|The Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park|
Sierra de Aracena y los Picos de Aroche Natural Park
The Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park encompasses 184,000 hectares, an impressive 90% of it covered by woodland of mainly Mediterranean oak. The landscape is full of contrasts, with gently rolling hills and wooded valleys gradually giving way to dramatic rocky outcrops on high peaks. There is a rich and varied wildlife with plenty of chances to spot birds of prey or hear woodpeckers in spring.
Whitewashed towns and villages, often huddled round a large church or castle, are dotted around the Sierra, with a concentration of settlement along the N433 that runs east-west across the park. Away from these places, increasingly busy with mainly Spanish visitors, you can get a better idea of the tranquil nature of the villages and surrounding countryside. With the improved road to Seville making the journey to this city only an hour, it won't be long before even the sleepiest villages get their wake-up call.
With an extensive network of footpaths and centuries-old drovers' tracks, many now signposted and marked on walking maps, it's easy to explore the Sierra on foot. With many walks in the central part of the Sierra, you don't have to go far to reach the next village and there are lots of circular routes.
The Sierra is famous for its rearing of black Iberian pigs and these can be seen everywhere, particularly under holm oak trees where they search for the acorns that give their ham its distinctive quality. Factories for curing the renowned jamón Ibérico are dotted all over the Sierra. The most sought-after ham comes from the village of Jabugo, however, where the biggest ham producer, Sánchez Romero Carvajal, is based.
|The spectacular Autumn leaves in the Sierra de Aracena|
Hotels in the main towns and villages. Bed & Breakfast and casas rurales (country cottages) and Villas to Rent in beautiful rural locations. More on Sierra de Aracena accommodation page >
The Sierra is easily accessible by car, bike or on foot. Two major roads cross the Sierra: the east-west Seville-Lisbon N-433 and the north-south Huelva-Badajoz (Extremadura) N-435.
There are twice-daily trains from Huelva to the Sierra's two stations:Almonaster-Cortegana and El Repilado (for Jabugo). See our trains section.
The minor roads linking villages in the Sierra have been much improved in recent years.
Towns and villages
For a comprehensive guide to the villages in the "Sierra de Aracena y los Picos de Aroche Natural Park" and the wider area known as Sierra de Aracena consult our Sierra de Aracena section.