Alájar, a beautiful village in the heights of Huelva

Alájar is one of the most idyllic villages in the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche, in Huelva, which is a province full of beautiful villages. In this village you can see beautiful white houses with narrow cobbled streets, surrounded by a beautiful and lush landscape. A place full of attractions, ideal to take your camera with you.

A village immersed in a unique and beautiful mountain


A colorful and magical alley in Alájar, a small village in Huelva | Shutterstock

Alájar is located 574 meters above sea level and has a population, according to the latest census, of 763 inhabitants. It represents a perfect destination for ecotourism lovers. In its surroundings, especially in the surrounding villages, visitors have the opportunity to learn about an alternative and sustainable way of life that thrives on the resources provided by the land.

In the beautiful Alájar visitors can lose themselves in the narrow streets with beautiful mosaics, which decorate the doors of the houses. There are numerous rehabilitated houses in whose reform has respected the essence of its past. Everything is picturesque and authentic. These houses are now part of an interesting offer of rural accommodation.

It is worth visiting beforehand the sober church of San Marcos Evangelista, which was built at the end of the 16th century from an old temple. It has a basilica floor plan and a tower with three sections topped by a pinnacle. It is a monument for those versed in ecclesiastical art.

The crag of Arias Montano, a must visit

Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles

Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, in the Peña de Arias Montano | Shutterstock

Beyond the white houses stands the Peña de Arias Montano, a telluric and mystical place so famous that it was even visited by the Dalai Lama, who found here a very strong point of energy. Its name comes from Benito Arias Montano, an important humanist, notary, Andalusian figure very prominent in the Middle Ages who came to serve as librarian of the monastery of El Escorial. This fascinating place was dedicated to him.

The hermitage of the Queen of the Angels was built during the 16th century. It has a clean, precise craftsmanship and frescoes of great artistic quality. There you can find, at present, a lady hermit who is in charge of taking care of the monastery. The legend tells of a shepherd to whom a virgin appeared there, the Virgin of the Angels, while she was shepherding, under a fig tree, with a heather in her hand. At the beginning of September a very crowded pilgrimage is held in her honor.

Caves and different villages for an ideal area to get lost for several days

If you visit Alájar, it is mandatory to pay special attention to the set of caves located in the area. In them, vestiges of human life from prehistoric times have been found. We must mention the caves of La Verja, Lago Seco, Los Caracoles, La Higuerita, La Fuente, La Sillita del Rey or El Palacio Oscuro, among others.

It is highly recommended to make the route of the villages, which could start at El Collado, 300 meters from Alájar. There you live in immense calm. It is certainly a beautiful place, located in the middle of the mountains. Especially plausible for people who need peace, silence and harmony with nature. It is reached walking through a path of just over a kilometer, surrounded by oaks, cork oaks and Mediterranean scrub. Pure Andalusian flora. You can also see biodynamic houses made with ecological materials found in the environment. Chestnut wood obviously predominates, located in the doors or holding the ceilings. It is a material that withstands the humidity of the rains.

The uniqueness of the rural, the balance of the buildings and their aesthetics also characterizes the environment of another important village. Only one kilometer from El Collado is El Cabezuelo. It is well known for the May crosses, which are celebrated at the end of that month. Each neighbor brings a food and a coexistence between those present is signed. The whole day is a party. You can continue the route with the remote village of Madroñeros, where the sustainability of resources, the relationship with the land, the social environment and maximum self-sufficiency are its hallmarks. During the French invasion, it was the only town that was spared from the attack because it is located between hills and mountains, in a remote location. A peculiarity: in many parts of the year there is neither light nor water, other than the natural one.

 El Calabacino

Path to get to El Calabacino. | El Pantera, Wikimedia.

Of the four small villages of medieval origin that make up the circular route of the villages of Alájar, the most dynamic is El Calabacino. As a peculiarity, it should be noted that it is not accessible by motor vehicles. This village is halfway from Alájar to Castaño del Robledo. It is one of the most populated. Many inhabitants choose El Calabacino as their first home. They are looking for peace, to separate themselves from society in a hurry and enjoy nature in all its splendor.

The inhabitants of these villages have historically had a close link with water as an elixir of life. You can visit the fountain of San Amaro, one of the most representative sources of the town of Alájar. And there is not a village without a fountain in the whole town.

For lovers of hiking, which are many, a great option is to complete the path of the mills, which runs along the old road from Alájar to Valverde. Only the beginning of the path is conditioned for hiking, but it is well worth it. It is a beautiful, quiet and shady stretch.

The natural environment, an irresistible attraction for visitors to Alájar

black vulture

The black vulture can be found in the surroundings of Alájar. | Shutterstock

In the surroundings of the ecovillages visited, active tourism activities represent an added value. Black vultures, griffon vultures, kites, storks or robins can be observed. An endless number of birds that inhabit these forests, from the smallest to the largest birds of prey. They are true treasures of nature, insectivorous species important for the ecosystems.

Throughout the Natural Park coexist pines, cork oaks, holm oaks, species of rockroses, ulex or genistas. Such variety in the flora makes it especially possible to find many types of wild mushrooms. Near Alájar you can walk real mycological routes. It is another of its tourist attractions.

The gastronomy, the jewel in the crown


Macrolepiota procera. Mushrooms in the Sierra de Aracena. | Shutterstock

The gastronomy of Huelva is fantastic. Alájar has a pantry rich in seasonal zero kilometer products, especially Iberian sausages. It offers different proposals to enjoy a complete dining experience. The star product of the gastronomy of the Sierra de Aracena is the meat of the acorn-fed Iberian pig. Recommendation: taste a milhoja of Iberian prey. An exquisite dish.

And a curiosity: in some of these villages takes place the ‘huevá’ alajeña, which consists of frying eggs and potatoes in abundance for all visitors to the village, tourists and locals who are hungry. It takes place during the pilgrimage of the patron saint. Bread is also dispensed. Everything is free. And the best part: the proceeds of the festival go to charitable causes in the municipality.

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