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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Spain & its Islands > Andalucía > The Aracena Sierra

The Aracena Sierra

Andalucia – chestnut woods & hidden valleys
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We also offer a week-long version of this break, Treasures of Aracena. Alternatively, why not add on a couple of nights to explore either Seville or Málaga, if flying via either of these cities?
  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
  • stay in a charming rural hotel with an included hire car
  • excellent regional gastronomy
  • walking routes provided
  • glorious woodland and far-reaching views

Andalucia’s Aracena Sierra is a land of glorious woodland and far-reaching views, of soft, rounded hills and crystal-clear streams. Tucked away close to the Portuguese border, it is dotted with small, workaday villages whose inhabitants live in harmony with the land and, as you walk along inviting paths through mature woodland and picturesque valleys, you get a glimpse of Spanish rural life.
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
The rolling hills lend themselves to leisurely discovery on foot. Indeed, this is a region not to be rushed, as exploration of the sierra’s timeless villages reveals hidden architectural gems, from ancient mosques to Baroque churches. Staying in the delightful village of Alájar, which itself boasts a 16th-century chapel, you can make use of your hire car to walk and explore as the mood takes you, gaining an insight into this fascinating corner of Andalucia and sampling some of the many wonderful restaurants in this gastronome’s paradise.

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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.