Choosing the most beautiful villages in Andalusia is a complicated task; as there are hundreds of towns of outstanding beauty in this community. We have made a selection of the villages with less than 15,000 inhabitants that have a rich heritage, a beautiful old town or natural areas that contribute to the village’s growth. There are so many reasons and so many towns with their own identity in Andalusia, that even if the selection were made up of 50 villages, it would still not be enough. However, here are some of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia.
Agua Amarga is one of the great secrets of the municipality of Níjar, as it is a charming village. This remote village is located in Almería, within the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. One of its main attractions is the beach of Agua Amarga, perfect for swimming in summer and for walks in less warm seasons. Its streets and houses decorated with geraniums and bougainvilleas make the walks an unavoidable experience. With a long fishing tradition, Agua Amarga is an ideal coastal village to discover in summer.
In the Sierra de Tejeda, Granada, lies the village of Alhama de Granada, which seems to hang over a cliff on the river Alhama. The best known part of this village is its thermal water spa, which has been exploited by the Romans and Arabs for a long time. Thus, its historical heritage is quite striking, to which we must add that its old town is a Historic-Artistic Site.
Remains of the wall, some watchtowers and the Baño Fuerte, which has spectacular horseshoe arches, have been preserved from the Arab period. After the Christian conquest, the church of La Encarnación, the Casa de la Inquisición and the convents of El Carmen and San Diego were built.
Located at the foot of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, if Frigiliana is known for anything, it is for its old town. In it the winding streets emerge between white houses and beautiful flowers on the balconies. This group of streets has an Arab origin that has been conserved in perfect state until the present time. In the middle of this street network you can see the palace of the Counts of Frigiliana, which dates from the 16th century, the Santo Cristo de la Caña hermitage and the San Antonio church.
In the region of the Sierra de Cazorla is located Cazorla, capital of the same and village of Jaén. Although it is one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia, it is also one of the least popular, perhaps because many are unaware of the monumental wealth that Cazorla holds. For example, the castle of La Yedra, a Christian fortress that is well preserved and houses within its walls the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions of the Alto Guadalquivir. For its part, the fountain of the chains, built in the Herrerian style in honour of Philip II, is one of the most interesting monuments. Thus, walking through its streets, you can reach the overwhelming ruins of the church of Santa Maria de Gracia, from the 16th century and in Renaissance style.
More than 500 meters above sea level is Iznájar, in Córdoba. This beautiful village is situated on the banks of the river Genil and is crowned by the Hisn-Ashar castle. One of the simplest and best activities to do here is simply to walk through its streets, where the combination of its white houses with the colorful flowers and pots offers a very beautiful composition.
However, you can also see the castle, which dates back to the 8th century and is of Arab origin. Note the existence of several towers, such as the Clock Tower and the Tower of San Rafael. As far as religious temples are concerned, the Renaissance church of Santiago Apóstol and the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua y Piedad stand out, the virgin of this hermitage being the patron saint of the village.
Without a doubt, Setenil de las Bodegas is one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia, and also one of the most curious. It is one of the White Villages of the Sierra de Cádiz, where the houses were built on and under the rock, creating spectacular locations. Thus, the great attraction of Setenil de las Bodegas is the village, which is not surprisingly declared a Historic-Artistic Site. The white houses start from the construction of the castle at the top and go down to different levels of height. Here the villagers have built the opening in the rock created by the river to raise their houses, called “shelter under rocks” because of its unique arrangement, as they do not dig into the rock, but close the rock wall.
Located at the foot of the southern mountains of Seville is the town of Estepa, surrounded by olive groves. Although Estepa is known above all for its gastronomy, as the Christmas sweets made here are of excellent quality, there is also a lot to visit. One of the most interesting places is the old Moorish Alcazaba, located in the highest area. The keep and its 26 metres high tower stand out. Declared a Site of Cultural Interest, a must see is the church of Santa María, located on the hill of San Cristóbal and built between the 15th and 16th centuries by the famous order of Santiago. Also on the hill is the convent of Santa Clara. For lovers of sweets outside the Christmas season, we recommend visiting one of the many factories and workshops that made mantecados here, almost all located in the Avenida de Andalucía.
Almonaster la Real is another of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia and perhaps the least known. It is located in the province of Huelva, in the heart of the Sierra de Aracena y los Picos de Aroche Natural Park, so the natural landscape in which the holm oak, chestnut and cork oak forests are framed is of striking beauty.
To all this we must add the particularity that its urban area has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest, with many monuments to see. A must see is the parish church of San Martín, of Gothic-Mudejar style. In addition, one of the treasures of this town is the mosque of Almonaster la Real, declared a Historic Monument, being the only mosque in Spain that has been preserved almost intact in a rural area. It is built on top of an old Visigothic temple from the 5th century.
With less than 200 inhabitants the village of Isleta del Moro is one of the smallest on this list. Located in Almería, its beauty lies in the fact that it is not yet as crowded as other more popular towns, so you can visit it looking for peace and quiet. A perfect option to go during the summer season, when one is delighted to swim in its beaches, such as Peñón Blanco, the largest in Isleta del Moro. A traditional fishing village where you can see the typical boats stationed on the beach and taste the freshest fish.
If there is one thing that distinguishes Montoro, it is the beautiful view of the River Guadalquivir as it passes through the village. This village of Córdoba borders on the province of Jaén and it is known by its beautiful landscape, from which the Sierra de Cardeña and Montoro Natural Park, the Sierra Morena (where part of Montoro is located) and the river are part of. Therefore, a part of the village is located in a small elevation and the rest on the other side of the river, obtaining the vision of two separate districts in a natural way. Thus, in addition to the old town of Montoro, there are several visits such as the tower of the castle of Villaverde, the bridge over the Guadalquivir and the church of San Bartolomé Apóstol, from the 15th century and in the Gothic-Mudejar style.
On the Costa del Sol you will find another of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia with the typical Andalusian style. This is Casares, where narrow streets and white houses coexist giving the town that special charm that characterizes many of the Andalusian villages. Because its houses are arranged on a hill, over time this has earned it the status of a hanging village. But we must not forget how much there is to see in Casares, such as the 13th century castle of Arab origin or the baths of the Hedionda.
Pampaneira is one of the most colorful gems in the province of Granada. It is easy to get lost among its picturesque streets decorated with colorful jarapas alpujarreñas (carpets), as local handicrafts are of great value in this village on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Therefore, although there are places to visit such as the church of Santa Cruz or the Arab washing place, the best way to get to know Pampaneira is to stroll around discovering the local architecture and shops full of local products.
Olvera is also part of the Route of the White Villages of Cádiz, which is not surprising since it is a town of outstanding beauty. It is known for its olive trees, worked by many of its neighbours, so it is not surprising that they developed the Sierra de Cádiz Designation of Origin. The Vía Verde de la Sierra passes through here, famous for being the only route catalogued as being of tourist interest in the autonomous community. Among all the infrastructures, we must definitely see the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, located in the Plaza de la Iglesia and of neoclassical style; the Arab castle, from the end of the 12th century, was formerly part of the defensive system of the Kingdom of Granada; and the Muslim wall, of which the buttresses that supported it are still preserved.
La Iruela is a small but charming village that is also located in the Sierra de Cazorla, in Jaén. What is most striking is the image that creates the castle of La Iruela on top of the rock El Picacho, in the middle of the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park. It is of Arab-Medieval origin and the keep, surrounded by walls that lean on the rock, is the most striking. Inside the walled enclosure of the castle is the church of Santo Domingo, from the 16th century and Renaissance. A perfect village to visit in a morning and enjoy the gastronomy of the area eating in one of its bars and restaurants.
Aracena is a beautiful village in the province of Huelva, located in the mountain range that gives its name and within the Natural Park Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche. In addition to its natural attraction, if the town is known for anything, it is for the castle of Aracena, a 13th century fortress built during the Islamic period. The Prioral Church of Nuestra Señora del Mayor Dolor is one of the most characteristic temples in the town, built in the Gothic style and erected on the ruins of the castle. In addition to other religious temples, civil buildings and fountains, Aracena is home to the Gruta de las Maravillas, a spectacular karst complex whose entrance is in the heart of the town.
Cazalla de la Sierra is located in the province of Seville, specifically in the Sierra Norte and within the Sierra Norte Natural Park of Seville, so it is not surprising that its surroundings are natural landscapes of remarkable beauty. Surrounded by mountains, you can get to know the village simply by strolling through its streets and being surprised by its old town of cobbled streets and white houses. This way you can reach one of the most representative temples of Cazalla de la Sierra, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación. The construction of the church began in the 14th century in Mudejar style, but the decoration of the temple was extended in time until the 18th century, so it ended up in a combination of Baroque and Renaissance. However, there are other monuments and temples to visit, such as the convent of Madre de Dios or the Carthusian monastery of Cazalla.
Declared a Historic Site, Zahara de la Sierra is one of the most special White Villages in Cádiz; and one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia. Its location at the foot of the Sierra del Jaral and its situation near the Zahara El Gastor reservoir offers an image of total monumentality. In a natural enclave of great value, from the viewpoint of Zahara de la Sierra, located at the foot of the village, you can see the extension of the reservoir. Once in the village, the Nasrid settlement is a real eye-catcher, where you can visit the keep, the tower-apse and what is left of the door of the medieval village of Zahara.
In the heart of the region of La Axarquía is the village of Sedella, with a little more than 600 inhabitants. This village in Málaga keeps the essence of its Arab past intact. Besides, there is nothing like walking among its white houses full of colourful flowers. As if this were not enough, Sedella is included in the Mudéjar Route, an itinerary that shows the villages that were used to travel to the time of the Muslim domination through the Andalusian legacy. To complete the visit, the Casa Torreón stands out, in which there is a Mudejar-style tower with Moorish decoration, the parish church of San Andrés with its 16th-century tower and the Virgen de la Esperanza hermitage, among others.
Another of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia and also one of the smallest on this list is Zuheros, in the province of Córdoba. Located in the Subbética Cordobesa, the old town of Zuheros is catalogued as a Historic Site. The castle located here overlooks the entire landscape; a very particular fortress, as it is located on the top of a cliff. Another of the most important spaces in the town is the cave of Los Murciélagos; a prehistoric cavity where, as its name indicates, bats of different species live. As a gastronomic curiosity, every year it hosts the Cheese Fair, of which national and international awards are a part.
Trevélez is not only one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia, it is also one of the highest in Spain, as it is located at the highest level of the Alpujarra of Granada. Where it is undoubtedly known is in the gastronomic sector; as the Ham of Trevélez is recognized with the guarantee of Protected Geographical Indication. The old town stands out for its typical Alpujarra architecture, with its white houses with flat roofs and steep streets. However, its most valuable asset is its landscape, with the natural spaces that converge here: the pico del Rey, Siete Lagunas, Cerro Pelao, laguna de Vacares…
Vélez-Blanco is one of the three Historic-Artistic Sites that have been declared in the province of Almería; so it is not surprising that the good state of conservation of its old town is an incentive to visit this town. In it you can see traces that have lasted over time from the Arab era to the present. In addition to its privileged natural surroundings, Vélez-Blanco has a very important archaeological heritage, such as the famous cave painting of Los Letreros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the top of the village lies the Fajardo Castle, a representative example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.