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Walking in the Sierra Aracena
8 days
Spain - Trip code SLA

Walking in the Sierra Aracena

Explore the trails of Spain's unspoilt UNESCO Heritage Reserve Sierra de Aracena on this relaxed walking trip through rural Andalucia. The pretty 'white village' of Castano de Robledo is set amid a verdant and rolling landscape of hills and forests of cork, oak and chestnut trees. From our traditional village house we take scenic walks along ancient drover routes, and hike up Cerro San Cristobal for spectacular views over the surrounding area. Learn about traditional farming techniques and sample the delicious regional cuisine, including Jabugo's world renowned cured ham.

Trip highlights

  • Castano del Robledo - Stay in a converted traditional village house in the untouched Sierra de Aracena
  • Aracena National Park - Walk through the lovely countryside of this UNESCO Biosphere
  • Cerro San Cristobal - Hike to the summit of the second highest peak in the Sierras
  • Local cuisine - Sample the famous Jabugo serrano ham, and local cheese and wine
  • Seville - Opportunity to visit this fascinating city
Accommodation grade:
These are often small, family run establishments or campsites which provide a no-frills experience with adequate amenities and service standards. Sleeping arrangements are simple, sometimes with en suite facilities.
Walking grade:
Easy To Moderate
This grade is ideal if you want to enjoy both easy and moderate level walks on the same tour. You’ll be walking mainly on good paths and at low altitude, with occasional more demanding ascents or descents.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.


Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join tour Seville Airport. Drive to Castano de Robledo

Our tour begins at Seville's international airport. Transferring to a private bus we then drive deep into rural Andalucia, towards the small village of Castaño de Robledo, close to the Portuguese border. Our destination is a converted guesthouse in the heart of the Sierra Aracena National Park. Surrounded by a verdant landscape of cork trees and forests of oak and sweet chestnut, this will be our base for the week, amongst the scenic grandeur of Andalucia's second largest natural park.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Hike to Pena de Arias Montano and El Calabacino

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Sierra de Aracena encompasses one of the largest areas of protected forest in Europe. After breakfast this morning we head out along an ancient cobbled trail that takes us through chestnut groves towards the picturesque white village of Alájar. The views look out towards the historical mines of Rio Tinto and at Peña de Arias Montano we find the remains of an imposing 17th century hermitage, built on a high promontory above Alájar. Continuing on to the village of El Calabacino, we then complete the circuit back to Castaño de Robledo.

Walking time: Four and a half hours. Distance 11 kilometres.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Walk along river to Jabugo, famous for it's serrano ham

Setting out from Castaño del Robledo we descend through chestnut groves and the beautiful Ribera de Jabugo valley to cross the Múrtiga river and then ascend to the famous ham village of Jabugo. Jabugo's 'Protected Designation of Origin' status reflects the universally acknowledged premier quality of its cured hams. We'll learn about the essential factors that contrive to make this Spain's foremost national delicacy - the local Iberian Black pig, the acorns from the native Holm oaks and the time-honoured curing tradition that today sees the village play host to literally millions of hams hanging in vast curing sheds. We'll visit one such shed to learn about the salting and curing process and, of course, we'll have ample opportunity to try the acclaimed finished product. In the afternoon we return to Castaño on foot through a landscape of wooded hillsides and valleys.

Walking time: Four hours. Distance: 11.3 kilometres

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Hike up Cerro San Cristobal. Visit local winery

Today's high level walk takes us to the historic village of Almonaster La Real. Climbing out of the bowl of hills that surround Castaño, we head along a ridge and past pens of prized Iberian black pigs towards the peak of Cerro San Cristobal (907m). Crossing the second highest mountain in the Sierra's, we then head down towards the charming village of Almonaster, with its exquisite 9th century hilltop mosque. En route we visit Porrejona Vineyard before returning to Castaño by minibus.

Walking time: Three and a half hours: Five hours. Distance 9.5 kilometres.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Free day; option to visit nearby Seville

Depending on our interests there are a choice of activities available today. From nearby Fuenteheridos the public buses provide a regular service to Seville, providing an ideal opportunity to pay a day trip to the Andalucían capital. Other options include horse riding, mountain bike hire or a trip out to the Rio Tinto mines to visit the museum and the mine workings. You could also return to Aracena to revisit the castle and the caves. Alternatively there are a number of short walks around Castaño that take in the broad vistas of the Sierra de Aracena's beautiful landscapes.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Circular walk via cheese farm to Aracena.

A twenty five minute drive this morning brings us to the isolated Monte Robledo farm situated in the Holm oak groves north of Aracena. For generations the Rodriguez family have continued the time-honoured tradition of making cheese from their own free range goats. We'll help hand-milk the goats, see the fabrication and curing facilities and learn about the processes involved. We'll also participate in a workshop making our own cheese and trying a few of the different varieties produced on the farm (accompanied, of course, by a glass or two of local wine). Late in the morning we'll begin our walk to Aracena via the tiny village of Carboneras where we can stop for lunch. The final part of the walk follows the fertile valley of the "Fuente del Rey" and once in Aracena we'll have time to explore the town, visit the famous "Cave of Wonders" and have dinner before returning to Castano by bus.

Walking time: Three hours. Distance 9 kilometres.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Walk via farmland and steep gorge back to Fuenteheridos

After breakfast this morning we drive the short distance to Fuenteheridos, to begin our final day's walk. We begin by crossing an open rural landscape of farms, orchards and meadows, known collectively as Valdelama, before following an undulating trail that eventually leads down to the pretty village of Cortelazor. From here we complete a seven kilometre circuit that takes us across the steep 'Arroyo de Guijarro' gorge and along an old drovers trail down to the river, where we have a chance to relax before heading back up to Cortelazor to meet our waiting bus.

Walking time: Five hours. Distance 13 kilometres.

Accommodation: Posada del Castano(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Tour ends Seville Airport

Driving back to Seville today our journey ends back at the city's international airport.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Walking and Trekking information

Walking grade
Easy to moderate
Trek details
On this walking holiday we walk on 5 days for between 4 to 6 hours each day. We have graded this trek as easy to moderate. The maximum ascent in any one day is 400m.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 7
  • Bus
  • Taxi
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
  • 7 nights simple guesthouse
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information



Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a Spanish trip - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The high central plains suffer from fierce extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. Spain's Islands the Canaries and Balaerics experience very mild winters and warm summers making them ideal year round destinations.

Time difference to GMT



2 Pin Round


Roman Catholic


Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

Activities & Excursions in Aracena
Aracena - Taxi to Aracena €40 (up to 7 in taxi)
Entrance fees to caves: €8.50pp (€6.50 for over 65yrs)
Half day horse riding: €50pp
Rio Tinto Mines €17pp plus transport €80 (up to 7 in taxi).

Activities & Excursions in Seville
Seville - Day trip by public bus: €9 return bus fare.
Also allow approx. €20 for various local transport to restaurants, for optional walks and for entrance fees in Seville.
Mountain bike hire €19/day pp incl helmet


Andalucia is generally mild, though the Sierras are subject to some rain. Waterproofs for the rare shower are recommended. Lightweight cotton clothing is advised from June to September. Outside these months a warm sweater or fleece, plus a waterproof/windproof outer garment is recommended. Don't forget your swimming costume.


We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.



Luggage: On tour

One main piece of luggage and a daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own baggage - so don't overload yourself.


During the summer months we recommend you bring a sunhat and sunscreen as temperatures can be high.


Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow €10-15 for tipping.

In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

Country Information


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Lunch price
£8.00 - 12.00
Dinner price
£16.00 - 20.00
Beer price
£1.50 - 2.50 (depending on the region/area in Spain)
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Recommended Currency For Exchange
We recommend you take the majority of your spending money in Euros cash.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
In cities and most major towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in larger restaurants and some shops.
Travellers Cheques
Not recommended.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Taxi

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.

Located on a narrow cobbled street in the mountain village of Castano del Robledo, Posada del Castano was originally a large traditional Andalucian village house. Lovingly converted into a simple guesthouse the building retains many of its original features including rustic terracotta floor tiles and chestnut roof beams. The house remains cool in summer and cosy in winter thanks to the thick outer walls, whilst the terrace and courtyard serve as perfect outdoor space to enjoy the sunshine. Facilities include an upstairs small lounge complete with comfortable seating, books and games, and a balcony offering views of the red-tiled roof tops of the village set against the lush green hills beyond. A continental breakfast is served in the largest room of the house, with large antique wooden doors opening out onto a covered terrace overlooking the courtyard below and garden beyond. The courtyard features a shaded cushioned bench and a table, whilst the garden has a lawn bordered with flowers amongst the cherry, plum and persimmon trees. The guesthouse offers eight rooms, of which seven have en-suite bathrooms. Rooms are accessed either through the courtyard, the terrace or the upstairs lounge and all have their own unique character. All feature wooden furniture, terracotta tiled floors and roof beams in line with the rest of the house.

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Spain: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.



Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

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