Estepa, the town of mantecados
Visiting Seville’s La Campiña is an absolute delight. Estepa will captivate you with the sweet scent of cinnamon. An aroma that comes from its traditional mantecado and polvorón factories, which have given the town its well-deserved international fame.
This town of mantecados stretches down from Cerro de San Cristóbal, its highest point, crowned by its fortified compound. Here began its fascinating history, which combined with its rich heritage has led Estepa to be declared a Historic-Artistic Site.
Its extra virgin olive oil is another claim to fame of this unique town. An age-old traditional industry that produces a top-quality oil with an unmistakable flavour that has earned it the first Designation of Origin of Seville.
Discover this town in the heart of Andalusia and fall in love with its excellent cuisine, historical beauty and the charm of its people. Enjoy the unique sensory experience in the magical Sevillian town of Estepa.
Getting to Estepa
By car, the A-92 motorway will take you directly to Estepa. Three bus companies –Grupo Valenzuela, Alsa and Autocares Carrera– regularly run from Seville to Estepa throughout the day.
By train, the nearest station is Pedrera or Puente Genil-Herrera. You can take a bus from either station to your destination.
Your best option is to stroll through Estepa’s streets and discover its charms. The Tourist Office offers guided tours about its history and heritage, as well as the mantecado and oil industries.
Reasons to visit
- Visit the 24 mantecado factories in Estepa and learn how to make this product, that is the hallmark of this town.
- Enjoy unique views from the viewpoint known as the Balcony of Andalusia, located on Cerro de San Cristóbal. On clear days, you can see the Sierra Nevada.
- Don’t miss Estepa’s Holy Week, declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest.
- For breakfast, have a toast drizzled with Estepa’s local D.O. extra virgin olive oil.
- In July, visit the Coracha neighbourhood to celebrate La Velá de Santa Ana. You can enjoy games, races and the traditional grease pole.
- If you are a chocolate lover, you must visit ‘Chocomundo’, a museum exclusively devoted to the history of chocolate.
- Discover other traditional sweets such as bienmesabe and ochíos made by the nuns of Santa Clara Convent.
- Visit the August Fair, held in honour of the Virgin of the Assumption, with air-conditioned marquee tents open to the public.
- Hike through the Manantial de Roya Nature Area and visit the Shrine to San José Obrero.
- Learn all about wine at the Machuca and El Bodegón wine museums.
What to see
Every monument, factory or street in Estepa has its history and unique charm. Strolling through the old town with its steep and narrow streets is an absolute delight. You will find a picture-perfect spot on Calle de la Libertad where a small statue of the Virgin Mary is housed within an arch. Torralba Street, named after a bandit, is equally beautiful. Ask a local about this surprising legend.
You will next reach La Victoria Tower, an important Baroque structure that has been declared a National Monument. Both the tower and the ruins of the church to which it belonged are invaluable. The Las Angustias neighbourhood in Estepa is also unique. Stroll through this traditional quarter and discover the small Montserrat Chapel inside an old mill tower.
However, you have to climb Cerro de San Cristóbal to understand the origins of this town. You will not only enjoy beautiful views from the Balcony of Andalusia, but you can also visit the ruins of Alcazaba Castle. It is interesting to visit the walled compound, admire the Torre del Homenaje and enter what was once a fortified mosque. Today, it is the Santa María Church, the first Christian church in Estepa, and home to a Museum of Sacred Art.
The Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church and Santa Clara Convent, where the nuns make delicious sweets, are situated nearby. Do not leave without sampling the bienmesabe and learn about how this delicate sweet got its name. Continue through the historical centre and visit its many churches. There are two buildings of significant historical relevance on Calle Castillejo: the Shrine of the Assumption and the Marqués de Cerverales Palace. You must book in advance to visit the latter.
Need a break? Rest at Plaza de Santa Ángela and take in the peaceful atmosphere of the place. Admire the Hermanas de la Cruz Convent, home to nuns that are much loved in this town. Stop at the Coracha neighbourhood as well. The Shrine to Santa Ana is located in its square, rich in history. The traditional Velá is held here every July.
Why not visit the local factories to finish your tour? Stop at a mantecado factory, taste the local wine in one of its two wineries, and capture the essence extra virgin olive oil at the Oleoestepa cooperative.
If nature is your thing, visit the Manantial de Roya, a unique place with hiking routes. Enjoy the fresh air in this Sierra Sur landscape, where you can also spend a day in the countryside with your family.
Places to visit
- Marqués de Cerverales Palace
- Shrine to Santa Ana
- Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church
- Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios Church
- Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church
- Santa María Church and Museum of Sacred Art
- Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church
- Hermanas de la Cruz Convent and Plaza Santa Ángela
- San Sebastián Parish Church
- Santa Clara Church and Convent
- Torre de la Victoria and ruins of the church
- Torre del Homenaje
- Cerro de San Cristóbal, Alcazaba, Casa Cueva, and ruins of the walled compound
- Shrine to San Marcos
- Corner of the Marqués del Oro Palace
- Former Pósito (granary), in Plaza del Llanete
- Padre Martín Recio Archaeological Museum
- 'Chocomundo Chocolate Museum', The Palace Pantry
- Miguel de Cervantes Casa de la Cultura Theatre
- Sierra del Becerro, Sierra de Estepa, declared a Mountain Range of Environmental Interest
- Los Canterones, an old Roman and medieval quarry; visit the cave where the bandit Juan Caballero took refuge
- Manantial de Roya and Tajillos park
Estepa, the second-largest urban centre in the region, after Osuna, is located 113 kilometres from Seville. It is part of the Sierra Sur geographical region. Built initially atop Cerro de San Cristóbal, the town has earned the title of “Balcony of Andalusia”. On clear days, you can see Seville, Córdoba and even the peaks of Sierra Nevada from here.
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