eco tourism 02


Sierra Morena
The authentic character of a sustainable region



2014. #ecotourism02. Interactive Guide


Walking the GR48



Local cuisine



in Spain


#ecotourism 1

Sierra Morena

Other magazines of interest

2 #ecotourism



Sustainable territory



Cycle route through El Real de la Jara (Seville) which is also the pilgrim way to Santiago (along the

southern stretch of the Vía de la Plata) and walkers along the GR-48. © Joan Garriga

Sierra Morena

The authentic character of a sustainable region

It is difficult to find such a vast area that

can offer amenities like comfortable accommodation

where without difficulty

you can find yourself completely integrated

with nature.

The charming villages, the deeply rooted

traditions, the rewarding routes and

the age-old cuisine providing enough

energy to face scenic routes for the

pure pleasure of enjoying the simplest

and everyday things that our eyes don’t

usually see: the harvest; the silhouette of

a flying bird hardly visible but with patience

and a pair of binoculars you can

put a name to it; enough time to rest

under a spreading chestnut tree; point

out a high cloud, either threatening

rain or like candyfloss; relax a while in a

busy plaza where a few children are still

playing away from the lazy influence of

the TV; camp in a bivouac under a sky

of stars beyond compare with other star

glazers contemplating the splendours of

the cosmos; feel the streets beat under

your feet during their festivals, Christian

or pagan, in celebration of Life.


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Sierra Morena

Andalusian Map © Karlos Arroyo

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Sierra Morena

A beautiful Rock emerges above the village of Alájar (Huelva) the site of a lovely hermitage. This enclave in the S

re Arias Montano retreated, the heterodox scholar and librarian of El Escorial, giving the rock the name of the P

Calopteryx xanthostoma (Western Demoiselle), an endemic species in the south-east of Europe. © Rafael Rom

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The territory

Sierra Morena covers an area that

only a poet could put its hidden

spirit in plain words. Sierra Morena is

not only bandits and untamed penitents

like Don Quijote came across, but ordinary

people who love the land where

they live and care for it, look after their

animals and set great store by their resources.

Visitors in search of hustle, bustle, noise,

haste, quick fixes, will not enjoy the

many experiences of the journey. There

are good communications, accommodation

and restaurants, lots of well-prepared,

signposted routes, balconies and

a long distance walking route (GR 48)

that forms the backbone of the whole

area in all the provinces. It is a paradise

for nature lovers, bird watchers, sportspersons,

star gazers or simply foodies

looking for new sensations.

ierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche was the place wheeña

de Arias Montano. Photo: © SH. Right photo: A male

ero Porrino

Sierra Morena comprises 57 municipalities

in the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba,

Seville and Huelva, all within the Sierra

Morena geographic region.

It has a population of 186 085 inhabitants

(2013 census), only 2% of the total

population of Andalucía although Sierra

Morena occupies 13% of its total

area. With low density of the population

ranging from 9 inhabitants per square

kilometre in the Sierra Morena in the

province of Córdoba to 35 inhabitants

per square kilometre in the North of the

province of Jaén, well below the average

in Andalucía of 80 inhabitants per

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Sierra Morena

Above, Zufre, a beautiful village in Huelva, declared to be an Artistic Historic Complex. Photo: © Rafael Romer

has lovely buildings and the famous Karst rock formation in the Gruta de las Maravillas cave. Photo: SH

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The territory

square kilometre.

Sustainable tourism

Their commitment with the environment

is certified by the model of sustainable

development the villages have opted

for, with the “Q” for quality tourism mark

that many of the local businesses have

obtained and because of the confidence

of buying products that are certified

by the Brand “Parque Natural de


In this sense it is worth mentioning that

the Nature Parks of Sierra de Andújar,

Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro, Sierra de

Hornachuelos, Sierra Norte de Sevilla

and Sierra de Aracena and Picos de

Aroche have achieved the “EU Charter

for Sustainable Tourism” which aims at

providing methods for applying principles

of sustainable tourism, guidelines for

the people and the businesses manago

Porrino. The town of Aracena (Huelva), on the right, also

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Sierra Morena

ing these areas so they

can set up tenable strategies

and actions collectively.

The Sierra Morena landscape

is like a continuous

patch dominated by a

succession of mountains

and valleys. The mountains

are mainly medium

to low, with some higher

peaks with contrasting

ravines that provide a

rugged note to the predominantly

gentle slopes.

The valleys are low and

long, corresponding to

the characteristics of the

rivers, except in the most

western sector where a

central valley has been

formed cutting through

the mountains.

The economy is based on

farming: livestock, forestry,

agriculture and hunting

are the mainstay of the

economy in the area and

most cases don’t have a

single activity but a combination

of them all.


The meadows make up

an important component

of the landscape

and black Iberian pigs (of

delicious “pata negra”

hams), bulls, cows and

sheep graze free range


The forests provide cork,

honey and produce

from the pine trees. Olive

groves dominate the

Sierra Morena offers fresh landscapes and riparian forests along the river bank

waterfalls. Photo: © Francisco Martínez Sáez

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The territory

s and oak woods in the adjacent areas. The tuffaceous limestone along the streams form the characteristic

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Sierra Morena

The Jándula river runs through the foothills of the Sierra de Andújar (Jaén) and presents typical landscapes of th

the rutting season, a typical sound in the Sierra Morena nature area. Photos: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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The territory

landscape and cover the gentle slopes;

they provide excellent olive oil although

with a low yield.

In total the Nature Parks cover an area

of approximately 528.631 hectares.

Part of the area makes up the “Meadows

of Sierra Morena” Reserve of the

Biosphere. They are protected nature

areas with an enormous wealth of flora

that is of great botanical interest the

same as the fauna.

There are reservoirs and rivers in many

of the Parks that cut through the areas

providing the opportunity for adventure

holidays and other activities. With

regard to the different fauna, we can

mention the existence of small species

like rabbits, foxes, genets; even some

species in danger of extinction like the

Iberian lynx and the wolf. There are also

interesting species for bird lovers like

goshawks, sparrow-hawks, imperial eagles,

golden eagles, Bonillo’s eagles, eagle

owls, black vultures, griffon vultures,

Egyptian vultures, black storks, etc.

These are places that have a wealth of

large game like deer, wild boar, fallow

and roe deer.

e whole Sierra Morena territory. On the right, a stag during

There are also beautiful places and rich

landscapes that include the Cimbarra

Waterfall Nature Park, in the municipality

of Aldeaquemada with an area of

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Sierra Morena

Burgalimar castle in Baños de la Encina (Jaén), an impressive fortress with 14 towers dating from the tenth cent

Sierra Morena. On the right, Argiope Lobata, a spider characteristic of these Mediterranean ecosystems. Photo

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The territory

534 hectares. Also the

Peñas de Aroche and

Sierra Pelada and the

Rivera del Aserrador, also

listed and protected as

Nature Areas (Parajes

Naturales), with an area

of 718 hectares and

12.980 hectares respectively,

both situated to the

south east of the Sierra

de Aracena and Picos de

Aroche district between

the municipalities of Almonaster

la Real, Aroche,

Cortegana and Rosal de

la Frontera.

ury, dominates the Sierra Morena in the province of Jaén. Photo: © ADIT

: © Rafael Romero Porrino

The Natural Landscape

Monuments in Sierra

Morena are also a great

attraction: the Organ

Pipes of Despeñaperros in

Santa Elena, El Cerro del

Hierro rock forms in San

Nicolás del Puerto and

Constantina. The Huéznar

waterfall also in San Nicolas

del Puerto, Encina de

la Dehesa de San Francisco

holm oak forest in

Santa Olalla del Cala and

the loop in the river Guadalquivir

at Montoro.

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Sierra Morena

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster). Photo: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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Birdwatching routes

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Sierra Morena

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Birdwatching routes

Above, the Cerro del Hierro in the Sierra Norte of Seville. Photo: © tuscasasrurales. On the left,

rushing streams in Sierra Morena. Photo: © Rafael Romero

Birdwatching: Seven reasons for picking Sierra Morena

Why choose Sierra Morena for Birdwatching?

Seven reasons why

birdwatchers want to come to this

new and – still – not very often visited destination:

1. First of all, out of its 241 bird species there

are many of the jewels of the

Iberian birdlife and Mediterranean species

like the Spanish imperial eagle and the

black vulture (its main colonies in Andalucía

are here), Bonelli’s eagle, booted eagle,

short-toed eagle, black kite, lesser kestrel,

griffon vulture, bee-eater, orphean warbler,

Sub-alpine warbler, Sardinian warbler, Iberian

chiffchaff, white-rumped swift, Alpine

swift, pallid swift, little swift, red-necked

nightjar, red-billed chuff, black-eared

wheatear and black wheatear, blue rock

thrush, rock sparrow, Spanish sparrow,

red-rumped sparrow, black stork, white

stork, European Green woodpecker, azurewinged

magpie, great spotted cuckoo,

little bustard, Montagu’s harrier, Dartford

warbler, thelka lark, hoopoe, common starling,

rufous-tailed scrub robin, Western olivaceous

warbler, stone curlew, cirl bunting,

European turtle dove, red-legged partridge,

woodchat shrike, Southern grey shrike, purple

swamp hen and the golden oriole.

2. These nature areas are also the habitat

of endangered carnivorous species like

the Iberian lynx and the Iberian wolf as

well as large numbers of deer, fallow deer,

mouflons and other mammals. There is an

exceptional list of reptiles and amphibians

with several exclusive taxa from the Iberian

Peninsula and the South-east of Europe.

3. The expert naturalist will also have the

opportunity to enjoy the well conserved

bat fauna, autochthonous fish and insects

(including the dragonfly which is worth a

special mention). The flora includes many

species associated with a Mediterranean

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Sierra Morena

Watching birds of prey in Sierra Morena. On the right, a griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). Photos: © Rafael Romero

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Birdwatching routes

climate and include beautiful wild spring


4. Additionally you have to keep in mind

the fact that Sierra Morena is situated

close to other top bird areas like Doñana

(only an hour away) and La Serena (also

an hour away). As well as being relatively

close to interesting places for nature and

bird lovers like the Odiel marshes, the Brazo

del Este wetlands, the Fuente de Piedra

salt lake, the Sierras de Grazalema and

Ronda or the lakes and countryside of La

Lantejuela-Osuna. A bit further away but

still easy to get to you have the Straits of

Gibraltar, Sierra Nevada, Almería-Cabo

de Gata and the plains of Cáceres-Trujillo.

This is why it is easy to plan a visit combining

several of these places that have very

diverse birdlife and landscapes so the

birdwatcher can mark up a long list of birds

without moving far.


5. Sierra Morena is well situated for those

visitors who stay in the lovely historic cities

of Seville, Córdoba, Jaén and Granada,

not forgetting Úbeda and Baeza, World

Heritage Sites. It is also less than an hour

from Seville airport, one hour twenty minutes

from Granada-Jaén airport, less than

two hours from Málaga-Costa del Sol and

two and a half hours from Madrid and

Faro-Algarve airports.

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Sierra Morena

6. The whole of Sierra Morena

is dotted with lovely

small white villages that are

typical of Andalucía with

an interesting historic-artistic

heritage. They offer varied

accommodation in hotels,

boarding houses, rural accommodation,

camp sites

and eco-farms. The cuisine

is especially good and it is

highly appreciated in Spain

and abroad, its “pata negra”

ham comes from pigs

that graze free-range and

eat acorns from the oak

groves and its olive oil is


7. Recently Sierra Morena

has been recognized as an

ideal place for eco-tourism.

The emerging business network

made up of small local

companies – respecting the

environment and with all the

necessary permits– offers

services like guided Birdwatching

tours, photographing

birds of prey and passeriormes

from hides, walks,

detecting and sighting lynx

and other mammals, identifying

mushrooms, cultural

and ethnographical tours,

Nordic walking, canoeing,

horse riding, etc.

Walking along the GR-48. The best route for adventure tourism in the Sierra

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Birdwatching routes

Morena. Photo: © Abén Aljama Martínez. On the left: cork oaks in Sierra Morena. Photo: © Rafael Romero

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Sierra Morena

Chestnut groves in Sierra Morena. On the right, a little owl (Athene noctua). Photos: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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Birdwatching routes

Internet links for Birdwatching

u Access the Bird Guide (Guía de Aves) in

Sierra Morena online

u Information on the 62 signposted Birdwatching

routes in Sierra Morena, including

location and top species

u Books from the collection Routes to see

Birds and Nature in Sierra Morena (Rutas

para ver Aves y Naturaleza en Sierra Morena)

that are a pocket edition to take with

you so you don’t miss anything

u The MITO network. A group of companies

specialising in Birdwatching holidays in the

Sierra Morena, ideal for planning visits to

Sierra Morena, including accommodation

aimed at bird-watchers and companies

dedicated to adventure holidays and ecotourism

offering services linked to Birdwatching,

nature photography and walking


Birdwatching and nature routes in

Sierra de Aracena and Picos de


This very large district is situated at the

western frontier of the Sierra Morena in

the province of Huelva. In its area of over

300.000 hectares you can find varied Mediterranean

landscapes, like rivers with oleanders

and broom, tall thick oak woods, large

patches of Mediterranean scrub, famous

chestnut groves, well conserved riverside

forests and extensive meadows that perfectly

exemplify what is called today “sus-

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Sierra Morena

Tecla lark (Galerida theklae), one of the birds you can find in Sierra Morena. Right, Caesar's mushroom. Photos

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Birdwatching routes

tainable use” of resources.

: © Rafael Romero Porrino

• H-1. Vulture country

• H-2. The Buervas Valley

(Aracena Reservoir)

• H-3. Route of Our Lady

of the Puerto

• H-4. Centenary chestnut


• H-5. Teuler mines

• H-6. Through the oak

groves in Huelva province

• H-7. Aracena Castle

• H-8. The Cala riverside

• H-9. Frontier birds

• H-10. Meadows of the

Sillo river and the Celtic

settlement of Capote

• H-11. Chorros de Ollarancos


• H-12. Family friendly:

The source of the river


• H-13. River Múrtigas

and the Torres valley

• H-14. Plains of Gracia

• H-15. Las Peñuelas

• H-16. Cala Castle

• H-17. Banks of the Alcalaboza

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Sierra Morena

Sierra Morena is the habitat for fauna that will delight naturalists. Right, The Iberian lynx. Above, an otter. Photos

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Birdwatching routes

: © Rafael Romero Porrino

Birdwatching and

nature routes in Sierra

Morena in the

province of Seville

Few visitors imagine that at

such a short distance from

the Giralda tower there is

such an extraordinary district,

a perfect mixture between

the wild and rouge side of

the eastern Sierra Morena

and the luxuriant beauty

of the riparian forest on the

banks of the Huéznar river

which cuts through the western

part of the mountains.

• SE-1. Viar Valley

• SE-2. La Senda trail

• SE-3. Onza mountains

and the river Bembézar

• SE-4. Las suertes del

Guadalbacar river

• SE-5. A wood in stone

• SE-6. The riverside woods

of the Ciudadeja

• SE-7. Along the banks

of the Huéznar river

• SE-8. Los Covachos

• SE-9. The riverside

meadows of the Cala

• SE-10. Eagle country

• SE-11. Family friendly: El


• SE-12. The Viar Canyon

• SE-13. Melonares


• SE-14. El Galeón

• SE-15. Retortillo reservoir

Birdwatching and

nature routes in the

Sierra Morena in the

province of Córdoba

As unknown as it is interesting,

this part of the Sierra

Morena in the province of

Córdoba watches over the

monumental city of the

Mosque from on high. Between

the deep ravines of

the Retortillo river and the

emblematic Yeguas valley,

a never-ending string of

mountains, crags and rivers

spread out with their rich

natural treasures.

• CO-1. Sierra de Hornachuelos

• CO-2. Guadalmellato

• CO-3. Guadalora


• CO-4. Névalo Castle

• CO-5. Cliffs of Sierra

del Castillo

• CO-6. Los Ángeles trekking


• CO-7. Uncommon


• CO-8. El Valle

• CO-9. Cabeza Aguda

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Sierra Morena

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Birdwatching routes

Left, paeonia broteri, endemic on the Iberian Peninsula. Above, an eagle owl (Bubo bubo). Photos:

© Rafael Romero Porrino

pine grove

• CO-10. Film scenery

• CO-11. Family friendly: La Rabilarga walk

• CO-12. Guadalquivir river

• CO-13. Guadiato ravines

• CO-14. Slopes of the Guadalbarbo

• CO-15. The Station

Routes through the Sierra Morena

in the province of Jaén

The Despeñaperros mountain pass is always

open to travellers who want to go deep

into the Sierra Morena in the province of

Jaén. Thousands of acres of Mediterranean

forest are waiting for you there, holm and

cork oaks, extensive pine groves, rivers

speckled with oleanders and dense riverside

woods, mountains and hills dotted with

granite rocks and rocky ravines, meadows

where fighting bulls graze, countryside with

silver olive groves and fertile valleys irrigated

by the great Guadalquivir river.

• J-1. Miner birds

• J-2. Valdeazores Ravine

• J-3. Foothills of the Sierra Morena

• J-4. The Jándula river’s farewell

• J-5. Land of lynxes

• J-6. El Rey vantage point

• J-7. La Cimbarra waterfalls

• J-8. Mount Burguillos

• J-9. Family friendly: La Pasada del


• J-10. Family friendly: la Campana

river (La Aliseda)

• J-11. La Lancha

• J-12. Peñón Jurado and Las Tres Hermanas

• J-13. Birds n the open countryside

• J-14. Bury al-Hammam

• J-15. The banks of the Guadalquivir river

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Sierra Morena





The long distance walking route through the

Sierra Morena GR-48

The route of the Sierra Morena trail - GR

48 starts in the village of Barrancos in

Portugal and runs along public roads

through the province of Huelva, Seville, Córdoba

and Jaén along 590 km in 28 stages

and an alternative route..

It is designed to take you through six nature

parks in Andalucía, coinciding with green

footpaths that inter-communicate protected

areas, historic and traditional pathways.

Landscapes where Mediterranean forest

predominates in its purest form along side

meadows, declared by the UNESCO to be

a Reserve of the Biosphere, with some olive

groves scattered about. Territory that is still

the habitat for species as scarce as the

Iberian lynx, the wolf, black vulture and the

Spanish imperial eagle. Villages with history

where man has known how to preserve

natural values by integrating them into his

own way of life.

General information

• Type of path: Lineal with a alternative

circular route

• Condition and state of the footpath: Approved

and signposted in 2010

• Total length: 571 km.

• Stages: 28 + Alternative GR 48.1

• Accessibility: Suitable on foot, horseback

and, except for a few isolated stretches,

on mountain bike.

• Map information: I.G.N./S.G.E. 1:50.000.

Huelva: nº 895 Encinasola, 896 Higuera

la Real, 918 Santa Olalla de Cala, 919

Almadén de la Plata. Sevilla: 1:25.000

del I.G.N.: 919-I; 919-III; 919-IV; 940-II; 919-

IV; 920-III; 920-I; 920-II; 920-IV; 921-III; 942-I.

Córdoba: nº 942 Palma del Río, 943

Posadas, 922 Sta. Mª de Trassierra, 923

Córdoba, 902 Adamuz, and 903 Montoro.

Jaén: Nº 903, Nº 884, nº 862.

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The GR 48 route

Left, interactive map of the GR-48. Above, the river canyon with Mediterranean vegetation in the

Sierra de Hornachuelos (Córdoba). Photo: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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Sierra Morena

Above, cycle touring along the track in the Sierra Norte in the province of Seville on the Rivera del Huéznar riv

On the right, leafy places on route that are very welcome in summer. Photo: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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The GR 48 route

The GR 48 “Sierra

Morena trail”

This impressive itinerary goes

through the Sierra Morena

mountains in the provinces

of Huelva, Seville, Córdoba

and Jaén along 571 kilometres

and is divided into 28

stages and an alternative

circular route.

On foot, bike or horseback

this long distance, or GR

route, is one of the most

attractive in the South of

Spain. On route you will

discover ancient pathways

and come in direct contact

with the culture and nature

of the Sierra Morena. The

trail is completely signposted

and it has four topographical

guides, one for each

province, both in Spanish

and in English, which can be

downloaded for free on the


er. Photo: Carlos León / Cyclo Natural.

It goes through 35 Andalusian

municipalities, travellers

can enjoy a mixture of

landscapes from meadows,

ravines, rivers and streams,

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Sierra Morena

Walking along a stretch of the GR-48. Photo: © ADIT Sierra Morena. On the right, woodchat shrike (Lanius sen

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The GR 48 route

olive groves, pine groves

and Mediterranean scrub.

For further information

ator). Photo: © Rafael Romero

If you need more detailed

information on the GR 48

Trail through Sierra Morena

you can contact ADIT Sierra

Morena E-mail:

There is a very complete

website dedicated exclusively

to the Sierra Morena

trail, http://www.senderogr48.

com, where each stage is

described, you can download

the tracks for GPS

navigation and the 4 existing

topological guides for each

one free and in both Spanish

and English.

In addition to the website,

Sierra Morena is on facebook:


com/ADITsierramorena with

information for all those who

use the trail on its present

condition and about Sierra

Morena in general, like walking

activities or any incident

on route.

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Sierra Morena

The topographical guides

The topographical guides are the ideal

complement for a pleasant excursion along

any part of the GR-48. They include texts,

photos, diagrams, as well as maps and all

the necessary material for you to do the

route safely. In addition there is a general

introduction to each province the trail goes

through, there is also information on each

place the trail goes through.

You can download the topographical

guides (PDF format)

• GR-48 Huelva Guide

• GR-48 Sevilla Guide

• GR-48 Córdoba Guide

• GR-48 Jaén Guide

The stages of the GR-48

The different stages have been designed

for you to do on mountain bike, on foot or

on horseback covering different distances

according to difficulty and planned mainly

so that the beginning and end of each

stage coincide with towns and villages or

places where you can stay and at least get

a meal.

01. Barrancos – Encinasola

02. Encinasola – Cumbres de San Bartolomé

03. Cumbres de San Bartolomé – Cumbres


04. Cumbres Mayores – Hinojales

05. Hinojales – Arroyomolinos de León

06. Arroyomolinos de León – Cala

07. Cala – Santa Olalla del Cala

08. Santa Olalla del Cala – El Real de la


09- El Real de la Jara – Almadén de la Plata

10. Almadén de la Plata – Cazalla de la


11. Cazalla de la Sierra – Constantina

12. Constantina – La Puebla de los Infantes

13. Puebla de los Infantes – Hornachuelos

14. Hornachuelos – Posadas

15. Posadas – Almodóvar del Río

16. Almodóvar del Río – Sta Mº de Trassierra

17. Sta Mº de Trassierra – Cerro Muriano

18. Cerro Muriano – Villaharta

19. Villaharta – Obejo

20. Obejo – Presa del Guadalmellato

21. Presa del Guadalmellato – Adamuz

22. Adamuz – Montoro

23. Montoro – Marmolejo

24. Marmolejo – Santuario de la Virgen de

la Cabeza

25. Santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza –

Viñas de Peñallana

26. Viñas de Peñallana – Baños de la Encina

27. Baños de la Encina – La Carolina

28. La Carolina – Santa Elena

Variante circular GR-48.1: Rivera del Huéznar

– Cerro del Hierro

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The GR 48 route

On the left, griffon vultures and black vultures eating what is left of a winter hunting trip in Sierra

Morena. Above, the Nature Park of the Cimbarra waterfall. Photos: © Rafael Romero Porrino

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Sierra Morena

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Astro-tourism. Destination Starlight

On the left, night sky from the Virgen de la Cabeza Sanctuary (Andújar). Above, star gazing in the

heart of the Sierra Morena. Following page, the Cala Castle (Huelva). Photos: © José Jiménez

Sierra Morena: where sky and earth meet

Thanks to the constant work of the mountain

inhabitants who are proud of their

homeland, many already know that

Sierra Morena is synonymous to wild nature,

of remote moorland where the Mediterranean

forest is present in all its splendour,

white villages dotted on a landscape where

silence is only interrupted by the mournful

cry of eagles or the call of the deer or the

roar of the stags. Yet, few know that Sierra

Morena is also one of the best places on

the continent to star gaze on clear nights.

At present Sierra Morena is being studied for

a Starlight Reserve and Tourist Destination,

certified by the Institute of Astrophysics of

the Canary Islands and authorised by the

UNESCO, that only approve places where

the night sky allows star gazing in the very

best conditions with an absence of light pollution.

When the sun goes down and the first stars

appear then you are guaranteed a show. A

deep, black sky appears in all its grandeur,

the stars shine in a clear sky free from light

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Sierra Morena

42 #ecotourism

Astro-tourism. Destination Starlight

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Sierra Morena

44 #ecotourism

Astro-tourism. Destination Starlight

Left, star gazing in the Sierra de Cardeña Montoro. Photo: © Juan Fernández. Above, a show in its

immensity. Photo: © José Jiménez Garrido

pollution, the abyss of the cosmos tempts

us with questions and doubts and Sierra

Morena is the ideal place to lose yourself

in this sea of curiosity that engulfs us as we

contemplate the mysteries of the universe.

At present a network of holiday accommodation

has adapted their services for tourists

who are interested in astronomy, with observation

zones equipped with telescopes,

minimised illumination so that you can star

gaze in the best conditions, with astronomy

guides offering star gazing activities for

families, groups of enthusiasts and people

who are interested, as well as including a

series of amenities that make astronomy

something easy to do (Late check outs, hot

drinks available at night, electrical sockets,

dinner under the stars). In this way Sierra

Morena has become a reference point for

astro-tourism, where enthusiasts have every

commodity for star gazing.

Most of the 57 municipalities in the Sierra

Morena have understood the potential of

the sky at night and they have got involved

in its conservation, a common wealth that is

often underestimated.

Sierra Morena invites you to experience the

thrill of watching the night sky that appears

to explode in colour and light, immerse

yourself in questioning and admiring a universe

that we have hardly begun to understand.

Let yourself be moved by the clear

depth of dark skies in Sierra Morena.

For further information:

#ecotourism 45

Sierra Morena

Above, Museun dedicated to the Batlle of Navas de Tolosa (1212) in La Carolina (Jaén). Photo: ©

Viajes Rumbo. Right, removing cork from the oaks in Sierra Morena. Photo: © Rafael Romero

Culture, cuisine and traditions in Sierra Morena

Since Prehistoric times, Sierra Morena

has had strategic important and different

civilisations have settled here, the

prehistoric remains and cave paintings are

evidence of this. Fortifications were erected

here: Iberians, Carthaginians, Romans,

Moors, Jews…, all chose these lands for

their privileged geographic situation and

climate, leaving evidence of their legacy

and an important part of it has been conserved..

The rich wealth and diversity of heritage in

Sierra Morena offers a total of 206 elements

that have been declared to be Heritage of

Cultural Interest and 23 Historic Artistic Complexes.

All this heritage is well conserved

and accessible to visitors.


The base of the local cuisine is olive oil,

game and the black Iberian pork fed on

acorns. We can point out typical dishes like

the marinated or pickled meat from the

mountains, cooked meat from the mountains,

black Iberian pork preserves, shoulder

of pork, cured hams, Rulahuevos salad, camuña

brazed lamb, ajoblanco cold soup,

Salmorejo (a kind of gazpacho), mountain

breadcrumbs, scrambled eggs, bollo de

papas (Mashed potato with fried onion,

garlic, pepper and tomato), ajogañán

(bread, garlic, potato, cod, onion and red

pepper), winter gazpacho… Dried fruits

and nuts like almonds, walnuts, chestnuts;

wild plants, mushrooms, asparagus, strawberry

tree fruit, blackberries; herbs like

46 #ecotourism

Culture, cuisine and traditions

Fiesta de los Rondeles en Casarabonela (Málaga) © José María Navarro Sánchez

#ecotourism 47

Sierra Morena

Aroche (Huelva) © Javier Hernández Gallardo

thyme, rosemary; and honey, these are also

ingredients that are often used in the local

cuisine. For dessert you have a kind of porridge

called gachas, fig loaf with almonds,

marzipan, fried wine cakes called soplanos,

olive oil tarts…


Ironwork stands out among the local crafts

(scales, harnesses…), saddlery, hand sewing

with hemp yarn, work with rushes, embroidery,

basket making, ceramics, woodwork,

48 #ecotourism

Culture, cuisine and traditions

leather work, esparto grass and wicker

work, hunting crafts mainly articles made

with horns (chairs, coat hangers, walking

sticks, lamps) as well as the cuisine that includes

cakes and conserves, not forgetting

everything related to olive oil, wine, honey,

anisette liquor…

Festivals and Traditions

Local folklore, festivals and customs are

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Sierra Morena

On the previous page, Aracena (Huelva). Above, a typical street in Constantina (Seville). Photos: © Campese. R

lle). Photo: © Juanpol. Next page, Montoro (Córdoba), an artistic historic complex. Photo:

50 #ecotourism

Culture, cuisine and traditions

ight, a panoramic view of the El Real de la Jara castle (Sevi-

© Campese

closely linked to agriculture; most of the

festivals have their origins in the celebration

of good harvests. Also it is worth mentioning

the pig slaughtering, bonfires and

hunting activities.

Religious festivals also have great importance

here, with romería type pilgrimages

and processions of religious images that

are famous all over Spain, like the Romería

to the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Head

(Virgen de la Cabeza) in Andújar, the oldest

in Spain, Holy Week in Montoro with the

traditional procession of Roman soldiers,

festivals commemorating the Battle of

Bailén, the cavalcade of the Three Wise

Men in Higuera de la Sierra and the Romería

type pilgrimage in honour of the Queen

of Angels, all of these celebrations have

been declared to be of National Tourist


There are also some local dances worth a

mention like La Lanza or Hinojales dance,

the dance of El Pandero de Encinasola,

Los Fandangos from Almonaster la Real

and the sword dance from Obejo.

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Sierra Morena

FMontoro (Córdoba) © campese

Tourist amenities

Historic Heritage

u Castles in perfect condition for visits

u Churches, parishes and convents

u Historic Heritage complexes by municipalities

u Museums

u Remains of settlements and relics of mining


u Archaeological sites

u Cave paintings

u Battle sites

u Trenches and a shelter from the Civil War

u Baroque urban complexes

u Roman roads.

Ethnographic heritage

u Festivals that have been declared to be

of National Tourist Interest (Romería type

pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Head, Holy

Week in Montoro…)

u Peculiar Folk Expression the legacy of

other cultures.

Natural Heritage

u 6 Nature Parks. (Special Protection Areas

(SPA) and Sites of Community Importance

(SCI)). (Sierra de Aracena and Picos de

52 #ecotourism

Culture, cuisine and traditions

Aroche Nature Park, Sierra Norte of Seville

Nature Park, Sierra de Hornachuelos

Nature Park, Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro

Nature Park, Sierra de Andujar Nature Park,

Despeñaperros Nature Park)

u 3 Parks that have been declared to be

Reserves of the Biosphere "Dehesas de

Sierra Morena" (Sierra de Hornachuelos, Sierra

Norte of Seville, Sierra de Aracena and

Picos de Aroche)

u 3 Nature Areas (la Cimbarra waterfall, Las

Peñas de Aroche and Sierra Pelada

and Rivera del Aserrador)

u 5 Natural landscape monuments (the

Organs of Despeñaperros, Cerro del Hierro,

Huéznar waterfall, the oak trees in the de

San Francisco meadows and the loop in the

Guadalquivir river at Montoro)

u The Puerto Moral Nature Reserve in Aroche


Installations for public use

u Visitors’ Centres

u Nature classrooms

u Pathways

u Recreation areas

u Farm schools

u Vantage points

u Museums

u Camping areas.

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Sierra Morena

Typical landscape of Sierra Morena. Photo: © Rafael Romero

54 #ecotourism

Internet links

ADIT Sierra Morena

Geographic area of Sierra Morena

Municipalities of the Sierra Morena

Route of the GR-48

Birdwatching and nature routes in the Sierra

de Aracena and Picos de Aroche

Birdwatching and nature routes in the Sierra

Morena in the province of Seville

Birdwatching and nature routes in the Sierra

Morena in the province of Córdoba

Birdwatching and nature routes in the Sierra

Morena in the province of Jaén

Bird guide in Sierra Morena

The MITO website

Further information on accommodation on

the MITO website

Further information on the adventure holiday

businesses on the MITO website

Vantage points

Places of interest in the Sierra Morena

Accommodation in Sierra Morena

Festivals and Traditions in Sierra Morena

Association for the Integral Development

of the Territory of Sierra Morena (ADIT Sierra

Morena), it is a non-profit making entity

promoted by the Rural Development Group

of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche,

Association Group for Rural Development

of the Sierra Morena in the province

of Seville, Association for the Rural Development

of Sierra Morena in the province of

Córdoba and the Association for the Rural

Development of the Campiña Norte in the

province of Jaén and integrated public

and private businesses and institutions in the

provinces of Huelva, Seville, Córdoba and


Sierra de Andújar


Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro

Sierra de Hornachuelos

Sierra Norte in the province of Seville

Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche

Recreation areas

#ecotourism 55

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