White Villages of Cádiz, light of Spain
Explore this area of the Sierra de Cádiz, in Andalusia, and 19 unique towns.
Cádiz, in Andalusia, is full of wonderful things to see, including the White Towns, 19 inland towns and villages, each with its own history, although they all share common features: Alcalá del Valle, Algar, Algodonales, Arcos de la Frontera, Benaocaz, Bornos, El Bosque, El Gastor, Espera, Grazalema, Olvera, Prado del Rey, Puerto Serrano, Setenil de las Bodegas, Torre Alháquime, Ubrique, Villaluenga del Rosario, Villamartín and Zahara de la Sierra. The first thing that will strike you is how they look: everything is whitewashed, the streets and squares, walls and ceilings, churches, houses and mansions… The towns look like splashes of white paint scattered over the landscape, dominated by the rocky peaks of Sierra de Grazalema Nature Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The bright, intense light of Andalusia will accompany you on this journey among olive groves and forests of pine, holm oak, cork oak and Spanish fir, a native tree of these highlands. The area is a surprise for the traveller, just a few kilometres from the beaches of the Costa de la Luz, and ideal for visiting in spring and autumn, when the temperatures are milder. The route can also be followed on foot, by bicycle, or even on horseback.
You can choose from several different routes to explore the White Towns. A good starting point for an excursion is Arcos de la Frontera: its views of the mountain range and its old quarter are well worth a visit. The built heritage of the White Towns will surprise you, with their castles, courtyards, narrow streets and Gothic and Baroque churches, and so will their natural heritage. Caves and grottoes, canyons and waterfalls are everywhere, and the area is home to many protected species such as the Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, and Griffon Vulture.
As well as culture and nature, these Cádiz towns and villages are excellent bases for outdoor and adventure sports: paragliding, fishing, hunting, canoeing, rowing, hang-gliding, hiking and cycle touring.
While you are here, be sure to try the local olive oil, and some of the traditional dishes of the area - mostly stews and casseroles, hearty soups, and large and small game. To sum up, the White Towns offer historic buildings, fiestas and traditions, artisan crafts, nature, and plenty to do outdoors... Ask about them at the tourist offices, where the staff will help you plan your stay.
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