Travels

What to see in Aracena (Huelva and the Grotto of Wonders)

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The north of Huelva is one of those corners that give a lot of play. Aracena, the exponent of the northern highlands, is the possible perfect link to spend a holiday in this corner of Andalusia, as we did for several days in a perfect spring.

The north of Huelva

Huelva is more than a beach

For many, Huelva is a beach, but the north, especially in spring, is a green-green color that rivals such emblematic places as Asturias. When we reached this place in Andalusia by car, we always had a moment to stop along the way, since the landscape is majestic. The pasture of northern Huelva is wonderful, and those mountains so green and those thick forests makes your camera start to burn.


Aracena
Dehesas de Huelva - Eiriz

Driving through such a place makes you want to make kilometers and kilometers. As soon as you find cars, people and in every corner there is always a surprise, a surprise where nature always stands out. But not everything is nature in this corner of Huelva, it is also the Ham, since we talk about the territory of Jabugo and such beautiful villages as Aracena, where its castle, the Convent / Hotel and of course the Grotto of Wonders, are exponents of a certain weight to put this place as your next destination.

What to see in Aracena

Walking tour

Aracena, as much of the villages of northern Huelva, It is a town to walk between huge slopes and white houses, houses where luckily they have been perfectly preserved with that color that gives such harmony and helps fight the heat. It reminds us of the white towns of Cádiz, but with a particular style, perhaps because of the good ham that exists in these places :).

You have to have good legs to travel around Aracena, especially if you are a brave and decide to climb on foot to castle, but with so much narrow street and movie alley, touring it by car is a real sacrilege. We start from a very special place, where we stayed, the original and special Convent of Aracena, where we will then explain how it is and its particular history.


Aracena

One of the things that caught Aracena's attention most is that there was hardly any asphalt, something that gives it a different touch. The streets are cobblestones or paved, giving a peculiar style to the town that next to the white facades make it necessary to see Aracena yes or yes.

Next to the Aracena Convent is the Santo Domingo Square, with the Hermitage of Santo Domingo in the background. Returning to the convent and going up the street of Jesus and Mary you reach the Church of the Assumption, one of the largest in the town and overlooking the castle. This place is what they call the Plaza Alta, and so high, since from there you have to go down a hill, Francisco Rincón Street, which more than one climber would have dreamed :).


Aracena
Aracena

Curiosity: People come out to pray at 6am on Sundays in October in honor of the Virgen del Rosario since 1670

In this part of Aracena we can access both the Marquis de Aracena Square as at Ham Museum as to the spectacular Grotto of Wonders, one of the most important landmarks that must be seen in Aracena, as it is one of the most impressive caves we have seen. The height, the lighting, the amount of water and the color of the walls are something of another world, it is sensational. A place of category, no doubt.


Aracena
Grotto of Wonders

From the Grotto of Wonders you can access the castle walking, a place that reflects the medieval and fortified era of which Aracena was. It is a good slope, but from there it is the best pedestrian access so that the climb is not so hard. The views and the castle entrance It is the best of Aracena. You can access the interior only with a guided tour, € 2.5, but it is enough if you visit its wall, the castle church and the entrance, the most outstanding points. The interior of the castle, where only ruins remain, it is possible to see a cistern and ancient Arab settlements.


Entrance to the Castle of Aracena
From the castle wall

Surely we leave on our route several important points of Aracena, but beware, Aracena itself is a monument, and just walking through its streets is a real reward.

Three magical places by Aracena

The Convent of Aracena

It is an old renovated convent of XVII century, a convent that was inhabited by closing nuns until 1975.

As the story goes, Mother Trinidad, blessed today, was the founder of the convent. She lived in what is today the room 24, that although she died before creating this complex, if she inhabited the lands where it was built, since there were several houses that were annexed to the convent at that time.


Hotel Convento de Aracena
Hotel Convento de Aracena

Shortly after his death they were 15 nuns those who "inaugurated" the convent, locking themselves in it for life. As good closing nuns they had strict schedules and dedicated themselves to handicrafts, housework or prayer until 1975, at which time it became a ceramic factory not being able to bear the debts they accumulated. In 2013 it became the hotel that we can enjoy today and that made it not fall into ruins.

You we recommend that you visit the church, which is to the left of the reception and in the background the sacristy. Above you can see the chorus and on the other side of the hotel the spectacular pool, what a view it has !, and the cloister, which gives several rooms and where are two of the three wells of the convent.

The third well never dried up, and I help the people of Aracena survive in times of drought

If you stay and you can choose, the room number 9 It is the prettiest, located at the height of the choir. It also has a lot of charm that give the cloister, as we could enjoy.



Hotel Convento de Aracena

Finally, stay or not, it is worth visiting to take a Gin tonic in his bar, which is under the choir, or dine in the restaurant, where the nun's garden was.

The pastures

They say that spring alters blood, because the same thing happens here but with the field. If in summer it is yellow, with the arrival of spring changes to a deep green color. The holm oaks and cork oaks and the multicolored flower shape this characteristic landscape where the Iberian pig lives. Remember that Huelva, and specifically Jabugo, is famous for being one of the 4 denominations of Iberian ham.


Dehesas de Huelva - Eiriz

A large number of visitors visit this area to possibly taste the best Iberian ham of the world and if you want to buy a good leg, we recommend you visit Eriz, a small winery where they have one of the best hams in the region.

The Grotto of Wonders

With more than 2km of galleries, and no less than 1.2km to visit, the Grotto of Wonders is one of the most beautiful caves and sight of Spain and Europe. They are open to the public since 1914 and you can see formations of stalactites and stalagmites forming beautiful lounges. The ones that stand out the most are the Great Lake, the Glassware of God, the Brilliant or the Emerald.


Grotto of Wonders
Grotto of Wonders

The guided tourIt lasts about 50 minutes, and admission costs € 9. There is the possibility of seeing additional corners for € 20. We recommend that you buy tickets online, as there are visits combined with the castle or the Ham Museum.

In high season reserve. Visits are limited to 1,000 people per day.

Practical data

Before leaving for Andalusia

  • Search and compare flights at the best price
  • Lonely Planet Guide
  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental found a 15% discount
  • The best excursions in the area

How to get

Aracena is just over 1h from Seville and an hour and a half from Huelva. From Madrid 5h, but on a trip with a lot of charm through the landscape that you discover along the way. See on Google Maps.


Aracena

Where to sleep

We cannot recommend other places except the one we slept, since both for the space, the quality of its service and the spaciousness and category of the rooms make the Aracena Convent one of the best places to stay in Aracena.

Where to eat

  • Aracena convent. It has a restaurant with a local and modern fusion. Try goat cheese ice cream or humus
  • Montecruz Restaurant. They have several of the best tapas in Andalusia, never fails
  • Jacaranda in Higuera de la Sierra. Although outside of Aracena it is well worth a visit, since it is one of the best in the area


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