Nestled within Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche, Aracena is a charming town in the Spanish province of Huelva. It’s famed for its hilltop castle and underground caves and is a renowned stargazing destination as part of Sierra Morena’s Starlight Natural Reserve.
Things to do in Aracena
Watching over the town is the Aracena Castle, an imposing military fortress established in the 13th century on the site of a Moorish castle. Walk along the ramparts and admire the 16-metre-tall tower before exploring the remains of an ancient Moorish residence. Hidden beneath the hill on which the Aracena Castle stands is the Gruta de las Maravillas, a spectacular cave system that can be visited on guided tours.
One of Aracena’s most important architectural landmarks is the Iglesia Prior de Nuestra Señora del Mayor Dolor, which was built between the 13th and 15th centuries in a Gothic-Mudejar style. It houses an image of the Virgin of Mayor Dolor, the patron saint of Aracena, as well as centuries-old altarpieces and paintings. Also of note is the Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción, a beautiful Renaissance church designed by Juan de Calona.
If you’re interested in the cultural and gastronomic importance of Iberian pigs, don’t miss the Museum of Ham, which explores the history and traditions surrounding the industry. Across seven rooms, you can learn about the life of Iberian pigs and their diet, as well as the ageing and curing processes of the meat. Tastings of Iberian ham are also available.
Getting around Aracena
Aracena is just over an hour’s drive from Seville and Seville Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Regular buses connect to Aracena and the town centre is small enough to explore on foot.