Not far over the regional border from Castilla – La Manca into Andalucia Baños de la Encina lies. At the foot of the Sierra Morena mountain range a huge, oval castle on the horizon beckons, it´s an unusual castle in a charming town – Baños de la Encina. Declared a Municipio Turistico de Andalucia it has also this year become one of the Pueblos Más Bonitos de España – one of the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain and I certainly agree. Long has it been one of my favourites and top of the list for taking visitors to.
A long and bloody history, charm, far reaching views of thousands of olive trees and an amazing Caliphate castle, which is the best preserved fortification from the Almohad period, to top the lot. Whatever time of year is good to visit but if you´re here in the heat of summer a refreshing dip or kayak in the Rumblar Reservoir with the enormous castle looming in the background is rather awe inspiring.
The town is a good base for exploring the province of Jaén whether hiking, exploring towns, experiencing the tapas or taking part in an olive oil tasting experience being based on the edge of the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park. The location of 4×4 trips and popular breeding ground of the rare-to-spot Iberian lynx or excellent horse riding.
See vestiges of the Bronze Age by visiting the Migaldias Fortress or discover a mining settlement from 4,000 years ago. The site of Peñalosa is the best known Bronze Age settlement in the south and it has been excavated since 1986 by a team of archaeologists from the University of Granada. It was inhabited for some 400 years, from 1850 to 1450 BC.
Eight centuries of history combined with the comforts, excellent gastronomy and ease of getting around today makes Baños de la Encina the place to stay – see you there?
Photo – Hotel Palacio Guzmanes
Where to stay in Baños de la Encina? Hotel Palacio Guzmanes
Where to Eat? Bury Restaurante