Jaén is a pretty non-tourist province at the foot of the Santa Catalina mountain in Andalusia. From time immemorial, these territories have been considered very attractive – beautiful nature, mountains, fertile lands and a chic climate, so at one time the Romans, Arabs and Christians fought desperately for them, alternately owning the city. Check jibin123 for customs regulations and visa requirements of Spain.
In modern Jaen, you can see a mix of the cultures of all the former owners, there are relatively few monuments of the pre-Christian era, but the Arabs “inherited” very noticeably. Today, this small town is famous for its beautiful nature and olive plantations – it is the world leader in the production of olive oil, and sometimes even the streets smell of olives here.
How to get to Jaen
There is no airport in Jaen, you will have to fly to Madrid or Malaga, and from there by land transport. Let’s consider both options:
The distance between Malaga and Jaen is about 200 km. The train runs once a day, at 14:15 and takes about 4 hours. The fare is from 34 EUR one way.
Alsa buses depart from Malaga to Jaen 4 times a day: at 9:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 20:00 from the city bus station. Travel time is about 3 hours, the fare is 20-24 EUR per passenger one way. Tickets can be bought online in advance or at the bus station ticket office.
From Madrid to Jaen about 330 km, by car along the A-4 highway, this distance can be overcome in 3-3.5 hours.
Trains to Jaen from Madrid run 4 times a day: at 9:29, 15:59, 17:34 and 19:32. You will have to spend about 4 hours on the road, the fare is from 35.30 EUR one way. Buses of the Samar company to Jaen depart every day from the Estacion Sur station every 30-60 minutes, depending on the time of day. The first one leaves at 7:30, the last one at 20:00, the travel time is about 4 hours, the fare is from 18 EUR one way.
You can travel around Jaen by tram, it has been running around the city since 2011, this is not the most typical transport for Spain.
There are few hotels in Jaen – only about 20 hotels, apartments and guest houses, since most tourists come here in one day, this is usually enough to see all the sights. The city has hotels of different price categories, from 1 to 4 *, there is also one hostel. The average cost of accommodation is 50-60 EUR per day for a double room, for this money you can rent a good three-ruble note, a 4 * hotel will cost from 70 EUR per day, but out of season you can also find it in the center of the “three-ruble note”.
The most famous hotel in Jaen is the Parador de Jaen 4 *, it is located in a beautifully preserved and restored castle of the 18th century. on top of Mount Santa Catalina. Here, stone walls, arched ceilings with wooden ones, a fireplace hall with high ceilings have been preserved (today guests are shown football there – this is Spain, without it, nowhere), and the furniture is stylized as the era of the 18th century. The cost of accommodation here is from 100 EUR per day for a double room.
13 km from the city, in the village of Pegalahar, there are hotels located in real caves. It is quite crowded and low ceilings, but very unusual, and there is a garden with a barbecue area on the territory. The cost of accommodation is from 60 EUR per night for a double room.
Cafes and restaurants in Jaen
There are about a hundred restaurants, cafes and bars in Jaen, mostly Spanish cuisine, but there are also Mediterranean, Italian and Chinese. Most establishments are located in the city center.
One of the most popular is the restaurant of traditional Spanish cuisine Panaceite. Here you can try Andalusian peasant food: several varieties of jamon, different types of paella, fried ribs, eggplant in honey (a typical dish in the region), etc. Dinner for two with wine will cost 35-40 EUR, it is possible that you will have to stand in line, here is often sold out.
You can have a drink after dinner in numerous bars, we recommend going to Bar Bomborombillos, it is very soulful there, they make excellent cocktails and unusual tapas.
Entertainment and attractions of Jaen
The main architectural pride of Jaén is the Cathedral (Catedral de la Asunción de Jaen), it began to be built in the 16th century, and was completed only at the beginning of the 18th century, so many architectural styles from different eras were mixed in this building: you can see elements of Gothic and baroque, but the renaissance still prevails. Inside the cathedral is stored an important religious relic for Christians – the board of Veronica. It is believed that it was this handkerchief that Saint Veronica gave to Christ, and his face was imprinted on it. The cathedral is beautiful both outside and inside. You can appreciate its interior decoration when there are no worship services; there is also a small art museum in the cathedral, where works by Andalusian artists are exhibited.
Most of the sights of Jaén are located in the Old Town, especially in its oldest part – the La Magdalena quarter, or La Malena. There you can see the famous Monument to the lizard Magdalena.
According to legend, in the 17th century. a giant lizard wound up in these parts, which stole sheep and began to attack people. Only one man volunteered to defeat him: he stuffed the skin of a sheep with gunpowder and came to the lair of the beast. The hungry lizard ate the bait and exploded, since then in Andalusia the expression “burst like a yasher of Magdalena” appeared and a new holiday – on July 2, they honor a stupid reptile and drink “lizard blood” in her honor – red wine with spices.
Not far from the monument is the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the largest in the city – it belongs to the 16th century. In the 9th century there was a Visigothic temple on this site, then a mosque was built here and later a church, from the mosque to this day there has been preserved an Arabic-style patio with a small pond. Villadompardo Palace (Palacio de Villardompardo) was built in the 16th century. for the Spanish nobleman Fernando Torres de Portugal, Count Villardompardo and Viceroy of Peru and is also located in the city center. In the 11th century here was the largest complex of Arab baths in Europe, today the ruins of these baths have been preserved, and they can be seen in the basement of the palace. At one time, this building housed a bank, a shelter for low-income women and a boarding school for the elderly. Today, in addition to the baths, here you can see a museum of primitive art.
It is also worth visiting the Royal Dominican Monastery (Real Convento de Santo Domingo) – a very beautiful and peaceful place, and the 18th century Santa Catalina Castle, in which a hotel is open today, but you can easily go in, stroll along the corridors and drink coffee or wine in the fireplace room with high arched ceilings.
The landscape of Jaén and its surroundings is an alternation of plains, hills and mountains. This is a great place for hiking and cycling (there are rental points in the city).
Very beautiful places are located near Jaen – for example, the Sierra Mahina mountain range or the huge natural park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, where the great Guadalquivir originates.
Weather in Jaen
The climate in Jaén is temperate: winters are mild, cloudy and sometimes rainy, the average daytime air temperature is +10… +12 ˚С, it is colder in the mountains, and sometimes it can snow. The summer here is hot and sunny, there is almost no precipitation, and the air temperature is about +30 ˚С, on some days in July and August it can rise to +40 ˚С. It is very comfortable here in spring and autumn: +16…+20 ˚С, mostly sunny, and the weather is conducive to walks.