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View of Ronda

Tour of the white villages of Andalusia

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Rural tourism in Andalusia, quiet beauty

In the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga you’ll find some of Andalusia’s prettiest white villages. As you travel in this area you’ll find villages in gorgeous natural settings, where you can take photos of the whitewashed houses hung about with pots of colourful flowers, gaze at the mountain landscapes, discover the traces of the Islamic and Christian past, and really, truly relax.Taking a driving tour to admire these picturesque little towns appear among the mountains like a mirage is an enchanting experience.

On the Costa del Sol

If you’re holidaying on the Costa del Sol in Malaga province, as well as exploring the pretty coastal towns and soaking up the sun on the Mediterranean beaches, we recommend setting a few days aside for a visit to the white villages further inland. There are many you can visit, but some of the most famous include:

  • Frigiliana: worth the trip to walk around its narrow streets and passageways that evoke the Moorish past, and visit the only extant traditional molasses factory in Europe, with the Mediterranean in the background.
  • Casares: we recommend going up to the Arab castle at the top of the village. This land has been home to Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans… and you can sense the history.
  • Ronda: one of Spain’s most beautiful villages. Taking in the views from its 98-metre-high bridge is an unforgettable experience. The visitors charmed by this photogenic town include Hemingway, Orson Welles, and Rilke.
These three villages are an easy drive from the city of Malaga, if you’re staying there.

View of Casares, Malaga
Sunflowers in Villamartín, Cádiz

In Cadiz

The province of Cadiz has its own white villages route, with 19 stops: Arcos de la Frontera, Bornos, Espera, Villamartín, Algodonales, El Gastor, Olvera, Torre Alháquime, Setenil de las Bodegas, Alcalá del Valle, Prado del Rey, El Bosque, Ubrique, Benaocaz, Villaluenga del Rosario, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Algar and Puerta Serrano.As well as the whitewashed houses, you can see archaeological sites, castles, little churches and memorable mountain landscapes. Each village has something to make the trip worthwhile: Setenil de las Bodegas has its curious cave houses built into the rocks; the white houses of Grazalema stand out against the green of the Natural Park surrounding it; Arcos de la Frontera has impressive viewing points...Depending on how much time you have, you can adapt the route to suit your interests.

Arcos de la Frontera, Cadiz

Nature, local cuisine, crafts… Authenticity

Visiting the white villages also brings you to some fabulous scenery. Your trip could take you through the Serranía de Ronda, Los Alcornocales Natural Park or Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, with ravines you would never expect to find so close to the sea. These areas are great for hiking, and you can spend the night in unique hotels and guest houses, such as a converted windmill.You can find artisanal goods (for example, Ubrique is well known for its leather workshops) and try the local cuisine with dishes made to be enjoyed at leisure, savouring every bite. For instance, the artisanal cheeses, local pastries such as buñuelos, dishes like migas or gazpacho, the traditional mollete bread rolls, or organic wine from Ronda.You can take these tours at any time, but we would recommend spring and autumn, when the temperature is milder. And a final tip for experiencing the white towns: don’t over-plan. Let things happen. Take your time discovering traditions, meeting friendly people, visiting artisan workshops, and reaching the places where everything seems perfect. It’s too good to rush!

Collage of white villages