Scattered throughout the south of Andalusia, between the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga, we find a whole set of small villages full of charm through which you can make several touristy routes. These towns have roots in the medieval past; the narrow and irregular streets and whitewashed facades still retain the remnants of their Muslim origins. They are known as white villages, a treasure hidden in the heart of Andalusia, waiting for the traveler to discover them for an unforgettable experience. Are you joining us to see some of these jewels?
White Villages: Vejer de la Frontera
What you will find if you visit the town of ‘Vejer de la Frontera’ is a beautiful maze of alleys, where it’s enjoyable to get lost and it feels like time has stopped. Here, we can see proof of the tradition of the “tapadas“, women who were covered completely with veils due to their Islamic inheritance. A statute is dedicated to them here.
To enjoy Vejer, it is not necessary to admire a particular monument, but rather to enjoy this place as a whole, while we walk between patios full of geraniums and viewpoints to look out at the countryside of Cadiz. However, it is advisable not to miss some but beautiful parts of the town like the Plaza de España, with its fountain of tile work, or the Puerta Cerrada.
White Villages: Arcos de la Frontera
Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, ‘Arcos de la Frontera’ is located on the crest of an impressive ravine of the Guadalete River. It once possessed a series of fortresses at its highest point, due to its traditional defensive and frontier character in an era that has been marked even in its name, as is the case with other localities in the region.
Today what you will find in the highest areas of the village are viewpoints like the ‘Mirador de Arcos.’ Do not forget to visit the small but charming churches that you will find in Arcos, as well as the Andalusian garden at the Mayorazgo Palace. Both are especially beautiful places. And if you are looking for a boyfriend, don’t hesitate to go to venerate the image of San Antonio de Padua of the Convent of San Francisco, because they say that this pervy saint gives girls who show him their garters a boyfriend.
White Villages: Medina Sidonia
Since it used to be the capital of a Muslim province and later of the powerful duchy that bore its name, today Medina Sidonia accumulates a whole array of Roman, Arab and Christian ruins that make to the visits to this town of Cadiz enriching. Among the most interesting remains that can be seen are the Roman sewers from the 1st century, some roads and, the remains of the castle.
Its promontory is a perfect balcony from which to admire the esplanade that precedes the Bay of Cadiz. The views from here are a must-do within your visit. In addition, in the Church of Santa María la Coronado, art lovers can find the saint of his devotion, housed with the temple works by the Baroque artists Zurbarán and Martínez Montañés.
White Villages: Sierra de Grazalema
To the north of the province of Cadiz is a Natural Park in which some of the white villages are located, such as Algodonales and Zahara. Because it is a large natural area of remarkable biological importance, it is advisable to visit it as part of your route through these towns. This space is composed of abrupt sierras that represent the highest points in the province, surrounded by immense forests of Holm Oaks and Cork Oaks. It is also an area where many underground formations exist, like chasms or caves, so it becomes an ideal destination for adventurers who like to practice caving or canyoning.
White Villages: Setenil de las Bodegas
The visit to this village is linked to its particular urban configuration. ‘Setenil de las Bodegas” is located between foothills and cliffs, so that the houses and streets come to merge with the rock itself, giving rise to a series of cave-houses or shelters under rocks, scattered along an urban layout that is rather irregular.
These peculiarities, however, do not take away any of beauty of the place, as it is one of the highlights in this route of the white villages. From the remains of its Almohad period castle to the numerous viewpoints that form the huge boulders, Setenil is a compulsory stop that will not leave any traveler feeling indifferent.
The Malaga town of Ronda is a good place to finish a tour of these beautiful villages, since it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places that can be seen in all Andalusia. This town, famous in the history of Andalusia and bullfighting, has one of its main attractions, the impressive ‘Puente Nuevo’; a step not suitable for those who suffer from vertigo, as this bridge built in the 18th century stands about 100 meters above the gorge that draws the Guadalevín River.
Once you have overcome your fear of heights, you will be able to admire the fantastic viewpoint of ‘Blas Infante,’ from where you get the best views of the valley that extends under the locality. Moreover, Ronda offers an authentic architectural compendium in the streets in the form of churches, palaces and even remains of the Arab wall that has subsisted to this day.