Area Guide - Aracena
The road from the coast ascends into the mountains of Aracena from the flat plain, past villages and fincas, with broad views of the countryside through endless olive and vine groves where half-wild boars roam freely, foraging for acorns amongst the cork-oak trees.
You can detour to visit the mines of Rio Tinto and take a train trip through a strangely captivating world full of interest and beauty and stories of days gone by. It is worth leaving a day free for this trip.
At the high town of Jabugo you can buy from the producers, the unsurpassed ‘jamon iberico’ and ‘jamon serrano’ cut into tissue-thin slices.
Aracena itself is a white mountain town, with everything you expect from such places, friendliness, delicious food and wide views from the Moorish fortress high above it. The town has made a feature of fascinating sculptures; you will encounter them and photograph them as they surprise you on pavements and in squares.
There are small hotels, rural inns and peaceful, pretty walks through chestnut woods, beside streams, or stiffer climbs in the higher ranges for mountaineers. This is picnic country, a tranquil place to wander under ancient trees, and breathe mountain air.
Under the limestone cliffs of the fortress at Aracena are the huge Grutas de las Maravillas (the Caves of Marvels) which are 2 kilometres long, and where, if you wait until a group of 25 has gathered, you will have a subterranean tour lasting an hour, at a humid 17 degrees. You will pass through cavernous spaces, into chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, reflected in clear pools. There are six underground lakes, and you will gasp as you enter the Hall of the Great Lake.
These lovely mountains are sometimes called the ‘secret’ Sierras, recently ‘discovered’ by international tourists. For as long as summer temperatures rise in their city, the people of Seville always have and always will seek refuge in the shady peace of the Aracena mountains.
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