I consider myself to be a city girl through and through…. Or at the very least a suburban one. My encounters with nature have been limited to beaches, city zoos, class field trips to the pumpkin patch and a few spontaneous attempts at canoeing. Despite my slight disconnect from all the wonders Mother Earth has to offer, I have always been her secret admirer. Recently, I had the chance to take my admiration up close and personal with a four-day weekend trip to Cazorla.
Cazorla, Spain is a picturesque town that sits high in the mountains in the province of Jaén. For those looking to get in touch with Mother Nature, Cazorla offers a never-ending list of possibilities.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why nature lovers should consider taking a trip to this lovely town:
1) El Mar de Olivos
Taking in the scenery from the many lookout points in this town allows for views of hill after hill completely covered in olive trees. It seems as though one hill rolls into the next imitating the waves of the ocean. Some locals describe their surroundings as “el mar de olivos” – the sea of olive trees – and the view is astonishing. With so many olives nearby, it is no surprise that Cazorla produces its own delicious and savory olive oil, which can be bought in many locations around town. These tasty local olives also often make appearances as tapas and side dishes in Cazorla’s restaurants.
2) Las Sierras
The mountains of Cazorla are part of a larger mountain range that is a well-preserved park known as Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. This park alone is reason enough to visit Cazorla where you can find the main entrance of the park. I could write dozens of sub points to describe the sights and activities found here, but I will try to summarize. There are 32 different starting points for various hiking paths and 23 recreational areas to stop, eat and relax along your route. There are two botanical gardens and 11 museums and visitors centers. The park not only offers the opportunity to go hiking, but to also enjoy the paths on horseback or mountain bike. More adventurous visitors can try their hand at canoeing, rock climbing and canyon rappelling.
The pictures below were taken while hiking along La Ruta de Borosa, named after the River Borosa, which is one of many rivers that runs through this park.
3) La Ruta del Cerezuelo
If you’re looking to get a quick fix for your nature cravings but don’t want to stray too far away from civilization, the hiking path, La Ruta del Cerezuelo, is the best of both worlds. The center of Cazorla is made up of three plazas: Plaza Santa Maria, Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza de la Corredera which is also known as “El Huevo” (the egg) because of its oblong shape. A one-minute walk from Plaza Santa Maria leads to the beginning of La Ruta del Cerezuelo. This path runs alongside a river that twists and turns over small rocky waterfalls. In the fall, the path is covered with bright orange and yellow leaves from the wide variety of trees that provide shade along the hike. Carefully crafted wooden bridges that are obviously manmade but somehow compliment the surrounding natural beauty can also be found along La Ruta del Cerezuelos. The grand finale is the large waterfall that greets hikers at the end of the path as a reward for completing this approximately hour-long trek.
4) The hotels and spas
After a day of roughing it in the mountains, nothing feels better than a hot shower and a bed to lie in to help you unwind. Cazorla’s hotels take the rest and relaxation of their guests seriously. Many hotels strive to create a cozy and rustic feel to their rooms and common areas that allow guests to feel connected to Mother Nature but in a more tranquil environment. Several hotels are also strategically built and located to offer their guests some of the best scenic views in town. For those visitors looking to take their relaxation to the next level, there are also some hotels that have beautiful and serene spas that offer all the top services. If you’re staying at a smaller hotel but still want to take advantage of the spas in Cazorla, day passes can often be bought that allow you to take advantage of the spas’ various steam rooms and Jacuzzis.
5) Cazorla is simply a beautiful place.
For more information about tourism in Cazorla go to www.turismoencazorla.com