Deep in the Spanish hinterland lies Jaen, a city full of rustic tradition renowned for the quality of its oil, which has been granted the Sierra Mágina designation of origin. This dressing forms the base of the majority of the region's local dishes, including game and poultry, trout, cod, herring and all kinds of salad. Of course, no visit to the region would be complete without sampling one of the traditional dishes, which include gruels, migas (bread fried with thinly sliced bacon pieces) and even vegetable salads. Although gastronomy is a very important part of the region's culture and heritage, Jaen has much more to offer. The province is also home to the largest protected natural area in the whole of Andalusia, meaning that it also boasts some spectacular natural landscapes. Among its flora you'll find unique specimens of the Cazorla violet, an unusual carnivorous plant, and what appear to be the smallest narcissuses in the world. Its fauna, meanwhile, includes wild mountain sheep, foxes, genets, shrews, buzzards and a large number of other species.
The towns of Ubeda and Baeza, both of which have been declared historic-artistic sites due to their great Renaissance heritage, are also not to be missed, along with the fortresses and palaces which offer an insight into the Arab presence in the region.
Whilst visiting the capital, make sure you visit the Arab fortress on Santa Catalina hill, which affords some of the best views across the city and the Guadalquivir valley from its peak. Having said that, the real jewel of the city is nevertheless Santa Iglesia Cathedral, a huge building dating back to the Renaissance and which represents the historic heart of the city.