs of the houses are covered with the large flat stones, typical of the villages on this side of the mountain.
The inhabitants are rightfully proud of this charming location, flower pots and hanging baskets abound, contrasting delightfully with the darkness of the houses and the rocks of the mountains behind. To enjoy the village it is best to park just outside it, then walk through to the square where you will find a couple of bars to linger a while - because you will be reluctant to leave Velefique.