The Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche gives us a visit to mosques and churches, chestnut and cork oak forests, in addition to its gastronomy, which will captivate us throughout the trip. Through six municipalities, we will approach this beautiful corner of the province of Huelva.
Aracena: head of the region
Aracena is the largest municipality in the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park. Of its nature, appeared from the depths of its subsoil, La Gruta de las Maravillas stands out. The sound of dripping water and the crystalline beauty of its lakes impress her.
However, Aracena is also history; There is the possibility of taking a guided tour of the monumental complex of the castle and the local churches. We can’t stop going to the Ham Museum either to know everything related to the star product of this Huelva region.
The nature of the Sierra de Aracena Natural Park in Alajar
It is a small town located about 12 kilometers from Aracena, at an altitude of more than 800 metres. To go to Alajar is to go to the Peña de Arias Montano, an erudite theologian and adviser to Philip II, who, after participating in the Council of Trent, retired to this town.
The Peña de Arias Montano is a natural monument that amazes with its beauty and history. The visitor offers wonderful views not only of Alajar itself, but also of a large part of the province of Huelva. Inside the Peña, we can also visit the Hermitage of the Queen of the Angels.
To complement the description of the municipality of Alajar, we can also highlight its popular houses with narrow streets and the Church of San Marcos, whose tower presides over the square.
Almonaster La Real, a world of history
It is located about 20 kilometers from Aracena and stands out because it is a small municipality with just over 600 inhabitants. Of this artistic historical complex fall in love, in addition to its typical houses and its cobbled streets, its mosque.
The mosque is located at the top of the hill and is the most emblematic symbol of the population. It was built between the 9th and 10th centuries during the reign of Abd al-Rahman III, on the remains of Roman and Visigoth constructions. As a mosque, it preserves the open courtyard, the prayer room and the minaret, from where the faithful were called to prayer.
Cortegana and its castle
Of Cortegana we highlight, without a doubt, its castle. It is a fortress of medieval origin, which served to defend the border with Portugal and was built between the 13th and 14th centuries.
Likewise, the Parochial Church of Divino Salvador, the Church of San Sebastián and the Hermitage of Calvario are other tourist attractions in Cortegana.
Most of its inhabitants live from livestock. However, it also highlights its goldsmith, its lace and its forge workshops, converted today to saddlery.
Castaño del Robledo and its trails
It is one of the smallest towns in the province of Huelva, in the center of the Sierra de Aracena. In this town they have converted the old paths into trails for walking or exercising, among the beautiful chestnut trees that surround the place.
A church of a size not very consistent with the town itself stands out, the Church of Santiago Apóstol. It is known as the Monument and has more than 900 square meters, used for cultural activities.
Jabugo: protected designation of origin
Jabugo, in addition to the name of a town, is a ‘protected designation of origin’. This means that, under the Jabugo brand, the quality and origin of the Iberian products made in this Natural Park are certified.
It is essential to go to the most important ham factory in Spain in Jabugo, to do the guided tour that ends with a tasting. There, the habitat of the 100% Iberian pigs that are raised and fattened in the freedom of the pastures is explained. Then, the drying and curing treatment of the hams is also detailed.
From this visit it is possible to highlight two sensations. In the first place, the overwhelming silence of the cellar where the hams are cured. In addition, the flavor of the different parts of the ham in the final tasting is remarkable.
The gastronomy of the Sierra de Aracena Natural Park
In addition to the ham and all the products related to the Iberian pig, the gastronomy is rich and varied. Dishes such as migas, scrambled eggs with wild asparagus or ratatouille are complemented with all kinds of mushrooms.
To put the sweet end, we finish with the pastry. In this sense, the marzipan, pestiños and piñonates stand out. In short, the Sierra de Huelva offers a whole world to discover. Will it be your next destination?