The province of Jaen is situated in southern Spain in the autonomous community of Andalusia. The region is an area of outstanding natural beauty, where olive groves dominate the landscape, peppered with whitewashed farms and ancient villages, set against the deep orange colour of the region’s soil.
Smalls towns and villages dot the landscape; on closer inspection one finds Renaissance buildings - palaces, churches and picturesque plazas. Some of the towns and villages worth visiting here include Baeza, Ubeda, Alcala, Linares and Alcala la Real.
The landscape of Jaen province is expansive, unspoilt and outstandingly beautiful.
Just east of Ubeda and Beaza lies the Sierras de Cazorla Nature Park, arguably one of the most beautiful nature parks in the Andalusia.
The Sierra de Andujar Natural Park with its landscape of Mediterranean woodland, is extremely beautiful, as is the Sierra Magina Natural Park, with its landscape of olive groves and quaint village sucha s Bedmar, Cambil and Huelma.
Many travellers enter Andalusia through another nature park of Jaen, named Despeñaperros, which links Andalusia to the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. Here you find the aptly named narrow gorge of the "Gateway to Andalusia".
Jaen is the world’s leading producer of olives and olive oil and is the venue for the world’s largest trade fair devoted to the olive industry, which takes place in Jaen city during the first week of October.
Towns and villages of Jaen
The city of Jaen is rich in historical heritage, with impressive monuments such as the cathedral, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, and the adjoining parish church or "El Sagrario".
The city’s Moorish castle, which has been converted into a Parador, sits majestically on top of Mount Santa Catalina, and on a neighbouring hill stands a monumental cross engraved with a
moving poem by Almendros Aguilar. It’s definitely worth climbing to the top to indulge
in the spectacular view to the city and the undulating olive groves of the province.
Jaen has several fascinating churches, such as La Santa Capilla de San Andres, the Convent of Santo Domingo, the Church of La Magdalena with its charming courtyard, the Church of San Ildefonso, the Convent of Las Bernardas and the
Churches of San Bartolomé and San Juan. The Museum of Jaen Province (Museo Provincial) possesses one of Spain’s leading collections of Iberian art, from the pre-Roman period.
The delightful town of Alcala la Real is surrounded by a magnificent landscape of olive groves, vineyards, whitewashed villages and
natural park space. The town itself is rich in historical heritage, and has lots of cultural attractions, including its own 7th century Moorish
castle and a beautiful old quarter.
The towns of Baños de la Encina, Linares & Vilche all boast buildings and monuments of architectural beauty, mixing Renaissance and
Baroque design, typical of Andalusia.
In fact the towns of Ubeda and Baeza in the region of La Loma have both been declared UNESCO World Historic-Artistic sites because of the great wealth of Renaissance architecture
they have preserved.
Each year Jaen squares are lit up with huge bonfires to commemorate the day of San Antonio Abad, the patron saint and protector of animals. Each neighbourhood compete to build the biggest, brightest and most spectacular bonfire, while the
people perform the traditional dance of "los melenchones". Seasonal delicacies are eaten such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes and popcorn.
The province of Jaen does have a typically sub-tropical climate, as with the rest of Andalusia. The summers are hot and long, and the winters milder than most of Europe. However, in some of the more remote towns and villages of Jaen, there can be a lot of rainfall and even snow during the winter months.