What to do and what to see in Cazorla

The municipality of Cazorla is located in the region of the Sierra de Cazorla, east of the province of Jaén. It is the center of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, the largest protected area in Spain and the second in Europe. A natural space full of fauna and flora, of high hydrological and scenic interest. Destination of many travelers throughout the year.

The town of Cazorla, declared a Historic Artistic Site due to the great beauty of its old town, sits in the shade of the Peña de los Halcones, with the mountain range behind it and facing the Jaén countryside with an endless number of olive trees. The distribution and composition of the narrow and steep streets of Cazorla, with their traditional houses and their great historical heritage, presided over by the Yedra Castle, will captivate you.

History of Cazorla

The first settlements of stable form in the surroundings of Cazorla date from 2000 BC. The Iberian culture was developed significantly in these lands. Later, the Romans also settled in this region attracted by the silver and salt they found here. And, during the Muslim occupation, in the middle of the Middle Ages, Cazorla and other neighboring towns of the region were fortified, being a relevant border enclave, hence the innumerable presence of castles and fortresses in the area. The next important milestone in its history takes place during the Independence War, with the expulsion of the French from Cazorla.

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What to see in Cazorla

You must do a route through the historic center of Cazorla, crossing its narrow and steep streets, enjoying its unique Arabic Andalusian charm and visiting its rich historical heritage, where we highlight:

Yedra Castle: Located in the Hill of Salvatierra, a Christian construction built on another Arab castle from the 11th and 13th centuries. This lodges in its interior the Museum of Arts and Popular Customs of the High Guadalquivir, which is divided in two sections, the one of History, located in the tower of the homage, and the one of Arts and Customs, in a building annex to the previous section.

Castle of the Five Corners: Crowning the Hill of Salvatierra, of pentagonal floor. Built in the 14th century.

Ruins of the Church of Saint María: Renaissance style, from the 16th century, was built on the Cerezuelo River in Cazorla, which crosses the entire church. Due to a flood and a fire in the Independence War this church is now in ruins.

Church of Saint Francisco: 17th century. Of rectangular floor, of three auditoriums, with vault of half cannon. It has a rich altarpiece, from the middle of the 20th century. Inside we can find the image that represents Cazorla, the Holy Christ of Consuelo.

Church of Saint José: 17th century and early 18th century. With floor of a single auditorium, lateral chapels and rectangular presbytery; its vault is of half cannon supported on pillars and on the altar a great cupola supported by pendentives. It is located in Corredera Square from Cazorla.

Church of the Carmen: 17th century. Rectangular floor, choir and two galleries, one superior and another in low level. Its octagonal tower of beautiful design stands out.

Hermitage of Saint Isicio: Located in La Pedriza, it houses the patron saint of Cazorla, San Isicio. On May 15 of each year the village moves in its procession to its hermitage.

Hermitage of Saint Miguel Arcángel: From end of 17th century and beginning of 18th century. It is located on the road between Cazorla and the mountains. Rectangular in three bodies, covered with vaults separated by semicircular arches fajones.

Hermitage of the Virgin of the Head: From the 17th century. Located on top of a rock, it has a rectangular and single floor. It houses the Virgin of the Head, patron saint of the town of Cazorla.

Montesión Monastery: From the 16th century. It is located 3 km from Cazorla, on the road to San Isicio.

Hermitage of Saint Sebastián: Located above the Cerezuelo River or Cazorla River, it is very close to a natural reserve known as Nacelrio.

Other historical buildings of architectural interest in Cazorla are: The Fountain of the Chains, built in honor of Felipe II. City Hall and Merced Theater, from the 16th century. Convent of San Juan de la Penitenciaría, from the 16th century. Old Town Halls, from the 17th century. The House of Clérigos, from the 17th century. The House of the Seven Fountains which has in its interior the remains of a Roman ninfeo. The Palace of the Vicaría, of the 17th century with a spectacular patio in its interior that contains arcades, a cloister and the central fountain. Palace of the Chains, dates from the 19th century and is surrounded by columns that are joined by large chains, also has a beautiful garden.

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What to do in Cazorla

Cazorla is an authentic natural jewel capable of impressing the tourist, with its rugged reliefs, where the rocky walls of great height merge with the deep valleys and abundant wooded masses of laricio pines. Without forgetting, of course, the spectacular hydrographic network that runs through the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park and that makes the visitor, can enjoy a variety of different ecosystems, in a few kilometers.

It is precisely, this great variety of reliefs and landscapes that makes Cazorla one of the best places in Spain to enjoy rural tourism.

If you decide to spend a few days in the area, you can do different activities such as hiking, because the great variety of landscapes and ecosystems that has the Sierra de Cazorla, make this town the perfect place to take a nice walk and enjoy wonderful sunsets in the middle of nature. In addition, there are routes of different levels of difficulty, so if you are unaccustomed to long walks or if you travel with children you can also find itineraries adapted to it. Among the different activities from Cazorla, we propose:

Route of the Cerezuelo River: Since ancient times, the Cerezuelo River or Cazorla River has been the central axis of the life of the inhabitants of Cazorla. And, during his tour of the town, is responsible for watering the gardens, moving the flour mills and was an important producer of electricity. But it is also one of the most beautiful corners of the area, offering a spectacular landscape while the visitor climbs to the Yedra Castle. For this reason it is one of the best routes for lovers of rural tourism. If you follow the river, you can choose between two options. The first would be to go down a narrow path that is on the left and that will take you in a circular direction to the place of departure in Cazorla. This route has an extension of about 2.4 kilometers and starts at the bridge next to the Mill of the Fárraga, reaching the vicinity of the junction that leads to the Hermitage of Saint Sebastian. But if you decide to choose the second route, going to the castle, you will arrive at the municipality of La Iruela, passing by the Hermitage of the Virgin of the Head. Along this route you will find crystal clear water sources and three viewpoints that offer spectacular views to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park.

MTB Routes: Some of the hiking routes, perfectly marked by the Sierra de Cazorla, are also suitable for cycling. In this way, lovers of mountain biking can practice their favorite sport and at the same time enjoy the landscapes offered by the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park. In addition, regular tests are held, both nationally and internationally, of this sport, such as the Mountain Bike Marathon of the Sierra de Cazorla.

Birth of the Guadalquivir: It is an ideal route for bike lovers of 58 kilometers through the best corners of the Sierra de Cazorla, which allows us to visit the birth of the Guadalquivir River, stopping in certain sections to enjoy the views to Cazorla that this route give us away.

Adventure sports: In the Sierra de Cazorla, not only there are hiking routes, in recent years have emerged a variety of activities related to active tourism, such as the descent of canyons, abseiling, zip line, climbing, flight or canoe. Ideal for the most adventurous spirits who seek excitement and want to take their adrenaline to the limit in Cazorla.

Excursion in all-terrain vehicle: If you want to contemplate the beauty of the Sierra de Cazorla, but in a much quieter way, you also have the option of doing it in 4x4 car, going through some of the most beautiful and spectacular areas of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, to which it can not be accessed with a private vehicle. An ideal itinerary for families with children.

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Traditional festivals in Cazorla

In the town of Cazorla we can find different celebrations spread throughout the year.

International Blues Festival BluesCazorla: It takes place at the beginning of July and is one of the most outstanding in its scope of the national panorama and very important in Cazorla.

International Festival of Theater of Cazorla: Presents each autumn to some of the most prestigious companies and works in Spain. It takes place every autumn, being its stages the Merced Theater and the streets of Cazorla.

Traditional Entrance of the Sheep: Every Sunday, before the last Sunday of April, in honor of the Virgin of the Head, the traditional entrance of the sheep is celebrated, a procession of sheep adorned with colored ribbons to be offered to the virgin and which they will be auctioned in the following days in Cazorla.

Other religious festivities in Cazorla, are: The Pilgrimage of the Virgin of the Head, last Sunday of April. Christ of the Valley, first Saturday of May, Pilgrimage of Saint Isicio, May 15. Pilgrimage of Montesión, last Sunday of September. Fair and celebrations of the Holy Christ of the Consuelo, from the September 17.

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Gastronomy of Cazorla

As typical diches of Cazorla we emphasize: The gachamiga, that are crumbs of flour accompanied by dry and fried peppers, sausage, blood sausage and according to the season, melon, cherries, grapes and other fruits of the zone. Talarines or rags, made with thin flour dough cakes with water and salt that are stewed with hare or rabbit meat and chanterelles, and the scent of mint. The ajoarina, a dish made with flour, garlic, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, water, salt and paprika. The rin-ran, which is a cold puree of potato and dried red peppers with olives and seasoned with cumin.

Among the typical sweets from Cazorla we highlight the sweet rice, the enreos, the white manjar and the sweet porridge.

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