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White-washed villages, chestnut forests and ibérico pigs roaming free amongst cork oaks. Enjoy the peace of rural Spain and a slower pace of life on this self-guided walking holiday through the lovely but little visited Sierra de Aracena.
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Your driver collects you from Seville at a time to suit you, either from the airport, train station or your hotel. The drive to the pretty town of Aracena takes approximately 1½ hours. From your hotel, head out on a short walking tour of Aracena, from its Moorish castle to the town's famous cave system, Gruta de las Maravillas, which you might like to visit.
Set off walking directly from your hotel, following an easy route through evergreen oak and chestnut forests along a pretty river valley. As with many of the routes in this area, paths are generally lined with either stone walls or wire fences, it keeps the wild boar away from the chestnuts and stops them interfering with the valuable iberian pig stocks. You also pass orchards and olive groves as you walk alongside the river.
Walking with just a daypack, set off from Aracena towards the pretty village of Cortelazor. For the first part of your day, the walk follows a pleasantly undulating track through pretty chestnut woods before it leads you up onto a ridge with wide views across the natural park. The last stretch of your walk is a particularly pretty cobbled trail leading into the charming small village of Cortelazor.
Leave Cortelazor for a beautifully varied, at times somewhat challenging, day of walking. The first section of the day is on a little used trail down to the river and steeply back up again to the higher hills across the valley. From Valdelarco an old cobbled path leads you through woodland alongside a stream to your charming hotel just outside the village of Fuenteheridos.
Today ́s walk, may be the highlight of the week in terms of walking. It is a beautiful traverse through the Sierra de Aracena passing through some of the prettiest villages of the area. In the afternoon the picturesque path takes you along streams, through chestnut forests and over the ridge to the south side of the Sierra. You might like to take a detour to the top of the Peña Arias Montano, for fantastic views all the way to Portugal.
Walk to nearby Alájar then cross country to Linares, one of the most picturesque villages in the area. It's also home to a rather lovely little restaurant which showcases local vegetable garden produce alongside the best of the acorn-fed jamon. To celebrate the end of your walk, we include a special tasting menu lunch here today at this extremely welcoming spot.
End your walking week today as you complete the circuit back to Aracena, where you started. It's only a short day today, so you could enjoy a morning by the pool before setting off later in the day, or set off early in order to have lunch in Aracena. There are some great places to eat here, and you'll have our local information and tips on our favourites.
It is up to you whether you prefer to head to Seville early in the day or linger in the Aracena hills before heading back to the city. The transfer to Seville is included, back to the airport or train station for your journey home, though equally you could extend your trip with a couple of days in this beautiful city. Note that flights/international travel are not included in this holiday.
The organisation and the places we stayed were amazing. Your choice of accommodation to allow us to really talk to people and the organisation definitely places you well above others doing similar trips.
Each day was filled with beautiful, challenging hikes that ambled through various terrains. The places we stayed were unbelievable! After a hard day of hiking it was such a pleasure to wind up in such lovely accommodations. Each one was unique in what it had to offer... Jennie S
White-washed villages, chestnut forests and ibérico pigs roaming free amongst cork oaks. Enjoy the peace of rural Spain and a slower pace of life on this self-guided walk through the lovely but little visited Sierra de Aracena. High quality small hotels, forested mountains and simply delicious food are waiting for you.
This is a walking holiday with reasonably strenuous hikes over several consecutive days. Daily distances range from 11-19km (7-12 miles). Although the Aracena Hills give the impression of being rolling and gentle, there are in fact some steep ascents and descents.
Having said this, altitudes are low, conditions underfoot are excellent and the weather generally benign which means that the walking is relaxed as you enjoy the long, warm days of Andalucía. You should, of course, be 'walking fit' to get the most from this trip though your local host is only ever a phone call away if you feel the need to bail out on a given day's walk.
As with all of our inn to inn walking holidays, you don't have to worry about your luggage, this is taken ahead for you each day to your next inn, leaving you to walk with a day pack.
The inns and hotels we use on this trip are small, charming and locally owned but of a high quality - mainly of a four star standard. For details, please see the summary section of our detailed pdf itinerary.
With regards weather, in July and August, temperatures are really too hot to make walking in Andalucia pleasant. In December and January rains come and can be very heavy so it's best to avoid these months too.
Apart from this, the holiday is enjoyable year round. Temperatures in early spring and late autumn will be cool - likely to be somewhere over 10° during the day. From April through June and September to October the temperatures will be more likely in the 20°s.
The Aracena hills are a genuinely untouched corner of Andalucía. It’s an area so little known that you see a way of life long forgotten elsewhere. You can expect total peace and quiet in small rural villages with older residents, in particular, sitting out of an evening watching the world go by - aided by the seemingly endless sweeping of doorsteps. In some of the villages you can still see women come out to wash clothes in the fountain together.
The Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park is one of the best preserved mountain areas in Andalucía, and contains some of the best examples of Mediterranean and chestnut forests. Although cork production is gradually dying out as screw caps gain popularity, you will still see the tell-tale stripped bark of cork oaks as you travel around the hills. Farming is strong in the area thanks to the traditional use of the forest. The evergreen oaks of the lower areas have traditionally been cleared to use the land for cattle (fighting bulls or the famous “pata negra” pigs), but leaving a low density forest that provides the food for the animals. The area is famous for its cured ham made from free-range pigs fed only on acorns.
We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.
In the form set out above, the holiday price includes very comfortable hotels and inns, all en suite. All breakfasts, three dinners and three lunches. Private transfers to and from Seville are included as are maps, walking notes, pre-loaded GPS and local support. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. The best option is to fly in and out of Seville (airport code: SVQ) though in and out of Malaga/Faro/Gibraltar or by AVE high speed train from Madrid also work. In short, there are many and varied options available which we will help you arrange when the time comes.
Price per person based on two travelling. Departs on a date to suit you from March to June and September to November. However, please note the holiday cannot start on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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