The White Towns of Andalusia, or Pueblos Blancos, are a series of towns and large villages in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga in southern Spain, mostly within the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
All of the villages are characterised by whitewashed walls and red or brown tiled roofs. The area has been settled since prehistoric times, and some of the local caves have ancient rock paintings. Many cultures have left their mark on the region, but the most influential was that of the Moors. The narrow, winding streets have a distinct, Arabic feel to them, though each village has at least one Roman Catholic church.
Nestled at the base of the mountain pass, with a watchtower fort signaling its ancient heritage as part of the chain of frontier towns, is Pruna, a town smaller than Olvera. Like Olvera, Pruna is focused upon the area olives, with two well known factories. In December, the air is heavily scented with olive oil.
Torre-Alháquime is five minutes south-east of Olvera. With an easy-going feel, this village is ideal for anyone looking for a quiet retreat. Further down the same road is Setenil de las Bodegas, famous for its cave houses and cool cellars.
El Gastor cannot avoid being called "quaint." Visible from Olvera, to the south-west, the pueblo is folded into the mountains and the local inhabitants keep it immaculately, as is Zahara de la Sierra, a mountain top town like Olvera, that looks down over the spectacular blue of the Zahara lake. From Olvera it takes about twenty minutes to be at Zahara's lakeside beach, ready for a picnic. With a rod and line, your barbeque could easily include freshly caught fish to be eaten after canoeing across the water.
Just off the main road to Arcos, fifteen minutes west, is the pretty town of Algodonales. The plants in this area often look greener in summer because of the abundance of water in the substrata. Then, later in the year, as the houses face south into the valley taking advantage of all the winter sun, the town is almost always surrounded by flowers.
Grazalema, located in the northeastern part of Cadiz in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar mountain range had, as of 2009, a population of 2,205. The Roman villa of Lacidulia, situated in an estate near to the present village has been traditionally considered the ancestor of Grazalema. It became economically important as of the 17th century thanks to the drapery industry which produced the famous shawls of Grazalema. The mountainous area around Grazalema is popular with climbers and hikers, and local people make money by providing accommodation and hospitality to visitors.
These are the towns immediately around OLVERA ... each worth visiting, exploring, and revisiting!
The main towns, villages and other interesting places to visit include:
More about "Los Pueblos Blancos"
The whitewashed villages of Andalucia are impressive historical monuments in themselves, and their people still live according to age-old traditions, inherited from their Iberian, Roman and Moorish forefathers.
Many of the villages near the coast have become fashionable resorts, while still conserving their ancient charm, whereas others, lost in the highlands of Andalucia, remain rough and ready olive-farming towns, with a special appeal for the adventurous travellers.
Most Andalucian towns began as fortresses, which stood along the ever-fluctuating frontier between the Christian and Moorish realms, as is apparent in the names of such towns as "Jerez de la Frontera", "Arcos de la Frontera", "Morón de la Frontera." Over the centuries, many have developed into thriving agricultural centres producing olive oil, fruit and vegetables and goat's milk.
The mountain range of the Serranía de Ronda is dotted with many hilltop whitewashed villages topped by Moorish castles. Since the 19th century when it attracted a whole host of illustrious visitors, the most popular of these has undoubtedly been Ronda. In a much-photographed stunning position on the top of the sheer-sided Tajo gorge, Ronda is remarkably appealing with a beautifully preserved old town and many great bars and restaurants.
To the north of Ronda are Arriate and Cuevas del Becerro, while south is the attractive Cortes de la Frontera, surrounded by cork groves, and the most famous place in the area, the delightful village of Gaucín. West of Ronda is Montejaque, perched on the mountainside overlooking the fertile olive groves below, and Benaoján, which is close to a famous cave, the Cueva de la Pileta, with some impressive prehistoric cave paintings and rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Off the well-beaten tourist track in the Genal valley, in the shadow of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, is the village of Igualeja along with a string of hamlets, such as Pujerra, Júzcar, Cartajima, Alpandeire and Faraján. On the eastern side of the Sierra de las Nieves, and a gateway into the park, is Tolox, which boasts a well-known spa.