Sierra de Aracena y los Picos de Aroche Natural Park
ITINERARIES FROM ARACENA
Heading to east and then north in the Sierra are some of the least visited villages of the Sierra, located on the perimeter of the Sierra and Andalucía. Take the N-433 towards Seville from Aracena and just after Higuera de la Sierra, 17 km from Aracena, there is a right turn on to the A-461 to Zufre, which is 9km away from the main road.
Continue on the A-461 towards Santa Olalla de Cala. A few kilometres out of Zufre, the road crosses the Embalse de Zufre (Zufre Reservoir). Fifteen kilometres from Zufre is Santa Olalla de Cala and its 13th-century castle can be seen before you get there. Santa Olalla de Cala is a busy village, as it sits on the N-630 Seville-Merida road called Ruta de la Plata. Once you head north, taking the A-434 left, 2km beyond Santa Olalla de Cala, the pace slows down again.
Two and a half kilometres before Cala, on the right, is a picnic area. With a small Ermita (hermitage), this is the scene of Cala's romería (pilgrimage) celebrating the village's patron saint San Roque, held over the last weekend in May. Just before this picnic area is one of Cala's mines, Minas de la Sultana.
Cala has a long history of mining copper and iron, now in decline, and a ruined castle. Three kilometres south of Cala is the eerily deserted mining village of Minas de Cala, which once was connected to the port in Seville with a railway. In contrast to the wooded countryside elsewhere in the park, this spot has been scarred by open cast mining and the big mineworks. Now most of the village houses have been left to fall into disrepair, but the place has a certain atmospheric appeal. One kilometre past Minas de Cala is a reservoir.
Back on the A-434 heading west, about 7km on from Cala, the road crosses a tributary of the Rivera de Hierro (the Iron River). There is a 12km circular walk here, going up or down river, that follows a series of dilapidated watermills and loops towards Arroyomolinos de León. The many streams (arroyos) surrounding this village are peppered with mills (molinos), relics of its past importance as a mill centre. The main street is lined with bars, so it's a good place to stop.
The road then passes through two small, isolated villages of Cañaveral de León and Hinojales and this narrow stretch is particularly beautiful; just out ofArroyomolinos de León are some spectacular views looking south. At Cañaveral de León you have the option of returning to Aracena via the Embalse de Aracena.
After Hinojales the road climbs up to the peak of El Viento (871m) and down to the open pastureland of Cumbres Mayores. The road then meets the N-435. To return to Aracena, turn left towards Huelva. The road follows some of the Múrtigas river valley and passes the village of La Nava. After 26km on the N-435 there is a junction with the N-433; turn left towards Seville and after 16km you return to Aracena.
Driving in Andalucia
Consult the extensve Driving in Andalucia section for advise on driving and the roads.
ITINERARIES IN ANDALUCIA
Consult our varied Itineraries in Andalucia originating form the Airports and the major cities.
Hotels in the main towns and villages. Bed & Breakfast and casas rurales (country cottages) in beautiful rural locations. More on Sierra de Aracena accommodation page >