In the Vega del Guadalquivir region, the small town of Alcolea del Río sits on the banks of the Guadalquivir. Named 'Al-qulaya' or 'the small fortress' by the Arabs, it still preserves the old flour mills that symbolise the town. However, the town is of Roman origin, as evidenced by the two archaeological sites, Meseta and Castillejo. This riverside gem boasts a rich heritage.
It also has a beautiful natural setting with a river running through it, which contrasts with the fields of olive, orange and peach trees. Experience an unforgettable getaway in this peaceful haven of white houses and mingle with the locals. Do not forget to try boronías, garbanzos pelaos and papas arrebujón, typical dishes of its exquisite cuisine. If you have time, visit Alcolea del Río when its most eagerly awaited festival, the traditional Rosario Pilgrimage, popularly known as the Rose Festival.
If you are travelling from Seville by car, the best route is by the A-4 motorway. Take exit 506 at Carmona and enter the SE-4107 to Guadajoz. At Guadajoz, take the SE-4104 to Alcolea del Río.
If you decide to travel by train, take the C3 Cercanías line from Santa Justa Station in Seville. This line stops in Alcolea del Río. If you prefer to take the bus, go to Plaza de Armas Bus Station in Seville.
Explore the town on foot, walk along the riverbanks and go hiking or cycling along the routes of the Vega del Guadalquivir region.
Start your visit with a pleasant walk along Calle Betis, which runs parallel to the River Guadalquivir. Then head towards the Plaza de España, the nerve centre of the town. You will find here the Mudejar-style San Juan Bautista Church, rebuilt after the Spanish Civil War. This temple houses the patron saints of Alcolea, San Roque and Virgen del Consuelo, as well as the Virgen del Rosario. Her pilgrimage in May is the most eagerly awaited local festival.
Other remarkable buildings in the town include the Pósito (which still preserves its neoclassical façade), the Cuartel Viejo and the 18th-century Cristo de la Vera Cruz Chapel. However, the symbol of the town is the Molinos de la Aceña. The three Almohad mills, which you can see on the right bank of the river, were used to produce flour.
Visit the Shrine to the Virgen del Rosario on the outskirts of town, decked out every May to celebrate the famous pilgrimage. Last but not least, go hiking in the area known as El Castillejo and discover the remains of what was the Roman city of Arva.
Alcolea del Río is about 53 kilometres from Seville in the Guadalquivir-Doñana tourist region. It comprises two areas of ecological interest, one located near the River Guadalquivir and the other in the first foothills of the Sierra Morena.