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.
The two main monuments in this village are the Ermita de la Virgen de Villaviciosa and the Iglesia de San José.
Upon entering the village of Villanueva del Rey, visitors are welcomed by the Ermita de Santiago el Menor, a beautiful chapel providing just a small insight into the rich local history. It has… More →
Villaharta welcomes a large number of tourists who wish to enjoy its tranquil natural setting. The small town has around 660 inhabitants.
Valsequillo is a small village whose Plaza de la Constitución is a testament to the rich local history, with post-Civil War monuments, the Town Hall and the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción.… More →
Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo was once an industrial and mining town, and the chimneys of the old industrial zone are still one of the town's most striking features. Today, its highlights include the… More →
Obejo's annual religious festivals alone make the village worth a visit, with the Romeria de San Benito pilgrimage, and Los Danzantes de Obejo, a display of dancing which accompanies the village's… More →
Montoro has been named an area of Historical and Artistic Interest, and has a privileged location at the heart of the Parque Natural Cardeña-Montoro. The town has around 9500 inhabitants.
Visitors to Los Blázquez have to try the town's exquisite cerdo ibérico (Iberian pork), in particular the chorizo. The small municipality has around 730 inhabitants.
One of La Granjuela's most attractive offerings to visitors is its food, in particular its speciality of suckling pig. Unfortunately, the village was largely destroyed during the Civil War, so… More →
Fuente Obejuna is known as the modernist jewel of Córdoba, with the famous early twentieth-century Casa Palacio Cardona the town's most iconic building. It has around 4700 inhabitants.
Espiel is an ideal destination for climbers, a 45-minute walk from the peak of the Sierra del Castillo; one of the most beautiful and popular climbing zones in Andalucía. The small city has almost… More →
Belmez is a small whitewashed village with around 3000 inhabitants. Its mountaintop castle is the village's centrepiece, and affords spectacular views of the surrounding Sierra Morena.
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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, along with the natural parks of the adjacent Sierra… More →
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. Its slopes, rising from 400m to the highest… More →