Aracena is a municipality in the Spanish province of Huelva. It has 7900 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2013) and is located about 100 km from the provincial capital, Huelva. Aracena is commonly referred to as the capital of the mountains. The town is known for its limestone cave Gruta de Marvillas and the remains of the old castle. Nearby is also the dam of Aracena, which plays an important role in the water supply of Huelva and the strawberry productions of Lepe and Palos de la Frontera.


The first settlements in the area can be detected up to about 3000 BCE. The presence of minerals leads to a permanent settlement and high importance across the millennia and rulers. Because of its strategic location, it is also a contested and important place in the Spanish - Portuguese, and Spanish - Moorish wars. Thanks to the appointment of the tourist place in 1956 Aracena has been untouched by uncontrolled growth, which is why the town still exudes its very original character.


The municipality of Aracena also still belong the localities Carboneras, Castañuelo, Corterrangel, Jabuguillo, La Umbria and Valdezufre.


Despite its location in the south of Spain prevails a moist, mild climate. The water-rich clouds from the Atlantic be spoiled by rain in the region ( the Sierra de Huelva), so that no water shortage prevails. A network of reservoirs uses this property for the supply of the coastal towns and the provincial capital with drinking water. The situation in the Mediterranean region is particularly evident in the distribution of rainfall, which focused on the winter months. Temperatures are pleasant all year round.

Business & Tourism

Aracena is a town dominated by agriculture and extensive cattle breeding. On small vegetable fields fruits are grown, and the export is of Spanish ham, a regional specialty, dominates. Another pillar is tourism. In Aracena is the only 4 -star hotel in the province, outside the provincial capital. It is the starting point for tours through the mountains.


In addition to the historic center, which is relatively well preserved, Aracena offers a variety of churches in the Mudéjar style (of the Muslim converted to Christian churches). Of particular note is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Prioral Mayor Dolor ( Monastic church of our lady of the biggest pain), which between the 12th and 15th century on the remains of the Castle of Aracena ( Muslim Castillo, destroyed in the 12th century ) was built. The ruin is now accessible again, but only consists of the remains of walls ( the bulk of the stones was over time continue to be used by the inhabitants to build their houses). The church is next to the Mudéjar style also strong, atypical for this region, Gothic features. Another beautiful church is the Iglesia de Santa Maria de Asuncion ( Assumption Church ) from the 16th century ( Renaissance style).

The tourist highlight the wonders of caves ( Grutas de Maravillas ). An approximately 2100m long, of which 1200m walk- complex of caves. Discovered in 1886, it has since 1914 to visit for tourists. The largest hall is 50m high above, and is further 50m below the surface. Admission for a 45min. Guide ( in Spanish only) 8, - € (as of May 2008).

Additional points of interest

  • The Geological Museum,
  • The Schinkenmusuem
  • The Teatro Sierra de Aracena
  • As well as the casino Arias Montando.


As in other Andalusian towns and villages also, the Holy Week ( Semana Santa ) is the highlight of the festivities take place each year. In Aracena litigate 6 brotherhoods, including the largest procession, is the brotherhood of Veracruz, which has to have roots to the 16th century.

From the tradition of the ranchers, the Feria de mayo ( Maimesse ) has emerged, which is held every year on the third weekend in May and from events is around meat (especially Jamón Ibérico ). A similar festival is held in late October.