High Beauty Aracena
Aracena is located high up on Sierra Morena in the province of Seville in the south of Spain in Andalusia.Because it sits at a high point in this great natural landscape, this town enjoys crisp clear air all around. It is the capital of west Sierra with a population of 10,000 with a few historical sights like the Gothic Mudejar church, the medieval castle of Iglesia and a Moorish castle remnant.
Attractions of Aracena
Besides the impressive Gothic-Mudejar church, the Gruta de las Maravillas, which opens daily, holds the main attraction in this town. It is the biggest and most fascinating cave in the whole of Spain. It is astoundingly beautiful with its inner chamber, called Chamber of the Buttocks or Sala de los Culos, full of hilarious natural formations cast in lights of pink and orange to great effect.
Places to stay are quite limited, although the price range is from budget to luxury as with Casa Manolo to Hotel Sierra de Aracena. For the more adventurous, the outdoor campsite along Sevilla road comes with a pool.
Aracena is also well known for its jamon, which is a type of Iberico ham, as well as its wild spring asparagus that is freshly rooted out along the roadsides while its local snails are picked from the summer fields.
Even the quaint surrounding villages are very much involved the jamón industry. The town of Jabugo has its own curing factory. The locally produced mountain ham or Jamón serrano is usually put in a bocadillo or baguette form as a standard meal in Spain. Jabugo offers the best acorn-fed ham or jamón de bellotas, which can be confirmed by seeing the herds of pigs around the pasture looking sleek and grey under the oak trees. But when the acorns drop in October, the pigs will gorge themselves before they are slaughtered and the meat cured in the open in the mountain air.
Other nearby sierra villages like Jabugo, Almonaster La Real and Aguafria, are beautiful and charming bases for a refreshing walk around the region as the public transport is not dependable here. The best, most-interesting trail is the ALMONASTER LA REAL as it showcases a castle with a small 9th century mosque, the La Mezquita which is believed to be the most ancient of mihrab found in the whole of Spain. It opens daily for public viewing. There is also the local bullring at the village which is action packed during the August fiesta.