river walk río caliente El Repilado

Top 10 circular walks in the Sierra de Aracena

river walk río caliente El Repilado

The Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche Natural Park (I know, it’s a handful!) is known throughout the region of Andalucia for its fantastic hiking trails. Often following century-old donkey trails connecting the picturesque whitewashed villages, these walks offer a great way to discover all the Sierra de Aracena has to offer: untouched nature, amazing viewpoints, the unique dehesa landscape and intimate towns dotted around the rolling hills of the natural park.

Since moving here in 2018, we’ve been exploring the park on foot. In fact, we loved the walks so much we decided to offer a week-long hassle free, self-guided walking tour throughout the Sierra. However, for those with less time we wanted to make a list of the 10 best hikes we discovered in the area (and a bonus one at the end).

Ranging from a leisurely 8km stroll all the way to a full day 19km hike, the walks below are our favourite circular walking routes in the Sierra de Aracena.  I have ordered the walks according to length and added a link to the Wikiloc* page for the walk.

Here are our top 10 circular walks in the Sierra de Aracena:

  1. Navahermosa – Valdelarco (via Las Cañadas) 
    Walking time: 3h 00m
    Distance: 10.1km
    Wikiloc Link
    Lovely shorter route connecting the towns of Navahermosa and Valdelarco. The hike boasts a total elevation gain of 384m as it climbs to Valdelarco. However, the second half of the walk is an easier stroll alongside the river offering decent amounts of shade. If the ascend to Valdelarco has wetted your appetite, we can highly recommend the restaurant of Las Catorce Arrobas to recharge your batteries (make a reservation beforehand).
  2. river walk río caliente El Repilado

  3. El Repilado – Los Romeros – Canalejas – El Repilado
    Walking time: 2h 45m
    Distance: 11.1km
    Wikiloc Link
    A hike we are very familiar with as it leaves from about 5km of Finca Bravo, the first half of this walk follows the Rio Caliente (‘hot river’) which provides lots of shade. After a quick stop at the Los Romeros village, the route takes us through a typical dehesa landscape with views over the surrounding valley (and even the Cortegana Castle in the distance). When you reach the cute little hamlet of Canaleja you know you haven’t got far to go to return to El Repilado. Picnic tables and a little playground are provided by the river at the start/end point in case you want to bring your own lunch.
  4. Cortegana Hilltop Castle

  5. Ruta de Los Molinos – Posada de Cortegana – Castillo Cortegana
    Walking time: 2h 40m
    Distance: 11.25km
    Wikiloc Link (from Cortegana)
    Wikiloc Link (from Posada de Cortegana)
    Again, a route that we hike regularly as it starts less than 3km from our doorstep. This route can be followed both with a start from the village of Cortegana, or at the other end from the tourist accommodations at the Posada de Cortegana. Following part of an old Roman road going up the mountain, it passes a series of molinos (watermills) in ruins on the way back while you walk alongside the Arroyo de Carabaña (Carabaña stream). 
  6. Sendero de Belen en Puerto Moral
    Walking time: 2h 50m
    Distance: 11.6km
    Wikiloc Link
    This walk starts and ends in the picturesque village of Puerto Moral and takes you in a nice circle around the surrounding countryside. There is not a whole lot of shade so best to avoid this route on a hot summer’s day. This route is known as the Bethlehem Route (Sendero de Belen)  and a sign with a Christmas carol marks every kilometre. During the first week of December, the entire village gets together and walks (and sings) along. Better warm up the vocal cords before you go 🙂
  7. Linares – Peña Arias Montano – Alajar – Linares
    Walking time: 3h 30m
    Distance: 12km
    Wikiloc Link
    The elevation gain contained in this walk (484m) is royally rewarded with spectacular views over the surrounding valleys with great picture opportunities at the Peña de Arias Montano hermitage. The walk itself follows an old donkey trail connecting the towns of Linares and Alájar. Fantastic lunch opportunity in Linares at Arrieros, one of the best restaurants in the Sierra.
  8. typical wildflower landscape in Spring

  9. Almonaster La Real: Circula cerro San Cristobal 
    Walking time: 4h 00m
    Distance: 14.8km
    Wikiloc Link
    Leaving from one of the most charming villages in the Sierra (Almonestar La Real), this hike climbs up the cerro San Cristobal (Saint Christopher’s Hill). One of the highest points in the Sierra, at 850m above sea level the cerro San Cristobal offers panoramic views over the Sierra. If you are not too tired after all the climbing, Almonaster boasts a 10th century mosque definitely worth a visit.
  10. Aracena – Mirador de Castañuelo Carboneras – Corteconcepción – Aracena
    Walking time: 4h 30m
    Distance: 18km
    Wikiloc Link
    This longer route leaving from the beautiful town of Aracena follows an old trail towards the cute village of Corteconcepción. It takes you first past the viewpoint of Castañuelo and the hamlet of Carboneras before descending to the village. After visiting the church (with more spectacular views on offer), the old washing basins and having some refreshments in the local bar, it’s time for the climb back up to Aracena. There are plenty of lunch opportunities in Aracena, but one of our personal favourites is restaurant Essentia.
  11. Galaroza – Castaño del Robledo – Fuenteheridos – Galaroza
    Walking time: 4h 40m
    Distance: 18.5km
    Wikiloc Link
    There are several walks starting from the town of Galaroza, but in our opinion this longer one combines the best of all of them. Beautiful in Autumn with the splendid colours of the falling chestnut leaves, this trail takes you up to the town of Castaño del Robledo from where you have panoramic view over the entire valley. The route then takes you to the town of Fuenteheridos (ideal stop for some refreshments) before walking you back to Galaroza.
  12. Circular de Aracena a Linares de la Sierra por el Alto del Chorrito.
    Walking time: 3h 55m
    Distance: 19km
    Wikiloc Link
    The longest and one of the most comprehensive walks on this list encompasses the towns of Aracena, Linares de la Sierra and Los Marines. Again following some of the old donkey trails connecting these towns, we find ourselves surrounded by a varied landscape of chestnut groves (with wild peonies flowering underneath in spring) and dehesa of cork and stone oaks. Lunch in either Arrieros (linares) or Essentia (Aracena) and you have topped off a great walk with an excellent meal. 
  13. BONUS Monte Puerto – Cortijo Valle de las Torres – Monte Puerto
    Walking time: 3h 35m
    Distance: 16.7km
    Wikiloc Link
    We always try to keep this walk on the down-low as we love the fact it’s a hidden gem locked away at the far end of the park (probably not a great idea to mention it in this post then huh). Probably our favourite hike in the Sierra, this route has it all: a river crossing, dehesa, pigs, fantastic views, historic buildings and even some boulders shaped like a turtle (and another as Kardashian’s bum – not kidding).  Fantastic trail to walk in Spring as the abundance of wild flowers is a feast to the eyes

*Wikiloc is a convenient app for tracking a walk on your phone, without the chance of ever getting lost again