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A short walk from your cottage, along country
lanes lined with stone walls, takes you to the
pretty village of Alájar with its white houses
and winding, cobbled streets. Some of the bars
and restaurants stand out for their cosiness and
character. High above the cluster of white houses
towers la Peña de Arias Montano, a craggy cliff with
a sixteenth century hermitage set on its peak.
Alájar's name comes from the Arab word for stone,
and the fact is that it is a stony peak that dominates
the village and presides over the life and doings of
its 836 inhabitants. This peak, called Peña de Arias
Montano (after Philip II's unorthodox minister who
on retiring felt drawn to this land), next to the
Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles, and the
charming layout of the town of Alájar shines whitely,
like the cut-out sillhouette of a giant lizard, against
the green of the surrounding forests and meadows. You are visiting an area where fine specimens of Iberian swine are bred.You will find shops where you can buy all kinds of sausage meats, sausages, and of course, acorn-fed hams.
The Mezquita Almonaster la Real
Bars and restaurants are plentiful.Here are some of the best:
Aracena, the main town in the park, is only a
twenty minute drive along scenic roads from the
Molino. It boasts a fine thirteenth century church,
built on a hill by the Knights Templar, who were
given dominion over the area in 1267.
Beneath this hill crowned by the church, lies
the Gruta de las Maravillas (Cave Of Wonders),
one of Spain's most impressive caves. a.
DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK
Spain's largest wildlife sanctuary, the Coto de
Doñana National Park, is within reach. This is
one of the last untouched parts of Europe, visited
by a great variety of migrating birds, and one of
the remaining strongholds of the lynx. On the
coast there are fishing villages and some of
Spain's finest beaches; while Seville, the
lively Andalusian capital, is accessible for daytrips.
All this makes the Molino Río Alájar an unrivalled
rural destination for those in search of a relaxing
holiday, in an area rich in cultural treasures and natural beauty.