Sierras Subbéticas

Sierra Subbetica © Michelle Chaplow
Sierra Subbetica with photos from the villages of Carba, Luque and Zuheros in the provice of Cordoba Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow

Sierras Subbeticas de Cordoba

The Subbetica of Cordoba is an area of cultural, natural and historic interest in the southern part of the province of Cordoba. It takes in fascinating towns like Priego de Cordoba, Cabra or Baena and villages like Zuheros, Luque and Iznajar.

Geographically, it's in the heart of Andalucia, almost equidistant from the major towns of Cordoba, Granada, Seville, Jaen and Malaga. It´s been a melting pot and cradle for various civilisations over eight thousand years, and bears patient exploration. If there is an archaeological museum where you end up, visit it. You'll find fascinating exhibits, from Neolithic implements and Iberian statues to magnificent Roman mosaics and Moorish pottery. Information on the stands can be sparse, and is generally not in English, so if you can muster some Spanish, ask the curators about the exhibits- you´ll be amazed.

Spectacular baroque churches are another feature of the Subbetica, untold artistic riches nestling behind the modest church facades in many of the towns and villages. They´re not always open to the public at convenient hours, but you can always find out when Mass is taking place.

The Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park for wonderful walks and exploration. Spectacular views, caves complete with prehistoric paintings and rich flora and fauna are just some of the joys of this area.

Local customs are richly varied too, with spectacular experiences in store for the visitor in Holy Week, and colourful fiestas and romerias (pilgrimages) all year round.

Local gastronomy reflects centuries of influence from Romans, Arabs and Jews. The matanza (the slaughtering of the family pig) still takes place with all its resulting products, delicious sausage and black pudding. Kid is a speciality too, with the herds of goats also providing cheeses of superb quality. Don't miss the fine wines and liquors (based on anise) of this region, along with unique sweetmeats and quince jelly.

The Sierra Subbética is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park.
The Sierra Subbética is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park.

Southeast of Aguilar de la Frontera, on the border of the dramatically rugged limestone peaks of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, is the attractive town of Cabra, which has many interesting sights, including an archaeological museum and various churches and mansions. If you want to find out more about the Sierras Subbéticas, there´s also a visitors´ centre for the park here. Further south still is the large town of Lucena, well known for its numerous furniture workshops. It´s also worth stopping to explore its remarkable historic centre, with many fine examples of Baroque religious architecture.

In the southeastern corner of Cordoba province and on the northern edge of the Sierras Subbéticas is the mountain village of Zuheros, in a spectacular cliffside position with its intriguing Cueva de los Murciélagos (Cave of the Bats). Just east of Zuheros and also in the park is the pretty village of Luque, perched on a rocky outcrop and crowned by a castle. Seven kilometres north of Luque is Baena. Linking Zuheros and Luque and continuing southwest around the park to Cabra and Lucena, is the Vía Verde of the Subbética, an attractive walking and cycling route along the course of a former railway line. Overlooking the Sierras Subbéticas is the delightful Priego de Cordoba, a beautiful town renowned for its outstanding Baroque churches, some of best in Andalucia, and a magnificent fountain.

South of here is Iznajar, located on a promontory and transformed by the creation of a massive reservoir on its doorstep. As well as being a great place for a walk, swim or picnic, you can also go canoeing or sailing on the reservoir.

Villages

The distinct geographical setting of of Palenciana, set almost precisely on the border between the provinces of Córdoba and Málaga, means that the village is surrounded by a curious mixture of… More →

Fuente Tójar preserves an ancestral tradition that is celebrated during its Feria Real de San Isidro Labrador. The event features a troupe of famous dancers, made up of eight men dressed in… More →

Encinas Reales has a beautiful Neoclassical temple dedicated to La Advocación de La Expectación, and from nearby Vadofresno, one can see amazing views over the River Genil. In line with its name,… More →

Doña Mencía offers a wonderful blend of nature, culture and history, attracting a huge variety of visitors. Significantly, it is part of the protected Natural Park of the Sierras Subbéticas, where… More →

Benamejí sits curiously on the edge of an immense crack that has grown over the years, causing many houses to disappear. Despite its dangerous implications for locals, this geological phenomenon… More →

At first glance, Lucena appears to be composed entirely of furniture factories and retail outlets; however, the old town hosts many exquisite churches reflecting its importance in the Subbetica… More →

La Carlota is named after King Carlos III, who founded the present day town in a desert area known as La Parilla in an attempt to re-populate the area. The area attracted immigrants from central… More →

Rute overlooks the Iznájar reservoir, and is dwarfed by the Sierra de Rute that looms above it. It is best known for manufacturing aguardiente de anís, an aniseed-flavoured liqueur, the industry… More →

One of the most unique elements of Almedinilla is the way locals keep the flies and heat out of their homes. Traditional houses across Andalusia usually have plain metal or cloth curtains hung… More →

Carcabuey is a village filled with legend, with numerous mysteries revolving around the castle in particular. It has around 2500 inhabitants.

Cabra is the modern Spanish word for 'goat', but it is unlikely that local flocks inspired this town's name. It is thought to come from "Al-Cabri", a local poet from the tenth century whose full… More →

Glaring light reflecting from chalky white walls against the Mediterranean blue sky is everybody's image of a "pueblo blanco" (white village). Zuheros is one of the best of these, considered by… More →

As well as being a beautiful town, Baena is also an excellent base for exploring the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. Anyone keen on walking in these Sierras should try to get hold of the CNIG 1:… More →

Priego de Córdoba is a prosperous olive-farming town standing on a plateau, overlooking the rolling hills of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, and is famous for its Baroque churches, in which… More →

Iznájar was transformed some decades ago by the construction of an embalse (reservoir) below the promontory on which Iznájar sits in the River Genil valley. Today, Iznájar feels as though it has a… More →

Luque is on the fringes of the rugged Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, picturesquely set on a hillside, crowned by a castle and medieval defensive walls overlooking the main square. The town has… More →

Book Hotels in Sierras Subbéticas

Small rural hotel situated in Zuheros, one of the most picturesque of the "white villages" of Andalusia. The Moors influence is reflected in the narrow streets of this village, which is right in the centre of the Parque Natural de la Sierra Subbetica.

Set in the town of Cabra, near Cordoba, the MS Fuente las Piedras is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Subbeticas Sierras Nature Reserve. The hotel’s gardens include an outdoor pool and sun terrace. Air-conditioned rooms include a private balcony, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The bathrooms include free toiletries.

Hotel Santo Domingo Lucena is set in the heart of the historic Andalusian town of Lucena. The building was once a convent, and still has a beautiful 18th-Century cloister. Bedrooms at the hotel are simple and comfortable. They all have air conditioning and satellite TV. The en suite bathroom has a hairdryer and toiletries.

Parks

The Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park located in the heart of Andalucia between the three great cities of Cordoba, Granada and Seville. It lies within a… More →

The Cueva de los Murciélagos (the Cave of the Bats) is a system of caves situated on the edges of the limestone Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, 4km from the attractive village of Zuheros. Of the… More →

The Via Verde Subbeticas is a southern extention of the Vía Verde of the Olive Oil that originates in Jaen city. The Via Verde Subbeticas covers 56 km, much of it on the fringes of the limestone… More →