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Jaen Mini Guide
Jaen in a Nutshell
Jaen is a town in Andalusia, Spain. It takes its name from the Arabic ‘jayyan’ meaning ‘crossroad of caravans’. The town has an historical centre and steep narrow streets for you to explore. Jaen is the biggest producer of olive oil in the world.
How Would I get There?
The nearest airport is at Granada
, you can take a connecting flight from Madrid
or Barcelona to get there. You can drive your Rhino hire car from there using the N323 highway, Jaen is 99km away. Alternatively, if you fly into Madrid or Barcelona
you can also use the RENFE train service or take a long distance bus.
How can I get Around Town?
The town has its own bus and tram system so you can get around easily. If you want to travel further afield, buses leave Plaza de Coca de la Pinera to Granada and Seville
What can I see There?
You must visit Castillo de Santa Catalina on Catalina Mount and see the views over the city and the olive groves. The castle was built in 1246 on the site of an Arabic fortress called Abrehui’s Castle, of which there are still remains. The castle is now used as a hotel, but has been conserved beautifully. Jaen Cathedral is built in Renaissance style – if you visit on a Friday you will see the ‘veil of veronica’ presented in the chapel for the public to see. Another interesting place to visit is the Villardompardo’s Palace, under which you can see the Arab Baths, the largest and best preserved in Spain.
Anything Else to do?
To understand more about Andalusian culture, visit the Museum of Arts and Popular Customs or to appreciate the work of many local artists go to the International Museum of Naif Art.
What can I do Outside the Town?
The countryside surrounding the town is outstanding, so take a drive around the villages of Andujar and Baeza. The Cazorla and Segura mountain ranges are the best place to discover the local flora and fauna.
Tell me About the Food
Typical Andalusian cuisine is based on local seasonal produce and always uses lots of olive oil! Go to a tapas bar and try ‘ajilimoje’ a mixture of potatoes and red peppers with oil and vinegar, spread onto chunks of bread. For a light dish, have the ‘pipirrana’ a salad of tomatoes and peppers mixed with hard boiled egg. You could also try ‘bacalao a la yema’, cod with egg or ‘spinach a la Jaen’ with spicy sausage and orange zest.
Can I see a Fiesta?
If you visit in January you may see the St Anton’s Day Fiesta, join the locals at their bonfires and eat, take part in a dance or a traditional race! During holy week in March or April people line the streets of Jaen to watch the magnificent processions.
- On the 28th April you can join the people of the town as they climb or ride horses up to the top of the Sierra Morena to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Cabeza. Thousands of people attend, singing and dancing around the shrine.