Best Things to Do in Aracena Spain on a Weekend

Aracena Spain is a charming city in Andalusia. It is located in the province of Huelva and serves as the capital of the Aracena and Picos de Aroche mountain ranges.

It is a typical Andalusian white village, boasting a rich heritage, many slopes, and excellent cuisine. It is very close to Seville.

In this post, I will tell you what to see in Aracena Spain, a journey to enjoy “slow travel,” history, architecture, and above all, gastronomy.

Discover the Sierra de Aracena and treat yourself!

Aracena from the castle

What to See in Aracena, Spain?

The order of visits is the one we followed, but you can adapt it to your preferences.

We arrived on Friday at 8:00 p.m., so we didn’t have much time that day. We took a stroll around the town and had dinner at the Huerto Nun Restaurant, which is located in the Hotel Convento de Aracena where we stayed for two nights.

A must-visit is the Jamones Eíriz (Eíriz Hams). If you are a fan of Iberian ham, this visit is a must.

Visit Eíriz Hams

If you are a fan of Iberian ham, this visit is a must.

During this tour, you will get an up-close look at all the stages involved in producing Iberian ham.

In this case, it is the Jabugo designation of origin, known for being among the best in the world. They have been producing them since 1840 using traditional methods, so they must know a thing or two.

The Eíriz visit begins in the Dehesa, which is part of the Biosphere Reserve and Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena.

Did you know that, to be considered Iberian ham from Jabugo, each pig must have one hectare of space?

In this case, they have 15 hectares for 15 pigs!

aracena eiriz hams

During the visit, they explain the whole process, what the pigs eat, how they live, and they show us how to identify good Iberian ham. One of the highlights of the visit is the tasting of the ham they produce at Eíriz.

Did you know that Iberian ham is traditionally paired with generous wine? They explain the reason, and it makes perfect sense.

The reason is that this region doesn’t produce red wine grapes, so they have always enjoyed ham with white wine.

aracena eiriz hams

During the visit, they share these and other fascinating facts. Additionally, our guide, Jesús, makes the experience enjoyable, answers all your questions, and expertly carves the ham.

To be able to take the tour, you need to make a reservation online at [email protected] or call 959 120 019.

Hotel Convento de Aracena and Spa

In the morning, we visited Eíriz, had a wonderful lunch at Huerto Nun, then took a guided tour of the Hotel Convento de Aracena and enjoyed its spa. It was a fulfilling day.

Aracena convent hotel

The Hotel Convento de Aracena is an old convent, as you might have guessed from its name. It dates back to the 17th century and has been completely restored and transformed into a four-star hotel with all the amenities.

For years, this Convent served as a ceramics factory, providing employment to the local people and the surrounding area. However, five years ago, it was converted into this splendid independent hotel.

Aracena convent hotel

The area where the church used to stand is now a peaceful place to take a rest. When you visit the café, take a look at its ceilings; they are the original ones and have been beautifully restored.

The hotel offers 57 rooms, and room number 24 used to belong to the Mother Superior. In the cloister, you can still see ancient water wells and a garden where the nuns used to have theirs.

convent hotel

Of course, you can enjoy the swimming pool, the restaurant, and a relaxing time at the spa.

The Grotto of Wonders in Aracena, Spain

It couldn’t have a more fitting name. The Grotto of Wonders is incredibly beautiful and amazing.

grotto of wonders 3

First, when you are arriving you have the feeling that you are going the wrong way. Why? Simply because when you enter the GPS coordinates, you might think it’s located on the outskirts of the town, in a remote place.

But that’s not the case; this cave is right in the center of the town. As you approach the entrance, you’ll still see houses.

When you park your car, you might think you made a mistake because the entrance looks like a building facade. But no, that’s the entrance to this marvel that Aracena Spain has. But if you want a guided tour, you can book one here!

aracena grotto of wonders

We entered the cave with our guide, and at every step, we were more amazed.

The Gruta de las Maravillas was discovered in 1850 during mining operations and has been a pioneer in underground tourism since 1914.

It’s a living cave, as water continues to shape the stone.

grotto of wonders

As you explore the Gruta de las Maravillas, you’ll see different forms created by nature, a magical underground landscape shaped by water over thousands of years.

Without a doubt, it’s a wonderful place you must visit in Aracena Spain, along with the castle that stands above the cave. Its cultural and gastronomic heritage makes your trip unique and unforgettable.

Hotels near the Gruta de las Maravillas:

Practically next to the Grotto of Wonders, you have two accommodations. I leave them below, although they are not very well-rated by customers.

If you’re looking for a special place to spend the weekend, I recommend these two:

We stayed at the Hotel Convento de Aracena, Spain, and it was a magnificent experience that I would repeat without hesitation.

The Castle of Aracena in Spain

The Castle of Aracena is located on the hilltop; from there, the town we know today grew.

The castle was built in the 13th century during the Islamic period on top of an ancient Muslim fortification.

aracena castle church

The fortress consists of an alcazaba, with the tower of the warden, a cistern, and walls flanked by towers, as well as a nearby area that housed medieval dwellings.

When Aracena Spain was given to the Order of the Temple, they ordered the construction of the Mudéjar Church of Nuestra Señora del Mayor Dolor. It’s the oldest church in Aracena, Spain.

aracena castle church

During the current visit, you can see the ruins of the ancient castle, visit the church, and enjoy the fabulous views that Aracena offers.

The castle tour is guided, and there is an option to buy a combined ticket for both the cave and the castle, with both visits requiring a guide.

A Walk through the Town of Aracena

The town has a lot of charm. A walk through its streets gives you an idea of the municipality’s importance and economic development. But you can make the experience better by wearing comfortable walking shoes.

aracena casino

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the Plaza del Pilar, the bullring, the Ayala Theater, the Santa Catalina Town Hall, the Arias Montano Casino, and the Gruta de las Maravillas reception building were all constructed.

aracena city council

Aracena is an ideal town to visit throughout the year.

Jabugo Route

The Jabugo Route: Ham has played a significant role in this region since ancient times.

The salted ham legs from the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche were among the most popular foods during the Roman Empire and even played an important role in Columbus’ adventure of discovering America.

The Jabugo route allows you to enjoy this tradition, which is a part of the life of these lands.

There are two Jabugo routes: one through Valdezufre, Corteconcepción, Aracena, Linares de la Sierra, and Alájar, and the other passes through Santa Ana la Real, Castaño del Robledo, Jabugo, La Nava, and Cortegana.

If you don’t have a car or enough time to explore all these towns, we recommend visiting Jamones Eíriz (Corteconcepción). It’s the tour we took, and we loved it.

Where to Eat in Aracena Spain

We had three highly recommended meals with local cuisine and high-quality products.

Huerto Nun Restaurant

This is the restaurant of the Hotel Convento de Aracena. We had dinner here the first night and had lunch the next day.

On both occasions, we give them a 10, both for the variety and the quality of the food. Everything was delicious.

restaurant huerto nun

The first night, we had excellent ham, a selection of hummus (beetroot, pesto, traditional, and piquillo), oven-baked salmon with a delightful cream of white asparagus and vegetables, and for dessert, goat cheese ice cream with maple syrup. I would return just for that dessert!

restaurant huerto nun

The next day, we had different varieties of cheese, foie gras with mango chutney, and Iberian pork loin stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras, followed by a blackberry mousse with creamy yogurt and Oreo cookie.

We also had breakfast here, and everything was delicious and varied. The best part was that on Sunday, Jesus from Jamones Eíriz was there, carving ham for breakfast.

Sirlache Restaurant

We had dinner here on Saturday night. This place specializes in mushrooms and local products.

It is frequented by locals and tourists who come in search of mushrooms. One thing that caught my attention was that many people ordered snails, but I didn’t dare to try them.

aracena sirlache restaurant

We had different tapas and dishes, including ham (a must-have), potato salad, tomatoes, mushrooms with blue cheese cream, and a grilled meat platter. Everything was very good, and the service was fantastic.

Mesón la Reja

Before heading home, after visiting the Castle and the Gruta de las Maravillas, we had lunch at this tavern. It’s a bit far to walk, but the meal was excellent.

As a farewell to the region, we ordered a plate of ham, some “huevos rotos” (fried eggs with ham), and Iberian pork loin stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras to share. Everything was delicious.

Where to Sleep in Aracena Spain

We stayed at the Hotel Convento de Aracena, and we loved it. This place is magical, beautiful, tranquil, well-located, with parking, and the service is top-notch.

The decoration is a blend of antique and modern, and it’s done with great taste.

It’s a place I would return to without hesitation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aracena Spain

Is Aracena Spain Worth Visiting?

Yes. It’s a charming city with its beautiful mountain landscapes, rich history, and delicious gastronomy.

What Is Aracena Known For?

Aracena is known for its stunning natural beauty, the Gruta de las Maravillas cave, traditional Iberian ham, and the picturesque white Andalusian village ambiance.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Aracena, Spain?

The best time to visit Aracena, Spain is during spring or autumn. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy outdoor activities without extreme temperatures. Book a flight earlier to get discounted rates.

What Is the Best Way to Travel around Aracena Spain?

The best way to travel around Aracena, Spain, is by car. It allows you to explore the surrounding areas, visit nearby towns, and access the beautiful countryside more conveniently. You can rent a car online with an internet sim anywhere before your trip to Aracena, Spain.

Plan Your Trip to Andalusia

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things to do in aracena spain

Last Updated on 6 September, 2023 by Veronica

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Author: Veronica

Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.


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