Walking Holidays in Spain - Mainland - Spain - Sierra de Aracena - Forests & Meadows

Holiday Highlights
  • Walking here is an easy and varied delight as you pass from one village to the next meeting locals with strong Portuguese dialect.
  • The hills are lush and green with groves of cork, oak and chestnut
  • The land is beautifully maintained as are the trees which can be hundreds of years old.

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Andalucia is well known among visitors enjoying its coastal resorts and mountains of the high Sierra Nevada, but in the far west lies the almost unheard of Sierra de Aracena.  This is ‘green’ Andalusia where villages are immaculately neat, white and adorned with azulejos; those beautiful blue and white tiles which Andalucia has long been producing. The proximity to Portugal caused centuries of battle over ownership leaving hills dotted with castles, streets ornately cobbled, churches painted and a blending of cultures, but Spain it remains.

Walking here is an easy and varied delight as you pass from one village to the next. The hills are lush and green with groves of cork, oak and chestnut. ‘Dehesa’ is the farming method; oak gives acorns, pigs love acorns, truffles thrive and so on. The land is beautifully maintained as are the trees which can be hundreds of years old.

In Spring wildflowers are in abundance with orchids and peonies growing by the wayside as bright sunlight filters through the trees creating patterns on the lush new grass.  Autumn brings on those rich golds and reds as the chestnuts mature, leaves turn and mushrooms poke through the warm soil. Above all, Andalucia is eternally blessed with water as it trickles along streams, springs from courtyard fountains and forms lakes in underground caves.

With gastronomy high on the region’s menu, Sierra de Aracena makes the perfect place to walk, eat and be merry!

Most days you follow our specially designed route using the many ancient paths linking villages in days gone by. Some are part-cobbled and worn smooth from centuries of use. Others are sandy forest trails wandering through neat, ancient groves of chestnut and oak. There is minimal road walking and only one end of day short transfer to accommodation.

Each day is gloriously shaded; that dappled shade which plays with sunlight but protects from intense sun. Through the trees, glimpses of white villages and castles delight and surprise.

Villages are conveniently placed for a lunchtime break or mid walk refreshments. Days are 3-4 hours in length so it’s unpressured and relaxed with just the right amount of hills to climb to make you feel as though you’ve had a good day walking.

Visit in Spring if it’s wildflowers you seek or Autumn for burnished leaves, golden light and mushrooms in the field.

Day 1. Arrive in Aracena and your first hotel. If time allows, climb up to the castle for your first glimpse of the surrounding Sierra or visit Las Gruta Maravillas renowned through all of Spain. Overnight Aracena.

Day 2.  Aracena to Fuenteheridos.  An easy day starts your trek around the Sierra de Aracena as you wander over gentle flower covered hills passing through forests of oak, cork and chestnut with an olive grove here and there. This is the furthest south that chestnuts can grow in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s unusual to see such ancient trees cultivated and protected. You will see happy, slate grey pigs foraging amongst oak trees nourishing their bodies…. ready for the most prized ‘jamon’ in Spain. Los Marines falls at just about the right time for lunch before walking on to Fuenteheridos.  Overnight Fuenteheridos.

Ascent: 350m Descent: 310m Distance: 13km Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Day 3. Fuenteheridos to Galaroza.  With more undulations the first part of this walk offers interesting terrain and so many wildflowers (for Spring walkers). A stop at the quaint little village of Castano del Robledo, as the day before, is ideal for mid walk refreshments. The second part follows a tranquil river through shady woods emerging close to Galaroza itself.  Overnight Galaroza.

Ascent: 315m Descent: 486m Distance: 12km Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Day 4.  Galaroza to Almonaster.  A slightly longer and more difficult day lies ahead only because of a steep climb and descent out of Canaleja on a part cobbled old way.  The reward, however, is that wonderful views and gorgeous forests make up the trail and end at the exceptionally pretty town of Almonaster la Real.  Overnight Almonaster.

Ascent: 613m Descent: 572m Distance: 13.8 km Time: 4 hours

Day 5.  Almonaster to Santa Ana la Real.  It is no hardship to retrace one’s steps this morning as the route seems ever more delightful in the freshness of a new day. It’s a day of views as the route traverses the highest point in Sierra de Aracena at 900m and the scenery continues for the rest of the day. A 10-minute transfer takes you to your accommodation. Overnight Santa Ana la Real.

Ascent: 570m Descent: 514m Distance: 12.5km. Time 4 hours

Day 6. Santa Ana la Real to Alajar. Today could be a semi rest day or you have the option of two add-on routes if you wish to walk further. It’s another pretty, undulating walk leading to the stunningly located village of Alajar nestling beneath a vast outcrop of rock. A climb to the top of this (1 hour) La Pena de Arias Montana is well worthwhile followed by the walk on to your delightful Casa Rural. Overnight Alajar.

Ascent: 125m Descent: 185m Time: 1 hour 45 minutes Distance: 6.5km

Day 7.  Alajar to Aracena.  Today your circular trek will be completed by walking onwards to Aracena. The route continues to be attractive, but drier now with olive groves replacing the lush chestnuts. Linares en route entices a linger in one of the village bars…. or restaurants if it’s lunch you’re seeking. Onwards from Linares a steady climb returns you to the familiarity of Aracena. Overnight Aracena.

Ascent: 345m Descent: 414m Distance: 10km Time 3 hours

Day 8. Depart Aracena

Arecena Trek

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You will stay in an interesting variety of Andalucian accommodation comprising a restored townhouse with roof garden, Casas Rurales and a delightful apartment set around a lush courtyard. Each overnight stay will include a room with private bathroom.


Availability Information

The best time to visit Sierra de Aracena is February to May and October to November, although the trek is possible from September to June. The Sierra de Aracena is surprisingly cool compared with nearby Seville at just 90 miles away and we therefore advise late June to early September 

July and August are very hot and so we do not offer these months. In spring an abdundance of wild flowers carpets the meadows and in autumn the changing colours of the chestnut trees are equally spectacular. 

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit. 

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