In the section that runs along the Autovía del Sur, or A-4,

between the towns of Guarromán and Bailén

, in the north of the province of Jaén, the imposing silhouette of a fortress that dominates the territory from above can be seen in the distance.

It is the

Castle of Burgalimar,

an incredible Umayyad construction that, in addition to being one of the oldest in Spain, is also one of the best preserved in Europe.

The spectacular fortress, a perfect example of defensive architecture built in the 10th century by the Cordovan caliph al-Hakam on a small hill, was the object of continuous battles between Muslims and Christians due to its location in a strategic access point to Andalusia.

Today, the imposing monument is the main tourist attraction of

Baños de la Encina

, the charming town that lies at its feet, nestled in the surroundings of Sierra Morena, next to the Rumblar reservoir.

Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest,

the castle is surrounded by a robust wall that includes 14

quadrangular towers in the Caliphate style and of equal height, in addition to the rounded keep (also called the fat battlement), which was added by the Christians in the XV century.

Over the centuries, the fortress, which has hardly suffered any damage, has served as a refuge for warriors, as a royal residence, as a parish cemetery and even as a setting for films such as

Captain Thunder and the Holy Grail


Access to the venue costs 4.50 euros.

But the castle is not the only interesting thing that houses this town of Arab origin.

Its artistic and monumental heritage is incalculable, in addition to being perfectly preserved, not in vain, the historic center of Baños de la Encina has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site.

Strolling through the intricate and sloping layout of its narrow streets

, flanked by small houses with white facades, manor houses, palaces, hermitages and Gothic churches appear, as well as eighteenth-century mills and the Town Hall, in the Plaza de la Constitución, in the century XVI.

Next to the castle, another building that attracts attention and that draws the silhouette of the town is

the parish church of San Mateo,

in a Gothic style built in the last third of the 15th century with a Gothic design.

Its bell tower has Renaissance finishes.

But, without a doubt, one of the local treasures is

the Hermitage of Cristo del Llano.

Despite the sobriety of the exterior, the interior of the temple houses the most expressive Baroque of the Cordovan subbética added in the 18th century.

The Camarín Tower

is decorated with rich polychrome plasterwork with hundreds of allegorical figures, saints, angels, musicians and other natural motifs, such as exotic birds, fruits and vegetables.

In the upper part of the town there remains an

old windmill from

the 18th century built on ashlars, to which a few years ago some ornamental blades were added after rehabilitation.

Inside it houses a small museum.


In addition to being an urban jewel, Baños de la Encina is lucky to be located in a privileged setting with thousands of options to enjoy nature.

From the very center of the town you can access

the Dehesa del Santo Cristo del Llano,

with a whole network of marked paths that cross places with archaeological remains, ethnographic references and a great variety of forests.

Tamujoso beach

is located 2.5 km away

, in the Pantano del Rumblar, which is easily reached by a signposted path.

In summer people go to cool off there.

Hermitage of Jesus del Llano

Where to eat



, bread stuffed with virgin olive oil, salt and a ripe tomato accompanied by bacon, sardines or olives;

stews with wild meat (wild boar, deer, rabbit, partridge);

sweet porridge and migas serranas are some of the star dishes of the town.

La Despensa de la Abuela

(Av. de la Picoza, 7, Baños de la Encina; tel.: 696 60 38 09) offers local cuisine on a terrace with spectacular views of the mountains and the swamp;

Bury Restaurant

(Calle Bailen, 6, Baños de la Encina; tel.: 626 21 94 01) specializes in grilled meats.

Where to sleep

Hotel Restaurant Baños de la Encina

(Cerro de la Llaná, s/n; tel.: 953 61 40 68).

Nice hotel with views of the Sierra Morena.

The restaurant serves traditional Andalusian cuisine and medieval-style dishes.


: from 69 euros.

Palacete María Rosa

(Calle de la Trinidad, 25, tel.: 722 65 69 29) is a rustic-style house in a historic building from the 16th century.


: from 61 euros.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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