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The White Villages Route

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  • Street in Arcos de la Frontera

    Street in Arcos de la Frontera

  • View of Prado del Rey © Turespaña

    View of Prado del Rey © Turespaña

  • View of Algodonales © Turespaña

    View of Algodonales © Turespaña

  • View of Benaocaz © Turespaña

    View of Benaocaz © Turespaña


White villages in the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga

This route reveals one of southern Andalusia’s secrets to us: the white villages. We will visit small mountain villages, where the typical white houses are emphasised by southern Andalusia’s light. We will also enjoy natural surroundings of great beauty.

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The first village we will visit is Arcos de la Frontera, in Cadiz. It has all of the typical features of the white villages: low, white houses; steep, narrow streets; and spots with spectacular views of the mountains. Its important monuments include the walls, the medieval castle and the Minor Basilica of Santa María.

In the surrounding area, within a radius of less than 30 kilometres, we can visit a number of smaller white villages. These are Espera, Bornos, Villamartín, Prado del Rey and El Bosque. From this last village we will go on to Ubrique (about 15 kilometres away). In this village, known for its leather crafts, and we will have the chance to visit workshops and buy high quality craft products.

We are now in the heart of the Grazalema Nature Reserve, a unique natural space with splendid flora (Spanish fir and maple woods) and fauna (deer and Iberian wild goats). It has several signposted hiking routes. In this region we can also enjoy visiting many “white” villages and towns: Zahara, Algodonales, El Gastor —the “white villages balcony”—, Olvera (with its Medieval Frontier Museum, Caños Santos Convent and La Encarnación Church).

We are now very close to Malaga province, where the next stop will be the legendary city of Ronda. Its important monuments are Santa María la Mayor Church, the Rey Moro (Moorish King) palace and gardens, the Arab baths and the palace of the Marquises of Salvatierra. Ronda is also a major bullfighting centre. At the beginning of September each year, its bullring is the setting for the “Goyaesque Bullfights”, which recreate period dress from the times of the painter Francisco de Goya.

In its surroundings, we can visit the Mozarabic shrine of the San Antón Caves, the Roman theatre ruins in Ronda la Vieja, the ancient Roman city of Acinipo, and the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Reserve, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

We will discover more white villages in Malaga province. These include Montejaque, Benaoján (with La Pileta prehistoric cave), Jimera de Líbar, Atajate, Benadalid, Algatocín and Gaucín. These are all close to Ronda (a maximum of 40 minutes by car), towards the south, on the way to Cadiz.

The last two white villages on our route are in Cadiz province. They are Jimena de la Frontera and Castellar de la Frontera, located in the centre of Los Alcornocales Nature Reserve. The first is notable for its historic-artistic site, presided over by an ancient castle with a Moorish water cistern from the 9th-10th centuries, the “Moorish Queen’s Bath”, La Misericordia Church and Reina de los Ángeles Shrine. The Laja Alta prehistoric cave can also be visited in the surrounding area. Castellar de la Frontera is a fortress-village of Arab origins with one of the region’s best conserved examples of a medieval Arab castle-fortress (13th century), and splendid panoramic views of the Strait of Gibraltar.

When to go on the route
The route can be taken all year round, thanks to the benign Andalusian climate. Even in summer, when temperatures are high, this route can be enjoyed because the climate is cooler in the mountains.

The route can be completed in a weekend, but given that these small villages have great charm, it is recommended to take a few days more and enjoy them at a leisurely pace. 


What to see on the route See more

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Ronda International Folk Gala

Discover the surroundings See more


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