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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Spain & its Islands > Andalucía > New Year in the Aracena Sierra

New Year in the Aracena Sierra

Aracena, southern Spain's secret sierra
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This is such a great walking base that we also offer a week-long holiday here, The Treasures of Aracena.
  About Aracena >Declared a Natural Park in 1989, the Aracena Sierra forms part of the western reaches of the Sierra Morena, Spain’s longest mountain range. Its allure lies not just in its gently rolling landscapes, but also in its timelessness. There are only 40,000 inhabitants scattered over its 3,000 square kilometres, and the villages – and their ways of life – have changed little over the centuries. Ruined castles hint at more turbulent times – the border with Portugal is not far away – while mosques built by the Moors and cobbled Roman roads transport you even further back in time. You can still see mules ploughing allotments, hear the ringing of goat bells in the woods, and see men leading donkeys laden with shiny chestnuts. Sleek black Iberian pigs roam the oak forests, their diet of acorns making for delicious air-cured ham which is famous throughout Spain. Indeed, the regional gastronomy is excellent, featuring succulent gurumelo mushrooms, distinctive shellfish and caracoles (snails).
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided, single-centre walking holiday
  • gentle walking through timeless hills, route notes provided
  • visit nearby villages and discover a wealth of architectural treasures
  • traditional New Year’s Eve dinner
  • hire car included

In the Aracena Sierra north-west of Seville, an inviting network of shady paths lead you from one pretty village to the next, passing through cork-oak and chestnut woods where sleek black pigs forage for acorns. The natural pace of life is languid and the siesta sacred, while the cuisine is rich and wholesome, featuring the prized local jamón and other regional produce such as wild mushrooms and chestnuts.

We grew very fond of sleepy Alájar with its narrow streets, shuttered Baroque church and, rising high above on a cliff-face, the shrine of the Peña de Arias Montana glistening whitely.
     
The Independent

This is certainly a corner of Spain that is worth taking your time to explore – seemingly every village hides an architectural treasure – and a New Year break here, amid such timeless landscapes, will leave you refreshed and invigorated for the year ahead. You enjoy four nights in the sleepy village of Alájar at the friendly Posada de San Marcos, a charming country hotel with just six cosy rooms, where the relaxed, low-key celebrations focus on a gastronomic meal of traditional local dishes.

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Spain
 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
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mm 78 68 61 54 34 17 1 5 21 61 89 90

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.