Travel Diary: 3 Days in Sierra de Aracena, Spain

November 23, 2017

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Last month I visited Sierra de Aracena, which is a collection of charming villages amidst a lush national park in the province Huelva located in Andalusia, a southern part of Spain. My days consisted of lots of food. Really good food that is! Besides my gastronomical adventures, I also explored many beautiful villages and learnt a lot about the region, its traditions and its locals. In a nutshell, Sierra de Aracena is truly a hidden gem!

DAY 1
From Berlin I took a flight to Zurich before heading to my final destination Seville. A quick train ride later from the airport of Zurich, and I was catching up with a good friend over lunch. After a short, but sweet visit it was time to head back to catch my next flight. Note to myself: explore Switzerland!

In the evening I arrived at the beautiful four star property Hotel Convento Aracena & Spa. The special thing about this hotel is that it is situated in a restored convent from the 17th century.
After a long day of traveling, we had some Spanish dinner in the heart of Aracena. Favorite dish: the local mushrooms (the best I’ve probably ever had!).

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DAY 2
Waking up, I was excited for my first full day of getting to know Sierra de Aracena! All villages that we went to that day were full of cute, little white houses and colorful flowers – an Instagrammer‘s dream!
The first stop of the day was Jabugo, the hub of the finest ham in the world! This region is the place of origin of the acorn-fed Black Iberian ham. For this reason, we visited a so-called ‘dehesa’, which are the fields of cork and holm oaks that the pigs call home. We also learnt how the ham is salted, naturally dried and traditionally matured in a production facility. I can basically add ‘Iberian ham expert’ to my CV.
PS: A detailed guide to Sierra de Aracena including a local ham experience will follow!

All the walking around the dehesa made us quite hungry. That day we had lunch literally in the countryside; there was nothing around us except trees and meadows. The chef prepared our food on a table next to a tree. This was such a special and magical experience!
Regarding food, we had lots of variations of ham, more delicious local mushrooms, Spanish specialities like ‘tortilla de patata‘ and of course tasty desserts. I am actually not sure, if I’ve ever had so much good quality food in such a short amount of time.

To catch the sunset, we drove to Almonaster, a charming village with a lot of heritage. On top of the hill, there is an old mosque, which overlooks the village. That exact spot was the place where we watched the sun slowly disappear between the lush mountains. Pure bliss!

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DAY 3
We started our day with a visit to a local bakery in Aracena to see how they make all these delicious little pastries. Yumm! Aracena is a great place to just get lost and stroll around to stumble upon some pretty corners (and take too many photos).
One of my highlights during this trip was visiting the breathtaking cave Gruta de las MaravillasThe cave changes its appearance every few meters and you can see small lakes with crystal clear water every now and then. The pictures really don’t do this beauty justice and I highly recommend a visit.

After another great lunch, we drove to a hill called Pena de Arias Montano in Alajar. On top of the hill you can find a small church and a beautiful arch. We were told that this is a spiritual and magical place, where people from all over the world come to.

In Castillo de Aracena we watched the sun set over the white village, which was the perfect way to end this journey. That night I fell exhausted, but happy into my bed. My trip to Sierra de Aracena came to an end and I wouldn’t have minded staying another day in this hidden gem!

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Thank you to Somos Destino Rural for inviting me. However, the opinion and photos are as always my own. 

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