Zufre is described as 'a white village hidden amongst the clouds and nature' and is just an hour's drive north of Seville, in the middle of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park in the province of Huelva. Its population is 1.000. Due to its geographical situation and altitude at 450m, the colder winter months see an average temperature of 10ºC and in summer the average is 25ºC. Once you have explored the village and taken in the breathtaking view from the highest point, you may wish to explore the area on one of the many nature walks, or even go rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching or fishing. Zufre is a place to spend a few days just relaxing and soaking up the natural surroundings, which are steeped in a not-so-calm history, up to the turbulence of last Inquisition and beyond.
Since Neolithic times man has been hunting and gathering in the forest in the area of Zufre. Knives and chisels found in the vicinity have been dated back to the Bronze Age. Activities in the past history range from farming and cattle breeding to mining. In the 5th Century at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, little historic evidence is available, but there are traces of the Muslim influence of the 8th Century. Proof of this exists in the form of an official 14th century stamp with he spelling of the place name as "Xufre", which is of Arabic origin.
Zufre became one of the most important strategic areas in the region, due to its access to Seville from the mountains and so a fortified wall was built around it, making it into what has been described as an Eagle's Nest. During the Early Middle Ages, Zufre was officially classified as a 'town' and that was when the fortified walls were built to ward off the pillaging raids by the Portuguese invaders. The widely dispersed population of the time all gathered within the town's walls for protection and safety
After a turbulent historic time, the beginning of the 20th century brought hope to Zufre. The construction of the railway line in 1905 connected the previously isolated hills to the outside world. The Minas de Cala to San Juan de Aznalfarache (nr Sevilla) passed through Zufre and was used to transport both goods and passengers until closure in 1955.
If arriving by car from Sevilla via Santa Olalla after crossing the reservoir, take the first signposted entrance to Zufre which leads up the pretty, steep, cobbled avenue overlooked by the church. Follow this road as it bends round to the left. At the top you may be lucky and find a parking space, if not, look for the sign on the right 'Parking' and 'Casa Vesta' - 100m down this narrow road you'll see a car park on the left-hand side. Walk back to the top and head up the ramp towards the church square.
THINGS TO SEE IN ZUFRE
A full guide to the many things to see in Zufre
Zufre has quite a number of interesting things to see including several small squares. Highlights are the Church square with its 16th-century Iglesia Purísima Concepción, the old town hall building and curious fountain Fuente de la Consejo. Stop for a drink and rest at Paseo de los Alcaldes with its interesting ceramic tiled decorations and magnificent views located next to the bullring. On the edge of the village is the Ermita de Santa Zita with its interesting legend. A few km away in the countryside near the lake is the Ermita Virgin del Puerto. More>
The weekly market is held every Monday in the Paseo de los Alcaldes.
Easter week is an excellent time to visit the Zufre, which comes alive with religious processions and celebrations.
The Zufre 'Romería' and Fair
End of August to the beginning of September.
Religious festivals are what people live for in Andalucian villages. Zufre is no different and the place really comes to life during the September 'Feria' celebrations. Starting with a procession, on the last Sunday of August, where an image of the patron saint, Virgin Mary, is carried from the village church to a chapel some 12 kilometers away, the whole town comes out to take part in the pilgrimage. The women wear traditional Flamenco dresses and the men ride their beautifully turned out Andaluz horses. When the Virgin arrives at the Chapel of Nuestra Señora del Puerto, the men ride their horses at a fast pace around the church in celebration and in honour of the Virgin. The horses are once again protagonists later in the evening when they race through the narrow streets of the village leading up to the Plaza de la Quebrada, where onlookers line the streets to watch.
First weekend of September
Many activities are planned during these days in which the village never sleeps. There is traditional singing, cultural gatherings, bullfights and sporting events. Stalls known as 'casetas' are set up where you can try the exquisite 'Jamon Serrano' and sip a glass of Sangria while you watch - or even join in - signing and dancing Sevillanas!