6 Beautiful Andalusian Pueblos Blancos - White Villages
The pueblos blancos are a delightful reminder of a time gone by. Narrow cobbled lanes winding in and out of whitewashed homes connect tiny squares and centuries-old Moorish churches. The peacefulness of these rural villages is broken only by church bells, the low murmur of voices or the faint sound of Spanish shoes on uneven stones. Amongst the sea of white, fragrant orange trees break the monochrome in perfectly shaped green.
ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA
The most dramatically situated Pueblos Blancos, this beautiful hilltop village has been declared a National Historic Monument. Characteristic of Moorish architecture, the bright whitewashed houses are simple and cubic in form – as well as several exquisite churches. The village’s buildings are arranged in a semicircle on a hillside at the edge of precipice, The Parador de Arcos offers sensational views over the green plains below of the River Guadalete. It is also probably one of the biggest.
Most people would consider Grazalema to be the showcase ‘white village’ of Spain. It has a spectacular mountain perch and lots of bars and restaurants. Grazalema is a picturesque high-mountain village of the Cádiz province, nestled in a valley and surrounded by the Parque Natural de Sierra de Grazalema. One of the best places to visit for Moorish ambience, Grazalema is a delightful cluster of quaint whitewashed houses, narrow alleyways, and quiet squares. The maze of pedestrian streets leads to homes with colourful potted flowers bursting from windowsills and astounding views of the craggy mountains in the distance. The rugged scenery of limestone mountains, pine forests, oak groves, and rushing rivers inspires outdoor activities. Favourite things to do at the Sierra de Grazalema nature reserve include hiking, fishing, and bird-watching.
On the balmy Costa Tropical, Salobreña is tucked into a hillside that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its the warm climate, exotic tropical fruits and sugar cane flourish in this area. The small historic town of Salobreña is a tightly packed collection of whitewashed buildings, presided over by an ancient Moorish castle on the hilltop. Visitors will enjoy the charming village ambience and stunning seaside panoramas combined with great weather and beautiful natural environment. A walk through its steep and narrow streets reveals its Arab past.
This lovely, Moorish, whitewashed village is perched on a hilltop in the Sierra de Grazalema natural park. The oldest part of Benaocaz, the Barrio Nazarí dates back to the 8th century and has a typical Arabic character, seen in its maze of narrow, winding streets and pedestrian staircases. Top attractions are the Aznalmara Castle, built in the 13th and 14th centuries; the tiny San Blas chapel; the hilltop hermitage of El Calvario, with its sweeping views of the countryside; and the San Pedro Apóstol parish church, an excellent example of 16th-century Renaissance architecture. The area outside of the village has many scenic hiking paths and walking routes, including a trail along the ancient Roman Road. Benaocaz is 46 kilometers from Arcos de la Frontera.
Perilously clinging to a sheer cliff, Ronda stands at a dizzying height and offers thrilling views of the dramatic landscape. About 85 kilometers from Arcos de la Frontera, the town straddles the El Tajo Gorge, with the emblematic Puente Nuevo crossing the jaw-dropping 150-meter-deep ravine. Besides its spectacular setting, Ronda is famous for bullfighting. The town’s Plaza de Toros is Spain’s second oldest bullring. In the old town, the narrow, labyrinthine streets and whitewashed buildings reveal a rich Moorish inheritance. The ancient Arab Baths in the Barrio de San Miguel are further proof of the Islamic influence. Another interesting historical narrative is the story of the town’s bandits, illustrated at the Museo del Bandolero.
Before 2011 Júzcar was just another one of the many pueblos blancos perched over the Rio Genal. Life was slow and the odd visitor came to hike its verdant paths. But in spring of that year, the entire town was painted blue to celebrate the worldwide premiere of the Smurf movie, held in little old Júzcar. The plan was to paint it white again after the premiere ended. But the blue village had created a mini-sensation and it is estimated 95,000 people had visited over the course of 6 months. The locals smurfed out an opportunity and decided to leave the town blue. The joy of Júzcar is that, while a bit gimmicky, it’s actually a fun place set in a beautiful location. Large statues of Smurfs and colourful red mushrooms dot the town, murals and cartoons cover the walls, and cute road signs show you the way. Within an hour you will have explored every nook and cranny but what a fun hour it is.