What to do in the Sierra de Aracena

Drive around at sunset.

Rolling through the Sierra with the sun setting, when the sky turns pink and the hills turn golden, makes you glad to be alive – all the more so if you’re heading up after work. Head west of Aracena itself for the best views.

Taste the gin.

This small distillery outside Aracena contains a shop with a wide selection of gins, liqueurs and whisky, all produced on site, and a small museum showing off some of the equipment and old photos of the place. The lady at the till is very liberal with how much you can taste, though try not to get carried away if you’re driving!

Go hiking.

Senderismo is quite popular in Spain and plenty of trails criss-cross the hills, taking you through olive groves, cork oak and pine forests and past pig pens. Plenty of hills = plenty of viewpoints, and heading up one of these trails at dawn or sunset can be quite worthwhile.

Go birdwatching.

The Sierra is a great place to spot birds such as woodpeckers in the forests, bee-eaters along the river banks and birds of prey circling overhead, looking for their next meal. Of note is the endangered black vulture, given that the largest colony in Europe is to be found here.

Taste the ham.

It’s a bit of a tall claim to say somewhere does the best ham in Spain, but with the local pigs reared on a diet of olives and spending their lives living freely in the sun and the fresh mountain air rather than cramped into pens, we’re going to make it anyway. There’s even a ham museum if you want to learn more.

See the Gruta de las Maravillas.

The real-life Cave of Wonders tends to be the high point of peoples’ visits. Beautifully formed stalactites and stalagmites perch above azure pools of water, visitors are led around boardwalks by guides who explain the caves’ formation and history. Rather conveniently, they’re located within the heart of Aracena town. 

Explore the castles and monasteries.

Dotted around this region, many of these were built by the Moors and converted into churches after the Reconquista – though, they still retain their original Moorish designs and some bear the name “Mezquita”. The largest is to be found in Aracena, with smaller ones in the towns to the west.

Tip: There’s a tourist card for Aracena’s attractions (the castle, the caves and the ham museum) which makes visiting all three cheaper if that’s your plan.

Stay a while.

We are going to inaugurate our rural coliving in September 2021 – Cabilaco is excited and looking forward to welcoming you. We are offering long-term options for those who want to enjoy the calm of the countryside without making a full-on clean break from work life. With fast internet, it’s a great place to get on with your projects, and when you’re done the activities of the Sierra are right there – plus, there’s a fireplace to keep you toasty at night!

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