Sierra de Aracena Natural Park is in Huelva Province of Andalucia. It is part of the Biosphere Reserve of Sierra Morena Pastures along with the natural park of the Sierra Norte de Sevilla and the natural park of Sierra de Hornachuelos, in Córdoba.
Its limited economic possibilities, beyond the sale of hams, explain its low population density.
It has an extensive forest mass, favored by a mild climate with high rainfall. It is a cattle region that benefits from its thick sclerophyllous vegetation of holm oaks and cork oaks and which, being severely punished by clearing, is giving way to a dense thicket of heather, mastic, strawberry trees and thyme. There are large pasture properties for pig farming, sheep, and cattle.
Flora and faunaEdit
Among the mammals of the park you can see mongoose, genets or otters. The birdlife is also diverse, it is the habitat of vultures, kites and black storks, among other species.
The town of Aracena is about an hour and a quarter from Seville by car, and is reached by taking the A66/E-803 north from the city (direction Merida). The Aracena turnoff is about 35 km along this road.
Buses ply the route to Aracena from Sevilla's Plaza de Armas bus station twice daily. For more information about bus times see the Andalusia.com website.
Other villages are serviced by less frequent buses. Many of these originate in Aracena.
Fees and permitsEdit
The interest of the visit to this park is justified by the richness of its landscapes of meadows of holm oaks and cork oaks, of chestnut forests and riverside forests; as well as for the quality of its gastronomic products, among them the acorn-fed Iberian ham from the Jabugo Protected Designation of Origin.
For many tourists to Andalucia, the Sierra de Aracena comes as something of a surprise. This range of hills, lush with cork oak forests and bright with flowers almost year-round has a cooler climate than that of the Guadalquivir river valley. It is also a hiker's wonderland with trails leading through some of the most enchanting countryside in all of Southern Spain.
While the region may come as a surprise to many outsiders, the Sierra de Aracena is a popular weekend getaway for Sevillanos (as the locals of Seville are known). Many own cottages or houses in the almost uniformly pretty villages scattered through the region.
The use of natural fruits from the park stands out for the elaboration of traditional products, such as liqueurs, which by macerating cherries, chestnuts or herbs, obtain wines of great value. One of the oldest distilleries in Spain, founded in 1870, the Martes Santo Distilleries, has a museum with free admission and free tasting of its products in the middle of the journey through the town of Higuera de la Sierra, where in a building by the architect Aníbal González, they carry out an ethnographic tour in the relationship of the natural environment and the use of it for the use of traditional products that coexist with respect where they are developed.