Cordoba Province - Sierras Subbéticas

Sierra Subbetica © Michelle Chaplow
Sierra Subbetica with photos from the villages of Carba, Luque and Zuheros in the provice of Cordoba Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow

Sierras Subbeticas de Cordoba

The Subbetica of Cordoba is an area of cultural, natural and historic interest in the southern part of the province of Cordoba. It takes in fascinating towns like Priego de Cordoba, Cabra or Baena and villages like Zuheros, Luque and Iznajar.

Geographically, it's in the heart of Andalucia, almost equidistant from the major towns of Cordoba, Granada, Seville, Jaen and Malaga. It´s been a melting pot and cradle for various civilisations over eight thousand years, and bears patient exploration. If there is an archaeological museum where you end up, visit it. You'll find fascinating exhibits, from Neolithic implements and Iberian statues to magnificent Roman mosaics and Moorish pottery. Information on the stands can be sparse, and is generally not in English, so if you can muster some Spanish, ask the curators about the exhibits- you´ll be amazed.

Spectacular baroque churches are another feature of the Subbetica, untold artistic riches nestling behind the modest church facades in many of the towns and villages. They´re not always open to the public at convenient hours, but you can always find out when Mass is taking place.

The Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park for wonderful walks and exploration. Spectacular views, caves complete with prehistoric paintings and rich flora and fauna are just some of the joys of this area.

Local customs are richly varied too, with spectacular experiences in store for the visitor in Holy Week, and colourful fiestas and romerias (pilgrimages) all year round.

Local gastronomy reflects centuries of influence from Romans, Arabs and Jews. The matanza (the slaughtering of the family pig) still takes place with all its resulting products, delicious sausage and black pudding. Kid is a speciality too, with the herds of goats also providing cheeses of superb quality. Don't miss the fine wines and liquors (based on anise) of this region, along with unique sweetmeats and quince jelly.

The Sierra Subbética is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park.
The Sierra Subbética is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park.

Southeast of Aguilar de la Frontera, on the border of the dramatically rugged limestone peaks of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, is the attractive town of Cabra, which has many interesting sights, including an archaeological museum and various churches and mansions. If you want to find out more about the Sierras Subbéticas, there´s also a visitors´ centre for the park here. Further south still is the large town of Lucena, well known for its numerous furniture workshops. It´s also worth stopping to explore its remarkable historic centre, with many fine examples of Baroque religious architecture.

In the southeastern corner of Cordoba province and on the northern edge of the Sierras Subbéticas is the mountain village of Zuheros, in a spectacular cliffside position with its intriguing Cueva de los Murciélagos (Cave of the Bats). Just east of Zuheros and also in the park is the pretty village of Luque, perched on a rocky outcrop and crowned by a castle. Seven kilometres north of Luque is Baena. Linking Zuheros and Luque and continuing southwest around the park to Cabra and Lucena, is the Vía Verde of the Subbética, an attractive walking and cycling route along the course of a former railway line. Overlooking the Sierras Subbéticas is the delightful Priego de Cordoba, a beautiful town renowned for its outstanding Baroque churches, some of best in Andalucia, and a magnificent fountain.

South of here is Iznajar, located on a promontory and transformed by the creation of a massive reservoir on its doorstep. As well as being a great place for a walk, swim or picnic, you can also go canoeing or sailing on the reservoir.

Villages

Almedinilla Baena
The area surrounding the town itself is full of archeological finds dating back to the Iberiains with remains from Phoenician and Greek activity.
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Located approximately 62km southeast of Cordoba beyond Castro del Río is the handsome town of Baena.
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Benamejí Cabra
Hikers can take one of the numerous beautiful routes around the area and the river Genil.
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Cabra is a town whose history can be traced back to the Palaeolithic age, and which was at one point the epicentre of the Roman empire.
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Carcabuey Doña Mencia
If you’re looking for a village filled with legend, then Carcabuey is just the place you’re looking for. Just like the village itself, the mysteries of this town revolve around the castle.
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The Museo Histórico-Arqueológico y Etnográfico offers visitors information on the history of this village. Other attractions include the ruins of a castle and the Ermita del Calvario.
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Encinas Reales Fuente Tojar
This village has a beautiful neoclassical temple dedicated to la advocación de La Expectación, and from Vodofresno you can get amazing views over the river Genil.
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Fuente Tójar is home to the Mirador de La Canteruela, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario and the Historical Museum.
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Iznajar La Carlota
This small town of some six thousand inhabitants was transformed some years ago by the creation of an "embalse", or reservoir.
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The Cordoban town of La Carlota is named after King Carlos III who founded the present day town in an attempt to re-populate the area..
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Lucena Luque
Although Lucena appears to be entirely comprised of furniture factories and outlets, the old town hosts many exquisite churches.
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On the fringes of the rugged Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park is the attractive village of Luque.
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Palenciana Priego de Cordoba
Palenciana is a small and tranquil village, with typical white houses with windows and balconies of wrought metal. The most important building is the church, dedicated to San Miguel.
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This prosperous olive-farming town stands on a plateau overlooking the rolling hills of the Subbética Mountain Range.
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Rute Zuheros
This prosperous olive-farming town stands on a plateau overlooking the rolling hills of the Subbética Mountain Range.
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Zuheros is one of the best of the White Villages, "el pueblo mas bonito del mundo".
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Parks

Sierras Subbéticas Vía Verde of the Subbética
The Sierras Subbéticas is a stunningly beautiful, rugged park located in the heart of Andalucia.
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This railway path covers 56km, much of it on the fringes of the limestone mountainous area of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park.
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Places to Visit

Cueva de los Murciélagos  
The Cueva de los Murciélagos (the Cave of the Bats) is a system of caves situated on the edges of the limestone Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park.
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