Best time to travel to Spain

Rio Tinto in Spain

Discover the red river and cosmic landscapes of an ancient mining city in Andalusia

Best time: all year round

Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto

The landscapes of the ancient mining town of Minas de Rio Tinto will make you feel as though you're on the moon. Only one hour from Seville, they will also transport you back in time. It is said that Rio Tinto is home to the fabled mines of King Solomon. Locals say that the Romans worked so intensively on the mines that they were among the most prized rewards yielding from Iberia.

Local writer Juan Cobos Wilkins wrote the bestselling novel El Corazon de la Tierra (The Heart of the Earth), based on the story of a popular uprising at the mines in 1888. Eventually, this historical event was transferred to the big screen and portrayed as a film.

How did this moonscape come to be? The search for iron ore, copper, silver and a host of other mineral ores has painted the land in a variety of colours. The predominant ores are ferrous, meaning they oxidize when they come into contact with the air. This process has coloured the land and river red and brown.

This river is the most visited site as it has a mystical and unique appearance. It is also likely one of the emptiest sights on earth. There are no people standing on these riverbanks as many have long been relocated to nearby villages and towns. In the middle of the city, there is a destroyed amphitheater, which complements this otherworldly planet perfectly.

You can visit the abandoned city and look at this incredible red-coloured river all year round, except a few days such as 25 December as well as 1 and 6 January. However, if you don't like exceeding hot temperatures, you should probably avoid two hottest months which are July and August; and if you are worried about the rainy weather, the wettest months are November and December.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Rio Tinto in Spain?

Visiting Rio Tinto in Spain can be done at any time of year, but the ideal seasons to go are spring and fall. With fewer visitors and mild temperatures, guests can enjoy Rio Tinto at their leisure. Note that July and August are sweltering and can reach 40°C. Although wintertime is chilly, it's still worth going, but some days such as 25 December, and 1 and 6 January may entail closures. Show more

What minerals were primarily mined in Rio Tinto?

Red, brown, and yellow hues dominate the landscapes of Rio Tinto, with the oxidation of iron ore, copper, and silver being responsible. The most well-known mining activities in Minas de Rio Tinto include those of the Greeks, Romans, English, and Phoenicians, all of whom exploited the Rio Tinto terrain's rewards from Iberia. Show more

How did the mining activities in Rio Tinto create the unique landscape?

The breathtaking, otherworldly landscape of Rio Tinto occurred due to mining activities' oxidation process. When the ores, primarily ferrous, are exposed to air, they react to create iron oxide that gives the region its signature colors. This creates a unique and extraterrestrial look in the area, reminiscent of the Martian or lunar landscape. Show more

Where is the destroyed amphitheater located in Rio Tinto?

Found in Rio Tinto's heart, the destroyed amphitheater sits as part of the town's rich 5,000-year history. Believed to have been utilized by miners in the 19th century, the mining culture of Rio Tinto is a significant archaeological center complementing the Martian-like landscape. The location captures guests' curiosity, pulling many visitors from various parts of the world every year. Show more

Are there any special events or festivals celebrated in Rio Tinto throughout the year?

In Rio Tinto, the locals observe many cultural festivals throughout the year, including religious events such as Almonte's El Rocío Festival. Celebrated by Almonte's faithful pilgrims, the festival honors the Virgin del Rocío. Fiestas and other cultural events can often be found in the nearest town of Huelva throughout the year. Together with the city's culture and the food, dining in Rio Tinto is an experience of its own, with local cuisines and unique dishes. Show more

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