If you occasionally are in Seville, and occasionally are with your bike, Aracena is the best and the nearest riding area.The Sierra de Aracena is a sweet mountain area, located 90 km from Seville (1 hour by car, more or less), full of charming little villages that are connected trough an old net of cart tracks, very old roman paved roads and rural paths. There are typical examples of mediterranean woods (basically cork trees, oak trees and holm oaks) and wide plantations of chest-nut trees, that turns into a quite impressive landscape in autumn. Although the landscape is well conserved, this is not the case of the trails: they are old, some of them not very well marked, and full of technical stuff (loose stones, big rocks, very narrow paths). In fact sometimes you have to dismount and pass walking with your bike over your shoulder, unless you were a serious, technical specialist. However, this old paths give you a direct contact with very tranquil, isolated areas, going deep into the woods and crossing magic mountain creeks. You can ask in the tourist office, in Aracena, for a little leaflet with treking routes in the Natural Parc of Aracena and Picos de Aroche (some of them are suitable also for mountain bikes), or buy a specific book with mountain bike routes all over Andalucia, that includes about 10 of Aracena and its surroundings, edited by the Andalusian Government (also available in the tourist offices)
Reviewed by: jose manuel hernandez
, from Seville, Spain
Summary: Look for a track that starts perpendiculary to the road N433, direction to Cortegana, on the outside of Aracena, opposite an oil station. The track begins with a little descent between stone fences trough a wonderful chest-nut tree wood, and it takes about 5 Km to Los Marines. Follow the red and white signals, always in the main track, till you go to a big farm, now outside the chesnt-nut trees wood,where you must take to the left. Finally you arrive to a little road that takes you, to the left, very quickly to Los Marines. In los Marines, go outside the village (if you want, you dont need to enter) and take the main road N433. You will see a big stone quarry. Near the quarrys entrance there is a pannel which marks the beginnig of the route to Linares de la Sierra. It starts with a moderate technical climb in a fantastic wood and then, the stony descent to Linares with impressive views of the surroundings mountains. After crossing another road, the trail continues and just before arriving to Linares it ends in another trail: if you take it to the right, here there is Linares (less than 1 km), and if you take it to the left, it takes you to Aracena, now following the yellow and white signals. In fact this is the return trail to Aracena (another 5 or 6 kms, now going up hill), but a visit to Linares is really worthwile. Linares is one of the most typical villages of this area, with its steep, very bad paved narrow streets, its white houses with balconys full of flowers and its old public laundryplace (and old fountain where women gather around to chat and wash their clothes) that you can not miss.
Recommended Route: Aracena - Los Marines- Linares de la Sierra- Aracena
Other recommended trails in the same area: Starting from aracena go to Los Marines and then take the beautiful singletrack that starts near the church to Fuenteheridos (red&white signals), very nice but a bit technical. From Fuenteheridos go to the graveyard and take another singletrack that goes uphill in a chest-nut tree wood, following the yellow&white signals (be carefull, this path is not very well marked and you can get losed easily) until "la Pea de Aria Montano", and from then, comfortable descent to Alajar. From Alajar take the trail that climbs to the "Puerto de Linares" (a little mountain pass), continue by the road just 300m. and then take another path to the right, this one with very rocky sections but also wonderful, that gets you to Linares. Now from Linares to Aracena as mentioned above. Circuits lenght (starting and finishing in Aracena): 30-35 km