The Pueblos Blancos (or White Villages) of Andalucia are nestled among the jagged limestone mountains of Southern Spain and are little gems not to be overlooked. They will offer you a unique insight into a different Spain.
Thankfully bypassed by most tourists, we like to think of them as our little secret.
Yet as overlooked as they are by people with too little time, they are easily accessible from Seville and sometimes Granada. While a handful can be visited on a day trip, the far preferable way is to take a day or two, driving along narrow country roads from one village to the next, wending your way through the idyllic countryside between them.
The Pueblos Blancos were originally built as towns to fortify the ever-changing border between Catholic and Moorish Spain.
Each pueblo has a feel and a beauty of its own. These magical villages are ideal places to unwind for a day or two and get to know a simpler side of Spain.
Many of them are characterized by winding cobblestone roads lined by whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs. You will find delicious and local food in undisturbed locations. Life is archaic and untroubled – you might see a flock of sheep crossing the road, tended to by shepherds. There is a sweet and innocent quality to Andalucia’s rural landscape.
The best known of the White Villages is Ronda. For sheer drama, few cities can rival its setting, which straddles the edges of a deep and dizzying ravine. It contains a number of impressive historical monuments, yet the greatest joy is just exploring it, especially in the early morning and evening when most the crowds are gone.
Jerez is famous for its sherry as well as its equestrian dressage. Arcos is known for its beautiful setting and views. Vejer de la Frontera is not far from Roman ruins on the beach at Bolonia. On a clear day it offers views of Africa.
Our other favorites include the sleepier towns of Grazalema, which borders a national park, Medina-Sidonia, Zahara de la Sierra, Olvera (its olive oil is said to rival that of Cordoba), El Puerto de Santa Maria (also famous for sherry and for former resident Christopher Columbus), and if your calf muscles need a workout, the mountain town of Jimena de la Frontera.
This area of Spain is ripe for getting to know local culture. We can arrange to meet a well-known bullfighter at his finca, and perhaps even stage a demonstration for you.
We can also arrange for a lesson in creating Spain’s most iconic dishes, private dressage demonstrations, riding Andalucia’s world famous horses, and sherry tastings in small artisanal estates with a leading sherry expert.