Cordoba Province - Sierra Morena

The Sierra Morena is an area of sparsely populated rolling hills that run across northern Andalucia, creating a natural barrier between Extremadura to the north and Andalucia. Few tourists venture into these wild and remote pine- and oak-clad hills, with its landscape, atmosphere and village architecture more typical of adjacent Extremadura or Castilla La Mancha than the rest of Andalucia, to which it belongs.

If you want to explore the distant hills, head for the area´s coal-mining villages. Although not as picturesque as the whitewashed villages in the south of the province, the granite houses have their own brooding appeal. Espiel clings to the mountainside, while Bélmez is in a similarly magnificent spot on a rocky crag topped by a castle. One of the last villages before Extremadura is Fuente Obejuna, where the hated lord was dragged from his mansion by the villagers and publicly executed in 1476. This dramatic event was immortalised by the famous 17th-century playwright Lope de Vega in his work Fuenteovejuna.

On the western flank of Cordoba´s Sierra Morena is the densely wooded Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park, which is similar in its gently rolling hills to the bordering Sierra Norte Natural Park in Seville Province. Like the Sierra Norte, the Sierra de Hornachuelos has been designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve for its principal land use: the dehesa, the mix of pasture - used for grazing livestock - and woodland - used for cork and producing charcoal. These extensive dehesas, typically wooded with cork and holm oaks, are a common feature of the Sierra Morena.

On the Sierra Morena´s eastern side is the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park, its Mediterranean woodland sheltering one of the last refuges of the highly endangered lynx, along with the rare wolf. Birds of prey are frequently seen soaring overhead and the park is to home to one of Andalucia´s largest colonies of black vultures. Don´t miss Montoro, an attractive town located on a hill above the Guadalquivir river and a good base for exploring the park.

Villages

Adamuz Belmez
This small village is found at the foot of Sierra Morena, next to the Camino de la Plata. The most interesting buildings in the village centre are the Iglesia de San Andres, in a gothic style, and the Torre del Reloj, built in the 16th century.
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The best views of Belmez and the surrounding area are from the castle, located on a rocky outcrop. More >
Espiel Fuente Obejuna
Espiel is an ideal destination for climbers, especially in the Sierra del Castillo: one of the best and most recommended climbing zones in Andalucía. More > This village is known as the modernist jewel of Córdoba, with the famous Casa Palacio Cardona the most important building in Fuente Obejuna.
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La Granjuela Los Blázquez
One of the most attractive things about this village is its food, specifically its speciality: suckling pig. Unfortunately this village was basically destroyed during the Civil War, so there are no historical buildings. More > Visitors to Los Blázquez have to try the exquisite cerdo iberico, in particular the chorizo. Places to visit include the Iglesia de la Virgen del Rosario and the Ermita de San Isidro. More >
Montoro Obejo
Montoro has been named an area of Historical and Artistic interest, and is located in the privileged environment of the Parque Natural Cardeña-Montoro.
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It is worth visiting this village for the romiería de San Benito pilgrimage, and to see Los Dazantes de Obejo, who accompany the saint in a procession to the chapel. More >
Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo Valsequillo
Its past as an industrial and mining town is evident in the buildings of this village. The chimneys of the old industrial zone are the most striking feature, amongst them the Museo Geológico-Minero which has a collection of minerals, rocks and fossils. More > The centre of this village is the Plaza de la Constitución, home to the most important monuments in the village: the town hall and the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción. Both of these buildings were constructed after the Civil War. More >
Villaharta Villanueva del Rey
Just 40km from Córdoba city, Villaharta welcomes a large amount of toursts who wish to enjoy its tranquil natural environment. More > Upon entering the village, visitors are welcomed by the Ermita de Santiago el Menor, located at the entrance to the village. The most important building is found in the centre: La Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción. More >
Villaviciosa de Córdoba
The two main monuments in this village are the Ermita de la Virgen de Villaviciosa and the Iglesia de San José. More >

Parks

Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Sierra de Hornachuelos
Part of the Sierra Morena, the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro covers 38,449ha of gently rolling hills in the far northeastern corner of Cordoba province.
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The Sierra de Hornachuelos extends for 60,032ha and is part of the vast 400,000ha Unesco Biosphere Reserve for the Sierra Morena mountain range.
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Sierra Norte
The central section of the immense Sierra Morena is made up of the extensive and sparsely populated Sierra Norte Natural Park.
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